Getting a consistent stream of high-quality traffic to an online store is every e-merchant’s dream. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is great. It connects your store and its products to consumers in need at no cost.
However, the world of SEO can leave a lot of store owners stumped. Therefore, we’ve compiled some beginner-friendly tips so SEO novices can get on their way to climbing ranking higher in search engines. But before we get into that, let’s dive into the basics of SEO and how Shopify supports SEO for store owners.
SEO and Shopify at a glance
SEO is the act of implementing various tactics so that your store and its products appear in a prime position when consumers search for a relevant product. These tactics are based on factors that search engines deem to be important like relevancy, page speed, mobile-friendliness, and links.
By focusing on SEO, you will be able to generate more organic traffic from target consumers. Results on the first search results page can achieve up to 31% click-through rate. This is a huge win as these shoppers have a much higher buying intent.
There are three types of SEO:
- On-page SEO - this is related to all the work done to help search engines better understand the content of your store.
- Off-page SEO - these are activities regarding your store that take place on another site or platform. Think guest blogs, social media, and influencer marketing.
- Technical SEO - this refers to the website and server optimizations that help search engines crawl and index your store.
Shopify has a number of features to improve all aspects of SEO. This includes editing metadata, editing robots.txt.liquid for crawling, and site structure optimization.Shopify also automatically generates canonical tags to prevent duplicate content diluting your ranking ability. Let’s see how you can leverage these built-in features and more to advance your Shopify store’s SEO.
Beginner-Friendly Tips To Supercharge SEO on Your Shopify Store
Do some keyword research
This vital first step forms the basis of much of your on-page SEO. The inclusion of relevant and high-value keywords in the metadata of your product pages, collections, and homepage to connect search queries with your store. So don’t be afraid to take the time to investigate precisely which ones are best for your business.
It’s also important to note that the keywords you decide to use are transactional. They are search terms that demonstrate an intent to purchase. Words such as buy, sale, and discount should be woven into the keyword phrases you elect.
So where can you go to get keyword inspiration? A good starting point is Google. Google brings up a bunch of suggestions as you type as well as related search terms right at the bottom of the search results page. These aren’t just well-thought out nudges for searchers, they can also be a valuable beacon of inspiration for keyword researchers. Start with a few basic keywords that are directly related to your products and see what the search engine unveils. You can also take this same approach using Amazon.
Ideas for keywords related to womens party shoes.
If you’ve got a bit of cash to funnel into your SEO, you could try using a keyword research tool such as Ahrefs, Answerthepublic, or Keywordtool.io. Google has a free keyword planner, but you’ll need to create a Google Ads account to access it.
Not only can they suggest related keywords, but they also provide useful insight to select the most favorable terms. The main criteria you’ll want to direct your focus to are volume (the amount of searches containing the term) and difficulty (an estimation of how hard it would be to rank high for the term). Optimal keywords should be high in volume and low in difficulty.
Improve accessibility with site structure
Having a well-organized structure in your Shopify store allows you to kill two birds with one stone. You’ll make it easier for both shoppers and search engines to locate things in your store.
Simplicity is key. You don’t want to baffle search engines and shoppers with a myriad of levels in your store. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you go for a three-tiered hierarchical approach from your homepage; Home → Category → Sub-category → Product page.
As a rule of thumb, all pages on your site should never be more than three clicks away from the homepage. Why? Because it will allow page authority to be distributed effectively from the homepage. Higher page authority results in an increased likelihood of ranking higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). The more pages you have, the more you dilute page authority as it trickles from the homepage.
Replicating this site structure is very simple on Shopify. Your categories are the collections you create and the product pages are the products. Sub-categories are also collections on Shopify, so to distinguish them you’ll need to nest them under your chosen categories.
It’s also important to consider how you name your menu items. Make use of keywords to ensure that your menu items accurately describe what can be found on those pages and do not use jargon. You’ll also want to pay attention to the handles associated with them. They should be void of stop words like and or the.
Related: Shopify Navigation: Best Practices for Your Store
Shopify automatically generates handles for your pages based on what you name them in the title. If stop words are present in your menu titles, you can simply edit to remove them in Shopify admin.
Once you’ve got your site structure down, submit it to Google Search Console. This will essentially add your store to Google’s database so it appears in search results. You can find your sitemap by adding /sitemap.xml to the end of your root domain. You’ll need to create a Google Search Console account if you don’t have one already, and from there you can submit it.
Optimize your on-page SEO
Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of SEO - your on-page SEO. This is to do with all the content on your collection pages and product pages, and where you can really put your keyword research to use.
Page title and meta description
This is what search engines use to understand the content of your pages and what searchers see on the SERPs when your site appears.
The character limit for title tags on Shopify is just 70. So place your main keywords and phrases in here. But whatever you do, do not stuff your title with keywords. Not only will it turn off potential customers, but it will also sound alarm bells for search engines and ruin your chances of ranking highly. Include your brand name in your page title too and make sure every page has a unique title.
The same goes for your meta description. The character limit Shopify sets here is 320, but you should try to keep it around 160 characters. Create a compelling, natural-sounding description that uses keywords, related terms, and synonyms so search engines can pick them up. Modifiers like free shipping or best deals can give your descriptions the extra edge needed to entice shoppers.
Lonely Planet’s use of a question makes their description sound more personal. The action words tied in with the keywords demonstrate precisely what the company does, and encourages searchers to use their site.
To edit these, go to the Search engine listing preview section and click Edit website SEO.
The header is automatically generated based on the title you gave the page. Search engines also use this to determine what the page is about. If you’ve followed our above tips for page title, your header will be in tip-top shape.
Alt-text for images
Visual search is a growing phenomenon. In fact, over 30% of Google searches returned images. So it’s a good idea to help search engines understand what your images are with alt-text. It also makes your products accessible for those with visual impairments.
This information can be added to individual product images and also theme images like banners thanks to the Online Store 2.0 update. When creating alt-text for images, be crystal clear here. Describe what is in the image and stay away from emotional terms.
To add alt-text to product images, go to Products → All products. From there, select an item to edit and click on its image to open the alt text screen. For Collection images, click on the name of the collection, click update under the image and then select edit image. If you want to add alt-text to theme images, go to Theme → Customize.
Other on-page content
You can up the ante of your on-page SEO by incorporating blog posts. This will provide rich and regular content for search engines to refer to regarding your products. What’s particularly great about blog posts is that it gives you the opportunity to include long-tail keywords. These are much more specific, have more chance to rank high due to lower competition, and often come from more motivated shoppers.
Gymshark uses its blog to position itself as an authority on fitness and form a community around fitness. They are able to rank high on long-tail search terms with their blog pieces which draws attention to their brand and products. (Source: Gymshark Central)
If you spotted some informational long-tail keywords during your keyword research, use them as a basis for your blog posts. You can also craft category guides, gift guides, or tutorials that incorporate the keywords related to your products. Again, the content should sound as natural as possible rather than littered with keywords.
A product reviews app that can send structured data to Google is also a good idea. It’ll make your page look more appealing on SERPs with rich snippets and gives the search engine even more pertinent data to go off of. We recommend Yotpo, Judge.me, or Stamped.io.
Leverage off-page SEO
SEO isn’t limited to what you can do on your store, other sources can also boost your credibility. This seal of approval can come from other websites, social media, or from influencers.
Google also determines the quality of your webpage based on the number and quality of outside links to it. These are known as backlinks. Getting a trove of these first-rate backlinks will take a bit of leg work from you. Here are some tactics to get you on your way:
- Guest blogging: this is a great way to showcase your brand’s expertise in its field and build links to your store from outside sources. Do some research into credible publications that match your store and its ethos. Make sure the content you produce is original, compelling, and useful for your target customers.
- Influencer marketing: reaching out to the influential figures in your niche will allow you to grow your backlinks and also get more eyes on your brand. Offer them free samples of your products or give them an affiliate link so they can earn commission on the goods they helped you sell thanks to their promotion.
- Create shareable content: this links back to the captivating content you’ve created in your blogs. Promote this content on your social media channels and encourage your followers to share them. Heck, if your content is gripping enough they’ll naturally do it for you.
Do some on-site maintenance
This is an activity you should be doing periodically and is a very easy way to enhance your SEO.
Every so often, go through your website to find and remove broken links using Google Webmaster Tools or any other SEO plug-ins. They can negatively affect SEO as it increases bounce rates and can make search engines believe your store is outdated.
Page speed is also an important consideration for search engines. It’s so crucial that Google included it in their new core web vitals. There are a couple of straightforward actions you can take to speed up your Shopify store.
- Top SEO apps for Shopify Stores
- Google New Core Web Vitals
- 11 Tips to optimize speed for your Shopify store
- 4 Search Engine Optimization Considerations Besides Keywords For Dummies
Get More Eyes on your Shopify Store with SEO
SEO can be quite a technical task, but that shouldn’t cause you to fret. There are a number of simple actions you can take right away that will get you on your way to improving the ranking of your Shopify store. You don’t need to be an SEO wizard to levitate up SERPs. Get started with our beginner-friendly Shopify SEO tips and watch your organic traffic take off.