One of the biggest advantages of selling online or having a website for your brick-and-mortar business is the massive population you will be able to reach. However, one of store owners’ primary concerns is often how customers will find their e-commerce site.
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What is Shopify SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing a website so that search engines find it relevant to searches related to your products and, therefore, rank it highly on search results.
Shopify SEO is, therefore, a series of adjustments done on your Shopify store to make clients’ queries on search engines align with what you are selling. Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms today. It already has plenty of SEO tools, but below are some SEO tips to improve your Shopify store’s position on the search engine results pages.
Every Shopify SEO guide will agree that duplicate content is the biggest obstacle to top rankings. When you have duplicate content on your site, search engines are not able to distinguish between the two to determine the original page. Duplication of pages happens when very similar content exists on two separate URLs. Time signals end up being split between the two pages. Shopify creates duplicate content in two ways:
Duplicate product pages
Usually, the Shopify platform will let its /products/ pages be rendered across two URL paths:
/products (The canonical URL path)
/collections/.*/products/ (The non-canonical URL path)
To account for this feature, Shopify adds canonical tags to the /collections/.*/products/ pages to the associated /products/ page. While this will help Google and other search engines distinguish between the two similar pages, it raises an internal linking issue.
If you have different variants of the same products on your website, Shopify will use the non-canonical links to point to them, which will then send the search engine conflicting signals. Google will give priority to canonical links, but the conflicting signals will be interpreted by the search engine as its cue to decide whether or not the content is duplicated. The situation can ruin your page’s search engine rankings.
This SEO issue can be solved by working with a developer to adjust the product.grid-item.liquid file so that your Shopify site links only to canonical page URLs.
Duplicate collections pages
Your Shopify site’s pagination is another area that causes content duplication. This process creates a duplicate of the first collections page in any series because once you are on a paginated URL in any series, the link to its first page will have ‘?page=1.’ The link with this code will almost always have the same content as the original non-paginated URL. A developer can also fix this so that the first paginated result of any series will point to the original page.
Product variant pages
At times, Shopify creates multiple product URLs for the same products that have slight variations, say, size. This means that your website will have more than one page with the same product image and description. This does not always lower your SEO performance, because some clients conduct their Google searches using extremely specific terms. To determine whether this is advantageous or not for your online store, determine whether:
- Your products are specific enough to be unique on their own.
- Your clients’ customers use specific search terms referring to product variants for their searches.
Crawling and indexing
Crawling is the process that search engines like Google use to go through your site’s content and determine its suitability for a client’s search, while indexing is the ranking process. The ease of crawling and indexing is a vital ranking factor, and some issues that undermine it are:
Set up Google Search Console
Consider registering your e-commerce website with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools. This registration tells Google and Bing that your website is out there. These valuable tools also inform you of issues with crawling and indexing that may affect your site’s SEO.
A robots.txt file shows search engines which URLs they can access on your e-commerce store. Shopify stores have a robots.txt file that is often sufficient for most websites. However, this default file will not allow Google to crawl your:
- Internal search
- Admin area
- Shopping cart.
Depending on how large or customized your store is, you may have to edit your robots.txt file. You do not need a developer for this edit as the shopify.dev site has the steps needed to add the file and Liquid code to write.
A sitemap is essentially a blueprint to help search engines find, crawl, and index all the pages that are most crucial on your website. Shopify also has a default sitemap.txt file that you can find using the URL domain.com/sitemap.xml. This index file creates links to child sitemaps that have URLs to such pages on your website as blog posts, marketing pages, collections pages, and product pages. As you add new pages to your website, the sitemap.xml index file will update itself. This default file is often good to go with. However, you want to look out for pages on your sitemap.xml file that are included but are not important for search engines to crawl.
Adding the “noindex” tag
The noindex tag lets you stop Google from indexing a specific page or template. All you need to do is add a specific code to your theme.liquid file.
Shopify’s redirect option allows you to consolidate pages or any other content that no longer exists on your website. Simply go to ‘Online Store’> ‘Navigation’ > ‘URL redirects.’
To use this option, you must have deleted the pages with old content, so you must be sure that you no longer require them.
While Log files are a crucial part of Shopify SEO, Shopify does not allow you to access them directly.
Fast Simon implementation
Fast Simon is a premium technical SEO solution for adding the best plugins to your Shopify store. If you have chosen the Fast Simon tech for your site, you want to be sure that all indexing is in order. Fast Simon should be rendering your website to ensure Google does not encounter any crawling and indexing issues and instead finds it easier to interpret your content.
By default, Shopify has some impressive structured data functionality. It already accounts for two of the most crucial structured data forms for any e-commerce website: product structured data and article structured data.
Product structured data
The ‘Product’ markup offers Google plenty of info about your products’ names, prices, descriptions, and much more. Its ‘Products structured data’ is also expanded so that you can define a product listing page for every single product.
Article structured data
If you have a blog on your Shopify website, then this function applies to you. This function is highly preferred by Google (as per Google’s official notifications) and lets Google know that your blog posts are more editorial. You should also consider ‘BlogPosting’ to boost your site’s SEO.
BreadcrumbList structured data
Breadcrumbs are useful to site visitors because they let them know where they are within the site’s hierarchy. They also help search engines better grasp your site’s structure. For Shopify sites, consider adding site breadcrumbs and marking them up with the BreadcrumbList structured data to help Google understand them.
Implementing structured data on Shopify
You should consider having your site developer add the mentioned structured data sites to ensure they are always present. However, if you do not have a developer, you can use Schema Markup. This solution will implement the Product and BlogPost schema on the appropriate pages.
Improving Shopify site speed
Needless to say, site loading speed is a critical SEO factor. While some Shopify clients complain that their Shopify sites are slow, Shopify remains to be much faster compared to other eCommerce platforms. A high bounce rate on Google Analytics or Bing Webmaster Tools may be a sign that your site has a low loading speed. You can further increase your site’s loading speed by:
- Migrate tracking code to Google Tag Manager
- Lazy load images using the lazysizes library
- Manually compressing large images on high priority pages
Keywords are words that clients looking for your kind of product will use in their search phrases. Some of the keyword research methods you can use include:
- Use the Google Search Console to determine the keywords that get the most clicks or impressions on your site.
- Use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs to find related keywords that help your competitors’ websites rank highly on search results.
- If your keywords use similar modifiers, a tool like MergeWords will help you obtain multiple variations of the keywords.
Shopify allows you to modify SEO features of your website like Meta descriptions, title tags, and URLs. Use your keywords in these elements to better your Shopify store rank.
Adding content to product pages
If you want search engines to index each product on your online store, then you should have unique content on every page. Not all your products may have unique details, and this leads to different product pages having similar descriptions or none at all.
However, since it is time-consuming to create unique content for every product, you need to decide which products to optimize first. You can use a ‘Sales by product’, so you can start with the best-selling products.
Many stores do not have a blog on their SEO checklist, even though the ability to incorporate one comes naturally with Shopify. While your website’s primary goal is to generate revenue, adding a blog to your website may be crucial in a world where your competitors want to rank higher and coming first in search results is harder. Many search engines are starting to rank informational content better than transactional content.
Identify your best-performing keywords and perform a Google search for them. This should help you determine the kind of content that ranks highest in your niche’s search results; is it transactional, informational, or both? If you see informational pages or a mix of both kinds of content, it means that creating a blog may drastically improve your website traffic and remain relevant for organic searches.
Shopify has a host of free or premium plugins or apps that you can use to extend your website’s functionality without changing its code.
Shopify apps for SEO
Among the finest Shopify SEO apps are:
- Crush.pics: for compressing massive images
- Smart SEO: for adding meta descriptions, meta tags, alt tags, and JSON-LD
- SEMRush: a keyword research tool to find your competitors’ best performing keywords
- Rewind Backups: for creating backups of your site
- Yotpo Reviews: Helps you add product reviews to your site, which makes it eligible for the rich reviews stars search engine listing previews.
Is Yoast SEO available for Shopify?
Yes. It has been available for Shopify since January 2022.
Limiting your Shopify apps
Like WordPress plugins, Shopify apps also inject code into your site architecture, which slows it down. Ensure you remove the apps that you rarely use or that are not adding any value to your site.
Improve your Shopify Experience in 7 steps
FREE 30-Min SEO Strategy Session
Virtual Meeting with our Team
Step 1. Optimize Your Shopify Site Structure
Organize the content on your website to make it easier for visitors to find what they need and for Google to crawl through. You also need pages for ‘About’ and ‘Contacts’ as well as a search bar.
Step 2. Improve the User Experience
Improve the experience your site visitors have by boosting its loading speed, using smaller images, and making your website mobile-friendly.
Step 3. Research the Right Target Keywords
You can find the best keywords for your website on your competitors’ websites, other relevant sites, and on social media hashtags related to your niche. Also, ask yourself what words you would use as a potential customer looking for your products.
Step 4. Optimize Your Shopify Products Pages
With the keywords in hand, now start optimizing your website’s pages as well as page titles. Focus your keywords mostly on the home page, page title, main product category pages, and the best-performing product pages.
Step 5. Build Links to Your Store
This step is all about generating links that connect to your website on other websites (backlinks). How well your website is perceived by others is an SEO factor that search engines use to rank websites. These are essential for off-page Shopify SEO. You can reach out to your suppliers or an influencer in your niche.
Step 6. Rank Higher With Content Marketing
Original content is one of the most valuable SEO resources. It will improve your site’s organic traffic and improve the user experience. Add blog content that answers your clients’ most pressing questions for SEO success and a possible feature on Google’s rich snippets position.
Step 7. Internal Page Linking
Internal links are links that lead clients to other parts of your website that contain additional information or exactly what they are looking for. Internal link building is great for both customers and search engines. However, be sure to avoid broken links, as these hurt SEO.