Shopify SEO – How To Drive Targeted Traffic That Converts
Shopify is one of the most user-friendly ecommerce platforms in the world, with unparalleled functionality and superlative customer support. For these reasons alone, it should be the top pick for anyone starting an online store. Perhaps less well known, though, is just how good Shopify is at improving a website’s search engine rankings.
To elucidate this important area, this article will highlight some of the features that make Shopify great for search engine optimisation (SEO). Read on, for detailed insight into Shopify SEO.
There is a wealth of Shopify SEO optimisation tools available to merchants. To help increase awareness of these, we’re first going to discuss some of the key features this platform offers.
Anyone, from novices to Shopify SEO agency professionals, can easily edit on-page SEO elements from Shopify’s backend. For example, adding targeted keywords to a page’s meta title and description using the user-friendly interface couldn’t be simpler. It’s similarly easy to amend a page’s URL by shortening it and adding targeted keywords. Both these actions help to improve your page rankings.
Shopify also allows merchants to organise content using heading tags (e.g. H1, H2, H3). This demonstrates to search engines that your content is clearly structured, thereby also improving your Shopify store SEO rankings.
Shopify has a function that provides you with a preview of how your page will perform in search engine results. This allows you to assess how impactful your SEO efforts are in the process of enacting them. You don’t have to be a Shopify SEO consultant to see the advantages to this.
Page speed is a major variable used by search engine algorithms to determine rankings. In this context, “speed” refers to how long it takes for the page in question to load.
This is an area in which Shopify performs exceptionally well. Having established a network with 180 nodes present in 80 countries worldwide, loading speeds on this platform are outstanding. This is a feature of Shopify SEO, which benefits ecommerce companies using the platform anywhere in the world.
Ensuring that your website is optimised for mobile devices has become a crucial aspect of improving SEO rankings. If you neglect this aspect of your site, then it is doomed to rank poorly in search engine results.
Fortunately, businesses using Shopify don’t need to be too concerned about this. That is because there are many Shopify SEO tools available to make sites mobile friendly. These include mobile-responsive themes that look good when viewed on any device. Additional aspects of Shopify, which help in this area are features such as mobile-friendly checkouts and mobile stores.
The security of a website is another area that search engines consider when ranking them. Specifically, a website will be penalised with lower ranking if it does not have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
Every single website built on Shopify is provided with a free SSL certificate as a core part of the service. This is the case whether you opt for Shopify Basic or are paying for Shopify Plus. Having an SSL certificate ensures that all your data, including customer information, is completely protected. If you’re operating in Europe especially, you can rest in the knowledge that all General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements are fully met.
A Plethora Of Shopify SEO Apps
To improve SEO Shopify rankings, the platform also provides access to many apps that offer further help. In order to find one that meets your specific requirements, simply visit the Shopify app store, which gives you immediate access to over 4,200 free and paid-for plug-ins. Conducting a simple search using terms like “SEO” or “marketing” will lead you to a number of useful Shopify SEO apps.
The following list will help you understand some of the many SEO features that Shopify provides. Read on for some guidance on Shopify SEO best practices.
Start With An SEO Website Audit
The first step in optimising your store’s SEO ranking is undertaking a website audit. This is an analysis of your site’s search engine rankings and the steps you can take to improve it. You can either do this manually by performing Google searches for relevant search terms, or use online tools such as SEMRush and SEOptimer.
If your site is not performing as well as it should be, it could be due to you not using SSL. Site’s with SSL have the “https://” rather than the “http://” prefix and are promoted in search rankings accordingly.
As previously mentioned, Shopify provides you with this certification as a standard part of the service. To activate it, go to your Shopify dashboard and access the ‘Sales Channel’. From here, go to ‘Online Store’ and then ‘Domains’, where you will be able to easily set it up for free.
Use ‘Clean’ URLs
Your next step in optimising your store’s SEO is ensuring that you only use “clean” URLs throughout. “Clean” URLs are as short and simple as possible. These types of URL are preferred by search engines and thus appear higher in rankings. For example, a store selling new furniture should have a URL along the lines of www.example.com/chairs, and not www.example.com/nfrtr3/chirs/grdn.php?ref=12654844black. The former is intelligible, concise and would abide by Google recommendations, while the latter is prime for penalisation. With Shopify you have the option to easily edit your URLs and put yourself in the best position to climb the rankings.
Use Alt Text And Optimise Image File Names
When search engines crawl your site, it’s not simply the words on the pages that they factor into the ranking. They also assess the file names and alt text of the pictures. For that reason, it is important that you also pay close attention to these aspects as well.
Adding alt text in Shopify is extremely easy. Just head to the relevant page and double-click on the image. This will bring up a box that allows you to amend different elements of the picture, such as the alt text. With regards to file names, it’s best to address this before you upload the picture by saving them under a concise name, which includes the keyword.
A vital part of SEO is identifying and including the right keywords. This means ensuring that your content contains the words that customers are using when searching for your products or services online. To achieve this, first consider the search terms that they’re likely to be using when looking for your goods. What words would you use to find such items?
From there you can leverage any number of keyword tools to find the specific words and phrases to incorporate into your website copy. Some of the most popular tools for Shopify SEO keywords are:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Ahrefs Keyword Generator
- Keyword Sheeter
- Answer the Public
Optimise Page Titles And Meta Descriptions
Another element of your web pages that search engines consider when ranking them is the titles and meta descriptions. To ensure the best results, keep the titles highly relevant by incorporating a focus keyword.
For example, if you have a small business selling rare books in London called “Catherine’s Books” then it will be more effective from an SEO perspective to include “Rare books London” in the title at the least.
To edit your Shopify home page title, go to “Sales Channels”, then “Online Store” and finally to “Preferences”. All other page titles can be altered by clicking on ‘Edit website SEO’ at the bottom of the webpage.
Keep Unique Content / Fix Duplicate Content
When optimising your website, it’s important to avoid using duplicate content as this will negatively impact your ranking. You should develop fresh new copy for each page, rather than just copying material you’ve published elsewhere on your site. While this is more labour-intensive, it will help generate more traffic thus providing additional opportunities to convert more visitors into customers.
Optimise Your Website For Mobile
Having a website that’s easy for mobile devices to access and navigate is another important factor in Shopify SEO. This is an area that is easier to address on Shopify compared to many other ecommerce platforms. There are many inbuilt features that facilitate this, such as mobile commerce shopping cart features. Similarly, Shopify themes are mobile responsive, so they look great no matter what device they’re accessed on.
Optimise Your Site For Speed
Making your website load as quickly as possible will bump up your SEO ranking. There are a few actions you can take to achieve this.
Use plugins such as SEO Image Optimiser or Crush Pics, to reduce the size of your images.
Limit your use of custom code and external scripts as much as possible.
Only use apps that are essential to the running of your store.
Use single optimised images rather than sliders where possible.
Internal links can be used to increase the time that visitors spend on your site, and thus improve SEO rankings. A good example of this would be to add “see also” and “related further reading” sections to web pages. You can also add in-text hyperlinks to pages that contain more information about the relevant subject.
Add Structured Data Mark-up
Adding structured data mark-ups to your store provides search engines with richer information about your website. This in turn allows them to better understand your site and thus present it in a more targeted manner.
To ensure your site is doing this, check that you are displaying data such as product descriptions, reviews, and prices.
Remove Duplicate Paginated URLs
Just as sites get penalised in search results for duplicating copy, the same will go for duplicating pages. Unfortunately, ecommerce platforms sometimes create duplicate content through a website’s pagination. When this happens, it is often the first page of a series within a collection. To address this, it is often worth contacting a web developer to amend your site’s internal linking structure.
Publish Blogs With Informational Intent And Targeted Keywords
Shopify comes with a built-in blog feature, which is another great way to increase your performance in search results. This is because search engines are increasingly prioritising informational content over products in their rankings.
To make the most out of this development, ensure that you are regularly publishing relevant articles on your Shopify blog. Write informational pieces that will help your customers, while naturally incorporating target keywords to improve your rankings.
Determine How To Handle Product Variant Pages
If you have many products that come with slight variations (e.g. in different colours), this can lead to content duplication. This is because you may end up using the same content, such as product descriptions, rather than writing new copy for each single variation of the item. If this is likely to be an issue for your company, decide early on how to address this.
You can treat each variation as an individual product, writing new copy each time. Alternatively, you can create variant URLs that are indexable and optimised for specific search keywords. In deciding which course of action to take, consider whether you have the resources to write lots of new copy. Similarly, do some research to see if your customers are doing searches using variant keywords.
You need to register your website to ensure that search engines can crawl and rank it. Specifically, you’ll need to do this with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. In so doing, you’re making sure that these two important search engines are aware of your store’s existence.
Importantly, you should register your website both with and without the “www” prefix (e.g www.example.com and example.com). Do the same with the secure and non-secure versions of your site if applicable (i.e. “http://” and “https://”).
Submit Your Sitemap
After registering with Google and Bing, the next action you should take involves submitting your sitemap to both services. This expedites the indexing of your website. The good news is that Shopify automatically generates a sitemap for you, which you can find using the suffix “/sitemap.xml” (e.g. www.example.com/sitemap.xml). Simply submit this link to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
How Do I Improve My SEO On Shopify?
There are a number of ways to improve your SEO on Shopify. These include removing duplicate content, researching and using target keywords, optimising your site for mobile devices, and using SSL security. To gain a deeper understanding of all these activities, see the Shopify SEO checklist section above.
How Do I Optimise My Shopify Speed?
To optimise your Shopify site’s speed, you can make a few changes, including reducing image file-sizes, removing all plugins that aren’t necessary, and avoiding using custom code where possible. More on this is detailed earlier in the article.
How Do I Find Out If Google Has Indexed My Shopify Site?
Conducting a site search on Google will let you know if your website has been indexed. To do this, simply type “site:example.com” into Google, using your own URL in place of “example.com”. If your website appears in the results, then Google has indeed indexed it.
To learn more about Shopify SEO and how to drive a higher volume of targeted traffic that converts from Shopify experts, get in touch.