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Table of contents

Why do you need Shopify SEO?

Essential requirements for Shopify SEO

A step-by-step guide to improving your Shopify SEO

Takeaway

Shopify Seo 101: A Complete Guide For Beginners

Aparna Seshadri
ByAparna Seshadri

13 mins read

Unlocking the full potential of your Shopify store goes beyond just setting up shop—it's about commanding attention in the crowded marketplace. Shopify store owners can leverage the power of SEO to make this happen. However, SEO has evolved significantly from the era of stuffing keywords and clickbait tactics. Achieving the top spot on Google's search results demands content that aligns with users' intentions and drives website traffic.

Optimizing your online store for SEO might seem daunting, but it becomes much easier if you know the important things to focus on and the right way. In this guide, you will learn about the importance of Shopify SEO, the easiest way to optimize your store, essential requirements, and ways to improve your store’s visibility on the search.

What is Shopify SEO?

Shopify SEO is the process of optimizing an online store built on Shopify to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results. It involves various strategies and techniques, including enhancing the website's structure, content, and performance to attract organic traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, and others.

Why do you need Shopify SEO?

Implementing effective SEO strategies for your Shopify store can significantly boost your online presence, increase brand visibility, and drive more qualified traffic to your website, ultimately leading to improved sales and revenue. Here are several reasons why it's important:

1. Increase visibility and ranking: Shopify SEO enhances your online store's visibility and ranking on search engines. Optimizing product descriptions, titles, and meta tags improves the chances of your store appearing higher in search results, attracting more potential customers.

2. Boost organic traffic: Implementing SEO strategies on your Shopify store drives organic traffic. By targeting relevant keywords and optimizing content, you attract users actively searching for products or services, leading to increased website visits.

3. Enhance user experience: SEO for Shopify involves optimizing website structure, improving page load times, and ensuring mobile responsiveness. This enhances the user experience, reducing bounce rates and increasing the likelihood of conversions.

4. Compete effectively: Your Shopify store can compete more effectively with effective SEO strategies. Targeted optimization enables your store to stand out amidst competitors, attracting potential customers and improving conversion rates.

5. Improve brand credibility: Higher search engine rankings and visibility improve brand credibility. Appearing in top search results instills trust among users, making them more likely to choose your store over others.

6. Drive sales and revenue: Effective Shopify SEO practices can significantly impact sales and revenue. Better visibility, increased traffic, and improved user experience translate into more conversions and higher revenue for your online store.

7. Helps position the brand: Implementing SEO strategies on Shopify enables effortless price comparisons, quality checks, and visitor brand evaluations. A store with product pages optimized for search engines will show up as product recommendations on the search engine result pages directly.

Essential requirements for Shopify SEO

Before you start to work on optimizing your Shopify store, you must have the following prerequisites ready.

  1. Purchase a domain that's essential as it works with SEO to build trust and relatability with customers for your Shopify store.

  2. Ensure you are connected with GSC and have Shopify stores create a sitemap.xml file by default, encompassing links to your products, primary product images, pages, collections, and blog posts. By submitting your sitemap files to Google Search Console, you facilitate Google's discovery and indexing of your site's pages.

  3. Connect with Google Analytics as it gives you the information you need to make store optimizations that increase your search visibility, conversions, and revenue. Linking GSC to GA allows you to view search-related data within your Google Analytics account, such as the keywords users searched for to find your site.

  4. Ensure your theme is optimized for mobiles. If you've customized or built a theme, verifying its mobile compatibility using Google's tool is crucial, even if there have been no alterations.

  5. Optimizing your Shopify store is a long process; your SEO efforts' results might reflect after your trial ends. So, you can opt for a paid plan. This is because achieving rankings for a new store typically extends beyond the 14-day trial period, impeding the fruition of your work.

A step-by-step guide to improving your Shopify SEO

Once you have ensured that the prerequisites are met, you can move forward to improve the SEO of your Shopify store. Let's look at the steps you must take to do that.

There are three aspects of Shopify SEO that you must pay attention to and work on.

  1. Technical SEO

  2. On page SEO

  3. Off page SEO

1. Technical SEO

Technical SEO ensures optimal conditions for search engine crawlers, focusing on page speed, mobile optimization, site structure, navigation, and meta tags for search engines and human users.

A. Submit sitemaps

Create a Google Search Console account and submit your sitemap after setup. This enables search engines to crawl and index your store. Shopify auto-generates a sitemap.xml file at domain.com/sitemap.xml. Basic plans get one sitemap; higher plans need one for each domain.

The sitemap index file links to various page types:

  • Product Pages (sitemap_products_1.xml)

  • Collection Pages (sitemap_collections_1.xml)

  • Blog Posts (sitemap_blogs_1.xml)

  • Marketing Pages (sitemap_pages_1.xml)

Shopify's default sitemap.xml updates dynamically with new pages. While it generally works well, obsolete pages may be included. Check for 404 or redirect errors reported in the search console as 'Submitted URL not found (404)' and 'Redirect error.

B. Improve search engine discoverability by optimizing images.

Search engines don't crawl text alone—they crawl images, too. Optimizing images doesn't compromise their visual appeal but enhances their display to shoppers. Prioritizing image size reduction is crucial, as images account for nearly half of a web page's size, potentially slowing down loading times if not optimized. Shopify's hosted platform includes a Content Delivery Network, simplifying image loading.

However, here are some tips to optimize images for better search engine indexing:

  1. Use JPG or PNG formats, benefiting from Shopify's automatic WebP serving for optimal compression.

  2. Reduce image file sizes while maintaining quality. Ensure standard resolution at 72 PPI.

  3. Include images in your sitemap for better visibility in search results.

  4. Carefully optimize alt attributes with descriptive text for accessibility and improved image SEO.

  5. Use plain language when naming images to align with keywords on the page, aiding search engine visibility.

By following this, optimize images for visual appeal and improved search engine ranking.

C. Incorporate a logical structure.

An effective site structure is paramount in e-commerce platforms as it facilitates seamless navigation for users and search engine crawlers. Moreover, it is pivotal in distributing link equity, enhancing your website's ranking strength.

The organization of your content holds immense significance in achieving SEO success. When shoppers effortlessly locate desired items, they spend more time exploring your site, boosting page views and positively impacting search engine rankings.

Avoid excessive categories and subcategories. A streamlined site structure aids search engine crawlers and improves product ranking. Products must be a couple of clicks away from the homepage, facilitating swift access for shoppers and seamless crawling for search engines.

Shopify offers easy content organization through these structures:

  • Homepage » Category Pages » Product Pages

  • Homepage » Category Pages » Sub-Category Page » Product Pages

Remember to prioritize customer-centric design. Include essential pages like About and Contact to establish credibility with shoppers and search engines. These pages affirm trustworthiness, a crucial aspect to pay attention to.

D. Internal linking strategy

Internal linking often needs to be noticed, especially during the initial stages of building an online store. It may be less crucial than creating new pages and promoting your business. However, internal linking involves more than inserting links into suitable anchor text across your website.

The strategy revolves around establishing pillar pages that can empower multiple other relevant web pages and blog posts. Achieving this requires a clear navigation system from the homepage, catering to both visitor’s user experience and search engine crawlers. The following points will help you get started with the interlinking strategy.

  1. Use a free SEO tool like Ubersuggest and type in the keyword to get an idea of the monthly search insights for that term.

  2. Create separate product pages while adding products to create product listings and ensure everything is filled in, from the title and descriptions to shipping information.

  3. Establish a new page and create three fresh product pages. While creating the collections page, we prioritize on-page SEO best practices.

A standard addition we often include in Shopify sites is implementing breadcrumb internal links with BreadcrumbList structured data. This is because, Breadcrumbs play a pivotal role in e-commerce websites as it offers users convenient internal links, clearly showcasing their position within the website's hierarchy.

2. On-page SEO

Communicating your page's content to readers and search engines is crucial. Search engines assess specific on-page factors to determine page relevance for ranking on SERPs. These factors encompass keyword relevance, meta details, URL slug, images, etc.

A. Keyword Research

Understanding keywords involves recognizing them as search queries users input into search engines. They often mirror natural language or conversational phrases, varying from simple to more complex forms.

The keywords fall into the following categories:

i. Short tail keywords are brief, usually containing two or three words, and generally have high search volumes. For instance, "coffee mugs" registers around 22,200 monthly searches.

ii. Long tail keywords are lengthier, typically four or more words, with lower search volumes. An example could be "Tall mug with lid," which might have around 20 monthly searches.

Not only that, search queries align with different intents:

  • Navigational queries aim to locate specific websites or pages.

  • Informational queries seek useful content to answer questions or provide information.

  • Transactional queries reveal a readiness to make a purchase.

It's crucial to understand the user journey from exploration to purchase. This is because keyword strategies play a crucial role in understanding the user journey by providing insights into user intent and behavior at different stages of their online exploration. It helps businesses comprehend user needs, intents, and behaviors at various stages of their online journey.

Aligning keyword strategies with search intent throughout this process is vital. To conduct effective keyword research, start by identifying your product's category and utilize tools such as SEO Surfer, Mangools, or ahrefs. Transition from short-tail to long-tail keywords by leveraging your unique selling proposition (USP) to improve discoverability and boost traffic.

B. Align with search intent and draft pages relevant to your Keyword

Ensure your keyword aligns with the user's search journey to resolve their query seamlessly, reducing the need for additional searches or alternate results.

To understand search intent:

  • Analyze the top 10 organic search results to determine if users seek information or transactions.

  • Review the 'Related searches' for user expectations, using these terms in subheadings, descriptions, and meta content for better rankings.

Utilize the related terms as subheadings, within product descriptions, and in meta descriptions and titles for your content. This approach optimizes your content alignment with user queries, enhancing the chances of ranking effectively in search engine results.

C. Optimize your content to enhance page visibility

Enhancing page visibility requires content optimization. This involves refining page content, meta descriptions, and title tags to align with a target keyword, streamlining your focus.

You could optimize your content with the following tips :

  • Ensure headings precisely match the page's content.

  • Incorporate the keyword or its variations in subheadings or body text.

  • Check the URL slug length and include the keyword without excess or shortage.

  • Craft compelling titles and meta descriptions to boost clicks.

  • Evaluate image file names and provide descriptive alt text for accessibility.

D. Optimize meta titles and descriptions Optimizing meta titles and descriptions directly impacts off-page SEO by influencing user behavior in search results. Well-crafted meta tags enhance click-through rates (CTR), increasing organic traffic and indirectly affecting off-page factors. You can optimize the meta titles and descriptions through the following:

  • Keep the page title under 55 characters, incorporating the target keyword for indexing while maintaining readability.

  • Craft a meta description within 145 characters, focusing on enticing searchers while still using the keyword.

  • Use the keyword in image file names and alt text for accessibility without overdoing it.

E.Create enriched snippets for your products

Rich snippets can increase organic clicks by up to 30%, rivaling the impact of a 30% budget increase in paid ads.

  • Shopify's free themes offer structured data and rich snippet features by default for product pages.

  • Check if your theme supports structured data; explore Schema.org or apps like Smart SEO for integration.

6. Showcase user-generated content and star ratings The continuous flow of user-generated content significantly contributes to your business. Maintaining a consistent stream of fresh and engaging content is a daunting task. User-generated content ensures a steady influx of materials on your website, facilitating Google's crawling and indexing processes. You can showcase UGC by implementing the following:

  • Use a product reviews app supporting review snippets to display on search engine results pages (SERPs).

  • Ensure compatibility with schema markup apps for additional functionality.

3. Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO encompasses a spectrum of strategies, including reputation management, such as maintaining strong customer service and an active presence on social media. This is done by developing backlinks—links directed to your website.

The quality and relevance of these backlinks significantly impact your site's ranking on search engines. Understanding the significance of high-ranking pages, as depicted in the earlier diagram, underscores the importance of this practice.

There exist two primary methods for building links to your website:

1. Active link building

It's tough to evaluate the effectiveness of an SEO approach since Google's ranking algorithm has 200 factors that change frequently. Experts rely on experience to identify impactful strategies, like those highlighted by Databox:

  • Backlinks :They represent links from external websites to your client's site, proving credibility and reliability to Google. The significance of backlinks lies in their dual impact on SEO. Firstly, they indicate credibility and relevance to Google and secondly, they drive quality traffic to your client's site.Google prioritizes links from reputable domains like TechCrunch over personal blogs. Yet, niche websites with good reputations also hold substantial value and are more accessible to acquire.
  • Guest blogging :Guest blogs present a simpler yet impactful strategy. It involves writing for other brands which helps fetch backlinks to your client's site. Finding relevant sites, proposing compelling content, and publishing the blog is key to success
  • Social media engagement: Social media interactions contribute to brand visibilitySocial media interactions contribute to brand visibility. Active engagement on social platforms can attract users to share content, resulting in potential backlinks to your site.
  • Influencer marketing: Influencers can foster relationships and collaborations, resulting in natural and high-quality backlinks to your website. Collaborating with influencers increases brand exposure to wider audiences, driving traffic and potential customers to your site.

However, these strategies require long-term investment, contrary to the immediate SEO needs faced by many Shopify merchants.

For immediate improvements in off-page SEO, consider these quick fixes:

  • Engaging in forums and Q&A sites, providing valuable insights, and strategically linking to your client's site.

  • Use image attribution by tracking where your client's images are used and requesting attributions with links.

  • Practicing link exchanges with companies selling complementary products to benefit mutually on SEO.

Combining these long-term strategies with quick fixes ensures a robust approach to off-page SEO. Selecting one long-term strategy and a couple of short-term tactics based on your client's industry type is a prudent start. Remember, success in off-page SEO hinges on building and nurturing relationships, so value each new connection.

2. Passive link building

Passive link building refers to the strategic creation of content or web assets that organically attract backlinks without active outreach. This involves consistent everyday business practices that compound SEO efforts over time. Following are the ways which you can incorporate to enhance passive link building:

  • Offering exceptional products/services that naturally generate online discussions and referrals.

  • Providing outstanding customer service, which is often talked about positively online.

  • Responsive on social media platforms, especially in addressing customer queries or issues.

  • Establishing connections with influencers and engaging thoughtfully to gain their trust.

  • Participating in relevant online forums and blogs, contributing positively without overtly promoting your business unless directly requested.

Takeaway

Shopify SEO, also known as search engine optimization, enhances the visibility and ranking of an online store in search engine results. By implementing keyword optimization, content enhancement, and structural improvements, Shopify store owners can significantly enhance their online presence and attract organic traffic from search engines like Google and Bing. Moreover, Shopify SEO helps position brands effectively by simplifying the shopping experience for consumers, establishing credibility, and expediting purchase decisions through enhanced visibility in search engine results.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can perform SEO on a Shopify store. You can modify meta tags, titles, and descriptions, create SEO-friendly URLs, optimize images, and use various apps and plugins to enhance SEO on your Shopify site.

SEO on Shopify is relatively easy but requires a good understanding of SEO best practices and a strategic approach. It provides a user-friendly platform with many SEO functionalities, making it relatively easy to perform basic SEO tasks. How do I create SEO for Shopify?

To create SEO for your Shopify store, follow these steps:

  1. On Page SEO
  2. Content Strategy and Utilization of Tools
  3. Monitoring and Iterative Improvements

This is how you can increase SEO traffic on Shopify:

  1. Build quality backlinks from authoritative websites within your industry or niche.
  2. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly to provide a better user experience.
  3. Use social media platforms to promote your products and share valuable content.
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