We’ve helped dozens of Shopify stores with their SEO efforts and provided detailed Shopify SEO audits to hundreds more. Through that large amount of highly specific experience we’ve been able to create a solid process for Shopify SEO that can help any store generate organic search traffic. We’ve distilled that knowledge into this guide. Enjoy!
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the science of driving organic search traffic to your site. SEO is especially difficult for ecommerce companies because there is a great deal of competition in most niches. However, with our experience and knowledge or Shopify SEO, we can help you get more organic traffic and sales than ever before.
High-Level Thoughts on Ecommerce SEO
E-commerce SEO is very unique subset of traditional SEO because there has to be less reliance on content.
Traditionally, sites such as blogs, review sites, news sites, etc. would rely on creating content to fuel their SEO growth. The more content you write the more keywords you’ll rank for and the more traffic you’ll get.
That doesn’t really work as well for ecommerce companies. The goal of ecommerce SEO is to make sure that your website is found when someone searches for the products you sell.
All of the SEO strategies and tactics here assume that you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console setup properly.
First, you’ll want to make sure that you have a new Google Analytics property of view created just for your store.
If you’re migrating from another shopping cart platform over to Shopify then I recommend using the same view as before.
Then you’ll need to take the UA id of your Google Analytics property and enter that in your Shopify settings.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is your window into how Google views your site. It shows you:
- How much organic traffic and impressions you’re getting
- Which keywords you’re ranking for
- How your products are being read (see the section below on product schema)
- Crawling and indexing issues
- and much more
To start using Google Search Console you’ll need to add your site, preferably with a “Domain Property”. Adding a domain property will associate all of the data for all of the variations of your URLs (www, non-www, https, http) into a single profile.
Implementing Shopify SEO
Just as with traditional SEO, there are 3 main phases of Shopify SEO: on-page, off-page, and technical.
On-Page SEO for Shopify
Typically, the only information that Google has about your products is what you put on the product page. That’s why it’s critical to spend time writing accurate product titles, product descriptions, specs, etc.
Shopify does a good job of giving you built-in SEO options. You can set different SEO titles and descriptions than those that show directly on your page.
Deciding how to name your products in you store is a surprisingly important decision.
If you’re selling a product from a third-party then you’ll want to include the brand name, model number, SKU, colors, etc. all in the brand name. This might seem like a long product name, but it really helps to cover your bases because you can’t always predict exactly how customers will shop for that product.
If you’re selling your own product then you’ll want to provide the actual name of your product plus any additional keywords that customers would use to describe your product. For example, if your brand name is ACME Phone Cases, then you might have a product named “ACME Jet Black Case for iPhone X, XS”.
For more tips on writing great page titles and product titles, visit our Meta Tag Generator.
Product descriptions, by default, serve as the meta description that’s shown on search engine results pages (SERPs). I always recommend writing custom SEO descriptions for your products so that you can make them more SEO-friendly.
Schema markup is invisible code added to HTML pages that describes your content in a pre-defined way to search engines. For Shopify stores, schema markup provides your product data to search engines in a common, consistent method, and it’s usually handled for you in the background.
Product schema is automatically generated that sends all of the relevant information about your products. If the product schema generated automatically by your store isn’t sufficient for your needs then there are several good apps your can use to improve your flexibility.
Depending on the type of products that you’re selling, it’s likely that the most important pages on your site – in terms of SEO value – are your collection pages.
Collection pages are groups of individual products, such as iPhone XS cases, Samsung Galaxy cases, running shoes, tap shoes, etc. Anything that makes sense to be grouped together should be grouped because collections pages typically rank before individual product pages.
Think about it from a search engine’s perspective. If someone is searching for “office furniture” they are more likely to benefit from seeing collections of office furniture as opposed to a single product from a site, such as a “white 2-drawer filing cabinet”. That’s why collections typically outrank products.
Content for Collection Pages
What separates a good collection page from a basic one? Content.
If you create a collection page then you owe it to yourself to at least write a couple of paragraphs of copy to go on that page. Make your page as useful to the reader as possible, which in turn gives search engines more keywords and intent to latch onto.
This is what the vast majority of Shopify product collection pages look like, with absolutely no copy or images added. The only content on the page is the product data from the individual products in the collection.
Just like with product pages, you can create custom SEO titles and descriptions for Shopify collections.
Off-Page SEO for Shopify
Off-page SEO is an umbrella term for everything that search engines use in their ranking algorithms that are not part of your site.
Everyone knows about backlinks and how important they can be to an SEO campaign, but they’re just part of the picture.
The Importance of Brand in Off-page SEO
An increasingly important aspect of off-page SEO is the idea of “brand”. The bigger the brand, the better the rankings, in general.
So think about your SEO efforts in terms of building your brand. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is your brand active on social media, or dead silent?
- Is your brand active on Youtube, or non-existent?
- Is your brand getting referral traffic and backlinks from other sites, or are you a solo voice struggling on your own?
- Do you have affiliates that are helping to promote your products, or do customers have to stumble upon your site to learn about your products?
A functional brand is one that’s always active. There should be no question from a potential customer as to whether or not your store is still in operation, and the same goes for search engines.
This doesn’t mean that you have to devote hours each day to maintaining your brand presence, but just about every brand should be posting to social media channels a couple times per week.
Luckily, Shopify does a great job of handling most technical SEO issues out of the box.
The biggest technical hurdle is making sure that your theme is as fast and mobile-friendly as possible.
Shopify stores don’t have to worry about caching or page-speed. Occasionally we run into stores that have product images that are too large and load slowly, but that’s rare.
How Can We Help You?
Have questions about anything we’ve covered here? Is there anything we missed?
If you’re a growing Shopify store and no longer have time to handle your SEO then let’s talk.Get Your 100% Free Consultation