Before 2020, ecommerce was already growing pretty fast.
Now, with shoppers’ fear of contracting COVID-19, it has never been a better time to sell online. One of the most popular e-commerce platforms to do so is Shopify.
In this post, I’ll give you some SEO tips for Shopify stores so you can boost search visibility.
1. Match search intent.
The number one step in SEO is keyword research. Now, by searching keywords, chances are you are already considering, unconsciously, search intent. However, that’s not always the case and you must know what is search intent to optimize your SEO for Shopify.
Long story short, it’s all about being aware of what people expect to find when they put certain words in the search bar. You might think “it’s obvious: if they put X, they want X”. However it’s really not that simple and sometimes it can be tricky.
X often has many variables: XY, XZ, XC. Do you have a clothes store and think “little black dress” is perfect for one of your items? Well, not if the 2011 film “Little black dress” just came out or the song “Little black dress” by One Direction is popular again.
So please, take a look at the top ten results on the SERP and make sure you’re matching that search intent. You’ll also want to aim to transactional intent if you’re looking for keywords for your store and informational intent if they are for your blog.
2. Keep your site secure.
In case you didn’t read about it yet, Google recently announced a set of changes to its algorithm and the search signals they prioritize for SEO. One of them is safe browsing.
Security is vital for all types of websites, especially for ecommerce sites, which can be a lucrative target for cybercriminals.
Luckily, Shopify hits almost every ‘best practice’ out of the park without any need for customizations. They check quite a few boxes like:
- having GDPR-compliant features
- having two-step authentication
- meeting all six categories of PCI Standards
- allowing you to manage staff permissions
- and enforcing the latest in TLS encryption protocols.
Pretty impressive, right?
Still, there are some additional practices you should put into action to keep your site 100% secure:
- Use an advanced fraud detection tool.
- If you’re modifying your theme, enforce code management standards.
- Double-check your store has SLL Certificate activated.
3. Add long-tailed keywords.
After you considered search intent and find your keyword, it’s time you move to the next step: add long-tail variations.
More often than not, people focus on short, generic keywords because they are easier to identify and research. But it’s more likely that you rank for long-tailed keywords and get clicks from search engines at a much higher rate than for shorter ones.
How can you find long-tailed variations for your keyword?
You can use a tool like the Google Keyword tool. Or just go to the bottom of the search results where Google lists related searches.
Then choose the modifiers that apply to you and incorporate them into your copy. That way your page has the potential to rank for a wider range of queries.
4. Optimize your structure.
Our fourth tip to optimize SEO for Shopify is to have a clear and organized site.
Make your site as instinctive to navigate as possible. Users should effortlessly find what they are looking for and search engines easily crawl your site.
Products need to be only a couple of clicks away from your homepage. To achieve this, structure your site into categories and give them a hierarchy to help users find products. Keep in mind that Shopify calls categories “collections” and they don’t work exactly like usual categories.
Another way to facilitate visitors finding items is to include a search box on your page. Search boxes are super useful. Nowadays, even blogs have them and they are essential for an ecommerce site.
5. Use Schema markup.
Schema markup is semantic vocabulary you can add to your site’s HTML so search engines can read and understand your content better. This also makes your content more eligible for rich results. Sitemaps, which I’ll cover later in this post, serve the same purpose.
You can use structure data to mark items like products, videos, events, and more. To ensure you are using schema tags to mark the right content on your site, read Google’s guidelines.
There are two main ways to add schema on Shopify: manually or installing a plugin. The second one is the easiest way and apps usually generate structured data in JSON-LD format, Google’s favorite.
6. Know how to sell globally.
We all like to think big. Your local business growing and selling its products overseas… What a dream! With ecommerce and platforms like Shopify, that dream can come true. If you are considering selling to other countries or already are doing so, there are some things to take into account.
Although it’s tempting to target the whole world if you are just starting out, pick one or two markets at first. Ideally, markets that have a similar culture and share the same language.
Then go to Shopify’s settings and add the new country or region to offer prices in your buyer’s currency.
An international domain is also important. Have local-specific domains.
No matter how many languages you speak, nothing compares to your native language. Give users that sort of comfort by translating your store into their language.
Here at BforBloggers we usually recommend apps to save you time and money in different tasks. However, language isn’t a science, it’s an art. Better hire a professional.
Once you set different language versions of a page, let users switch the page language!
Finally, use sitemaps to tell Google which pages apply to which locations or languages.
7. Optimize speed.
Selling is all about creating urgency. “Buy my book today to get a 30% off”, “Get your new iPhone before anyone else”, you get it. There’s no time to doubt, it’s all pure instinct.
Imagine if your potential buyer clicks on that nice shoes and they take ages to load! They’ll probably regret it, it must be a sign of the universe that I don’t have to spend my money in those shoes.
BOOM. You lost a client.
Buying your shoes needs to be something they do in the blink of an eye. So implement wise practices to increase speed such as reducing the size of your images.
As it’s becoming clearer and clearer, working on your SEO for Shopify stores isn’t that hard thanks to Shopify’s own features. The platform even includes a built-in blog feature and the option to link to an external blog if you host it on a third-party platform such as WordPress or Blogger.
Writing blog posts is an amazing way to earn more exposure and drive more traffic to your ecommerce. Why? Because it builds trust, one of the key values in marketing. Even Shopify has a blog of its own.
Here are some tips to start blogging:
- Create useful content. Think about your target audience and their needs, write how-tos, gift guides, and roundup posts. If you provide value, they’ll share it with others.
- Link to products. You’re writing to drive sales so link to your products in your blog posts or use a popup that includes a coupon. Anything that connects to your ecommerce in some way.
- Write often. Search engines love updated sites so keep writing! The internet is a vast place where you can find a lot of inspiration.
9. Set 301 pages.
When your product goes out of stock, you need to send visitors away from that page and onto another automatically. This is done with a 301 redirect.
If you change page URLs with 301 redirects, both users and search engines are directed to the correct page with a seamless transition. However, be careful not to create a chain of 301 redirects or you might have problems with ranking.
In Shopify, adding a 301 redirect is very simple: just go to Online Store > Navigation > URL Redirects. In there you’ll write the old URL and the new one.
301 pages are also great to replace 404 pages and expired content.
10. Optimize images.
Paying attention to your images it’s another way to improve your presence in search engines. It sounds like a very small factor in SEO for Shopify or any platform but they are crucial in a lot of aspects:
- Speed. As we mentioned before, an image too large will slow down your site. You want to try to keep your image file size below 70 kb. Image editing tools usually have the option to reduce image size.
- Search results. Including a proper description of the image with relevant keywords in the alt tag will increase the chances of your image appearing in search results.
- Accessibility. Visitors with vision trouble that use screen readers will appreciate an image description.
- Attention. A picture is worth a thousand words. Adding eye-catching and high-quality images draws people’s attention to your products.
11. Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console.
Like schema markup, sitemaps help search engines understand your content. Shopify stores automatically generate a sitemap file with all the links to all the pages of your website.
If you are selling to a global audience and have international domains for each region, you’ll have sitemap files generated for all of your domains. You can find your sitemap files at the root of your domain, such as chocolate-paradise.com/sitemap.xml.
Now that you found your files, you want to submit them to Google Search Console. This will make Google crawl and index your site more easily.
To submit your sitemap, just:
- Sign in to Google Search Console.
- Click Sitemaps.
- Click in the Add a new sitemap section and submit your domain’s sitemap file name.
And it’s done. The process can take some time, though.
12. Optimize your link-building campaign.
Search engines love backlinks. Internal and external links give your Shopify store more chances to appear first on Google’s result page.
A simple way to get traffic coming from other pages is by creating a profile of your store on Amazon, Yelp, and similar websites. Social media is also a great place as long as you automate it so it doesn’t consume all your time.
Additionally, it’s recommended to approach the press or an influencer with who you can provide and share value. Just like keyword searching, taking a look at what your competition is doing worth of a link, it’s a great first step.
Product reviews and all sorts of social proof are also helpful.
13. Create a unique copy, every time.
Last but not least, don’t forget to write amazing copy.
Write meaningful product descriptions that explain both the product’s features and its benefits. Add some storytelling too. Don’t be afraid to share a mini-story to help users visualize using your product. Stories engage and persuade readers while social proof builds trust.
Page titles and meta descriptions are also important. Of course, if you are a big company, you probably have tons of items and writing specific copy for each seems daunting. But try using a theme and changing at least some parts. It will pay off.
In Shopify, they can be edited in Online Store > Preferences to change your Title and Description.
The goal here is not only to make your copy memorable for users but also to include some keywords for search engines.
Optimizing SEO for Shopify Stores has similarities to optimizing SEO for other sites.
However, Shopify is a great platform that facilitates the process A LOT. If you want software that takes some of the SEO work for you, try Shopify,
I’d love to read if you have used Shopify and if so, what do you think of our SEO tips?