How well do you understand Shopify SEO?
In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about Shopify SEO in 2022.
We’ll start with the basics, and then move on to more advanced topics like optimizing your website for voice search and using Schema markup.
By the end of this guide, you’d have developed a solid understanding of how to SEO your Shopify store for maximum visibility and traffic.
What is Shopify SEO?
At its core, Shopify SEO is the process of optimizing your online store to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s a set of SEO adjustments unique to the Shopify platform that, when implemented correctly, can help you get more traffic from Google and other search engines.
Is Shopify SEO-friendly in the First Place?
Shopify comes with several built-in SEO features right out of the box, making it one of the most SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms available today.
For starters, all Shopify themes are fully responsive and mobile-optimized. This is important because mobile-friendliness is now a key ranking factor for Google.
Another big plus is that Shopify automatically generates clean and SEO-friendly URLs for all your products, collections, and pages. That might not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually quite rare for an eCommerce platform to do this. Most platforms generate long, complicated URLs filled with random numbers and characters.
Another thing that differentiates Shopify from other eCommerce platforms is its built-in blogging platform. That might not seem like an SEO feature at first, but it’s actually a very important one.
The reason is that Google loves fresh, relevant content. And by having a blog on your Shopify store, you can easily add new content to your site regularly, which will help you rank higher in the search results.
In addition to these built-in SEO features, Shopify also makes it easy to add important SEO elements to your sites, such as meta titles and descriptions, image alt tags, and more.
We’ll be discussing more about this in the sections below.
How Does Shopify SEO Work?
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is Shopify SEO?” it’s time to look at how it actually works.
Unlike traditional SEO, which is all about optimizing your website for Google’s algorithm, Shopify SEO is all about optimizing your store for both Google and shoppers.
Built-in SEO Features in Shopify
As we mentioned earlier, Shopify has several built-in SEO features that make it one of the most SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms available today.
In addition to being fully responsive and mobile-optimized, all Shopify themes are designed to be fast and lightweight.
All the basic SEO elements are also taken care of automatically: generating clean and search engine-friendly URLs, creating meta titles and descriptions, auto-generating canonical tags to solve the issue of duplicate content, automatic generation of robot.txt, and sitemap.xml files, and more.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the most important built-in SEO features in Shopify:
- Fully responsive and mobile-optimized themes
- Clean and search engine-friendly URLs
- Meta titles and descriptions
- Image alt tags
- H1 and H2 tags
- Automatic generation of robot.txt and sitemap.xml files
- Canonical tags to prevent duplicate content
- Structured data to help search engines understand your store
- Fast and lightweight themes
- Built-in blogging platform
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is Shopify SEO?” and taken a look at some of the most important built-in SEO features, let’s look at how to optimize your Shopify store for search engines.
How to Optimize Your Shopify Store and Get it to Rank on the First Page of Google
Now that we’ve taken a look at the basics of Shopify SEO, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty and learn how to optimize your store for search engines.
Step 1: Basic SEO Check List — Set Up Your Website
We’ll start with the basics. Before optimizing your Shopify store for SEO, common sense dictates you correctly set up your ecommerce website.
If you don’t have a Shopify store yet, don’t worry, it’s easy to set one up. Just head over to Shopify’s website and sign up for one.
Other factors include choosing a suitable Shopify theme, ensuring your website is fast and mobile-friendly, setting up an SSL certificate, and more.
Buy a Custom Domain Name
You can register a custom domain name right on the Shopify platform.
That’s important for two reasons:
First, it makes your store look more professional. Instead of having a URL that looks like this:
You can have a URL that looks like this:
Second, it’s good for SEO.
The best part is that Shopify automatically handles the configuration and setup, so you don’t need to worry about the technical details.
Stuck on what domain name to choose? Try using Shopify’s Domain Name Generator tool. Enter some keywords related to your store, and it will automatically generate a list of potential domain names for you.
Create a Google Analytics Account
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track your website’s traffic and performance.
It’s important to set up Google Analytics on your Shopify store for two reasons:
First, it will allow you to track your store’s SEO progress over time and see how your ranking is improving (or not).
Second, it will give valuable insights into your customers’ behaviour. This information can be used to fine-tune your marketing and advertising efforts.
The good news is that Shopify makes it easy to set up Google Analytics.
All you need to do is create a free Google Analytics account and add your Google Analytics ID to your Shopify store.
Go to Google Analytics and click on “Start for Free.” Follow the instructions to set up an analytics property to track your store’s traffic and performance.
Create a Universal Analytics Property: The next thing you want to do is connect your Google Analytics to your Shopify store.
You can begin by setting up a “Universal Analytics Property.”
Next, turn on e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics.
You can enable basic tracking, which only tracks transaction and revenue data.
Or you can enable enhanced e-commerce tracking, which tracks more data, such as product views, add to carts, and checkout behaviour.
Set Up Google Search Console (GSC)
Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that allows you to track your website’s performance in Google search results.
Submit your sitemap to Google: The first thing you need to do is submit your sitemap to Google.
A sitemap is a file that contains a list of all the pages on your website.
Submitting your sitemap to Google allows them to index your website more effectively, which can help improve your ranking in search results.
Usually, Shopify stores automatically generate a sitemap for you.
To find your sitemap, simply add /sitemap.xml to the end of your domain name (e.g., www.yourstorename.com/sitemap.xml).
Use Google Webmaster Tools to Check Your Site for Any Crawling Errors: Search engines use bots, or web crawlers, to scan websites and index their content.
Sometimes these bots can run into errors when trying to crawl a website. For instance, the bot might be trying to reach a specific page but to no avail.
These errors can impact your website’s ranking in search results.
That’s why it’s essential to check for any crawling errors on your website and fix them as soon as possible.
Verify Your Shopify Domain Name: The next thing you need to do is verify your domain name with Google.
It’s a simple process that requires you to add a small piece of code to your website.
Set Up Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Webmaster Tools is a free service provided by Microsoft that allows you to track your website’s performance in Bing search results.
It’s how you get your website listed in the Bing search engine.
Once added, Bing’s bots will regularly crawl your website, indexing your pages accordingly.
All you need to do is open a free Bing webmaster account and add your website.
Bing will provide you with a unique code to add to your website.
Get on a Paid Plan
The last thing you want to do is get on a paid plan.
Shopify will still crawl and index your store on the free trial. But once the free trial is over, all the work you’d have put into optimizing your store will be for nought if your store is not on a paid plan.
You want to remove the password protection on your pages, even if you’re still working on some of them.
Unlock all the finished pages so that Google can start crawling and indexing them.
Consider Using SEO Tools: SEO without tools is like fishing without a net.
There are just too many things to keep track of, and it’s easy to miss something important.
You can use free and paid SEO tools to help optimize your store.
You’re already one step ahead by setting up Google Analytics and Search Console. But other tools can help you track your progress and optimize your store further.
Here are a few more SEO tools to consider using:
Paid SEO Tools
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool that can help you with everything from keyword research to link building.
They have a 7-day trial, so you can try it out before committing to a paid plan.
- Moz Pro: Moz Pro is another all-in-one SEO tool that includes features like keyword research and site audits.
They also have a free trial, so you can test the features before committing to a paid plan.
- SEMrush: Use SEMrush to research your competition, find profitable keywords, and track your ranking progress.
- Keywords Everywhere: This is a Chrome extension that shows monthly search volume, CPC, and competition for any keyword you enter into Google.
Free SEO Tools
- Surfer SEO Chrome Plugin: This is an excellent tool for quickly finding low competition keywords, search data, and content guidelines.
- Ubersuggest: Use Ubersuggest to find long-tail keywords with low SEO difficulty.
- Keyword.io: Use Keyword.io to generate hundreds of keyword suggestions from a single seed keyword.
- Screaming Frog: Use Screaming Frog to find and fix on-site technical SEO issues like broken links and duplicate content.
- MozBar Chrome Extension: This extension allows you to see SEO data for any website you visit, including things like DA, PA, and keyword difficulty.
- Moz: a complete SEO suite with tools for keyword research, on-site optimization, and link building.
You also want to download a plugin like SEO Optimizer for your store. The plugin operates the same as Yoast but is specific for Shopify. It will analyze your title tags, meta descriptions, and more to help you optimize your pages for SEO.
SEO Optimizer is available for free on the Shopify app store.
Step 2: On-page SEO Checklist — Product, Blog, and Collection Pages
After getting the basics out of the way, you want to go ahead and optimize your store’s pages.
That’s where on-page SEO comes into play.
It includes optimizing page title tags, meta descriptions, images, and other elements.
Here’s a quick checklist of the things to do for each page:
Conduct Keyword Research
The first step is to find the right keywords to target. You want to find relevant keywords to your products, have a good amount of monthly searches and aren’t too difficult to rank for.
You can use a free tool like Ubersuggest or paid tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find keywords.
Map Out Keywords to Content Types:
Go through each page on your site and decide which keyword you want to target for that page.
You may want to target different keywords for your product pages, blog posts and categories, homepage, etc.
Keyword research will inform what content to create and where to place your keywords.
For example, you want to make some of your pages informational while others target keywords that indicate the intent to buy.
It’s important not to stuff your keywords or force them into places they don’t fit. That will only hurt your chances of ranking in search engines.
Optimize Your Webpages for Your Keywords
Make Sure You’re Only Using One and Only One H1 Tag: Your H1 tag is the biggest and most important text on a webpage. It’s usually used as the main title, containing your primary keyword.
Every page on your website should have only one H1 tag. Having more than one confuses both users and search engines and can hurt your SEO.
Note: Shopify uses page titles as H1 tags by default. If you change your page titles, it will also change your H1 tags.
You do not want to add H1 tags anywhere else on your pages. That’s what H2, H3, and H4 tags are for.
Keep Your Page Titles Under 60 Characters:
Your page title is the text that appears on the search engine result pages (SERPs).
You want to ensure your page titles are under 60 characters so they don’t get cut off in the SERPs.
If your page title is too long, Google will replace it with ellipses (…). That can hurt your click-through rate (CTR).
You also want to include your main keywords in your page title, preferably at the beginning.
Another trick is to structure the title as a listing instead of an editorial title or complete sentence, with appropriate characters and callouts to highlight key information.
‘Red Nike Sneakers for Men | Size 8 | Free Shipping.’
Is better than
‘Buy Nike Men’s Red Sneakers Now!’ or
‘Nike sneakers that are red for men, size 8 with free shipping.’
Write Compelling Page Titles That Appeal to Your Target Audience: The copy you write for your page titles and meta descriptions should clearly describe what users will find on your page.
It should be written to appeal to your target audience and encourage them to click through to your website.
Make sure you’re using strong action verbs and avoid being too salesy.
Include Your Target Keyword in Your Page URL: Your page URL is the web address for that specific page on your website. You want to make sure it includes your target keyword.
For example, if you’re selling red Nike sneakers, a good URL would be like: www.example.com/red-nike-sneakers.
That is better than www.example.com/product/12345 because it includes a keyword that tells users and search engines what the page is about.
Use Descriptive Alt Text for Your Images:
Google images account for about 23% of all web searches.
That’s a lot of traffic to just ignore like that.
And since Google can’t index images the way they do text, they rely on the alt text to understand what an image is about.
Your alt text is the text that appears when an image can’t be displayed. It’s also what Google uses to index images.
You want to ensure your alt text is clear and descriptive and includes your target keyword.
Add Schema Markup to Your Pages: Schema markup is code that you can add to your pages to help search engines understand the content on your page.
It’s like a dictionary for your page.
Adding schema markup to your pages can help you rank higher in the SERPs and get rich snippets.
Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Plan your content marketing strategy before you start writing.
Think about what topics you want to cover, your target audience, what kind of tone you want to use, and the type of content to create.
Here are a few exercises to help you get started:
Brainstorm Customer Questions: Wear your customer’s mind for a moment.
What questions are they likely to have about your products or services?
Your content should answer these questions.
You can use a tool like “Answer the Public” to find out what people are searching for.
Research Your Competitors: Check out what kind of content your competitors are creating.
What topics are they covering? What type of tone do they use? What kinds of content are they creating?
You don’t want to copy your competitors, but this can give you some ideas of what’s working well for them and what you can do differently.
Help Customers Get More Value Out of Your Products:
Provide tips, tutorials, or other types of content that help you use your products more effectively.
That’s a great way to create valuable content that helps your customers and promotes your products simultaneously.
Now that you have a solid understanding of how to do Shopify SEO, it’s time to put it into practice.
Start by auditing your existing content and ensuring it’s optimized for SEO.
Use Keyword Research to Match Questions with Search Terms: Your content must be paired with the actual terms people use when searching for information or your products online.
The idea is to help customers make the most out of your products while pairing your content with the terms they use when searching.
Blog Posts and Informational Blog Posts = > aim for 500 words, 2000+ for the entire page: Your blog posts should be around 500 words.
That’s long enough to cover a topic in-depth but not so long that it will lose your readers’ attention.
Your informational blog posts can be longer, around 2000 words or more.
Write Original Product Descriptions: Your product descriptions should be original, unique, and engaging.
They should be written for your target audience, not just search engines.
You do not want to copy-paste your manufacturers’ descriptions.
Writing your own product descriptions also allows you to focus on your unique selling points and the features that make your products stand out from the competition.
Consider Adding Product Reviews and Testimonials: 95% of online shoppers say that reviews influence their buying decisions.
Product reviews and testimonials are a great way to build trust with potential customers and show that your products are high-quality.
It’s how online brands like Warby Parker, Casper, and Everlane have built such a strong following.
If you’re not sure how to get started, here are a few tips:
- Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by adding a prominent link or button on your product pages.
- Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. That shows that you’re engaged with your customers and care about their experience.
- Use customer reviews and testimonials in your marketing materials, such as on your website, social media posts, or email campaigns.
Localize Your Content: If you have a physical store or serve a specific geographic region, be sure to localize your content.
That means including your city, state, or country in your title tags, metatags, and H1 tags.
You can also create location-specific pages on your website and blog.
Set Up Your Business on Other Platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest: Your website is just one part of your online presence.
Make sure you’re also active on social media and other platforms where your target audience spends their time.
That will help you build brand awareness and reach more potential customers.
Be sure to link your store to your social media profiles and vice versa.
Step 3: Link-building SEO Checklist — Improve Your Domain Authority (DA)
When another website links to your site, it’s like a vote of confidence.
The more votes (links) you have, the more credible your site appears to search engines.
That’s why link-building is an important part of any SEO strategy.
Create a Link-building Strategy: The first step is to create a link-building strategy.
There are a few different ways to build links, such as:
- Creating informative and shareable content (such as blog posts, infographics, or videos) that other websites will link to
- Asking customers and partners to link to your site
- Creating listings on directories or other websites
- Submitting guest posts to popular blogs in your industry
The key is to focus on quality, not quantity.
A few high-quality links are more valuable than a hundred low-quality ones.
Also, avoid black hat SEO tactics, such as buying links or participating in link farms.
These can get you penalized by Google and damage your reputation in the long run.
Analyses Your Competitors’ Earned Links and Mentions: Thanks to tools like Ahrefs and Moz’s Link Explorer, it’s easy to see which links and mentions your competitors have earned.
That can give you some ideas for your own link-building strategy.
You want to begin by understanding the context: why are these sites linking to your competitors? What makes these pages special or worth a link? Check out for trends. Are the sites earning lots of mentions and links in gift guides?
If so, want to create your own holiday gift guide.
Or, if they’re getting links from news stories, you could try pitching your products or story ideas to journalists.
Step 4: Check Out Technical SEO Checklist: Making Sure Your Store is User-friendly
Technical SEO is about ensuring your store is easy to use and understand for users and search engines.
There are a few different aspects to technical SEO, including:
- Site structure: How you organize your website can impact how easily users and search engines can find the information they’re looking for.
- Navigation: A well-designed navigation system makes it easy for users to find the information they’re looking for on your website.
- URL structure: How you structure your URLs can impact usability and SEO.
- Site speed: A fast website provides a better user experience and can improve your SEO.
- Mobile-friendliness: More and more people are using their smartphones to browse the web.
It’s important to ensure your website is designed for mobile devices or, better, with a mobile-first mindset.
- Errors: If your website has broken links or other errors, it can be difficult for users to use and may hurt your SEO.
Review Your Store on Mobile: Most themes these days are responsive, meaning they automatically adjust to look good on mobile devices.
But it’s still a good idea to review your store on mobile to make sure everything looks how you want it to.
To do this, you can use a mobile device or Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
Create An Internal Link Strategy
Internal linking is the process of linking to other pages on your website from within your content.
It involves adding links from one page to another within your site.
The idea is to link to other relevant pages on your site that would be helpful for your readers.
Internal linking can help improve your website’s SEO in a few different ways:
- It helps search engines find and index your pages
- It can help improve your website’s crawlability
- It can help reduce your bounce rate
- It can help users find the information they’re looking for
Ecommerce store owners can create internal links through:
- Related Items: When a customer visits your product page, you can display a “related items” section below the product description.
For example, if someone is looking at a dress on your site, you could show them a section of related items, like skirts, shoes, and purses.
- Feature Items: You can also feature items throughout your site, such as on your homepage or in blog posts.
You want to include the most popular or relevant items for the page you’re featuring them on.
For example, if you have a blog post about summer fashion, you could feature some of your summer clothing and accessories.
- Blogging: Create articles about some of your products or topics related to your industry.
For example, if you sell swimwear, you could write a blog post about the best beaches in the area.
Then, you could link to some of your products from within the blog post.
Local SEO Checklist: Making Sure Your Store is Optimized for Local Search
If you have a brick-and-mortar store or if you’re targeting customers in a specific geographic area, then you need to make sure your website is optimized for local search.
There are a few different aspects to local SEO, including:
- NAP: Your name, address, and phone number must be consistent across your website and other online directories.
- Reviews: Online reviews can help improve your visibility in local search results.
- Citations: Citations are mentions of your business on other websites.
- Links: Quality links from local websites can help improve your ranking in local search results.
- Schema: Schema is a type of code that helps search engines understand the information on your website.
- Google My Business: Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing can help improve your visibility in Google’s local search results.