Shopify does a lot for you to provide you with an out-of-the-box eCommerce platform.
While ready-made solutions like this can kickstart some SEO for you, getting the best results will still take some manual effort. Unfortunately, Shopify doesn’t always provide you with the best tools for doing this, meaning that some workarounds will be needed.
In this post, we’ll go over the Shopify SEO tips you need to drive more traffic to your site.
Have a coherent site hierarchy
Search engines such as Google want to send their users to sites they will enjoy. If users are frequently clicking on links and quickly finding the website to be sub-par, they’ll stop using the search engine.
It should come as no surprise, then, that search engines look at user engagement fairly heavily when ranking sites.
A coherent site hierarchy makes your site easy to navigate and keeps shoppers engaged longer. A typical hierarchy has a home page that leads to category pages, and category pages that lead to product pages.
Increase site speed
Google has found that users frequently abandon a site if it takes too long to load. Since they don’t want users clicking on links that won’t be helpful, the search engine punishes sites that have long loading times.
Google recently announced a gradual rollout of using page experience as part of their ranking system. A fast and performance-optimized site is more important than ever.
You can speed up your Shopify site by limiting the use of images, reducing the number of Shopify apps in use, and using tools that will help reduce the size of your HTML files and images. We’ll discuss some of these tools in a later section.
Use responsive themes
Users are increasingly browsing the web on mobile devices. Because mobile devices come in all shapes and sizes, not every Shopify theme renders nicely on every mobile device.
You want to make sure you’re using a responsive theme for your store. Responsive themes are designed to automatically adjust their layout and sizes to match the screen they are shown on.
Use keywords effectively
Many eCommerce site owners completely ignore the need for keywords. When a user enters a search query, Google looks for similar keywords on websites to determine which ones to link to.
Think of what users may search for to get to your site. What questions might they have about a product that you can provide an answer to? What types of phrases might they use when searching for a product or for a business like yours in general? Tailor your pages around these keywords to drive more traffic to them.
Just don’t get carried away. Google will know if your site is cramming in a bunch of keywords to rank highly. If it doesn’t flow in a way that’s meaningful to humans, you’ll be punished by the algorithm rather than rewarded.
Write unique content for product pages
It isn’t uncommon for Shopify website owners to use manufacturer descriptions on their product pages, or to include a very sparse description of the product. It’s easy to understand why; a store with a lot of products will require a lot of work for custom descriptions.
However, doing so is worth it because a search engine won’t rank a page that shares content with dozens of others very highly. Product pages are also a great place to put in the keywords you researched.
You can build out your product pages slowly over time, but be sure to start with the most popular ones.
Optimize your robots.txt file
If you’ve done any research on whether Shopify has good SEO, you’ve likely come across the complaint about not being able to edit the robots.txt file.
Robots.txt is a file that tells search engines which pages they shouldn’t crawl. This is a big deal because if you have duplicate content on your site, each of those pages will be competing for search rankings. This is especially bad on Shopify, where the default structure allows multiple URLs to point to the same place.
Thankfully, Shopify recently announced that users can now modify their robots.txt file by simply accessing the theme template called robots.txt.liquid.
Now you have the freedom to make changes like assigning the allow/disallow directives to specific pages, adding or removing sitemap URLs, and blocking specific crawlers.
Create more searchable pages with content marketing
Shopify allows you to create a blog and doing so is a fantastic idea. Content marketing has become a huge part of SEO as companies realize the benefits it brings.
When you create content for your blog, you are giving Google more pages to find, and increasing the chance that one of your pages shows in the results. You’re also able to create content that targets keywords that your product pages might not allow for and create additional authoritative content beyond products that customers may want to search for.
Follow our blog SEO checklist to create the best possible content:
Google wants to know that the sites it sends its users to are reputable. It judges how reputable you are by the types of other sites that link to you. This is important to understand.
You want as many high-quality sites as possible linking to you as possible. You can build backlinks by getting listed by manufacturers as a reseller, reaching out to influencers to link to your site, or writing guest posts on other websites.
Helpful Shopify apps for SEO
Shopify has many helpful apps that you can add to your site to increase its functionality. Many of these apps will slow down your site, so you should use them sparingly to avoid a penalty for slow load times.
However, there are a few that will help improve your Shopify SEO dramatically, and even help to speed up your site.
Our favorites are listed below:
- AVADA SEO — AVADA may well be the best SEO app for Shopify. It will automatically add Google specific data to your site, reduce the size of your images, optimize your meta tags, and provide you with helpful reports about how well your site’s SEO scores.
- Image Optimizer — Another great tool for reducing the size of your site’s images is Image Optimizer + Compression. It’s another tool that helps shrink the size of the images on your site, so it loads faster.
Getting Shopify SEO right is hard. Finding the perfect combination of keywords that will drive your page up the rankings rather than getting it lost in the shuffle, adapting to new changes in the Google algorithm, effectively testing and comparing changes for the best result, all add up to a lot of time that you might not have.
Getting the best results also requires the type of intuition that can only come from experience. If you want to let someone else handle your Shopify SEO while you focus on running your business, get in touch with us today.