When you run a Shopify store, your number one priority should be getting your products in front of your ideal customers. To make sales, your store must be visible and easy for your customers to find, otherwise what exactly was the point of your Shopify development investment?
So, how do you make visibility happen? You've probably come across the term "SEO" quite a bit lately and if you haven't given it much attention before, now is the time to start.
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimisation, is a strategy your Shopify store needs to employ to rank higher in search engine results. What we mean by that, is when a customer searches for your product, you want to come up on page 1 of search results, not page 8, 20 and beyond. In fact, according to Search Engine Journal, over 25% of shoppers click on the very first Google search result that comes up. Below is how the Click Through Rate (CTR) drops the further down the search results list you feature.
Source: Search Engine Journal Are you paying attention yet? Let’s use some maths to drive the importance of SEO home. Let’s say you sell running shoes, which have an average monthly search volume of 14 800. If you don’t appear in the first 10 results, you will get under 2.5% of the total traffic. That’s under 370 potential clicks… and clicks don’t mean sales. The average conversion rate for online stores is 2.5 - 3%, which translates to only 9 potential sales for the above example.
That is why investing in Shopify SEO optimisation is essential for success in a competitive online landscape. Don’t close up shop just yet though because you’re about to get the Vevol Media crash course in SEO for Shopify! Buckle up and let’s do it!
Is Shopify Good For SEO?
The short and sweet answer to this common question is yes, Shopify is good for SEO…for the most part. Much like its competitors, there are a few areas where Shopify is lacking in the SEO department but it’s nothing an expert like us can’t quickly improve upon! For example, it can be difficult to edit the URLs of your listings and make advanced SEO enhancements if you don’t have technical expertise.
Our Top SEO Tips for Shopify
Keyword Research 101
If you're running an online store on Shopify, it's crucial to ensure that your website is fully optimised for search engines. Part of that optimisation process is keyword research, the process involved which we have outlined below.
1. Understanding how search engines work:
To get to grips with Shopify SEO, it's important to have a basic understanding of how search engines function. Search engines are essentially just giant databases that index all the content on the internet. When you type a query into a search engine, it looks through all the indexed content and tries to find the best match for your query.
There are a bunch of factors that play a role in determining which results show up for a particular query. Relevance is obviously one of the main factors, but things like freshness and authority also play a role. Search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms to try and deliver the best possible results to users, so what brings you tons of traffic right now might not work next month. That's why it's important to stay in the loop with the latest Shopify SEO best practices.
2. Identifying target keywords
The first step in any Shopify SEO optimisation project is to brainstorm a list of potential keywords that your customers may use when browsing for products like yours.
You will need to consider the following factors for each keyword when determining whether it is worth targeting:
Relevance: Your keywords should be linked to your products or brand
Search intent: Why does the customer need your product? Choose keywords that align with the searcher’s intent.
Competition: If there are already a lot of well-established businesses ranking for your keywords, it may be difficult to break into the top results unless you put a lot of hard work into your content.
Search volume: This will give you an idea of how popular the keyword is and how much traffic it could potentially bring to your site.
3. Utilising keyword research tools
The first step to better understanding how customers find your store is using keyword research tools. There are several tools out there that can help you identify relevant keywords and while some require expensive premium subscriptions, these free tools are a great starting point:
Google Ads Keyword Planner - this is a great tool for gaining insight into how many people are searching for specific keywords related to your products as well as how much competition there is for each keyword. This can help you to decide which keywords are worth targeting through your site content.
Google Trends - this is a great tool for understanding the seasonality of certain keywords as well as uncovering related search terms that you may not have thought of. This can be helpful when planning out blog content or creating new product pages.
UberSuggest - you can use this tool to perform 3 free keyword searches per day including top-performing keywords from specific domains. This makes this tool useful when conducting competitor research so you know which keywords they rank for.
4. Incorporating keywords into content
By now, you will have used your keyword research tools to gain insights into which keywords would work best for your Shopify store. With this information in hand, you can start narrowing down your list to the most promising target keywords.
From here, it's just a matter of incorporating those keywords into your site content in a way that makes sense and is helpful for users. If done correctly, optimising your site for keywords can help improve your search engine ranking, and drive more traffic and sales to your store. When choosing where to place your keywords, think about what users are likely to be searching for when they land on that page. For example, if someone is looking at a product page, they’re probably going to be interested in the product name and details like size, colour, price, etc. So make sure those elements contain the keywords you’re targeting. The same goes for blog posts – if someone is reading an article about the best winter boots, you should include your main keyword and some keyword variations throughout the article and in headings where possible.
Finally, be sure to use natural language when working with keywords. Don’t just stuff them into sentences, instead, think about how you can work them into your content in a way that reads naturally and makes sense.
Achieving On-Page Optimisation
On-page optimisation is one of the most important aspects of Shopify SEO optimisation. By optimising your pages for search engines, you can rank higher in search results and drive more traffic to your store.
1. Title tags and meta descriptions
When it comes to on-page SEO for eCommerce, two of the most important elements are your title tags and meta descriptions. Title tags are used to tell search engines what your page is about and meta descriptions are used to give potential visitors a brief overview of what they can expect to find on your page. Keep your title tags under 60 characters long and try to keep your meta descriptions under 155 characters. If you go too long, search engines will truncate your text in the SERPs, which could result in fewer click-throughs from potential visitors.
2. Header tags
These are used to indicate the hierarchy of your content from H1 (most important) to H6 (least important). By using a proper header tag structure, you can help search engines understand the importance of each piece of your content and rank your pages accordingly. Here are a few tips for optimising your header tags:
Use keyword-rich titles for your H1 tags: This will help improve your click-through rate from SERPs as well as help search engines better understand what your page is about.
Make sure your H2 and H3 tags are also descriptive and keyword-rich: These will be used as subheadings on your page and can also help improve your SERPs CTR.
Use proper tag nesting: Your H1 tag should be followed by an H2 tag, then an H3 tag, and so on. This helps maintain proper hierarchy and allows search engines to easily crawl and index your content.
Source: Hubspot Blog
3. Image optimisation
Search engines also index images which can drive even more traffic to your store. If you want your product images to rank higher in search results, there are a few things you can do.
Make sure that your images are as high-quality as possible: This means using professional-looking photos that are clear and well-lit, preferably against a neutral background.
Use keyword-rich file names and alt tags: This will help search engines understand what your images are about and index them accordingly.
Make sure that your images are properly sized: Large images can slow down your website, so it’s important to reduce their file size through image compression apps.
Use a content delivery network (CDN) to serve your images: A CDN can help improve website load speed by caching your images and delivering them to visitors from servers that are closer to their location.
4. URL structure
If you want your Shopify store to rank higher in search results, you need to pay attention to your URL structure (aka URL slugs). Here are some tips for optimising your URLs:
Use keywords in your URLs This will help search engines understand what your page is about and index it accordingly.
Keep your URLs short and sweet: Long, complicated URLs are not user-friendly and can hurt your ranking.
Use hyphens to separate words in your URL: This makes it easier for search engines to read and index your pages.
5. Internal linking
By linking to other pages on your website, you can help search engines understand its structure and hierarchy. This helps them index your content more effectively and rank higher in search results pages. You can improve your internal linking habits by sticking to these guidelines:
Link to relevant pages: Try linking to pages that give search engines contextual information to improve website indexing.
Use keyword-rich anchor text: Anchor text is one of the factors that search engines use to determine the relevance of a page. So, if you're trying to rank for a certain keyword or phrase, it makes sense to use it within your anchor text.
Don't overdo it: Too many links on a page can look spammy and hurt your SEO efforts, so stick to 3 - 5 internal links per page.
6. Content optimisation
It is no secret that the more value you add through your content, the higher you will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). To optimise your content for better SERPs rankings, keep the following points in mind:
Make sure your content is relevant to your target keywords.
Use your target keywords throughout your content, but don't stuff them in unnaturally.
Keep your content updated and fresh - search engines love new content!
Use other types of media to complement your text, such as images, videos or infographics.
Structure your content well, using headlines, subheadings and bullet points to break it up into easy-to-read chunks.
Promote your content across social media and other websites to get more eyes on it.
Nailing Technical SEO
If you want to nail technical SEO for your Shopify site, there are a few key things you need to do.
1. Site structure and architecture
When it comes to Shopify SEO, your site structure and architecture play a big role in how easy it is for search engines to index and rank your content. That's why having a well-organised website that makes use of effective tagging and navigation is crucial. Here is how we recommend optimising your site structure and architecture as part of your Shopify SEO strategy:
Use clear and concise URL structures.
Make use of effective tagging, including title tags, meta tags and header tags.
Optimise your sitemap for easy crawling by search engines.
Use breadcrumbs to help users and search engines navigate your site more easily.
Structure your content in an easy-to-read format using short paragraphs and bullet points.
Don’t neglect the user journey and ensure the site is easy to navigate. If you’re not a designer, you may need to make use of professional UI/UX design services to help you make your site more user-friendly.
2. Mobile optimisation
As more and more people rely on their mobile devices to browse the internet, it's crucial to ensure that your Shopify store is fully optimised for smaller screen sizes.
Source: Rocketspark Here are some tips:
Optimise your images: Use high-quality images that are not so compressed that they pixelate but also not so big that they cause the page to load slowly.
Use short, concise text: Mobile users have shorter attention spans, so get your message across in a quick and easy way.
Avoid popups: Popups can be frustrating and hard to close on mobile devices, so avoid using them on your mobile site.
3. Site Speed
This is often overlooked when it comes to Shopify SEO, but it's an important ranking factor. A fast site not only provides a better user experience but also shows Google that your site is well-optimised and can handle higher traffic volumes. Here are our tips for Shopify website speed optimisation:
Optimise your images by reducing file size without sacrificing quality.
Use a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver your content faster.
Minimise HTTP requests.
Enable compression on your server to compress files before they're sent to visitors.
Take advantage of browser caching by setting expiration dates for static files.
Make sure your server can handle the traffic you're getting by scaling appropriately.
4. Sitemap creation and submission
A sitemap is a file that contains all of the URLs on your website and helps search engines crawl and index your site more effectively. Shopify automatically generates a sitemap.xml file but you will need to link your site to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to ensure all your pages are being indexed properly and improve your chances of ranking higher.
5. URL redirects
The most common type of redirect is the 301 redirect, which is used to permanently redirect one URL to another. These are often used when a website has been moved to a new domain or when pages have been renamed or removed. A 302 redirect is used to temporarily redirect one URL to another. 302 redirects are often used when a website is undergoing maintenance or when pages are temporarily unavailable. Redirects can be implemented in several ways, including through the use of .htaccess files, server-side scripting languages or by using third-party services. No matter how they are implemented, all redirected URLs should point to the correct destination URLs to avoid search engine penalties.
A canonical URL is the URL of the page that you want Google to index, which is usually the main URL for your site. If you have multiple versions of a page (for example, if you have mobile and desktop versions), you need to specify which one you want Google to index. You do this by including a rel="canonical" tag in your HTML code.
Off-page optimisation is all about improving the visibility of your website in search engine results pages (SERPs) that do not directly relate to your website itself. If you want to learn how to sell more with Shopify, pay attention to your off-page SEO strategy by doing the following:
Building high-quality backlinks from other websites through guest posting, sponsored posts and mentions
Getting listed in directories and online listings
Creating informative and keyword-rich content that people are more likely to share
Engaging in social media marketing for referral traffic
To wrap up this section, below are the key differences between On-Page SEO, Technical SEO and Off-Page SEO.
Track Your Performance Through Google Analytics and Search Console
Google Analytics and Search Console are two essential tools for understanding how your Shopify store is performing in search results and how to improve SEO on Shopify. Google Analytics can show you how much traffic your store is receiving from organic searches and what keywords people are using to find it.
Search Console can help you identify any technical issues that may be preventing your store from appearing in search results and provides data on the click-through rate and keyword rankings. By tracking your performance with these tools, you can identify areas where you need to improve your SEO efforts or uncover new keyword opportunities to rank for.
Common Shopify Mistakes To Avoid
There are a few Shopify SEO mistakes that can hurt your rankings which you need to be aware of to avoid these costly errors. Duplicate content
If you have identical or very similar content on multiple pages of your website, search engines may struggle to determine which page is most relevant for a given query. This can lead to lower search engine rankings for those pages and decreased traffic to your site. To avoid this issue, it's important to make sure that each page on your site has unique, high-quality content that ranks for a specific keyword.
Broken links can hurt your store's ranking and make it harder for customers to find the products they're looking for. To check for broken links, you can use a tool like Screaming Frog or Xenu's Link Sleuth. These tools will crawl your website and look for any broken links. You can then fix these links by redirecting them to the correct page on your site.
Slow site speed
This can make it harder for search engines to crawl and index your site and can lead to a poor user experience, which can hurt your conversion rate and organic search traffic. There are a few things you can do to improve your site speed which we already covered above.
Ignoring mobile optimisation
Mobile devices are responsible for more than half of all web traffic and Google is now using mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in its search algorithms. Shopify makes it easy to create a mobile-friendly website, but there are still some things you need to do to make sure your site is fully optimised for search engines such as responsive design, image optimisation and ensuring your web host offers fast server response times.
Not keeping up with algorithm updates
Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms and if you don't keep up with Shopify SEO best practices, your rankings will suffer. Here are a few tips for staying on top of algorithm updates:
Subscribe to the Google Search Central blog. This is the best way to stay up-to-date on what's happening with Google's algorithms.
Check out resources like Search Engine Land's Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors which can help you understand what changes have been made and how they might affect your website.
Monitor your website's traffic and rankings closely. If you see a sudden drop in traffic or rankings, it could be due to an algorithm update.
As you can see, there are several things you can do to help improve your Shopify SEO and start ranking higher in search results. While it may take some time and effort to get started, the payoff can be well worth it in terms of increased traffic and sales. We know it’s easier said than done though, especially when you’re short on time with a to-do list from here to Pluto and back. That’s why we developed our eCommerce SEO optimisation services, to help busy Shopify merchants like you get on top of all things SEO. If that’s something you could benefit from, get in touch to get the ball rolling - we can’t wait to work with you.