Using Shopify SEO to optimize your eCommerce site can help customers find exactly what they're looking for. Learn how to improve the search engine visibility of your Shopify site to get greater organic traffic and more sales from your online store.
With over 377,500 active stores and $29 billion in sales, Shopify has become one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world. It offers robust, customizable features that balance the needs of the store owner while making things easier and more convenient for customers. By handling marketing, payments, as well as secure checkout and shipping, Shopify has become a top choice for selling online. Because of the increasing importance of driving customers to Shopify-powered sites, Shopify SEO has been experiencing rapid growth in recent years and is expected to continue to grow exponentially.
Let SEO Inc. be your Shopify SEO expert to help you unlock your eCommerce site's full potential!
Shopify SEO Checklist - Essential Tools and Tips
Many of the best practices for on-site and technical SEO apply when optimizing a Shopify site. However, there are certain Shopify-specific techniques that when implemented can get your site ahead of the competition. Follow this Shopify SEO checklist to establish your business as the customer’s go-to source.
No Shopify site should be without these essential tools and resources:
- Google Analytics - Learn who is visiting your site, what they're buying, and when they buy it to streamline the sales funnel and maximize your profits. See custom reports to gain a high-level understanding of your business.
- Search engine webmaster tools - Optimize every part of your website using powerful online tools via Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Add structured data and rich cards, submit your sitemap, and gain valuable SEO knowledge such as crawl errors, mobile usability, broken pages, and schema markup data, all available and at a glance from helpful, data-driven dashboards.
Once you have signed up for these tools, you will need to focus on optimizing your site for Shopify SEO. That means providing the means for search engines to understand how your site is structured. You can accomplish this by taking the following actions:
- Submit your sitemap to Google and Bing. Your sitemap tells the search engines how your site is organized, providing them with your site’s page structure. Once submitted, Google and Bing will be able to more efficiently crawl your site to add it into their indexes. Large sites or new sites benefit greatly from providing a sitemap, however, all sites should do so to ensure a more intelligent crawl. (Note: Your Shopify site will automatically generate a sitemap for you to submit.)
- Use Google Search Console/Bing Webmaster Tools to check for errors. Duplicate content, crawl errors, and 404/500 errors can all contribute to a poor user experience, resulting in site penalties from the search engines. Locate any errors you find immediately to ensure your site will be received favorably.
Implementing on-page and technical SEO for Shopify sites is critical. Webmasters should familiarize themselves with the basics of search engine optimization and use more advanced strategies to improve their site’s visibility in Google and the other search engines. We have listed a number of essential steps you should take to make your site more visible and more appealing to both search engines and customers:
Title tags, headers, and meta descriptions. Having the right amount of headers on each page helps the search engines to understand your site. Best practices are to use one H1 tag, and then any number of H2s, H3s, and so on as needed and in hierarchical order. Your pages should each have a unique meta description to help attract users from the SERPs.
- Descriptive product descriptions. Write content for your product pages to help customers learn more about what you’re selling. Make each page’s content unique to each product to avoid a duplicate content penalty. Be sure to use the “rel=canonical” tag where needed as well.
- Target keywords. You should incorporate your target keywords into the copy for your homepage and product pages. Keywords should generally match what customers are searching for in order to find your site. Avoid keyword stuffing by adding too many; instead, use keywords sparingly and only to help your content be as informative as it can be. With the right research, you should be able to learn the best keywords to use to differentiate your site from your competitors’ sites.
- Category pages. Broad category pages should group your products together under similar categories. Doing so will help Google and other search engines understand your pages better while helping users navigate your product offerings.
- Internal links. Building out your internal links helps users navigate between pages and enable them to find more answers about your products or services.
- Backlinks. Acquiring backlinks can be a tricky process if you aren’t careful. Paying for links, as was done in the past, is considered blackhat SEO and subject to penalties. Look to acquire links from reputable, related sources to increase the flow of healthy link juice and trust. Remove toxic links to keep your rankings in good standing.
- Blog strategy. Your Shopify site may benefit from regular, consistent blog posts to enhance its SEO strategy and build authority. Be sure to follow all of the on-page SEO recommendations listed on this Shopify SEO checklist to optimize your blog posts. Don’t forget to attribute any appropriate tags for your blog posts as well.
- HTTPS. An eCommerce site without HTTPS may be considered “unsafe” by Google and other search engines. Secure your site with data encryption to ensure you do not miss out on any sales.
- Any necessary redirects. Old links, out-of-stock items, and other unneeded pages should redirect to current or relevant pages for proper navigation and user experience.
- A helpful 404 page. Should your users encounter a 404 error, make sure their buying experience does not end there. Build a 404 page that provides them with the means to continue searching for products or return to the homepage.
- Intuitive site structure. Search engines and users should be able to understand how to navigate your site in order to locate any page.
- Optimized images. Add descriptive alt text to each of your images to accommodate image searches and to keep your site ADA-friendly. Keywords within the text can also help users find what they're looking for while adding relevancy to search queries.
Choosing Shopify as your eCommerce platform has distinct SEO advantages. From automatic sitemap generation to built-in headers, it has a number of SEO-friendly features that are already applied when you create your site. However, to truly optimize your site for SEO success, you’ll want to follow this Shopify SEO checklist.
More Shopify SEO Tips
- Want an even bigger advantage? Here are some Shopify SEO tips to help your site stand out from the crowd and deliver a great user experience to your customers (and an organized, optimized site for Google and the search engines):
- Run a site crawler, such as Xenu or Screaming Frog, on a routine basis to keep you informed of any broken links your site may have.
- When customizing a Shopify theme, be sure to know of SEO best practices such as title tags, meta descriptions, duplicate content, and canonical tags.
- Combine your SEO efforts with PPC to expand your online visibility and your potential to reach new customers.
- Write unique content for each page instead of copying it from a manufacturer's site to avoid a duplicate content penalty while maximizing the strength of your target keywords.
- Check for any manual penalties in Google Search Console. A penalty may be given for duplicate content, toxic backlinks, etc. You will need to follow up any penalties immediately to avoid a loss in rankings.
- Have any of your previous customers reviewed your products? Show their reviews on the appropriate product pages to inform customers and increase your authority. Create company profiles on Amazon, Yelp, and other popular opinion-sharing sites to drive customers back to your eCommerce site.
- Add open graph tags for social media domination. Enhance your social media promotion and increase click-through rates to your Shopify site from Facebook, Twitter, and more.
- Content marketing is an advanced strategy to take the Shopify experience to the next level. Blogs are a good start, but to expose your brand’s reach and impress even more users you will need to create informative, eye-catching, and above all, shareable content.
For more tips and the full range of Shopify SEO services, contact us. We have worked extensively with all types of Shopify sites of all different sizes, positioning SEO Inc. as a definitive Shopify SEO expert. Unlock your Shopify site's potential with search engine optimization from SEO Inc.!