Getting a healthy mix of traffic sources including paid and organic search is what a Shopify store should aim at. SEO helps with the organic traffic side.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a process of improving your site’s visibility in search engines, like Google and Bing. Understanding SEO and, specifically, Shopify SEO helps with site optimizations. These optimizations may help get more relevant traffic to your Shopify store sooner.
As a business your priority is to ensure that your site’s performance is stable. You want to minimize the downtime and you want to make sure the site is secure for visitors. You also want to make sure people can find your site easily.
This means that you need to have an online store that’s user friendly, provides secure ways for users to shop. You also want to have a friendly experience in using the platform. Shopify offers these all.
Shopify is a CMS – content management system – that has good SEO features. Plus, a lot of SEO optimizations can be done without much technical knowledge.
What is Shopify SEO?
Now that we’re talking Shopify SEO, let’s define it. Shopify SEO includes all the SEO improvements that are unique to this CMS platform.
Shopify stores come with useful addons like blog, redirect tools, SEO fields on product and blog pages. This is handy for the initial setup as you don’t have to add or change these areas like with other CMS platforms.
Let’s look at the essential elements to consider in terms of SEO on your Shopify site.
While building your Shopify site, think about your future visitor and perspective customer. Map out the main user flows and user journeys on the site.
Understanding how the site’s visitors enter the site and move forward to make transactions is highly important. Try to make their path as short as possible. Make sure the main entry points like Homepage and Category pages have clear messages and calls to action. Use intuitive visuals.
Why so? With search engines evolving, clear user flows help search engines understand how people use your site. Paths confusing for humans will be confusing for search engines too. This, in its turn, will reduce your site’s chances to show up in search engines.
You will see a lot of articles about keyword research on our site. Keyword research is a vital step in creating a clear SEO identity for your Shopify store.
The best way to improve your Shopify store’s performance in organic search is to include keywords that people are searching for.
To perform your own keyword research, you will need to use a couple of specialized tools. A quick search on Google will reveal such tools. Most of them are paid: SEMRush, Ahrefs.
We’d recommend starting with the free Google ad keyword planner. You need to have a Google Ads account to access it – the account can be dormant. You don’t have to be spending on Google ads to use the tool.
Keyword tools allow you to enter a set of keywords and get stats for these keywords. The stats include the number of searches for the respective term and its competition levels.
The basic approach is to focus on the keywords with a good number of searches and mid to low competition levels.
Once you have your keywords, map them to content types.
Your keyword research should reveal what product category pages you’d want to build. Your category page will focus on the keywords with more search volume. The targeted keywords on the category pages will be more general in nature.
As for product pages, target keywords with a lower search volume, but clear purchase intents.
Optimizing a page for a specific keyword is about using the term and its variations as well as synonyms in several places.
- Use the term in the URL slug.
- Use it in the title and descriptions on the page.
- Make sure it’s also present in image descriptions.
How to Optimize a Shopify Blog for SEO?
Shopify has an embedded blog, which is a great addon. The blog allows to create fresh and relevant content. The freshness of content is a valid factor in organic search ranking. So, keeping an active blog on your Shopify site is a must-have.
Your keyword research should help to get new ideas about the content to publish on your blog. But don’t limit yourself to keywords only.
Your blog is your playground.
- Use the feedback from your customers to create new content responding to their needs.
- Do competitive research to see what issues your competitors face and provide solutions to their problems on the blog.
- Interview or survey your customers and ask what information they need.
- Take your top selling products and see what questions people ask about these products. Respond by providing answers to these questions on your blog.
Tools for SEO
Google Search Console allows to get insights into your site’s performance. It checks for any crawling errors. It also sends alerts about abnormalities on the site.
Google Search Console provides insightful stats about your site’s performance. You can see how often your site’s pages show on Google, which pages are the main entry points, which keywords the site ranks for.
Google Analytics is another useful tool to go beyond Shopify’s Analytics. Set it up and activate ecommerce.
Google Analytics can be connected to Google Search Console and you can get Console’s data inside Google Analytics. It’s handy to get that data and look at it in line with the other Google Analytics metrics.
Google’s Page Speed checker is another useful SEO tool. Since page speed is another signal used by search engines to rank websites, it’s an important area for improvement. Today search engines prefer fast-loading sites over slow sites.
Optimizing your visuals is the first thing to do to improve your site’s page speed.
Forget about large images. Optimized images are light compressed files. Use free tools like TinyPNG to reduce the size of any images you’re uploading to Shopify.
Also, your images should include ALT tags with relevant keywords.
Well, don’t take it literally. Link building is an SEO slang phrase. Link building actually means the acquisition of external links pointing to your site.
You can get links or backlinks by being active on social media, collaborating with other sites, answering questions on sites like Quora… There are tens of ways to get links back to your site. The more relevant links your site gets, the better its authority with search engines gets.
Beware of linking schemes, though. Search engines are good to understand paid link schemes and deals. Don’t engage in those. This can bring penalties from search engines, which are difficult to recover from.