Optimising your Shopify store is one of the best ways to drive long-term traffic and sales.
Whilst Shopify makes it quick and simple to get set up – there is still work to do on your SEO if you want it to perform well in the search engines.
I have curated 17 actionable SEO tips for your Shopify store that are fundamental to growing your organic search traffic.
Let’s get started…
Add Canonical Tags to Duplicate Tag Pages
I used to manage an SEO department of a Shopify subsidiary agency. One of the main issues I dealt with regularly with clients’ websites was the fact that tag pages created duplicate content. The best way to fix this and prevent duplicate content would be to edit the Liquid theme and add canonical tags to duplicate tag pages.
Joe Flanagan, Founder, 90s Fashion World
Use Internal Linking for Better Discoverability
As the name suggests, internal linking is all about linking to other relevant pages on your website to improve the overall navigation and user experience. But it’s not just for the user’s benefit—search engines care about this information too.
It basically helps search engines understand your site structure and how organized the content on your website truly is. For example, your best product pages should also link back to their reviews or blog posts that explain their usability in-depth. There’s also the fact that internal linking helps disperse the authority of your site since it passes on “link juice” or linking power from one page to another.
Utilize Schema Markup
Schema markup is a type of code that helps search engines understand the content of a web page and provides richer, more informative results to users. When properly used, Schema markup can enhance a Shopify store’s SEO efforts by improving visibility and attracting more qualified traffic.
For Shopify store owners, incorporating Schema markup into product pages, category pages, and other content can provide many benefits. For example, adding product schema to product pages can provide search engines with information such as product name, price, and availability, allowing them to display rich snippets in search results that can drive more clicks.
Furthermore, Schema markup can also enhance the visibility of blog content by providing search engines with information about the author, publication date, and other important details. This can lead to improved rankings and increased visibility for blog posts, which can drive more traffic and engagement.
Create Collections Based on Product Use and Type
Shopify has some great functionality, and collections can be a powerful SEO asset when combined with clever product catalog management.
If you’re an outdoor apparel store, for example, you might have collections for coats, fleeces, and underlayers—and yes, users will search for these products, but users also search for products by their intended usage.
Often, these usages are classed as product features, for example, moisture-wicking or showerproof, but you should also create collections of these product features so users looking for several items can find more products that have the desired feature, rather than navigating between different product types individually.
This is a better user experience, and a great landing page to enable ranking for a wider set of product discovery keywords.
Target Local SEO
Even though it doesn’t always get the same recognition as traditional SEO tactics, optimizing for local search queries can be an incredibly valuable approach. This involves strategies like leveraging directories and Google My Business listings, registering with industry-specific and geo-specific review sites, and claiming and consistently updating local listings online.
An uncommon example of this would be creating content that resonates with your specific local audience rather than trying to rank nationally or even internationally; this could involve using localized topics like events, news stories, or even sports teams in your content. Optimizing your Shopify store for local searches can set you up for success and help you reach the right target customers in exactly the right areas.
Include a Sitemap
Most store owners focus on keywords and SEO optimization, and they forget how important it is to add a sitemap to their website. It is one of the most crucial SEO practices you can implement.
A sitemap tells Google and other search engines which pages are important and which ones are not. It also allows crawlers to index your website faster, which can improve your rankings. A sitemap is also easy to create, and you can use free tools like XML Sitemaps Generator to do it. Just input your URL and get a sitemap file that you can upload to your website.
Build a Comprehensive Topical Map
From what we’ve seen, one area in which brands can really benefit from focusing is improving their topical coverage for the major markets they operate in. This is especially true for smaller brands that are competing with much larger stores that have high-authority domains.
Building out a comprehensive topical map with blog posts, buying guides, comparisons, and FAQ answers, combined with smart interlinking to support your product and collection pages, can produce excellent results. If you can show Google you’re one of the go-to sources in your market, the increase in organic search traffic can be impressive.
Upgrade Your Usability
Make sure your page-loading speed is optimized. One of the things that Google’s algorithm prizes is how effective your site is at running. The user experience should be smooth and free of issues with page loading or buffering. If you want your store to show up high in the results, it needs to have high usability.
Never Build Links to the Shop
If you’re an online store owner running on Shopify, the most important online marketing advice I can give you is this: never build links to your shop. Ignoring this key piece of SEO wisdom puts your online visibility at risk and cannot capitalize on powerful opportunities for website traffic.
Not only should online store owners prioritize technical SEO tasks, such as creating site-wide redirects and improving loading speeds, but they should also focus on optimizing their content for target keywords to improve search engine rankings.
Simply put, if there are two identical online stores selling the same products, the one that shows up higher in search results will usually have higher conversions too. So make sure you’re staying ahead of the curve in online marketing strategies and save the link juice for your domain; don’t pass it over to Shopify for free. Your online success depends on it!
Hire a Technical SEO Specialist
Shopify is one of the most-used ecommerce platforms to make online stores for different businesses. E-commerce SEO can be a little different from optimizing other sites, so hire a specialist.
They can help increase your reach across all channels, create snippets, improve layout across social media, and many other benefits. Moreover, they can reduce the cost of search engine optimization with SEO tactics. They also check whether or not your website is easy to navigate.
This way, you can keep your Shopify online store away from technical issues. Various businesses hire technical SEO for the best ranking and smooth functioning of the website.
Focus on the User Experience With Product Pages
The key to successful SEO for Shopify owners is to create comprehensive product pages that engage the user. In 2023 and beyond, Google is placing more and more emphasis on user engagement signals, website performance, and helpful content. Yes, have your SEO basics covered.
Still, interesting and visually appealing product pages that help your user on their customer journey will win as Google ranks you highly and gets positive feedback after your users click through to your site, stay awhile, and then buy. Some key considerations are:
- Rich feature descriptions
- Engaging photos and videos
- Answering all the FAQs your sales or customer support team gets
- An exciting and unique product overview that captures the attention
- Adding video or photo-attached testimonials of other people using the product
Get the user experience right, and your search performance will skyrocket.
Check the Structure Isn’t Messy
One of the first things I check when looking at a Shopify website is the internal linking structure, and the use of the collection URLs. Out of the box, Shopify seems to create a really messy site structure, whereby accessing a product from a category page creates a messy URL like /collections/category/products/product-name/.
While those can canonicalize back to the proper, clean “product” URL, it makes for a really messy site structure. This can be easily fixed by editing the theme so that it links cleanly to those product URLs. That would be the major piece of advice I have for Shopify owners to be aware of!
Fix Shopify’s Duplicate URL Problem
One of the common SEO problems Shopify sites will run into is countless duplicate product URLs generated by tags and collections. While Shopify aims to deal with this using canonical tags, canonicals are hints and not directives, meaning Google can ignore them. This can lead to the wrong product URL appearing in search results.
The best way to fix this is to edit Shopify’s collection-template.liquid and remove the piece of code that is generating the collection URLs.
Don’t Neglect Your Product Descriptions
A lot of Shopify websites neglect product descriptions, which have a tremendous impact on the SEO potential of the page. Taking the time to craft an engaging, keyword-rich product description with commonly asked product FAQs is the key to successfully optimizing a product page for organic search traffic.
Without this content, search engine crawlers have very little to work with to gauge your page content and know how to serve it in search engine results best. Optimizing your product descriptions is the difference between ranking on page one and ranking on page five!
Write Product FAQs for Category Pages
At the end of your product category pages, add an FAQ related to the product. Answer basic questions like “What is X,” “What are the Benefits of X,” and whatever other variations of the keyword have decent search volume. This will, more often than not, have a positive impact on the category page’s rankings.
Optimize Images for Faster Loading
Optimize any images that you use on your Shopify store to ensure that the page load time is as low as possible. To ensure that your images are optimized for search engines, use PNG/JPEG format, reduce the file size by compressing the images, add images to the sitemap, and use human-readable image names that are the same as the keywords you want to rank for.
Watch Your H1 Headings
A mistake I see over and over is the misuse of H1 headings on home pages. We should only use the H1 tag once on any page of your website, not for making that font larger or getting a reader’s attention.
H1 tags tell the search engine that this is the most critical part of the page and the page’s topic. Don’t confuse search engines by telling them two or three different things.
Holly Weidman, Owner, SEO is Sweet
SEO is easy, but takes a lot of patience and consistency (and some links) to really see the benefit.
Even if you can only do a little each week, this will build up over time and make sure your Shopify store is still around for years to come.