Between convenience and necessity, the retail industry has made a shift to the digital world – who doesn’t like shopping in their pyjamas? A global pandemic also played a pretty big part in the shift, making it rough for many physical retailers who were yet to transition to the internet.
In return, Shopify has attracted plenty of new sellers looking to move online. But with more sellers comes more competition. More than one million businesses worldwide have had success with the Shopify platform.
What Is Shopify SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a series of techniques used to get search engines to identify your website to solve users’ problems. From creating a friendly user experience to producing meaningful and relevant content, there’s a pretty big sea of options.
"Shopify SEO means SEO improvements that are specific to the Shopify eCommerce platform. Several factors can impact if your Shopify store appears higher in Google search results, including:
Number of organic (not paid) links pointing to your Shopify store from other websites
The authority of your Shopify store based on engagement and other factors
Your Shopify store’s structure and content optimised for search engines
The ultimate goal is for your site to be perceived as relevant for visitors in the eyes of search engines like Google. And the more relevant your site is, the more likely search engines will recommend it to others and rank it higher in their listings.
Optimise Your Shopify’s Site Structure
Just like walking into a physical retail store, you want to be able to find items quickly. If there are no signs in-store, your first thought would be to leave, right? The same goes for your eCommerce store. There should be order and a sense of structure to your Shopify store.
Use simplified categories to organise your Shopify’s contents. Consider a page structure similar to this:
Homepage > Category > Product
Homepage > Category > Sub-Category > Product
Don’t forget to include an About page, a Contact link, and a Search bar. While a search bar won’t directly impact your SEO, it will help visitors find what they’re looking for and enable them to buy easier. In the end, a search bar will increase your SEO rankings through an increased conversion rate.
Refine product pages.
Your Shopify store should be designed around your products and aligned accordingly. It should be obvious what you’re selling and your products’ purpose, which can be made evident with the correct product alignment.
Product Detail Pages
You should include enough information about your products so that your customers understand them. You need to include all the answers to the questions – think about a potential concern a customer might have and layout how your product can fix a problem or change their life.
Images reflect the quality of your Shopify’s products. Ensure images are high quality, positioned correctly, and are overall appealing.
You want to make the shopping experience as pleasant as possible. While each product should be categorised correctly, consider including filters, with options like colour, price, brand.
Cross-sells and Up-sells
Cross-selling and up-selling may be more focused on improving KPIs. But in the long run, the more items sold and the more time spent on your Shopify store equals Google ranking you higher.
Improve Your Shopify’s UX Design
Improving the user experience doesn’t just keep your customers around for longer, but it can help your Shopify store organically appear higher on Google. Site speed is about accessibility and usability. And as Google is now emphasising speed as a significant ranking factor for SEO, it’s crucial.
Increase Shopify load speed.
47% of online shoppers expect web pages to load within two seconds. If your Shopify store loads fast, is easy to navigate, and everything moves quickly, this decreases the risk of visitor frustration.
In the end, it comes down to the speed of your Shopify store because the faster your store loads, the more likely visitors will stay on your site for longer and likely return again. Increase the speed of your Shopify store by:
Using a fast and mobile-friendly Shopify theme
Using optimised and compressed images
Removing applications not being used
Avoiding the use of sliders
Choose a responsive Shopify design.
A responsive design means your Shopify store will transform to any device, from desktop to tablets to mobiles. Responsive themes won’t just improve the user experience but keep visitors on your eCommerce store for longer.
As Google uses the time-on-page as a marker, an easily navigational site can improve SEO rankings. Be sure to optimise your store for mobile, too, as smartphone users make up a significant amount of online shoppers compared to desktop users.
Research Your Shopify Store’s Target Keywords
Keywords are the foundation of successful SEO – it’s how people start searching for products and brands. Determining the right keywords to drive traffic to your eCommerce store is vital. Start by putting yourself in the shoes of the customer:
What terms would you enter into Google to find the product you’re looking for?
One source of keyword research can come from information about your customers. For example, the items you sell the most of. You can also dive into evaluating a competitor’s page for inspiration.
A meta title is the title shown in search engine results. For example, if someone is searching for a ‘Blue Floral Dress’, the title should include those keywords. A good title uses the keywords and communicates what your product page is about by just a few words.
A meta description is the description shown in search engine results. For example, using the search for ‘Blue Floral Dress’ again, the description should provide a little more information about your product. If ‘Blue Floral Dress with Frills’ is searched, the meta description should use the keywords and give a little more detail about your product than the meta title.
Use content marketing for organic SEO.
If your website lacks content, you risk losing up to 44% of potential customers. Overall, customers prefer to learn about your online store through an article rather than an advertisement. Content marketing can be considered as:
Blog posts and articles
Social media content
By understanding what your customers are looking for, you can include target keywords to reach them with the right information at the right time. Using target keywords as the basis, content is a core part of your Shopify marketing plan. It defines how you use content to demonstrate your expertise. Effective content strategies include:
Choosing marketing channels that are popular with your target audience, like relevant social media platforms
Developing relevant content using practical, reliable formats
Setting goals to measure the success of your content marketing
Build Links To Your Shopify Store
Backlinks are like word-of-mouth for SEO. Link building tells search engines how authoritative you site is. A few tips to get links to your store include:
If you use a supplier or manufacturer, they may have a policy about authorised retailers getting a link. Get in contact with them and ask if they will link your store.
Reach out to industry voices or influencers for interviews or reviews to generate links and content.
Your Shopify store may already be mentioned in several places without being linked. Use Google to determine such sites and contact them, requesting for them to add a link with their mention.
Remove duplicate content and links.
Duplicate content is the highest priority issue. It appears when similar or duplicate content exists on two separate URLs, which creates issues for search engines as they may not determine which of the two pages should rank higher in search rankings. An example of duplicate URLs can be seen when Shopify stores allow their /products/ pages to render at two different URL paths:
Canonical URL path: /products/
Non-canonical URL path: /collections/.*/products/
A common issue is when Shopify stores utilise ‘swatch’ internal links that point to other colour variants with non-canonical versions of URLs. To identify and fix such issues, refer to the sitemap. Shopify automatically generates a sitemap.xml index file. It’s worth crawling your sitemap.xml to find pages that aren’t important for search engines to crawl.
The Next Stage Of Developing Your Shopify Store
With a carefully crafted list of steps to follow to optimise your Shopify store for SEO, you should be well on your way to ranking higher on search engine result pages. In the future, you could consider implementing new features on your Shopify store or redefining your marketing strategy.