As an eCommerce solution, Shopify offers everything you need to set up a complete online store — including SEO features.
More than ever, websites are competing to rank on valuable keywords to drive quality traffic to their business. So if you want to rank your store on Google and get more organic traffic, Shopify makes it easy for you to optimize your store for search engines.
In this article, learn how to optimize your Shopify store for SEO in four easy steps. Let’s get started.
How To SEO Optimize Your Shopify Store?
In general, optimizing your website for search engines takes quite some work. But when you use Shopify, most of these are handled automatically. Essential SEO practices such as setting up your sitemap, robots.txt, heading hierarchies, and readable URLs are already applied.
However, few on-page optimization practices can’t be automated, and Shopify allows you to do them yourself with relative ease.
Step 1: Including Keywords
Keywords are still essential to help Google’s spiders understand your web content.
To get started, you must first conduct keyword research and gather the most valuable keywords you want to target.
You can use tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, or even Google to find juicy keywords. And once you know what keyword each of your pages should target, then you can proceed with placing them in these places:
(1) Titles and meta-description
The SEO title and meta description are the first things users read when they’re on the SERP. The key to writing compelling titles and descriptions is to make it descriptive so the reader knows what to expect, and most importantly, they should include your target keyword.
Here’s how you find the options on Shopify:
For the homepage: Go to your Shopify main menu and click on “Preferences.”
The first thing you’ll see will be the empty boxes of your homepage’s title and meta descriptions. Fill them out following the best practices and save the changes.
For product pages: In the main Shopify’s menu, go to your product list.
Here, find the product you want to optimize and click it. Go down to the bottom of the page until you find the “search engine listing preview,” it will show you the option to edit it.
Paste the title and description you carefully wrote, and click save.
(2) Image Alt Texts
Since Google cannot read images directly, you need to add alt texts to your images to make it readable. Also, this is a good opportunity to add keywords.
On Shopify, you can quickly do it like this:
For product images: Head to your product list and open one page. Scroll a little bit and you’ll instantly spot the product’s images. So go and click on one of them and select the “edit alt text” option.There, write an alt text that describes the product while including related keywords highly relevant and click save.
There, write an alt text that describes the product while including related keywords highly relevant and click save.
For collections: If you have product collections or similar, you can do the same. Go to your collection’s page, and find the featured images around the bottom-right side of the page. Click on edit and then edit image alt text. Then, you’ll be able to write a highly-relevant text that contains your target keywords and that accurately describes the image.
(3) Page title and body content
Audit your page’s content to see where you can include your target keywords.
The most important places are the H1 title and the first 100 words of your content. For the rest, make sure to provide the best content for the search intent (avoid stuffing keywords at all cost!), and if you insert keywords, make sure it adds value to the content.
Step 2: Improve Site's Structure
Site structure involves everything related to how your pages are linked together. It is critical for user experience and thus relevant for search engines.
To enhance your site structure, make sure to:
- Optimize navigation. Make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for with descriptive UI and menus. As a rule, no page should be three clicks away from the homepage.
- Change image file names. Avoid uploading images with IMG001201230.jpg as the file name. Instead, rename it with your alt text and re-upload them to the website.
- Write descriptive anchors for internal links. Hyperlinks are more relevant for Google if the anchor text includes “Nike’s running shoes” instead of “click here to buy.”
When doing this, Google robots will be more pleased when reading your sitemap.
Step 3: Submit a Sitemap
Although Shopify creates a sitemap file for your website automatically, it doesn’t submit it to Google Search Console.
A sitemap is a file where the overall structure of your website is laid out. Submitting it to your Google Search Console account makes it easier and faster for Google to find your website and index it.
For this, you must do the following:
(1) Take a look at your sitemap file
You can find your website’s sitemap as you read this. You just need to type your domain and add “/sitemap.xml,” and it will show you something similar to this:
Your Shopify sitemap should look like this, or else you might have some problems.
(2) Verify your domain for Google Search Console
Go to Google Search Console website to verify your property. There are multiple methods for doing this, but the most reliable is to verify your domain through DNS records.
(Tip: you need to disable password protection so Google can have access to your sitemap).
(3) Submit your sitemap
Once you’ve verified your website and have access to the search console panel, head to the menu and click on sitemaps. You’ll see an empty box where you’ll need to insert your sitemap’s URL (the one you typed before) and hit submit. It will show you whether it was a success or if there’s an error with your website (errors happen on Shopify sites that are password blocked).
Step 4: Install an SEO Shopify App
Installing an SEO app will let you make an audit of your website’s performance on rankings and loading speed so you can optimize even further.
Note: Your site’s speed is essential for SEO, so avoid bumping your pages with heavy images or installing way too many apps to your Shopify site.
(1) Go to Shopify App store and search for SEO apps
(2) Browse through the list of apps and select the one that suits your needs. Install the app and try it. If it doesn't suit your needs, uninstall and try another.
If you need particular functionalities that you can’t find in the store, try using an automation tool to make your life easier. Automation allows you to focus on more important work while the repetitive tasks get done on autopilot. Automate.io, for example, integrates multiple apps (including Shopify) to give you a never-ending amount of options to optimize your business. Here are a few use cases you can try:
The possibilities are endless when integrating Shopify with other apps.