I may be biased, but I’m of the mindset that every company today needs to be doing business online. On top of that, I believe if you are doing business online, then good search engine optimization should be one of your highest priorities.
That goes double for ecommerce businesses.
If you run an ecommerce business right now, there’s a very good chance that you use Shopify. More than one million businesses have made Shopify their ecommerce platform of choice, giving the company nearly 11% of the total ecommerce market share.
Part of what has allowed Shopify to dominate so decisively is the versatility the platform offers in terms of SEO functionality. For ecommerce businesses looking to increase their reach, conversions, sales, and revenues, knowing how to use SEO for Shopify is invaluable.
Here at LSEO, search engine optimization is the name of the game (literally!). With that in mind, I’m going to give you the low-down on why Shopify SEO is so important and how it works, and I’ll even share some Shopify SEO tips and tricks that every ecommerce business owner should know.
For more Shopify SEO expert advice, contact LSEO today!
Why Your Shopify SEO is So Important
Ecommerce sites are big, and I’m not just talking in terms of business. I mean in terms of digital footprint. Even relatively small ecommerce sites are usually made up of hundreds if not thousands of individual pages: product pages, product categories, policy pages, blogs, search results pages, etc. The list goes on and on.
With so many pages and so much content for search engines to crawl and index, it’s imperative that crawlers understand exactly what it is they’re looking at. More importantly, they need to understand who they need to be showing it to.
Simply put, good Shopify SEO is what enables Internet users to find your products. They can’t buy them if they don’t know they’re there, so getting as many eyes on your website as possible is a major concern. And the best way to do that is with a strong ecommerce SEO strategy.
17 Shopify SEO Tips: The Beginner’s Shopify SEO Checklist
In the next section, I’ll be going more in-depth into the best SEO practices for Shopify sites. But before I do that, I think it’s a good idea to brush up on some of the fundamental search engine optimization practices that, really, every business should be implementing.
Before I get into some of the more advanced Shopify SEO tips I have to share, take the time to look at the following Shopify SEO checklist and make sure you’ve dotted all your I’s and crossed all your T’s.
- Create an organized website hierarchy
- Set up Google Search Console
- Set up Bing Webmaster Tools
- Create and submit your sitemap
- Create a robots.txt file
- Make sure your site is crawlable
- Make sure your site is indexable
- Make sure your page speed is fast
- Always compress your images
- Research and target relevant keywords
- Create high-quality website content
- Writing compelling titles tags and meta descriptions
- Add captions and alt text to all images
- Eliminate duplicate content
- Keep your URLs short and descriptive
- Foster link building relationships with other sites
- Fix broken pages and bad links
What Are the Best SEO Practices for Shopify Sites?
While the Shopify SEO checklist above covers the essential steps of search engine optimization that all websites should follow, there are a few Shopify SEO best practices that deserve a closer examination.
Ecommerce sites, and Shopify sites especially, aren’t quite the same as other websites. Below, I’ve highlighted seven key areas where Shopify SEO merits a little extra TLC.
As I noted earlier, ecommerce sites tend to be made up of hundreds if not thousands of pages. That makes site navigation exceedingly important. Good navigation makes it easy for users to find the products they’re looking for, put them in their cart, and check out. Bad navigation makes users feel frustrated, until they eventually just give up and buy from one of your competitors.
Shopify is designed to facilitate a variety of navigation set-ups, but be strategic about how to utilize its capabilities. Use category pages to group similar products together, with sub-categories further refining product collections by specificity. These categories should be clearly displayed in your navigation menu, with sub-categories nested within each.
Additionally, two items that you always want to have displayed prominently are the customer’s cart/checkout option and the site search bar. Think about how you move through an ecommerce site when you’re shopping, then ask yourself what functions and features make that experience a positive or negative one.
To expand on some of the ideas about site navigation outlined above, let’s discuss product category pages. Categorization plays a big role in Shopify SEO. Not only does it give you another opportunity to rank for a certain keyword, it also helps “window shoppers” move deeper into the conversion funnel.
When I say “window shoppers,” I’m referring to site visitors who come to your site wanting to buy something, without being 100% sure about what it is they want to buy. These are the type of people who will browse your site looking for that special something, but may not get much use out of the search bar. Category pages are useful here because they enable them to better understand their options and narrow things down to the point where they’re ready to make a purchase.
Category pages contribute to the user experience by grouping like items with like items, reducing the chances of customer confusion while improving click-through rates. Best of all, category pages encourage additional purchases by introducing consumers to related products that they might not have otherwise considered picking up.
Product pages are the meat and potatoes of any ecommerce business. And, in terms of search engine optimization, the most important thing to get right here is the content of the item descriptions themselves.
There are a few notable best SEO practices for Shopify sites that you should definitely follow here. Obviously, you want to effectively target relevant keywords. At the same time, you do not want to bog down product pages with too much text. Cluttered, wordy product pages are a major sticking point with ecommerce users, especially on mobile. Creating content that is informative, keyword-optimized, and efficient is vital.
Some pitfalls that ecommerce sites often run into with item descriptions include duplicate content and plagiarism. It’s tempting to simply copy and paste your item descriptions from the manufacturer, but that isn’t going to help your Shopify SEO. Nor is it going to help if all the products you sell in a single category share duplicate content. Strive to ensure that every item description stands on its own as much as possible.
Do you know who it is that consumers trust most when making purchasing decisions? It isn’t product manufacturers or ecommerce vendors, but rather other consumers. That’s why services like Yelp and Google Reviews are so popular. Users want to know what other people’s experiences were like before investing in a product or service themselves.
Integrating reviews into your product pages, then, can be a powerful marketing tool. It helps increase dwell time, reduces bounce rate, boosts conversions, and communicates to search engines that your website is a trusted, authoritative resource.
With Shopify, it’s easy to add reviews to any and all product paging by visiting the Shopify App Store and downloading the “Shopify Product Reviews” tool. This will allow you to create your own internal review system. Alternatively, you can embed a product’s Google Reviews rating right to its page using other tools found in the Shopify App Store.
I mentioned link building as one of the fundamentals of SEO for Shopify in the Shopify SEO checklist above, but it warrants explanation.
Search engines like Google and Bing factor in the number of backlinks a page receives when ranking it. Pages with more backlinks from trusted websites earn a higher ranking. However, pages with backlinks from spammy or malicious sites are penalized, so make sure to regularly review the links you’re receiving and then disavow any that might harm your ranking.
Of course, ecommerce businesses have a few extra tricks up their sleeves when it comes to link building. In addition to traditional link building opportunities, you can also encourage linking by offering product samples to reviewers and online journalists, by providing affiliate links that incentivize sites to drive traffic to your page, and by offering special promotions and coupon codes.
Every year, more and more people opt to shop using their phones, notepads, and other mobile devices. It is convenient, after all, and what’s the whole point of ecommerce is not convenience?
Fortunately, all Shopify themes are automatically mobile responsive. This means that the theme will instantly adapt to the sizing and resolution requirements of the device it’s being viewed on. True optimization for mobile, however, requires a few extra Shopify SEO best practices. You want to keep navigation as simple, accessible, and unobtrusive as possible, while also reducing text and keeping images and buttons front and center.
The best advice I have to share for mobile optimization is simply this: test, test, test. Every time you make a tweak, change, edit, or addition, test it out to make sure it works. Visit the website on your own mobile devices and make sure everything works properly and is easy to navigate. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and remember that convenience is key.
One of the biggest mistakes that ecommerce businesses often make is assuming that the only content they need is their individual product pages. Proven Shopify SEO best practices, however, have shown us that blog content can be just as valuable for ecommerce sites as for other types of online businesses.
Blogs are a great way of attracting visitors who may not be looking for a specific product, but rather are looking for answers to product-related questions. Maybe they need help choosing the best laptop. Maybe they want a round-up of all the best products in a given category. Maybe they’re looking for maintenance solutions, operating instructions, recipes, tips and tricks, etc.
Shopify’s blogging capabilities are on par with those of most other platforms, such as WordPress and Squarespace, so put them to good use. To get even more mileage (and bring in more traffic), try integrating multimedia content like videos, audio files, images, and interactive elements.
Need the Help of a Shopify SEO Expert? Give Us a Call
If there’s one thing I want to stress with this blog post, it’s that ecommerce SEO is a complex, ongoing process. You’re never really done with it. Sometimes, it seems impossible, having to keep so many different plates in the air at once: content, link building, user experience, page speed, keyword ranking, search intent, and so on and so on.
At LSEO, we know that SEO for Shopify is pretty much a whole job unto itself. We also know that managing any ecommerce website is already complicated enough. That’s why we’re here to help. If you need the help of Shopify SEO experts who possess the knowledge and resources necessary to build your brand up bigger and better than ever, look no further. LSEO is ready, willing, and able.
In ecommerce, every moment matters, so don’t waste another second. Let us put our expertise to work for you. Reach out to the digital marketing professionals at LSEO now!