Owning a Shopify store has many advantages over having a traditional storefront business, not the least of which is the incredibly low overhead. You can start a Shopify site for virtually nothing and establish a custom Shopify store for a few thousand dollars. Contrast that with the price of building out a storefront and you can see why this platform has become so popular.
But one of the biggest advantages of owning a store on the Shopify platform is that search engines, like Google and Bing, bring customers to your store 24-7, including holidays and weekends. But this is also the part that many entrepreneurs find intimidating. After all, you’re not the only store on the web, so how do you get yours to rank on search engine results pages (SERPS) and start making you money? The answer is Shopify SEO.
SEO for Shopify
Shopify is one of the most popular and reliable e-commerce platforms on the internet today. Search engine optimization helps your Shopify website to be found by Google, but there is a specific approach to make sure that none of your pages are competing against each other for search engine rankings.
Indexing And Web Crawlers
Google regularly crawls the Internet searching for new websites and data. When your website has been indexed by Google or Bing it will then appear in search results. But first, crawlers read your site map that contains the links to:
- Blog Posts
- Individual web pages on your website
Some things don’t get indexed, and you can specify that certain pages do not if they’re not the web pages you want ranking high on search engine results pages. For example, pages that you want to be blocked because you don’t want customers to see them on search results, such as shopping cart or checkout pages. These need to be built, but not necessarily to be indexed and found by customers on search engine results pages. It’s far more important for your users to see pages that actually sell your products! Therefore, you will want those pages to rank higher than web pages that you need to have active, but aren’t as effective at attracting new traffic and customers.
But, again, a lot of these web pages will have similar or duplicate content, so having control over which one appears on the first page of Google is crucial. This is a common problem Shopify website owners face.
All of the information on your website is organized in a hierarchy. Your root directory is the priority directory that all of your other web pages originate from. Within the root directory of your Shopify store is a file that you are unable to edit, access, or upload called robots.txt. This has a major impact on your SEO and certainly limits how much control you have over your website and how you want it to be indexed by Google. But there are a few methods to get around this issue and enjoy a little more control, such as using a “noindex” tag. This tag excludes a specific web page from being indexed.
This gets a lot more technical and quite tricky to understand. You can call us at On The Map Marketing to schedule a consultation, where we can take all of this coding information and make it easy for you to see how integrating our SEO for Shopify solutions can be a boon to your business!
Duplicate Content And How It Affects SEO
Canonical link URLs are HTML elements that specify a “preferred” web page when it notices that two or more have duplicate content. If that’s confusing, then think of this example that happens quite often:
- You have two URLs to the same page: onlineshop.com?birdfeeder=1234 and onlineshop.com/birdfeeders/1234.
- You offer a product in multiple colors, meaning that the content of each page is almost exactly the same for each color the product comes in. These are called variant URLs.
The user has no idea that they are 2 different URLs, so this doesn’t affect user experience or the interface. But it does make a difference to web crawlers. While both web pages have the same exact content—birdfeeders—how users got to each page is different. Shopify automatically sets up a home collection page, and the other link is the one that is clicked on from another page that links to that original one.
The canonical URL is the preferred website. But Shopify links to your non-canonical web pages by default. This creates an SEO conflict. On the one hand, you’re telling Google that there are duplicate links, but at the same time, you are signaling to index them rather than see them as the canonical URLs.
If all of this sounds confusing, it’s because it is. This is where our skilled developers at On The Map step in to save the day. This is a very common problem that can be resolved using an open-source program. This way all of your SEO efforts aren’t for naught. Because if Google isn’t being directed to the correct web page, then all of your hard work going into keyword research and creating fresh content is going to waste.
Variant URLs can be put to good use as well to boost your SEO rankings. You can use pages that use variants of the keywords your users use to find you and your competitors. This augments your other SEO efforts as Google indexes those web pages for some of your lower-performing but still strong keywords.
Factors That Negatively Affect Your Shopify SEO
An online store may not show up on search engine results pages if it is too new and has not been indexed yet by online web crawlers, which typically take one to two weeks. You will need to check your Google Search Console to see if your web pages have been indexed. Google admits that it does not index every website that it crawls, so if your website is still not indexed after two weeks then you will have to manually.
It makes sense to be using a trial account on Shopify, but such accounts may be affecting your SEO. Google will not index trial shops, so you will need to use another version.
Of course, if you are not using relative keywords in your contacts, and if you haven’t performed solid keyword research, of course, your SEO rankings won’t be high. This is where our cadre of writers at On The Map Marketing can help your business. By creating website content, blog posts, and even writing specific authority pages on a specific topic, our writers integrate the different keywords most likely to help you reach higher rankings online.
But nothing you write on your web page is helpful if there are better keywords that you’re not using. Thorough research is needed to ensure that you’re targeting long-chain and short-chain keywords that will help you stand out from your competitors. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a mom-and-pop shop, if you’re opening an online store, then SEO for Shopify is a must to help your business grow. Call the SEO for Shopify experts at On The Map Marketing today to get started!
What is Shopify SEO?
Before we can answer this question, we need to answer the question “what is SEO”? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is also the name of a multi-billion dollar marketing industry. When an individual enters a set of search terms into Google, Bing, or another search engine, they get hundreds of results ranked in a way that the search engine algorithm anticipates will be useful to the user. Statistically, most users only look at the first page results. And just like any other website, if you have a Shopify store, you need for it to appear on that first page if you want to be noticed. That’s why it’s essential to improve SEO on Shopify.
Improving Your Shopify Store’s Ranking in Search Engines
The real estate at the top of page one for search results is very valuable. In fact, there’s an $80 billion industry that’s built around achieving those rankings. With this in mind, all Shopify SEO campaigns—any SEO campaign for that matter—takes patience and careful planning to build. There are, however. some Shopify SEO tips that we’ve found effective when it comes to launching a Shopify store or improving the performance of an existing one.
Google Search Console Setup
Begin by setting up Google Analytics and Google Seach Console. This is an essential step in that it allows you you to track data, detect errors, and measure performance. These tools are free, and we find that they are invaluable to any successful Shopify SEO campaign.
Identifying and implementing the proper keywords and keyword phrases is a fundamental concept in SEO. If someone is searching for a product or service you offer, you want to make sure that your store shows up on the SERP. That means that you want Google to recognize that your Shopify Store sells the product that matches the search query.
Your pages should be appealing to both the individuals landing on them and the search engines that they used to find you. Here are a few optimizations that every e-commerce site should employ:
- Only use one H1 header per page. You can use multiple H2s, H3s, etc., but there should be only one H1.
- Keep your page title under 60 characters so that all of it shows up in the search engine preview.
- Use no more than 160 characters in your meta description. Search engines don’t preview any more than that. Also, try to use a call to action when appropriate.
- Include a keyword in your page URL.
- Use descriptive alt-tags and filenames for your images.
Inbound and outbound authoritative links are an important factor in Google’s ranking criteria. You should use links from highly authoritative sites to boost the authority of your own page. Something that may even be more valuable is external pages pointing to your site as an authority. There are Shopify SEO tools to build authority through links that go beyond the scope of this page, but one of our expert Shopify SEO specialists can walk you through those processes.
Content and Avoiding Duplicate Content
The content that you put on your page is of the utmost importance when it comes to improving your SEO on Shopify and to the overall user experience, but it must be unique. Unlike a shopper who might only visit a few of your pages, Google scours the entire site. If you have content that matches or nearly matches other content, Google will lower your ranking. Content should be clean, useful, well-written, and unique, so be careful not to be redundant when describing similar products.
Structured data is a standardized format to mark up the information about each web page. It serves to assist search engines like Google, Bing, and others to better understand what the web page is about. With proper structure data, search engines are able to determine the purpose of your page and decide whether or not it’s appropriate for the search criteria.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the differences between optimizing a website and optimizing a Shopify store?
Despite the fact that the formats are different, the optimization process is largely similar. Certain aspects of a Shopify store, however, are unique to the platform, such as product descriptions, payment pages, et cetera.
Can I improve SEO on Shopify?
There are absolutely things that you can do to improve the SEO on your Shopify site. For instance, you can make certain that your page is navigable, that your content is coherent, and that all of your links work. When it comes to more involved campaigns, you should partner with an experienced Shopify SEO company, like On The Map Marketing.
What is the Best SEO App for Shopify?
At On the Map Marketing, our Shopify SEO experts, use a variety of commercial SEO tools to examine websites, develop strategies, and monitor products. Some of the programs that we use are AHREFS, Screaming Frog, and Google Analytics, but there are many others.
How Does Google Rank Shopify Stores?
Google’s algorithms are proprietary, so no one outside of the company is certain of their ranking criteria. However, the same techniques that work with non-Shopify websites also work with Shopify stores. We have been very successful in building Shopify campaigns that propel Shopify stores to the top of search engine rankings.
To discuss using SEO for your Shopify store to help improve its performance, contact a marketing agency that has been working with search engine optimization since its inception. Call On The Map Marketing today.