We are living in an interesting time, where the availability of smartphones, high-speed internet, digital marketing channels, and various eCommerce platforms have made it easy for anyone to start their own business.
Shopify is among such widely popular platforms, powering more than a million small to large-sized enterprises worldwide. It enables entrepreneurs to leverage its capabilities to scale their businesses in no time. However, the level of competition is daunting, and you must not only make a visually stunning eCommerce store but also employ effective SEO techniques to increase your site visibility, traffic, sales, and revenue.
SEO is the most budget-friendly and effective technique you can utilize to enhance the prospects of your online store. If you own a Shopify e-commerce store or have a cost-effective website, then you must use the Shopify SEO Checklist to make your website adequately.
In this blog, we are going to explore the ultimate Shopify SEO checklist. If followed religiously, it can ensure higher search engine ranking and improved organic traffic to your online store.
What Is Shopify SEO?
As we know, SEO is a method of using various steps to optimize a website, so that it performs well in search engine results. The Shopify SEO can be applied to any website that uses Shopify CMS. It helps e-commerce retailers to gain more organic traffic and keyword ranking.
It optimizes your content so that a search engine identifies it as relevant to the queries associated with your services and products.
General SEO Challenges experienced by E-Commerce sites
E-commerce websites usually experience the following challenges that can adversely impact search engine performance, which results in low traffic and revenue.
Inefficient Website Architecture: Search Engines rank an optimized website structure higher, which allows users to navigate the site seamlessly. As e-commerce websites contain many pages, it is usual for e-commerce retailers to suffer from inefficient website architecture.
Duplicate Content: An e-commerce website may contain autogenerated pages and various other pages with identical content. Such pages can lead to duplicate content issues which in turn diminishes the website ranking.
Thin Content: Modern search engines prefer long-form and in-depth content. Thin content pages have little or no value to the site visitors. Search Engines consider them as automatically generated, affiliate content, doorway pages, or stolen content from other websites. Such pages reduce the overall SEO ranking of your e-commerce website.
Not using Schema: Schema markup helps search engines to understand your page content and promote them accordingly. Schema converts your unstructured data into structured data. It helps the search engines to crawl efficiently and I
mprove the website ranking while other SEO best practices are in mind.
To prevent the above-mentioned challenges for your e-commerce website, you must follow the given Shopify SEO checklist.
An Ultimate Shopify SEO Checklist
You need to understand that SEO is not a one-shot process, it needs a long-term strategy and effective implementation throughout the lifetime of your e-commerce website.
Here we have compiled a checklist that contains several one-time optimization steps, along with numerous steps that need to be repeated whenever you incorporate a new service, product, or page into your website.
Table of Contents:
- Always opt for a Custom Domain Name
- Select a Responsive Theme
- Install Shopify SEO Applications
- Setup Google Search Analytics
- Setup Google Search Console
- Optimize Your URLs
- Always Map Your Keywords to Content Types
- Optimize Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
- Optimize the Alt Text
- Create An SEO-Friendly Navigation Menu
- Identify and Fix Crawl Errors
- Fix Broken Links
- Insert The Products Schema
- Add Product or Service Reviews
- Opt for LSI keywords and Synonyms
- Internal linking
- External linking
Always opt for a Custom Domain Name
It is always good to opt for a custom domain name for your business. It gives better visibility to your website and ensures it remains at the top of the SERP result. Custom domains look more enticing and professional, and they offer higher SEO performance if coupled with higher CTRs.
You can buy custom domains from any third-party domain provider or Shopify itself. Once you purchase a custom domain, you can configure it under the Domains menu of your Shopify account.
Select a Responsive Theme
Website load time and Page speed are two vital parameters that ensure better search engine ranking. You may use captivating and tempting themes to enhance the look and feel of your website. But it comes with a tradeoff, which is poor load time and page speed.
It is always recommended to implement a theme that is optimized for higher performance and speed. The theme must be responsive so that it can perform well on mobile devices and other handheld devices. The responsive theme ensures search engine indexing of your mobile pages.
Install Shopify SEO Applications
We have various Shopify SEO applications, which can ensure complete adherence to best SEO practices across your website. Some of the most popular are mentioned below:
- Smart SEO: It is an affordable tool with lots of SEO-specific configuration values.
- Plug-In SEO: It is a powerful SEO tool, which is quite like the Yoast SEO for WordPress.
- SEO Pro: It is used to implement advanced search engine optimizations and Schema.
Setup Google Search Analytics
Although you have a Shopify Analytics dashboard, which gives you a glance at your e-commerce metrics. It is always beneficial to set up Google Analytics, which helps you understand the movement of website traffic and user behavior once they arrive on your website.
Google Analytics is a free tool and it’s a must-have tool for any website owner. You can create your Google Analytics account and perform the following actions :
- Submit your sitemap
- Add Google Analytics tracking code to your website
Setup Google Search Console
It is a free service offered by Google, which helps website owners to monitor and manage visitor traffic and troubleshoot website visibility issues on Google search results. This tool offers significant data about your website’s traffic, performance, and technical issues.
- Google Search Console also enables you to carry out the following SEO tasks:
- Identify technical glitches and raise an alert
- Submit sitemaps and URLs for index coverage and Google crawling
- Validate the robot.txt file to identify any errors
Optimize Your URLs
You can follow some URL-specific best practices, which will improve your SEO rankings.
- Keep The URLs simple and short
- Always Incorporate your target keyword
- Avoid unwarranted words like “the”, “and”, “or”, etc.
The Shopify CMS allows you to edit the URLs in the Search Engine Listing Preview.
Always Map Your Keywords to Content Types
Your website may contain various types of pages, blog posts, product pages, categories, and a homepage. Every page has a different purpose in your sales funnel and they could use different keywords.
- Upper-funnel keywords – These keywords have less commercial intent but higher search volumes.
- Middle-of-the-funnel keywords – These keywords have slightly less search volume than the upper-funnel keywords, but these keywords are searched by the users who are already involved in the sales cycle.
- Bottom-of-the-funnel keywords have the lowest search volume but high commercial value. Users search for these queries to shop.
Optimize Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
The Title tags and Meta tags are widely considered the two most important SEO elements. A Title tag indicates the title of a webpage and this is what an end-user sees in SERPs. Whereas the Meta Tag is a snippet of text that defines the page content.
You can follow the below steps :
- Always use a single H1 tag on your webpages
- Google displays the first 50-60 characters of a page title, hence you must ensure your page titles are under 60 characters, so they are displayed completely on SERP.
Optimize the Alt Text
Usually, an e-commerce store website contains hundreds or thousands of images to showcase your products and services. Though, you must keep in mind that search engines can’t see your images.
You must employ a method to communicate the vital information of your images to the search engine. Alt Text is a phrase that can be injected as an attribute in your website so that search engines could identify the content and nature of the images. Alt Text also enables users with visual impairments to use your website.
Create An SEO-Friendly Navigation Menu
Menus play a crucial role in user navigation and search engine optimization. From the user’s perspective, the menus tell the visitor which pages are considered important on your website. Menus offer them an easy way to access those pages. Menus also tell search engine crawlers about the page structure of your website.
You can follow these steps to improve Navigation Menus
- Be descriptive while naming Menu items
- Evade format-based navigation
- Avoid Drop-Down Menus
Identify and Fix Crawl Errors
Crawl errors thwart the search engines from observing your website accurately, this leads to the lowering of your website ranking in search results. You can use the Google Search Console tool to detect any crawl errors in your website.
The crawl errors are generally listed under the Coverage report. Your technical team can review and take appropriate actions to mitigate those errors.
Fix Broken Links
Broken links not only diminish the customer experience but also impacts your website’s search engine ranking. A website with many broken links gives the impression that it is not up-to-date, and is unlikely to offer useful information for the searchers. Broken Links also send negative impressions to Google and may harm your Shopify SEO.
You can use various SEO tools such as Screamingfrog and Ahrefs to detect broken links on your website. Once the errors are identified, you can remove or update the broken link to enhance your SEO scores.
Insert The Products Schema
Inserting schema into your product pages will make them fetch better search results, improve engagement with intended users, and enhance overall visibility. You can use different methods to insert structured data into your e-commerce website.
Manual method – Go to Themes > Click on Action > Edit Code.
You can utilize the schema generator tool to create your markup and insert all the relevant properties.
Add Product or Service Reviews
It is always beneficial to let your users add positive reviews on your products and services, as it influences others to click or purchase that item.
You can install the Product Reviews application from the Shopify store to integrate the product reviews on your website. This application transmits the structured data information to Google, so that yellow stars emerge with your SERP result. These reviews can transform the CTRs and result in more clicks to your online store.
Opt for LSI keywords and Synonyms
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords improve the SEO scores of your website. These are phrases or words that are semantically related to the primary keywords on your web pages. If your webpage is about Bags, then LSI keywords could be “sling bags”, “handbags”, “trolley bags”, “school bags”, “purses”, etc.
Synonyms offer an innovative method to implement keyword research and SEO. It is a word or phrase that is similar or related to the primary keyword on your webpage. You can place them in Headings and subheadings to improve the customer perception of the products.
For example, if your webpage is about “dog food”, then synonyms might be “food for pet dogs,” “food for dogs,”, “puppy food”, or “pet food”.
Internal Linking of your web pages is an extremely important factor that enhances or diminishes the customer experience. If your product or service pages are orphaned, then it will be difficult for search engines to find them and rank them.
It is important to have a correct site structure for your website. You can achieve this by setting the categorized order with the internal linking. Linking to the relevant and converting pages can certainly amplify your sales.
There is a general perception that adding external links may take the users away from your website. However, on the contrary, the external links help users to find more information or reviews about the products or services not available on your website.
Always remember a simple concept, if your web page offers valuable information, the users will visit your website again. So, always insert relevant external links to your web pages.
Well, there is no doubt that SEO offers an outstanding way of cutting down customer-acquisition costs. It is always recommended to learn the basics of Shopify SEO, as it helps you to follow the best practices to outperform your competitors.
Effective SEO optimization can assist you in driving more organic traffic and user interaction to your Shopify site. You must also keep in mind that improved user experience can result in an enhanced Google ranking for your Shopify site.
All you need is to follow this checklist religiously. We are pretty much sure that you will be rewarded by Google and avail more site traffic and improved keyword ranking.