20% of ecommerce sites out there run on Shopify. That makes it the second most popular ecommerce platform, trailing only WooCommerce (at 27%).
It’s easy to use, fast, scalable, and robust. What’s not to love?
But can the same be said about Shopify SEO?
Short answer: yes.
There are plenty of things you can tweak to improve your Shopify SEO and rank higher in the SERPs.
Today, we’ll explore 18 ways to do just that. But before we get to that, let’s get a few basics out of the way first.
What is Shopify SEO?
Shopify SEO is exactly what it sounds like – it’s how you make your Shopify store rank higher in the search engines for your target keywords.
It consists of a set of on-site SEO techniques that you can use to improve the search engine visibility of your Shopify store.
Why is Shopify SEO important?
It’s not just important because it can help you rank higher in the SERPs. It’s also how most people find ecommerce stores to begin with.
One more thing to note is that Shopify stores get 26.56% of their traffic from search engines. That’s an insane portion and a testament to the power of SEO for ecommerce businesses.
Here’s the exact % of the total traffic Shopify stores receive from different sources:
|Traffic source||% of total traffic|
|Organic search (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.)||26.56%|
|Direct (from entering the store’s URL or downloading the app)||24.30%|
11.48% of the Total Revenue Generated by Shopify Stores Comes from Search Engines
75% of the total revenue for Shopify stores comes from direct traffic. In other words, when a user comes to your store by typing its URL, then they’re more likely to make a place an order.
Search engines come in second, accounting for 11.48 of the generated revenue. Other sources include Facebook ads, Google ads, Instagram ads, email, and YouTube.
Here’s a table summarising % of the revenue for Shopify stores from various sources (in no particular order):
|Traffic source||% Of total traffic|
|Organic search (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.)||11.48%|
While direct traffic only accounts for 24.30% of Shopify stores’ traffic, they’re responsible for 75% of their total revenue. That’s because customers are more likely to buy from a brand they already know.
Another plausible explanation is that people don’t often buy from a brand after seeing an ad or clicking it on search engines. Instead, they’re most likely to bookmark it and come back to it later when they’re ready to buy.
Is Shopify Google for SEO?
Yes, absolutely. Shopify SEO is just one of three significant traffic sources for these stores.
The other two are direct traffic and Google ads.
For the most part, Shopify nails all the basics of SEO. It comes with an excellent set of built-in SEO features right out of the box and a wide variety of apps that further enhance the SEO capabilities of your ecommerce store.
Although it makes SEO a snap, it does come with a few limitations. First, Shopify doesn’t have a built-in keyword research tool.
No, that doesn’t mean you should switch to another ecommerce platform with a built-in keyword research tool. In fact, I don’t recommend doing so at all. Instead, try using SEMrush or Ahrefs.
Another limitation is that it doesn’t have a built-in on-site SEO content editor.
That’s not so bad, though, because there are plenty of third-party apps you can use to create and edit page content, including SEO titles and meta descriptions.
|Is Shopify Good for SEO||Is Shopify Bad for SEO|
|Speed: Shopify’s CDN is blazing fast. Your online store will load faster than ever.||Low content customization capacity: Shopify is great for SEO, but it’s limited when it comes to content customization.|
|Built-in SEO Features: Shopify has all the basic SEO features you need to get started: 301 redirects, automatic sitemap generation, URL personalization, and canonicalization.||Strings in URL: Shopify adds a default string to your URL by default. For example, they’ll add “/product/” to your product pages.While this isn’t a big issue, it may not be ideal for SEO.|
|Mobile-friendliness: Shopify is fully-responsive. That means your Shopify site will look great on mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads.|
|Apps: Lots of third-party apps that further enhance your SEO.|
As you can see, the good far outweighs the bad. So, to answer the question, “Is Shopify good for SEO?”
Yes. Yes, it is!
5 Automated SEO Features in Shopify
Canonicalization is the process of uniquely pointing to a single URL. It ensures that search engines only index your pages once. That should solve the issue of content duplication.
2. Sitemap Generation
Sitemap generation is another way you can tell Google about the content on your Shopify store. It helps search engines find all of your products and pages quickly without having to crawl through hundreds of URLs.
3. 301 Redirects
A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect, which tells search engines that the URL you’re directing them to has been permanently moved. That way, the new page can still preserve the old page’s SEO value. Shopify does this automatically when you change/edit a page’s URL.
4. On-site Content Edits
Although Shopify doesn’t come with a built-in on-site content editor, there are plenty of third-party apps you can use to edit your product titles and meta descriptions.
5. Robots.txt File
A robots.txt file is a critical part of handling SEO in Shopify because it helps you control how search engines crawl your site. Using the file, you can prevent crawlers from accessing certain sections of your website or even specific pages. You can even exclude certain areas of your content from being indexed.
7 Common SEO Challenges for Shopify Ecommerce Websites
Shopify sites face a few common SEO challenges.
- Thin Content
That is a common problem with almost all ecommerce sites, not just Shopify stores. Search engines are very clear about this: they value long-form content. But since ecommerce sites tend to lean more towards thin content, there’s a greater chance that you’ll have to work harder just to get your site up to par with other sites.
- Forced URL Structure
When using Shopify, your URLs aren’t completely under your control. For example, the Shopify URL for a product page is http://www.example.com/products/product-name.
That can prevent you from moving the product page to a different URL (e.g., www.example.com/product-name).
- Tag Pages/Categories
Tags offer an intuitive way to sort out things in the backend of your website’s admin. They also help users in filtering through your website. The downside is the inability to optimize your pages easily.
For example, if you own a bookshop, you might set up tags for motivational books, fiction, etc.
These pages will not rank in the search engines because they don’t contain unique content. That is not ideal because people expect these pages to rank for their content.
- Duplicate Content:
Content duplication is a common problem with all ecommerce sites, not just Shopify stores. When you sort products by tags, categories, or brands, Shopify automatically generates multiple versions of the same page. Here’s an example:
As you can see, each of these pages lists the same products differently. As you can see, the three URLs refer to the same content (and Google doesn’t like that).
As you can see, there are quite a few challenges that Shopify merchants have to face when it comes to SEO. While some are easy enough to work around, others might take more time and effort.
- Download Apps
Shopify has an extensive selection of apps that you can download to extend your store’s functionalities. Each app can help you get better control over your SEO.
For example, the Yoast WordPress plugin allows you to edit titles and meta descriptions right from within your Shopify admin. You can also install SEO-related apps like Scribe (for writing product copy), Deep Crawl (for crawling your site), and Google Analytics (to track site performance).
The problem with downloading so many apps is that they can slow down your site. Keep in mind that Shopify is a hosted platform, so the more apps you use, the slower your site will become.
- Title and Meta Descriptions
One of the easiest ways to control your search engine ranking is editing your page titles and meta descriptions. These two on-page elements are an essential part of ecommerce SEO, as they’re used to entice people into clicking through to your site from search results.
Since there’s no guarantee that Shopify will populate these elements with high-quality content, you should manually produce your won. That means including keywords that people might use to search for your products or product pages.
Here are a few great tips to optimize your titles and meta descriptions:
- Be careful with your choice of words. Make sure they accurately reflect the content on your page. You also want to use product-specific keywords that directly connect with customer requirements — nothing flowery.
- Long Meta-descriptions is a no-no. So, try to use as few words as possible, as long as they accurately your products and product pages. Take a straight-to-the-point approach.
- Make sure that your product titles contain keywords. That includes all of the words you think people would use to search for your products. But don’t stuff too many keywords; try using 1-3 keywords, max.
The ability to create a mobile-friendly site is standard for any new ecommerce platform. But Shopify offers mobile-friendly themes out of the box, so you don’t have to worry about spending months creating a mobile version of your site.
However, not all Shopify themes are mobile-friendly. So, before you use a theme, be sure to test it out on different devices to find out if it’s mobile-friendly.
18 Tested Ways to SEO Your Shopify Website
Now, let’s get to the meat of this article.
Here are 18 ways to optimize your Shopify store for search engines:
- Invest In a Custom Domain
Start by getting a custom domain name and dropping the “myshopify” part of your store’s URL. So, instead of having a URL that reads like this, “www.example.myshopify.com,” you should have a URL that reads like this, “www.example.com.”
Your custom domain will give you a lot more flexibility in optimizing your site for search engines and controlling your online brand.
A custom domain also looks more professional and enticing to your site’s visitors.
Shopify allows you to buy the domain name directly from them or a third-party domain provider.
Open your Shopify account and go to “Settings” ~> “Domains” to add a custom domain name. Everything else is self-explanatory from there.
2. Choose a fast and Responsive Theme
Every ecommerce site needs a fast, responsive theme optimized for performance.
These two are non-negotiable if you’re serious about ranking in search engine results.
Fast loading times will improve your site’s user experience and reduce the risk of people abandoning their shopping carts.
Responsive themes are standard for today’s ecommerce sites. They allow you to create an attractive, mobile-friendly web design that correctly adapts to different screen sizes and devices.
When you settle for any theme, you must first test it for speed and responsiveness.
All you need to do is click on the theme preview link and copy it to Google’s mobile-friendliness and page speed tests.
Ideally, you want your website to load in under 5 seconds. Anything above that calls for your serious attention.
Here’re a few examples of the fastest Shopify themes.
3. Set Up Your Analytics
The Shopify Analytics dashboard will provide you with the data that tells you how your store is performing. It will also give you information about what products are performing best, which marketing channels work best for your site, and where your visitors are coming from.
However, if you want to take things a step further and get a detailed web traffic analysis, you should consider integrating the site with additional analytics platforms. In which case, Google Search Console and Google Analytics are a must-have.
Plus, they’re 100% free.
Here are two things you must do once your site is up and running:
- Submit Your Sitemap: Shopify will generate a sitemap for you in the Google search console.
- Add GA tracking code to your Shopify Store: Google Analytics will help you better understand where your site’s visitors are coming from and how they’re interacting with your site. So, use it to monitor and improve the overall performance of your store.
4. Install Helpful SEO Apps for Shopify
Apps are dedicated applications that allow you to add additional features and functionalities to your Shopify store. Shopify has all sorts of SEO apps that you can install, but here are a few we recommend:
- Plug-In SEO: Plugin SEO operates a lot like Yoast for WordPress. It ensures you’re meeting SEO’s best practices when optimizing your web pages for search engines. It’s the first SEO app we suggest you install on your Shopify store.
- SEO Pro: Great for advanced optimization, like schema markup.
- Smart SEO: a very affordable SEO optimization tool. It’s one of the best SEO apps for Shopify.
On-page SEO Tactics for a Shopify Store
5. Do Intensive Keyword Research
Before optimizing your Shopify store for search engines, the first thing you have to do is to find the right keywords to target.
You have to discover the most searched terms related to your product or service.
To find those keywords, you can use a tool like KWFinder. It’s free and pretty easy to use.
Just plug in a few keywords with low-to-medium monthly search volumes, and it will give you a sort of “seed list” for your product.
Then, you want to take those keywords and plug them into Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs Keywords Explorer.
Some of the keywords you find will be easier to rank for, while others will be next to impossible. But part of SEO is identifying which of the keywords presents the best opportunity for your business.
Here are three important keywords metrics you must pay attention to:
- Search Volume: This tells you how many people search for the term on search engines.
- Competition: This metric determines how competitive a specific keyword is. It’s calculated by taking into account how many backlinks each competing page has, as well as its ranking position.
- Difficulty Score: This tells you whether or not it will be easy to rank for that particular keyword.
- CPC (cost per click): This metric tells you how much it will cost to get one visitor from the search results. The higher the CPC, the higher the conversion rate.
Ideally, you want to make sure each page in your Shopify store targets a different keyword or a cluster of related keywords.
You can start by listing your product and category pages. After this, you want to research the keywords that show more transactional intent. That means that people are more likely to buy something when they search for, let’s say, “pandora bracelets.”
For your blog posts, you want to optimize them for informational search queries. They’re the ones that people usually type into search engines when they want to learn something or find an answer to a question.
6. Optimize Your URLs to Rank Better
When you build a new page on your Shopify store, you want to make sure that search engines know what the page is about.
That’s why it’s important to create SEO-friendly URLs for products, product pages, blog posts, and any other content you add to your site.
In other words, you don’t want URLs filled with numbers and special characters. Instead, name them descriptively enough for search engines to understand what the page’s content is about.
Here are some tips on how to optimize your Shopify store’s URLs:
- Use keywords in your URL whenever possible
- Keep it short and straight to the point
- Avoid unnecessary words
- Don’t use dates in your URLs, unless necessary (ex: http://www.shopify.com/2017/08/)
Shopify allows you to edit your page’s URL. Just scroll down to the Search Engine Listing Preview at the bottom of the page and click on the URL handle.
7. Optimize Your Meta Description and Page Title
Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that allow you to tell search engine users what your page is about.
It’s what shows up when your page appears in search engine results.
The good thing about them is that, much like headlines, they have the power to persuade visitors to click on your link.
When you’re writing a meta description for your Shopify store’s homepage, you want to follow a few rules:
- Keep it under 160 characters in length
- Include a call-to-action, if possible
- Add keywords whenever you can
- Make the meta description enticing for click-throughs
- Keep it short. The shorter it is, the better. We know that users hate reading through huge chunks of texts. So, stay to what’s relevant and descriptive of what your page is about and ignore the rest. Nothing flowery – just focus on what the user needs and let them know they can find it on your website/webpage.
Page Titles are also very important in SEO. They’re the page titles that show up in search engine results alongside your meta description.
And just like meta descriptions, they can persuade people to visit your site or not.
Again, here are a few rules to follow when writing a page title:
- Keep it under 60 characters in length
- Include your primary keyword once, don’t repeat it over and over again
- Use action words to grab attention
While Google has explicitly said that it doesn’t look at page titles and meta descriptions when ranking sites, Bing appears to be Big on them.
So, if you can’t do it to rank high on Google, then perhaps you should consider doing them for Bing, a fast-rising search engine that’s giving Google a run for its money, especially in the US.
What’s even more important is to make sure your page title and meta description accurately describe what your page is all about.
8 Use a Content Optimization Tool When Writing Your Content Description
Thin content is one of the challenges that Shopify store owners face when optimizing their content for search engines.
That’s because creating content that is both useful and SEO-friendly isn’t an easy task.
If you’re struggling with this, then a tool such as Plug-In SEO can be of great help. It will ensure your content is optimized for search engines and visitors alike.
Take time to craft an original, descriptive product description laced with your target keywords, their synonyms, and other related terms. If you can’t write the product descriptions yourself, you should perhaps consider hiring a copywriting agency, if not freelance copywriters.
A content optimizer tool will help you identify which keywords have the most SEO value and are highly relevant to that particular web page.
However, you want to try and include them in your content in the most natural way possible. Don’t force any of the keywords into your content – if they can’t fit in naturally, then you’re better off not including them at all.
9. Optimize Your Images with Alt Tags
Search engine spiders can’t see images. They just crawl your page and read the text on it.
So, you have to let them know what an image is about by using an HTML attribute called “alt tag.”
That’s where you write a short description of what’s in the picture or illustration.
It’s the only way to let search engine spiders understand what your product images are about.
Make sure you’ve used your target keywords in the image title and description.
10. Create a Blog and Link to Your Product Pages
Aside from selling products on your Shopify store, you can set up a blog and link it to your product pages.
That should help you capture prospects at the top of your sales funnel.
They’ll remain on your website to read product review posts. Meanwhile, you get the chance to capture their emails in exchange for valuable content.
Your blog should focus on answering the most common questions your customers have, reviewing your products, or showcasing industry experts.
You can also use posts to share your Shopify success stories, such as how you got started and grew your company.
11. Create a User-friendly Navigation Menu
A Shopify store’s navigation menu is another crucial element contributing to your SEO ranking.
Remember, Google is pro anything that enhances user experience.
Here are some tips on how to improve your online store’s navigational menu:
- Prioritize clear and easy-to-understand navigation
- Organize all your products in the collection (where each pack will become a product page)
- Your navigation should be consistent across pages
- Be sure to include a contact page and your Shopify About Us page
12. Make Use of Internal Links
You can improve your SEO rankings by using internal links. These are links that connect one page on your website to another.
Internal links make it easier for visitors and search engine spiders to navigate your Shopify store and find specific products.
If you’re linking two pages together, keep in mind that you should link to the most relevant content.
Just don’t go overboard with it. Otherwise, your website will look like one big mess. A link or two for each product page should suffice – anything more than that is overkill.
13. Add a Product Schema
Adding structured data to your Shopify store is pretty simple. All you need to do to add it manually is go to “Themes” ~> “Action ~> “Edit Code.”
Add your schema markup here, and that’s it.
You can use a schema generator tool to generate the markup. Here are six examples of schema generators you can use:
- Schema Markup Generator (JSON-LD) by Merkle
- Schema App
- JSON-LD Schema Generator For SEO by Hall Analysis
- Web Code Markup Generator
Be sure to input all the required properties.
You should specifically pay attention to the following product schemas:
- Your aggregate product rating
- Your brand
- Product categories
- Special offers
If handling crude code isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps you should consider installing a Shopify app for schema markup.
14. Add Product Reviews to Your Shopify Store
Product reviews are a perfect way to improve your site’s SEO ranking.
That’s because Google loves content that its users have endorsed. In other words, anything that is user-generated and authentic will have a good chance of making it to the first page of search results.
Reviews also push the user down your sales funnel.
You can start by downloading the Product review app on your Shopify store. This app will send the yellow star ratings to Google, where they’ll appear with your SERP results.
Product reviews are a game-changer. First, they’ll get more people to click on your product links, and as we know, the more people click on your search engine links, the higher you’ll rank.
15. Get External Links
Ask anyone about the most challenging part of SEO, and they’ll tell you that it’s getting other sites to link back to your website.
However, if you have a successful Shopify store, there’s a good chance that people will want to feature and talk about your brand online.
But before it gets to that, here are a few things you can do to get external sites to link back to you:
- Start writing well-researched, high-quality blog posts to which other bloggers would want to link. Be sure to include stats, facts, and other interesting figures.
- Start guest blogging on other relevant sites
- Get featured on product roundups and gift guides
16. Invest in Public Relations (PR)
Public Relation (PR) is a great way to promote your Shopify store non-aggressively.
If you don’t have the time and resources to do PR, consider signing up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO).
This is a free service that connects journalists with credible sources. By signing up, you’ll receive three emails a day from reporters in need of expert advice. All you have to do is answer their question, and voila! You’ve been quoted in popular publications.
Shopify Website Maintenance
17. Repair Broken Links
Broken links are a big no-no. They’re frustrating for visitors and will make you look unprofessional.
The best way to get rid of them is by using a chrome extension called Check My Links.
This free service will highlight all the broken links on your Shopify store’s page, allowing you to identify and remove them quickly.
Should you find one, don’t just delete it, ask yourself where it leads to and if the content is still relevant. If so, update the link to point to wherever that page may now be residing.
18. Audit Your Website Regularly
SEO is a never-ending process. It’s not something you do and be done with after successfully ranking your site.
It requires regular maintenance, upkeep, and strategy. That’s why you should consider auditing your Shopify store regularly to make sure your SEO efforts are still yielding results.
You can use a tool like Screaming Frog or On Crawl to schedule crawls on your site. It’s free for the first 500 URLs crawled per month.
This will give you a detailed report of what’s working and what’s not.