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Building an online store is not hard — bringing traffic to it is.
And that’s why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the crucial strategies that every Shopify or eCommerce business owner must pursue.
SEO helps your website climb the ranks on popular search engines like Google and Bing. On average, 53.3% of traffic comes through "organic search", meaning users land on a website with the help of search engines. But how to improve SEO on Shopify?
SEO is a vast ter, and it can be overwhelming to navigate all the different aspects and techniques. That’s why we’re here to save the day with an extensive Shopify SEO checklist covering all you need to know to supercharge your SEO game.
Although your domain name may not have a direct impact on SEO, it’s better to take care of the following best practices:
Your store’s page speed is not only a direct ranking factor in Google, but it could also impact your SEO indirectly. If your store pages take too long to load, most likely, the customer will leave — increasing your bounce rate.
So, choose your store’s theme carefully.
Google Search Console is a free product from Google that every Shopify store owner should install. Google has also suggested it as an important tool to optimize your ranking.
When you create a new website, Google does not list all your store pages automatically. Using Google Search Console, you can request your store pages for indexing. Also, you can monitor your site's performance and resolve issues that may impact your site’s SEO.
Setting up Google Search Console is easy. Google has all the necessary guidelines to get you started.
Use Google Search Console to check if your pages are indexed on Google or not.
One more important task you should complete before launching your store is to submit your sitemap to search engines like Google and Bing.
Shopify automatically generates your sitemap. To see your sitemap URL, just go to the root directory domain, e.g., yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml. Submit that URL on Google Search Console as shown here:
For more details, you can refer to this guide.
Bing also accepts XML sitemap format. You can submit your sitemap to Bing by clicking on the "Submit sitemaps" button on this page. You'll also find more information about it on the same page.
Google Analytics 4 is another free product from Google. This tool helps track and analyze the data of your website visitors and lets you analyze which pages are performing well and which ones need to be optimized.
While Google Analytics itself won’t boost your SEO, it can help you define data-driven SEO tactics and put your effort in the right direction.
Installing a Shopify app for SEO can help you take care of many essential aspects of SEO, such as bulk image compression, optimizing your meta tags, monitoring and redirecting your broken links, and so on.
You can use SEO apps like Booster Seo & Image Optimizer, Avada SEO & Image Optimizer, Tiny: SEO Speed Image Optimizer, SearchPie: SEO Booster & Speed, and Smart SEO. Or search for more SEO apps on the Shopify apps store.
Shopify App Store has dozens of apps for SEO but make sure to install only the ones that you require. Adding unnecessary apps may impact your store speed.
Keyword research is one of the most crucial strategies for SEO. Identify who your competitors are and research them to see which keyword they are targeting. By doing this, you’ll find the keyword opportunities and gaps that you can leverage in your content strategy.
Create content structure/keyword map. Use free keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, AnswerThePublic, Moz, etc. Also, pay attention to search intent — the reason why a customer types a specific query in a search engine.
Here are different types of search intent:
Identify and target your “money” keywords, meaning the keywords that bring you leads, sales, and conversions. Start with long tail keywords, which are easy to rank for.
“Content is king.”
Whether you want to provide value to the audience or rank higher on search engines, content is the key. But creating content on random topics with keyword stuffing won’t help.
Before you start creating any content, you need to identify your target audience and write content tailored to their needs. Use visual elements as needed. Keep things concise, and provide valuable information to them. The longer they stay, the better.
Google cares about the quality of information provided to its users. And that’s why Google's Page Quality Rating Guideline considers Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).
In your Shopify admin, when you go to any page — product page, collection page, blog post page — you’ll find a section for search engine listing. This section helps you edit your page URL, meta title, and description that appears on search results.
So, this is your opportunity to optimize your page for Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Here are a few quick tips to make the most out of this section:
Using a proper heading structure is one of the most common SEO best practices. It not only helps with SEO but also enhances the readability of your content. And thus, it enhances the user experience of your website visitors too.
Whether you’re writing product descriptions or blog posts, you can properly structure your content with heading tags, starting from H1 to H6. You’ll find the option to switch different heading tags right above the text section.
Your Shopify store may have hundreds of images in your product, collection, blog, and other pages. And it may sound overwhelming to add image alt-texts to all of them.
However, Google won’t know what those images are about — unless and until you add clear alt-texts explaining those images. You may also add your keyword in those alt-texts if it’s relevant.
Keep in mind — image alt-text also helps people with visual impairments to get a better context of your content, and thus, it improves the accessibility of your website.
You may use a Shopify app like Booster Seo & Image Optimizer to generate image alt-text from a template, e.g., product title + your store name.
Pro Tip: When using GemPages to create your landing pages and blog post pages, you can use SEO tools to improve your on-page SEO. Here's what you can do with SEO tools on GemPages:
Internal linking helps Google crawlers to understand your site architecture and index your pages. Also, internal links can help increase the engagement of your website visitors. The longer users stay on your site, the better chance of converting them to paid customers.
Organize your content data in a spreadsheet or any other tool for better visibility of all content pieces. This will make it easy for you to find opportunities for internal linking.
Don’t treat internal linking just as a one-time activity. Review your content at regular intervals for opportunities to link your new content with old content pieces and vice-versa.
As mentioned before, your site speed plays an important role in improving your SEO. However, there are multiple factors that affect your site’s speed. Apart from your store's theme, some other factors that may impact your site speed are — the number of Shopify apps, image and video content, fonts, tracking codes, and so on.
A few years back, Google used to consider the desktop version of a web page for its ranking system. But that didn’t help ensure a better experience for mobile users.
Thus, Google introduced mobile-first indexing and started using the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking. This makes it imperative for you to optimize your website for mobile users.
If you’re looking to optimize your website design for mobile, you can try a page builder app like GemPages. It’ll help you design stunning store pages while keeping them mobile-friendly.
How do you know if your website’s mobile version has issues?
Use Google Search Console. Click on the Mobile Usability tab on the left sidebar. Once you click on that tab, you’ll be able to view any issues with your site’s mobile version and find the reasons for the same.
Here’s an example:
Think of a drive on your laptop and all the folders inside that drive. If you don’t have proper folder management, it’ll be so hard to find the files. You might end up looking for a file in the “Marketing” folder that is lying under the “Accounts” folder.
The same happens to Google when you don’t have a proper site architecture. Organize your site structure with proper categories and sub-categories to make it easy for search engines to crawl.
To organize your website architecture, you need to ensure all your store pages are categorized and organized in a logical hierarchy. One of the leading SEO tools—Semrush—has explained the site architecture with this simple example:
As some pieces of content become outdated or the product goes out of stock, you may delete those pages. But if you’ve inserted links to those pages in your other content, it would create broken links.
If your website has too many broken links, Google might consider it an unmaintained website. Review your store at regular intervals and fix any issues with broken links or 404 errors. You can use apps like Smart SEO to detect and fix broken links.
Schema markup is code that you can insert into your website to make it easier for search engines to understand your site’s content. With the help of schema markup, search engines can better represent the information to the users.
By adding schema markup, you can increase your visibility on Search with rich snippets. E.g., these are FAQs, rating, and review schema markup:
If you’re interested in learning more about schema markup, you can refer to this resource.
Link building is considered one of the most effective SEO strategies — because it’s an important ranking factor for Google as well. If other "prominent websites" link your brand’s content to their website, Google considers it a positive signal for your website’s authoritativeness and trustworthiness.
While social media is not a direct ranking factor in SEO, it does help your SEO efforts with content distribution and expand your reach. Once you have a solid presence on social media, you can leverage it to share links and enhance your brand awareness.
We mentioned the importance of link building. Guest posting is one of the great methods for obtaining external inks. Collaborate with other businesses that have a similar target audience and offer them to write a guest post.
It could also help their audience. And in exchange, you can introduce them to your audience through their guest posting or email newsletter. So, it’s a win-win for you and the other brand.
Press release is an official statement related to any important or newsworthy updates that are shared with news media. It helps your brand to share such announcements with a broader audience and gives your an opportunity to boost your SEO.
To make the most out of your press release, make sure to include the right keywords and optimize them for search engines. Here are some of the events when you may consider publishing a press release:
This one is very important if you want to target local customers, especially for businesses like restaurants, clothing stores, etc. It’ll help customers easily find your business through online search.
Learn more: Shopify for Restaurants: How to Do It Right?
Create a Google Business Profile ((formerly known as Google My Business). With a Google Business Profile, you can share important information such as your phone number, business hours and showcase what your business does with pictures and other elements.
Contact Us page may also affect your store’s SEO. Make sure you’re properly using the meta title and description on the Contact Us page to optimize it for SEO.
Customers may visit the Contact Us page to check the authenticity of your brand or company. Provide the necessary details to your visitors such as your business address, phone number, and email address.
Pro tip: GemPages offers an extensive library of pre-built templates, helping you build a professional looking and informative Contact Us page with ease.
With GemPages, you can effortlessly build a Contact Us page