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Updated: August 29, 2022

The Complete Shopify SEO Checklist for Ecommerce in 2022

Wondering how you can create a successful online store for selling products in 2021? Well, you've landed at the right place. Shopify is a pre-eminent eCommerce platform lauded by business owners for its low startup costs, user-friendly interface, and effortless customization.

Whether you’re weighing up website builders or want to brush up on search engine optimization, we’re here to address the ins and outs of eCommerce SEO and the advantages of building a Shopify site.

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What Is Shopify?

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that provides a complete solution to businesses wanting to sell products online. Founded in 2006 by Tobi Lutke, a programmer and entrepreneur who created it out of a desire to sell snowboards, Shopify has gone on to become a leading eCommerce platform for all businesses.

The internet’s vast reach, including smartphone connectivity, lets consumers shop from any location at any time, so long as they have a stable internet connection. This has opened the retail sluice gates because target audiences are no longer confined to one geographic area.

There is no limit to where and to whom you can sell to. From North America to Australia and Europe, it’s possible to ship goods all over the world. Using eCommerce platforms like Shopify, not only processes orders efficiently but also attracts website visitors.

However, just creating a Shopify site won’t cut it. There are an estimated 12 million to 24 million eCommerce sites across the globe, so you have to spend time developing an SEO strategy for search engines and customers can find you.

In this post, we’re sharing a complete eCommerce SEO checklist for Shopify to make your store search engine ready. So, without any further ado, let’s get started!

What Is Shopify SEO?

What is Shopify SEO?

SEO is the process of taking steps to make a website or piece of content rank higher on Google. Shopify SEO achieves the same thing, it just focuses on the eCommerce aspect of things, like optimizing product descriptions, headlines and metadata, as well as navigational and website link structure.

The main difference is that with Shopify SEO each product sold should have a dedicated landing page designed to draw traffic from search engines. When customers search for products or services you sell, you want your product pages to rank first.

Certainly, you can get traffic from paid search (paid ads), but SEO costs less and delivers better results over time. It works 24/7 once implemented and while it does require maintenance, you won’t spend as much money on it as you would with pay-per-click advertising.

Additionally, ad blockers and ad blindness reduce the effectiveness of paid search. Besides, every eCommerce site has to have SEO, regardless of additional investments in paid advertising.

The main advantages of Shopify SEO, along with driving revenue, are attracting qualified leads, improving brand awareness and creating lasting value for your business and its customers.

Is Shopify a Good Platform for Your SEO and Business Needs?

Shopify as a business platform

Shopify, undoubtedly, is a great eCommerce platform. Many consider it the gold standard of eCommerce. Determining whether it’s appropriate for your online store is more about understanding your business needs.

We recommend choosing a platform that facilitates a powerful online storefront and has strong customer support that makes you part of a community where you can learn and get help from experts.

When determining which eCommerce platform to use, ask yourself the following:

  • How much time and money do I have to build a website?
  • How easy is the platform to use?
  • Does the platform have marketing and sales tools?
  • Is it SEO and mobile-friendly?
  • Are there customizable templates?
  • Will the platform cope if my business scales?
  • Is it safe and secure?
  • Do developers know how to work with the platform?

As a Shopify Partner, we have built beautiful and functional eCommerce stores for many clients. Shopify suits every type of online store regardless of the size. Its pricing is competitive, while its customer service is the best in the game.

The only reasons you might not pick Shopify is if you want to access your store’s underlying code, or you want a free solution. To be perfectly honest, free versions won’t provide the full functionality businesses need to operate at their peak. So, there’s no substantive reason not to use Shopify.

A Brief Guide to Shopify Search Engine Optimization

Guide to Shopify SEO image

There are four components to SEO that build on and complement each other. The stronger the connections between technical SEO, on-page, off-page SEO and local SEO, the better. For brevity’s sake, we’ll address the most critical aspects of Shopify SEO.

Neat Ecommerce Site Structure

Shopify comes with several SEO-friendly features that help you structure your Shopify site in the best way possible. Most of the optimizations you’ll carry out on your Shopify store improve the shopping experience and encourage visitors to browse through your product pages for longer.

The best way to improve your online store’s site structure is to keep it simple. This ensures both visitors can find products easily, and search engines can properly crawl and rank your website and its associated web pages.

Use the following site structure for all your online store:

Homepage >> Category Pages >> Sub-Category Page >> Product Pages

And don’t forget about internal linking. When you embed internal website links on your website pages, you solidify your store’s structure. We often come across clients whose website’s have orphan pages, meaning there are no links pointing to them.

This makes it problematic for search engine crawlers to understand how they related to the rest of your domain. Chances are, they won’t be found online. Even an orphan page with great content won’t have a high search ranking.

Finally, a Shopify site must be user-centric. Having an “about us” and “contact us” page boosts credibility. So does a blog with more resources to educate customers about your products and services.

We also recommend creating an XML sitemap and adding it to Google Search Console. It’s a file that lists your website’s important pages, making sure Google finds and crawls them all.

Do Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of finding out which words and phrases (keywords) your target audience uses to search online. If you’re an HVAC company, for example, your potential clients might search for “HVAC company Chicago” or “common HVAC problems.”

The goal is then to include these keywords in your website and webpage copy so that when users type them in Google, the search engine ranks your website. It seems simple in theory, but plenty of strategic tactics go into keyword research.

Marketers don’t just guess random words, they use tools like Google Keyword Planner to determine which target keywords will improve a Shopify store rank. When you conduct keyword search, you’re looking for a range of keywords that match user intent along the sale’s funnel.

We generally classify all keywords (no matter their length) into four main categories of intent: commercial, transactional, informational, and navigational.

A consumer wanting to buy a new stove will do research before making a purchase. So, the keywords they type in the beginning will be different from when they reach the end of the buying cycle. For instance, compare “best stoves 2022” to “buy Samsung gas stove”.

A customer makes a range of decisions, influenced by marketing, before settling on a brand.

Optimize Headings and Product Descriptions

headings and product descriptions optimization

Intense online competition merits quality content and on-page optimization wherever possible, including headings. Great product and content headings capture a reader’s attention.

Your product pages are the core of eCommerce effectiveness and should have:

  • Multiple high-quality images (The more angles the better.)
  • Compelling product descriptions (with keywords if possible).
  • Customer reviews (They act as social proof.)
  • Related products (These boost purchases and average order value.)
  • Relevant product details (Make these as detailed as possible, so customers have all the information they to make a purchase.)

Your webpage copy should have a clear structure. Strategic use of headings and subheadings makes it easier for users to read your content and find what they’re looking for.

Lastly, don’t forget to insert the right keywords!

Use Product Variant Pages

Products with variants are those based on the same model with some aspects that differ from one another. They offer customers various purchase options like different colors, sizes, and dimensions. For example, t-shirts available in different cuts and colors.

In Shopify, you can add a list of variants for a product on your product details page. It’s essential to list variants because if you sell a variety of t-shirts, but a customer is looking for a black t-shirt, they won’t find it unless you’ve included it as one of your t-shirt variants.

Product variants increase sales because they give all products greater visibility and help low-ranked products show up on the same page, thus improving conversion rates and SEO.

Clean Website URLs

All eCommerce sites need to have clean and readable URLs, by which we mean something like this:

www.secondhandgoodschicago.com

And not something like:

www.secondhandgoods.com/?locID=123&tag=as8sss9998

Messy URLs interfere with organic traffic information in analytics software and appear spammy, especially if the URL is abnormally long.

Clean URLs are preferred by people. The idea is to deliver enhanced usability and help users remember and share your website URL more easily. Simultaneously, clean URLs facilitate a search engine’s ability to match page content to relevant queries.

As you can imagine, indexing a clean URL is easier. Most URLs are usually one to three words and sometimes contain a target keyword, although this isn’t always possible, nor the end of the world if it doesn’t. It’s generally not recommended to stuff keywords into your URL purely for SEO purposes.

Fast Page Speed

The loading speed of website pages impacts sales. Consumers spend more time and money on websites that load fast, under two seconds to be exact!

Research shows bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who enter a website and then leave without having done anything) increases by 32% when a page loading time increases from one to three seconds, and climbs to 90% when a page loads between one and five seconds.

Websites taking up to 10 seconds or longer have a shocking 123% bounce rate.

If you’ve ever been frustrated with a slow website, you’ll know it’s the last thing you want your customers to experience.

Web hosting, large images and files, and plugins can slow down site speed. You can use Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool or Pingdom to assess your eCommerce sites’ speed.

Fixing site speed is usually best left to technical SEO specialists, like us, as there may be some coding involved.

Get ahead of the game. Optimize your website for maximum revenue growth
Get ahead of the game. Optimize your website for maximum revenue growth

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Get ahead of the game. Optimize your website for maximum revenue growth

Delete Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is the same or similar content that appears on two or more unique URLs. It’s bad for Shopify SEO because it confuses Google and impacts link equity. The search engine won’t know which of the two URLs to rank first. It’s also possible the original page won’t rank higher.

Now, it’s complicated because duplicate content can technically be a quote or a product description. Due to the staggering amount of content on the web, it’s also unrealistic to expect zero duplication.

This issue can be solved with 301 directs and canonical tags. 301 directs redirect signals from one URL to another one. Google will automatically assign link authority to a new page with a 301 direct.

Canonical tags are snippets of HTML code that tell search engines a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. They are best for external duplicate content. For instance, if you’re republishing an article from your site to another platform.

Raise Domain Authority

Domain authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score that predicts how successful a site is when it comes to search engine results.

According to Moz, the software company that developed the metric, DA authority is calculated by measuring over 40 signals. Some of which include:

  • Shopify SEO in general
  • Social signals (engagement on social media platforms)
  • Website content quality
  • Relevancy, quality, and the volume of incoming links

Essentially, all aspects play a role in DA. One that we haven’t discussed is off-page SEO. It’s the most challenging to get right because it’s everything that happens outside your website, i.e., things you can influence but not wholly control.

This includes link building, content marketing, social media marketing, guest posts and anything PR-related. Hiring a digital marketing agency can really help with these technical and branding aspects of Shopify SEO.

Use Shopify Analytics

Shopify’s integrated analytics report on customer acquisition and behavior, as well as inventory, marketing, profits and sales. The point of analytics is to use data to optimize all facets of business performance.

Utilized correctly, valuable insights from data can reduce overheads and improve sales. Analytics offers a comprehensive overview of business performance. They tell the whole story of why marketing tactics work or don’t work and reveal where you can make measurable improvements.

Shopify has a thorough analytics guide on how to read and customize its reposts.

How to Improve Shopify Store User Experience

How to improve Shopify user experience

Improving user experience on your Shopify store is fairly straightforward. You must ensure that your site uploads fast, renders fast, easily, and properly on all mobile devices, and has a responsive design. Furthermore, make sure the images used on the Shopify store are optimized for page speed.

Google gives more preference to websites that have fast, responsive Shopify themes. This is because responsive themes provide a better user experience. As we mentioned earlier, smartphone usage has penetrated the market. Therefore, a Shopify store that loads on any kind of screen size or mobile device is more likely to attract customers.

Optimize Product Pages for Search Engines

Once you have a list of keywords that you want your Shopify store to rank for, you should use a top-down approach to optimize your Shopify Store. What we mean is you must optimize your homepage, main product collections, and top-selling product pages first.

These are the most profitable pages on your Shopify Store. Since they provide the best conversions, it makes the most sense to tackle them first. Always optimize title tags and meta descriptions of categories and products. Do not forget to optimize the ALT text for all the product images.

Implement a Link Building Strategy

The number of backlinks your Shopify store has will also determine your search engine ranking. Search engines like Google want to provide value to their users. To achieve this, they are always on the lookout for content appreciated and cited by other websites in the same niche.

In other words, your website needs to have backlinks from reputable websites or higher authority sites. You can get backlinks by asking the product manufacturers to provide your store with a link on their websites. You can also reach out to influencers in your niche to create content around your products that generates links back to your Shopify store.

Rank Higher on Google with Content Marketing

High-performance content strategy development

Content marketing is an inbound marketing strategy that relies on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain customers. Original content should inform and delight your customers, empowering them to make educated purchases.

Whatever content you create, whether it’s videos or blog posts, it should always lead customers back to your website and encourage them to buy your products or take the next step in the sales funnel.

There are four steps to developing a high-performance content strategy:

  1. Analysis: Conduct industry and competitor research on what topics and content formats perform best with your target audience.
  2. Content strategy: Devise a plan with SMART goals. This includes knowing what your content will be about and how often you’ll publish it.
  3. Amplify: Determine which marketing channels you’ll use to get your message out there, and optimize them with SEO best practices.
  4. Measure: Gather data from your relevant analytics dashboards to see where you can further improve your marketing.

Great content is truly worth something and shareable. In that vein, you’ll want to spend time framing your marketing material. Always think in terms of the sales funnel. At what stage of the funnel is a piece of marketing content designed for and what sort of headline would attract a potential consumer at that stage?

The Best Shopify SEO Apps to Use

Shopify SEO Apps

A good Shopify SEO app should improve your business and help achieve your SEO goals. Most businesses benefit from using more than one. Below are our top-rated SEO tools.

1. Plugin SEO

Arguably the best in the business, Plugin SEO is a full-scale SEO tool designed to help your store drive traffic from search engines and troubleshoot any technical issues. With it, you can bulk edit SEO data like meta tags and descriptions, which is really handy for stores with massive inventories.

This plugin can be set up to deliver periodic SEO reports and integrates seamlessly with Google Search Console. Plugin SEO also detects and fixes broken links to recover free traffic, greatly improving your link building strategy.

2. Smart SEO

With this app, you get a handy tool that allows you to create templates for metadata generation. This template will act as a set of rules that Smart SEO will use to generate new tags when adding new products and pages to your store.

Essentially, it reduces the time needed to create metadata. Smart SEO also removes microdata. This is data, but in an old format, that you don’t really need to rank on a search engine results page. Smart SEO also helps generate image alt tags, allowing search engines to properly index your product images.

3. SEO Image Optimizer

Product images are a gigantic part of your Shopify store. You must optimize them for better Google image search results. Thanks to SEO Image Optimizer, you can quickly optimize the product images even if you don’t have any coding knowledge. Just ensure you use your target keywords in ALT tags for images.

4. Yoast

With 5 million active installations, Yoast is one of the most popular SEO tools for beginners looking to enhance their Shopify store. It’s packed full of features to help search engines and visitors get the most out of your website.

Yoast SEO checks in on all pages and provides actionable recommendations. Using the tool, you can make multiple edits with a single click. Not just that, your page SEO automatically updates itself with the latest Google algorithm.

5. SEMRush

SEMrush offers a 360-degree view of what your competitors are doing. You can find out what their top keywords are, which ones they’re ranking for, as well as their estimated traffic. The plugin also tells you how your website is performing in terms of keywords and traffic.

Another advantageous feature is that it alerts you to valuable backlink opportunities. You’ll quickly determine how well you’re building website authority and can improve your off-page SEO with this handy SEO tool.

How We Do Ecommerce SEO for Our Clients on Shopify

Comrade SEO Services on Shopify

At Comrade Digital Marketing Agency our team of Shopify SEO experts develop strategies tailored to your eCommerce store. Because no two Shopify stores are alike, we take the time to understand your business needs and goals before deciding on what work needs to be done.

Occasionally, this entails minor tweaks while at other times we build your store from the ground up. Since all our strategies are data-driven, we always look at stats and trends to ensure we’re helping you move in the right direction.

Our comprehensive SEO services include:

  • Keyword research and optimization
  • SEO analytics
  • Content marketing
  • On-page SEO
  • Technical SEO
  • Local SEO
  • Mobile-friendly optimization
  • Voice search optimization

We are constantly investigating how to optimize your website structure, page-tuning, and schema markup. We track the performance and progress of your eCommerce store at all times to ensure all new updates are implemented on your site in real-time.

If you want to grow your business smartly, with surefire results, transparency and trust, then we’d love to work with you. At Comrade Digital Marketing Agency, we never promise what can’t deliver.

Our SEO solutions are custom-designed for your businesses and industry landscape, with prices correlating to the aggressiveness of your specific SEO campaign.

Want to speak with an expert?
Want to speak with an expert?
Call us at (312) 265-0580

Work with Our SEO Experts

Your Shopify store reflects your brand, which is why it’s so important to invest in SEO and website design—both are needed to rank in search engine results pages, attract traffic and increase revenue.

We give equal attention to all aspects of SEO because each one contributes to SEO success. Comrade Web Digital Marketing Agency has a proven track record of improving monthly leads by 150% on average for each of our SEO clients. Contact us to get high-quality SEO services for your eCommerce store.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you would like to discuss your project, reach out to our specialists.

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About the Author
Stan Bogdashin
Stan co-founded Comrade Digital Marketing and serves as its marketing strategist and IT expert recruiter.
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