So, you have created your Shopify store, and it looks great. But now you need to attract customers! If you want to drive more traffic to your Shopify store, SEO is the answer. It is both inexpensive and effective. It is absolutely worth the time spent looking over your web pages to ensure that they are optimized in order to attract more organic traffic who will hopefully convert into customers. The e-commerce and search engine optimization experts at SEO Design Chicago compiled this guide to Shopify SEO Checklist to help you optimize your store for search engines and hopefully, attract more customers.
Definition of Shopify SEO
SEO is the process of search engine optimization, which can be applied to any website. Shopify SEO is the practice of optimizing your Shopify website for search engines in order to rank higher in the search results.
Common SEO Issues for E-Commerce Sites
As a digital marketing agency that works with many e-commerce websites to increase traffic, we see the same frequent SEO issues on Shopify websites, including:
Too Little Content
Google and other search engines like lots of content, but generally e-commerce websites don’t have very much. Consider writing longer, professional product descriptions with plenty of keywords to thicken your website’s content. It benefits both your customers and your SEO ranking.
Shopify sites also tend to have multiple pages with similar or the exact same content, but Google also does not like duplicate content. You might have to spend some time making sure pages aren’t the same.
Lack of Site Navigation
Google likes to see websites that are easy for customers to navigate. Shopify websites can be difficult to navigate since they have so many pages.
Not Using Schema
Schema markup helps Google’s crawlers realize what your products are and allows the search engine to promote them correctly. Skipping schema is a common mistake of Shopify store owners.
Our Shopify SEO Checklist will help you resolve any of these common issues found on online stores!
Shopify’s Automated SEO Features
Shopify is nice enough to include some built-in SEO features to check some items off your list from the start, including:
- Auto-generated “rel-canonical” tags
- Auto-generated robots.txt and sitemap.xml files
- Automatic Shopify SSL certificates
- Auto-generated page titles that include your store’s name
However, SEO is a constantly changing and evolving area, so it is impossible to completely automate. That is what the following checklist is for!
Shopify SEO Checklist
Shopify search engine optimization is an ongoing process that will continue for as long as you have your website. These tips combine a variety of on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and other tactics to help you optimize your website for the best possible results.
Choose a Custom Domain
Make sure to get a custom domain name and delete the “myshopify” from your URLs. You can purchase a custom domain from Shopify, or from a third-party domain provider. Next, make sure to add your custom domain in the Settings > Domains menu in your Shopify account.
Pick a Responsive and Quick Theme
Google prefers websites with fast page speed and load times. While it might seem like a good idea to choose a complicated and flashy theme, it is actually better to choose a simpler theme that will run faster and is optimized for better performance. You also want to ensure that your Shopify site looks good and works well on mobile.
If you are unsure if your Shopify store is running fast enough, you can check out your score on the PageSpeed Insights tool.
Install Analytics Tools
Shopify comes with an analytics dashboard to give you a summary of your e-commerce metrics. However, there are additional tools available to help you learn more about where your website traffic is coming from and how customers behave when they find your website from search engines. We recommend Google Analytics and Google Search Console for any website owner. (And bonus: both of these tools are free!)
Don’t forget to submit your sitemap in your Google Search Console account and add your Google Analytics tracking code to your Shopify store!
Pick Your Shopify SEO Apps
You probably already know that there are plenty of apps available to enhance your Shopify store. What you might not know is that there are also apps to help you optimize your site’s SEO, too, including:
- Plug In SEO: This one is similar to Yoast SEO and helps ensure your site is following best SEO practices.
- SEO Pro: This app helps with schema and other more advanced optimizations.
- Smart SEO: An inexpensive option that still has plenty of SEO value.
Conduct Keyword Research
A key part of on-page SEO is keyword research. Which keywords you optimize your Shopify website for will determine which search traffic arrives at your shop. You need to choose relevant keywords that accurately describe your products. You can use a keyword tool to help you find out what users are searching for. Ideally, every web page of your store will target a different keyword or cluster of keywords.
Optimize the URL, Page Titles, and Meta Descriptions
Your URLs can also contribute to the success of your SEO. In order to get a high Google ranking, make sure to keep your URL short, include the target keyword you would like to rank for, and avoid unnecessary words (like the, etc., or, and.) Tip: you can edit your URL paths in the Search Engine Listing Preview at the bottom of any page in the Shopify CMS.
Next, make sure to optimize the meta tags that appear in your SERP result: the title tag and meta description. Since this information shows up for searchers who are deciding whether or not to click on your product, it’s incredibly important. Plus, Google also checks out this data in order to understand what your content is about. Include your keywords and make sure to follow SEO best practices. Don’t exceed 60 characters for your title tag, and 160 for your meta description. Use these characters to accurately and naturally describe the content on the page.
Optimize the Product Descriptions
Many e-commerce websites suffer because they have extremely thin content on their product pages. It is worth taking the time to write original, descriptive content for these pages that contain the right keywords, as well as any synonyms and related terms to make the pages searchable. And don’t forget to write descriptions that sell your products!
Optimize the Photos
Shopify websites tend to be heavy on the images showcasing products. But: Google can’t see images. That is why you need to optimize your photos by adding alt text that includes keywords describing the images. This also makes your site accessible to users with visual impairments.
Add a Blog to Your Shopify Website
You might not think you need a blog on your Shopify website. However, a high-quality blog helps you capture additional web traffic, especially for long-tail keywords. Plus, you can create valuable content for visitors answering questions about your products and your industry. This helps build brand awareness and sets you up as an expert, in addition to helping your Shopify store rank for additional keywords.
Create a Navigation Menu
A navigation bar helps visitors to your website and Google crawlers find their way through your online store. It creates a better user experience overall. Take the time to ensure that your products are organized into collections, make it clear and easy for users, keep the navigation consistent, and make sure to include plenty of ways for users to contact your team.
Utilize Internal Links
Internal links are valuable for a few reasons: they keep customers on your website, they help search engines understand your website’s structure, and they help distribute PageRank across your website. Link products that you want to appear in search, and skip any seasonal or out-of-stock pages.
Add Product Schema
Depending on your level of comfort with coding, there are different ways of adding structured data to your Shopify website. You can add schema manually by going to Themes > Action > Edit Code. Use a schema generator tool to generate your markup, and input all the required properties. If you are less experienced with coding, there are Shopify plugins available that have product schema features and are a bit easier.
These are the product schemas that Shopify users should use, if applicable:
- Aggregate rating
- Any special offers
Allow Product Reviews
Customers are highly influenced by positive product reviews. A good review might be the impetus that convinces a customer to click “add to cart.” It’s easy to allow reviews in your store. Simply download the Product Reviews app in the Shopify store. This app even sends structured data information to Google, so that the yellow stars appear right in the search results. This can be a game-changer for getting clicks!
Build Links to Your Shopify Store
In addition to internal links, you also need external links pointing to your website to show Google that it is valuable and worth linking to. This is a difficult part of SEO because you don’t have direct control over who links to your website. But there are some ways you can start earning links. First, create the excellent blog posts we talked about earlier, then ask other websites to link to them. Try to get featured in gift guides and other product roundups that are often created by influencers and bloggers. Or, offer to guest blog on relevant sites and include a link back to your own store!
Fix Broken Links
Broken links are a common issue we see on Shopify websites as items sell out or you change what you are selling. If those products were linked to on other pages of your website, it will create a broken link. Google and customers do not like broken links. Every once in awhile, you should run a site crawler so you can identify and fix any broken links.
Audit Your Website on a Regular Basis
Your website and the SEO landscape are constantly changing. This is why you need to audit your website regularly to see which pages are performing well and which aren’t and to find any issues that you might need to fix.
Master Shopify SEO with SEO Design Chicago
Shopify search engine optimization is a cost-effective way to acquire more customers for your store. Follow the Shopify SEO checklist we created or invest in Shopify SEO services to obtain higher search rankings and more search traffic. SEO Design Chicago’s SEO, web design, and e-commerce experts work together to help you optimize your Shopify store and attract more customers.
- What is Shopify SEO?
- Does Shopify have any SEO features?
- How do I optimize my Shopify store?
- What are some common SEO issues for Shopify stores?
- How do I add SEO to Shopify?