Platforms for eCommerce make it possible for anyone to chase their dream of running a business. But the level of competition they encounter after they start can be dizzying. Want to successfully rank in search engine results and drive more organic traffic to the businesses’ websites? You need to check all the essential components in the SEO checklist for Shopify website.
Shopify has made a name for itself for providing over 1,000,000 small to large businesses market their services and offers. With so many players in the game, making your website pretty is not enough to drive traffic and sales. The more serious you approach the SEO Shopify checklist, the better chances of increased sales you will have.
So let’s do a deep dive into Shopify SEO. Remember that you can also go overboard blindly following the list. These are not rules – these are factors that should be incorporated where they make sense and if they help your eCommerce shop, not harm it.
What Is Shopify SEO?
Shopify is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that lets you create and run your shopping websites. Such websites can be integrated easily with social media, and Shopify also allows you to post items, list services, provide shopping carts and payment options, and streamline order processing.
Shopify SEO is, in some aspects, the same as other SEO best practices applied to other websites. But there are a lot of SEO practices that are more present when ranking Shopify stores in search results. For instance, Shopify is more prone to duplicate content, duplicate page titles, and forced URL structure.
That is why we created this Shopify SEO checklist below that may help you increase organic traffic quickly.
Using Essential Google Tools
Of course that we would start our checklist by mentioning Google. The search engine giant had a global search market share of 86.64% in 2021, with Bing following by almost 7%, and Yahoo with 2.75%.
Google Search Console
This free service provided by Google helps you keep track of your website’s performance, maintain its visibility, and fix issues.
Here is some of the vital data it provides about your Google Search stats:
- Which keywords and search queries bring visitors to your website
- What is the click-through rate of your website on the search engine result page (SERP)
- What is the state of your keyword ranking
Besides providing essential information, Google Search Console helps with some basic technical SEO tasks. You can submit sitemaps and individual URLs for Google crawling and index coverage. Shopify will automatically create a sitemap file that acts as a blueprint of your website. And like other search engines, Google can index sites with bots that “crawl” your web pages. If it encounters an error while trying to reach one of the pages, you will be alerted right away. That way, you can fix the issue as fast as possible. So from checking your website for errors (such as faulty robot.txt files) to assess where you’re at with mobile optimization – Google Search Console will be your sidekick in the quest to rank higher in SERPs.
To kick things off, you can seek free SEO audits from professionals who will email you your complete results.
Finally, one key thing that search engine tools require is that you verify your domain. You can do so through Google Search Console, so it knows you are the rightful owner of the website who can use their services.
Did you install Google Analytics yet? If not – get right to it. It’s a crucial player for linking your optimization efforts to the sales of your eCommerce store.
This web analytics service provides in-depth website traffic information through tracking and reporting. Google Analytics details your business success rate with data such as:
- The total revenue that SEO brings you
- The conversion rate you get from organic traffic
- Which web pages, items, and services bring you the most value through organic search.
You can also connect Google Analytics with the Google Search Console. That way, you will be doing a 2-in-1 analysis that gets you both data sources.
Use Bing Webmaster Tools
Here’s another free web service you shouldn’t overlook. As we have mentioned, Statista ranks Bing as the world’s second most popular search engine. To appear on the Bing results pages, the Microsoft-powered service adds your Shopify store to the Bing crawler.
If you want to reap the profits from traffic and sales through Bing SERPs, sign up for the free service here.
Set Up a Custom Domain Name
Here’s a simple and essential way to build trust with store visitors. If you register a custom domain name via Shopify, you seem more legit, and you seize the chance to leave a more professional impression. Because if you stick with your default Shopify-given name, it will look like this: your-store-name.myshopify.com.
Remember to choose a name that goes with your industry since that helps you rank higher for related keywords, as well.
Here are some other tips for choosing your domain name:
- Choose a shorter name if possible
- It should be easy to spell
- People prefer the .com domain, so try to stick with it
- If you can’t use niche industry keywords, use broad ones.
Now, let’s move on to an SEO staple – keyword research.
Find Out Your SEO Keywords
In short, keyword research is an SEO practice of pinpointing popular search terms and phrases that people put into their search queries. Thorough keyword research will result in a better-planned content strategy and sales strategy.
To begin your keyword research, just type in something related to your industry into Google. Do a couple of variations of this to accumulate Google’s suggestions. Next, use Google’s Keyword Planner for further research. That will help you sort the keywords by priority.
Two other things that help are keyword data from Google Ads (if you’re running any) and Google Search Console – it lets you know which keywords on your store are getting the most clicks and impressions.
There are three main components to pay attention to when it comes to keywords:
- Search volume
- Keyword difficulty
- Search intent
Search volume is a metric that lets you know how popular a keyword is. It lets you know how many times people search for something on a search engine each month. That can make it easier to find out which product or service to launch. Let’s say you are in the pastry business, and you realize that people are searching for “gluten-free pastry.” Well, then you can think about adding a gluten-free option for your potential shoppers.
Keyword difficulty lets you know how difficult it is to rank on a SERP with the keyword in question. That way, you will know how much time and money you should spend on some keywords. Should you incorporate the keyword in your Google Ads campaign or optimize an organic page around that keyword?
It is best to find out your keywords via a keyword research tool. If you are a smaller local business, you will probably find that high difficulty keywords won’t serve you well. Instead, you should be more specific and cater more to your niche business. That is where long-tail keywords come in as useful.
Search intent deals with the primary goal of a performed query. When a user puts in a query in the search engine, they often already know what kind of answer they want. For instance, “gluten-free pastry recipe” and “gluten-free pastry catering” clearly don’t have the same intent.
Your best bet to find out the search intent is to simply see what shows up on Google once you put in the keyword in question. What gets displayed on the SERPs? Do you get stores with products and services or blog articles? Use this insight to rank smarter. Meanwhile, keep in mind that there are four kinds of search intent categories:
- Informational intent – Users want to find the information they need.
- Navigational intent – Users looking for a particular site or brand.
- Commercial intent – Users researching to buy something soon.
- Transactional intent – Users who know what they want to purchase and are searching for it.
Bonus tip: Those searching with transactional intent will be led more to your store if you use keywords that have words like “buy”, “deal”, “sale”, or “discount” in them.
But where do you implement SEO keywords in Shopify? Here, too, you have four main categories:
- Meta titles
- Meta descriptions
- ALT tags
- The page’s body content
We’ll explore them in more detail below.
On-Page SEO: Optimize Content for Your Shopify Store
Let’s say you got your keywords ticked in your SEO checklist. Now it’s time to move on to on-page optimization, which will further boost your rankings in search engines.
Optimizing Meta Titles and Descriptions
The meta title is the first line of text that’s displayed on the SERP page when your page shows up there. It should be up to 60 characters and should contain your keyword at its beginning.
The meta description is the longer snippet of text. Its preferred length is 155-160 characters. Again, you should incorporate your keyword in it. Apart from that, it should contain a CTA (Call To Action) or another way that motivates users to click on your result. Words and phrases like “sale” and “fast delivery” can help if that’s what you’re offering, as well.
See that both your meta titles and descriptions are unique.
Adding ALT Text to Your Images
Alternative (ALT) text describes the purpose of the image on your page. It’s an HTML attribute that should be as descriptive as possible with a unique text for each image. If you don’t add one, Shopify will do so itself with a default description.
Optimizing the Page’s Body Content
Your website checklist isn’t completed without optimizing your overall body content on the website.
Make sure that your product page has structured content. That means paying attention that just one H1 element is used, and usually for the product name.
The other headings (H2, H3, and so on) should go on in hierarchical order. That isn’t a rule carved in stone, but use your gut feeling when using headings. You should highlight just the most vital content to divide sections and make it easier to read and skim through.
Next, beware of duplicate content. If you can’t avoid creating multiple products and landing pages with duplicate content, then canonical links will let Google know which pages are the primary ones in search results.
A free SEO audit can help you spot errors of duplicate content so you can handle them more effectively.
Your Shopify store content – from FAQs, About Us page, to the product descriptions – should have internal links. Besides internal text links, you can use images for internal linking, as well.
Also, many Shopify store owners mistakenly deactivate out-of-stock products by unpublishing them. It’s much more useful to leave the product active but push it to the bottom of the store collection. That way, you will still have its SEO optimization working for you and bringing in new visitors. Bear in mind that you need an additional app to perform this action.
And, of course, you should have an abundance of unique content. Google loves it. Product descriptions should be around 300 words long and contain professional copywriting content. The blogs you publish on your content site require a bit more work – they’re a part of a long-term strategy that automatically requires someone to make that content. But if you do it right, you will be bringing in lots of value and ticking an essential box in your checklist for SEO. Bear in mind that Shopify already has a Blog CMS that comes with it, and it’s user-friendly as WordPress. Diversify your topics and come up with a publishing schedule. Cover reviews, tips, contests, and so on.
Finally, you shouldn’t forget about landing pages. Not only should they have unique content, but a relevant one, as well. These landing pages should be connected to your products, and they’re great for internal linking and bonus organic traffic. Creating a landing page in Shopify starts with going to your store admin > Online Store > Pages.
Finalizing the SEO Checklist for Shopify
We went through an extensive list of SEO tips for boosting your shop’s online presence. There are levels and nuances to effective SEO. It keeps changing, and in the waves of those changes, don’t forget to keep your eye on details such as mobile optimization and local SEO.
If you implement the above-mentioned SEO strategies smartly and timely, you will see your revenue growth and your page ranking climb.
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