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Search Engine Optimization

Shopify SEO: The Ultimate Guide to Rank #1 (2021)

Technology has made our lives easier. Gone are the days when you had to plan shopping many days in advance.

Now, everything is just a click away.

You want pizza, it’s right in front of your door. You want to pay your bills or buy tickets, you don’t have to be in the queue for hours. You can get a customized T-shirt or cups for you or your loved ones online because many designers are doing it online using eCommerce platforms such as Shopify.

However, from a business perspective, Shopify needs to be optimized too. This optimization is called Shopify SEO. 

Shopify is a great platform for business-minded individuals because it gives you global exposure and an international customer base without having physical outlets in the areas you want to serve.

This platform is the third-largest online retailer in the United States after Amazon and eBay. The success can be estimated from the fact that around 350,000 paid Shopify themes are purchased by merchants.

The point is if teams can collaborate virtually today and you can make money working remotely, why not run your business online successfully as well? However, you need some tricks to get highlighted in the online market and that is search engine optimization. 

Table Of Contents

What is Shopify?

Before we talk about “Shopify SEO”, let’s first talk a little about Shopify to understand the concept in a clear manner. 

Headquartered in Ottawa, Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce company. The company also gives the same name “Shopify” to one of its proprietary eCommerce platforms for online stores.

This platform called Shopify allows anyone to form an online store and start selling their products or services. Now, not only the physical things are sellable on your Shopify store, but you can also use it to sell services (appointments), membership, digital products, memberships, event tickets, rentals, lessons, courses, donations, etc.

What is Shopify SEO?

Shopify needs some unique SEO improvements to give the results you are looking for in terms of sales and ranking and traffic. This “set of techniques” using which you can configure your Shopify store in a manner that you can maximize your output is called Shopify SEO. 

Is Shopify SEO Different?

Typically if you have a brick and mortar store, what do you do to be in the limelight and to get the attention of the buyer?

You run TV or radio ads, you place billboards, sponsor an event, participate in exhibitions, or provide customer support as much as you can. But in an online market, SEO is a big part of how you market your business.

It’s important because this is how you attract buyers and allow them to easily find you out in an online market. For example, an effort to rank higher in the search results means you will have more people visiting your online store and resultantly more conversions. 

Shopify SEO is a bit different. It has some unique issues and challenges but you can handle these issues using some smart ways. Shopify is one of the leading eCommerce platforms for SEO scoring 98. Following some tricks and tips, you can optimize this platform to a great extent. 

Let’s jump in and learn how we can utilize this space. Here are some suggestions on how to improve SEO on Shopify.

12 Actionable Tips to Improve Your Shopify Page Rankings

The tips given below are practical, easy, and useful to improve your Shopify page ranking.

1. Make an Optimized Shopify Site Structure

Site structure means the way you organize your website content. This plays a major role in your SEO strategy.

This is because structure conveys a message to Google about page importance on your website. The easier it is for the potential buyer to locate things and information on your website, the greater is the chance that they navigate more web pages.  

But how do you simplify your structure in a  manner that improves visitors’ experience of navigation? 

The answer is to keep your site as simple as you can and don’t make it complicated by adding too many categories and subcategories.

The product or the service shouldn’t be difficult to get to from the home page. Save the customer’s time and energy by providing him instantaneously what he is looking for.

Let’s understand this with the help of a real-time example. Let’s have a look at one of the top 50 Shopify stores, “Partake Shop” which deals in safe and healthy snacks. The home page shows a tab of products and by clicking on it, you will find the five major snack categories.

Once you choose, click on the category of your choice for example, “Crunchy”.  You can choose what you like the most and add it to your cart. It’s that easy. 

However, keep in mind that you have to add a few pages—About Us/Our Story and a Contact us/Find us button so that your shopper, as well as a search engine, can perceive you as a trustworthy business.

You’ll also want to add a search box because it will help you improve user experience by making it easier to find products. This can help improve your chance of sales. 

2. Keyword Research 

It’s no exaggeration to say that next level search engine optimization is primarily built on keyword research.

Let me put up a question here.

Is it going to be helpful for you if you get data about customers’ needs and preferences?

Certainly yes, you will get to know what items you should have in your inventory because you know the demand. Right?

Similarly, in the SEO world, keywords mean what word combinations are being searched online to reach a particular topic.

Now, if you produce content that uses the same word combinations or search terms, there is a great chance that you will attract them to your site.

But when it comes to getting traffic to your online shop, how will you be able to find the right keywords?

There are several Shopify SEO tools available that may help you find the keywords related to your products. However, you may also figure this out by analyzing things from a customer’s perspective. 

Inspirations can also be found from places such as meta descriptions, titles, hashtags related to your services or products, search forums, or subreddits closely related to your offerings.

You can also make use of keyword apps and tools to make your keyword research even more comprehensive. These plugins are discussed later in this article. 

3. Add Structured Data Markup to Your Product Pages

Another thing that you need to optimize your Shopify store is to add structured data which is also known as schema markup. It is quite a technical aspect of SEO and involves a code that makes it easier for search engines to crawl, organize, and display content. 

Making the data structured will help search engines understand what your data means because structured data or schema markup provides clearer information to search engines about your E-commerce store or website and its content. 

You can do it by using two methods:

  1. Manually, you can add Schema markup to your Shopify Store.
  2. Using plugins, you can add Schema markup to your Shopify Ecommerce Store

4. Improve UI/UX

This UI/UX refers to User Interface and User Experience. User Experience as the name suggests refers to the experience of a visitor to your online store. This experience includes everything from the start till the user leaves your site. 

Improving UX means making your store enjoyable as well as easy to navigate and end up making a purchase. More pleasant the user’s experience is, the better is the ranking in search engines. 

The components that can improve your user’s experience include site loading time, ease in navigation, using smaller tags, using a responsive design, and mobile-friendliness.

Related: Core Web Vitals: Google’s New Ranking Signal

5. Optimize Page Speed and Loading Time

Research suggests that around 64% of your Smartphone users expect your website to be downloaded within four seconds.

This implies that the page and site speed and loading time affects the visitors and can influence them to make a buying decision. 

Put yourself in the shoes of customers. If it’s taking too much time to load a page or an image so that you can read content about a product or service, you will probably quit. Therefore, search engines consider page speed and loading time as a key determinant while ranking your website. 

Let’s now see how you can do it for your online store.

  1. You can select a lightweight theme for your Shopify store. This will help you boost your site speed because loading time can differ based on the site theme. 
  2. Another thing you can do is to make use of the Shopify feature of the content delivery network (CDN). This will help you keep loading times down.
  3. It’s also suggested to compress images and use a lazy loading function to cut down your page loading times.
  4. Make use of tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify better opportunities to increase site speed. It will come up with suggestions on different various image formats.

 6. Check for Duplicate Pages

In case there is any duplicate content, you can suffer traffic losses due to ranking issues. This is because search engines want to provide users with the best experience and therefore cannot decide which version of the content to prioritize. As a result, they choose any version which seems to be the best one, even if it’s not the one you intended. 

In terms of Shopify store SEO, you may face duplicate content issues and this occurs when duplicate content is available on two URLs, creating confusion for the search engine in determining the canonical version.

What can you do to cope up with this issue?

  1. Your priority should be creating unique pages as much as possible.
  2. Create individualized copy for each unique product page instead of relying on a boilerplate.
  3. Make URLs unique.
  4. Pin down your keywords and avoid optimizing the multiple pages for the same keyword.
  5. Optimizing duplicate pages for the variations is a simple and straightforward way to boost your SEO.

7. Optimize Your Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and URLs

Once you have researched and figured out the keywords and terms for optimization, you need to start optimizing your title tags, description, and URLs for all the category pages as well as your products. 

Some practical suggestion can be:

  • Include the target keyword for product, webpage, or blog at the very beginning of the title.
  • Using unique and descriptive titles that are 70 characters or fewer because search engines prefer that.

8. Links, Links, Links!

Backlinks are the backbone of improving traffic and ranking. More backlinks show that you are a trustworthy site. A trustworthy one is always recommended. This is what search engines do for you. Google will recommend your page to the user once they search for any topics related to your product or blog. 

The things that may help you in this regard are:

  1. Get links from the manufacturer 
  2. Guest blogging can be very helpful
  3. You can also work on creating engaging infographics 
  4.  You can get your products reviewed by bloggers as well as influencers. 

Related: Link Building for SEO: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide in 2021

9. Only Index Pages You Want to Show in SERPs

First, what does indexing mean in terms of SEO?

Indexing is a process through which you suggest web pages to a search engine. For your Shopify store, you need to index pages you want to display on search engines.

Remember that if a page is not in the Google index, there is no chance that you will receive any search traffic for that because the user doesn’t know the way to land on that page.

Some ways to do this are but not limited to :

  • Include the pages in your sitemap
  • Share pages on high traffic sites and Twitter
  • Use Google Search Console
  • Get external links to the page

10. Utilize Shopify Blog

Shopify has a built-in blog feature that many store owners haven’t taken advantage of.

Google ranks informational content as a priority over transactional content. Therefore, it’s important to create blog posts centered around keywords you want to rank for.

You can check this out by entering the keywords or phrases for your products and services in the search engine. If the results show more informational content in the form of blogs and articles, try creating such content for your site too.

This will help you improve your site ranking around a particular product, keyword, or terms.

11. Do a Weekly Crawl and Fix Found Issues

Just like any other website, your Shopify store needs crawls for maintaining strong technical SEO and you should do it once a week.

This includes deeply monitoring your site pages, tracking your performance, and making sure that it is accessible to your customer. This will help you find optimization opportunities. Once you know what your problems are, address them using the appropriate tools.

Doing this is easy. Just use one of the many web crawling services available. However, if you are tech-savvy, with a little effort you can create your site monitoring system or crawler yourself.

12 Track Results and Find Optimization Spots

Once your site has been crawled, make sure that you are aware of the results and you know where the optimization is needed.

For example, you have broken links, duplicate content, missing tags, title, or description problems are common problems. You know these spots need to be optimized to get more traffic. Now you can devise a strategy to fix these problems.

Best Shopify Apps to Improve your SEO

All the above-mentioned ideas and tips are important for your SEO. However, there are some Shopify Apps to assist you in improving your SEO and make the above-mentioned tasks a lot easier for you. 

1. Plugin SEO

Most of the Shopify store owners use this tool to fix things. This helps in fixing all your SEO Issues, improving your store rankings, and bringing in more traffic. If you are using Plugin SEO for your Shopify store, you will be able to perform the following functions easily:

  • It will run an automatic SEO audit and can check SEO issues as needed.
  • It will bulk edit your SEO data including description and meta tags.
  • It helps you fix the broken links.
  • It fixes images alt tags.
  • You can easily monitor your traffic by integrating with Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools.

This tool comes with a free trial for 7 days and just $20 per month afterward.

2. SEO Image Optimizer

This tool will help you bring traffic from Google Image Search. If you want your online store to get some presence on Google Images, using this tool, you can optimize the images present on your store.

It also helps you automatically optimize all the alt tags on your website images along with offering meta tag optimization. SEO Image Optimizer also does autopilot fixes and helps you deal with broken links as well. You will also be able to add rich snippets to your site through this tool.

The interesting thing is that it has a free version as well as a paid version. With the paid version that costs $24 per month,  you can take advantage of meta tag optimizer,  rich snippets, etc. This tool is preferred by many Shopify store owners because it’s quick and easy.

3. Shogun Landing Page Builder

Shogun landing page builder will help you to create a unique e-commerce experience by building as well as optimizing your online stores.  Today, this app enables 12,000+ eCommerce names to outperform on the internet. 

The is easy to use for newcomers to business and equally powerful for expert design and development teams.

Not only does this provide robust page designer tools for testing and measuring performance, but it will also help to create the home page, product pages, blog posts, or about pages.  

This app helps optimize your store with built-in A/B testing, analytics tools, and

customizable, on-page SEO elements. With this tool, you can boost traffic, increase page speed, and optimize for conversion.

4. Rewind

Backup is necessary because you cannot afford to lose your online store data all at once. Losing your data means you have lost your business. 

One of the easy to use tools for creating backups to your Shopify store is to use Rewind. 

You can get peace of mind once you are sure that your data is automatically backed up by Shopify’s top-rated backup app. The Rewind team of experts is equipped with all skills for your store to get back to normal.

Their services are easily available by chat, email, and phone, and are trusted by more than 25,000 online stores. 

5. SEO Booster

SEO Booster helps you in handling all the important SEO issues of your online store along with pertinent suggestions to fix them. Let’s see how it can help you boost your Shopify:

  1. With a 14 days trial, SEO Booster can easily be installed within 30 seconds and examines your Shopify store in depth. It then offers you suggestions where SEO improvements are needed. 
  2. Another benefit of using this tool is that it helps you provide structured data and thus it becomes easier for the search engines to understand your content.
  3. An option to bulk edit your product images is also available.
  4. It also offers you suggestions on how to improve significant SEO aspects such as meta titles, description tags.
  5. Using these tools, you can easily monitor 404 errors and submit sitemaps. 

These benefits come with the Growth Plan, which starts at $12.99/month. This plan offers all the latest features that include automatic alt tag updates for up to 2,000 products.

6. SEO Doctor

Just as a doctor helps you treat your health issues, SEO doctors can help ensure your site’s health and improve your search ranking. 

If your online Shopify store is struggling to get more traffic, conversions, and ranking issues, this app is for you. All your SEO issues will be identified as well as fixed in a manner that your website is ranked higher. 

Not only this, SEO Doctor will help you tackle sitemap, structure data, 404 errors, meta tags titles, descriptions, image compression, speed boosting, image alt text, and much more.

7. Ultra SEO  

This tool also helps you dramatically increase traffic. Ultra SEO helps you gain full control over all your meta tags in your Shopify store, inclusive of author tags and keywords. This App comes with a 7-day free trial and then you can get it for $10/ month. 

8. Smart SEO

This app helps you avoid resource wastage on SEO optimization by completely automating the process. It will help save time on store SEO optimization by over 80% and you can focus on other important matters of your business.

Smart SEO helps you with the following:

  1. It will help in  JSON-LD structured data, meta tags, and alt tags in a manner that search engines will prefer. You won’t have to manually enter product meta tags and alt tags for each of your products in your online store. All you have to do is select a template and Smart SEO will do the rest for you.
  2. Using this tool, you will be running your store in multiple languages thus attracting a diverse group of buyers.
  3. Smart SEO will also help generate structured data for every product.
  4. As you can not manage your store sitemap within Shopify, Smart SEO will help to accomplish this. You can decide which page to include and which page to exclude.
  5.  Your problem with the broken links will also be solved with this app.

9. SEO & Social Meta Manager

With the help of this app, you can take control of your Shopify store’s SEO.

This app promises to create unique meta titles and meta descriptions for your online store products,  manage Robots.txt, NoIndex, and NoFollow tagging, Add Google+ Authorship for your blog articles and descriptions, and much more. 

10. SEOMetriks Marketing Tool

This app will help you get valuable keywords and establish your site theme.

It provides you with a general SEO audit report containing warnings and other important advice. It also assists you in XML sitemap creation & a site health report and allows you to figure out harmful link reports and thus helps cleaning up your website backlink profile.

11. All in One Image SEO Optimizer

As the name suggests, this app will help with optimizing your product photos, speeding up your site, and ranking higher on Google. The most important features are free to use and you can do dozens of photo resizes, compress, and watermark your product photos. 

12. JSON-LD for SEO

To get the best SEO result, you must give data to Google in a particular format called structured data. JSON-LD for SEO is one of the most effective ways of getting rich results for your online store.

Rich results mean designing the data in such a manner that the key information gets highlighted. This assists search engines in easily comprehending the purpose of a page.

JSON-LD has been used by store owners since 2015 with new features being introduced constantly. The best thing is that it has integrations with 17 review apps and will automatically collect everything Google wants from your structured data.

If you purchase this app one time, you are free from all the worries of getting updates for your online store.

13. TurboSEO

Turbo SEO will help you to improve your search engine and boost your google ranking. Turbo SEO helps add a mark-up to your code so it becomes easier for search engines to comprehend and present the Shopify store.

This markup addition enables Google to see and analyze your product reviews, prices, and level of stocks. 

14. Sitemapper

The importance of sitemap for search engines cannot be underestimated. This app helps you generate a sitemap for your Shopify store automatically and you will be able to get an updated sitemap every day.

You can make, create, submit, and update your store’s site map and gain much control of how your store works. 

15. SEO Products Optimizer

This app can skyrocket your store in search engine results by providing real-time recommendations based on Google’s latest updates.

The artificial technology of this app helps you quickly view your SEO scores for your products. This will help you get a clear idea of how you can optimize your products.

Now if your score is not satisfactory, you can open “SEO Optimizer,” get the recommendation and start implementing them to improvise your product.

This app will also help you generate SEO Tags.  Using Google artificial intelligence for generating tags, it will generate tags based on product photos. With their SEO Image Optimizer, you can quickly add alt text to your product images easily.

16. Linkcious Related Products

This app helps save time by automatically creating relevant links to your related products on your other websites or stores. This is very important for SEO and you do not have to manually do this for your products.

You can embed your Shopify products on Drupal or WordPress easily using this App. The secret behind this is that the app makes use of artificial intelligence for creating high-quality links for your store and thus helps with SEO for Shopify and improving traffic.

Summary

Search Engine Optimization SEO is necessary for a successful online presence.

For eCommerce such as Shopify Store, it becomes more important since it’s your marketing tool to attract customers and sell your products. SEO is a way to the best feed search engine with the information so that you get more traffic by ranking your site, pages, and products higher in the search engines like Google.
This article summarizes almost all the best Shopify SEO tips and some of the apps that may help you boost your store easily. I am sure, following these tips, you will be able to run your online store the way you want.

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By Zac Almeida

Before joining the team at Ethical Digital, Izaias built a successful SEO agency in São Paolo, Brazil. With over twelve years of experience providing data-driven SEO, he has worked with businesses of all sizes - from SMBs to Fortune 500 companies. After selling his business to travel the world with his wife, "The SEO Hustler" has been helping companies in more than 15 countries and 6 languages thrive in the digital and search world.

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