Shopify is CMS seeing huge growth – with more than 1 million merchants worldwide currently using this platform to sell online. The platform has seen rising popularity thanks to its ease of use, powerful eCommerce tools, and valuable customer support for both new users and big companies. It’s easy to see why so many people use Shopify.
But, setting up a beautiful store is just the first step; the real problem is ensuring people will actually visit your website and buy something. Naturally, search engine ranking plays a big role in how shoppers find your store. The higher your store appears on search engines for your targeted keywords, the more traffic your store is going to have which will obviously lead to more sales.
You’ve more than likely come across the term SEO (search engine optimization) in the search for more traffic, but it is a broad field that evolves rapidly – even professionals have to relearn the basics repeatedly. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as sprinkling some keywords into your website content and hoping for a higher ranking.
So, let’s dive into the subject further. This guide will show you the key ways to increase your Shopify SEO ranking and optimize your online store. And, don’t worry, you can implement them easily without being an SEO guru!
Basics of Shopify SEO
First, let’s get something straight, Shopify SEO simply means optimization methods that are more suitable to Shopify stores than other platforms.
Shopify does have several SEO-friendly features available, but there is still so much more that you can do. To get the most out of this guide, there are a few things you need to have first:
- Be on a paid plan: Search engines won’t index stores on trial accounts, you can start using Shopify from just $29/month
- Make a custom domain: Don’t use the default domain of storename.myshopify.com, having your own domain attracts more visitors.
- Have a mobile-friendly theme: Most Shopify themes are mobile-responsive, but you can check again using Google’s tester.
- Create a Google Analytics account: Google Analytics helps you track the visitor traffic and is free, so you should use it.
- Be secure: Shopify provides SSL encryption to protect your customers’ data, just double-check if it is enabled.
- Submit a sitemap to Google: This is a recommended step by Ahrefs – find your Shopify store’s XML site map at yourstore.com/sitemap.xml and submit it to Google for a better chance to rank.
- Have Google Search Console: This tool shows your site’s ranked keywords and many more, and it takes just a few minutes to set up.
How to increase your Shopify SEO ranking
If you’ve done all of the above, here are the next key steps to take your Shopify SEO ranking to the next level:
1. Pick relevant keywords that actually sell
Keywords are the foundation of SEO success, your site can’t rank well in search results without a good set of keywords. But you can’t just use any keywords, you need to pick relevant keywords that actually get traffic and sell your products. This means spending some time doing keyword research.
To come up with the best keywords, you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What would you, as a customer, type in the search box to find your product? Maybe it’s ‘swimsuits’, ‘black t-shirts’, or ‘camera tripod’. You can also find inspiration for keywords from places like:
- Forums and subreddits related to your product
- Your buyer personas
- Social media hashtags related to your product
- Titles, image alt text, and meta descriptions used on competitive sites
There is a sweet spot when choosing the right keywords. It would be difficult to have a high ranking with broad keywords such as ‘shoes’ because they are dominated by large retailers. On the other hand, too detailed keyword phrases such as ‘brown oxford shoes with real leather’ may not have enough search volume.
The best approach for eCommerce keywords is targeting long-tail keywords – which are more specific and can focus on your product niche. They allow your store to get more traffic and to be found by motivated prospects. You also have less competition with these long-tail keywords to beat competitors on the search engines.
For example: If you are selling shirts, you should find long-tail keywords that focus on specific groups of people. You can use long-tail keywords such as ‘colorful shirts for plus-sized women’ or ‘where to buy plus-size shirts in New York.’
2. Create an optimized site structure
Good site structure is essential for users to navigate your content easily and quickly. It’s also helpful for search engines to understand your site, which can help you rank higher. How can you create a good site structure? You need to create a hierarchy, in which your main categories are at the top, followed by subcategories, followed by products.
For example, if you started an online shoe store, one of your categories could be Sneakers. Accordingly, you may have several subcategories, such as “Nike” and “Adidas”, both are brands of sneakers. Within these subcategories, you can show the products you sell.
In Shopify, category pages are called ‘collections’, and product pages are labeled as ‘products’. In order to create a collection page, go to Products> Collections, then choose ‘Create collection.’ For a product page, go to Products > All products and click ‘Add product’, you can add the product to a collection at this step. When you’re done, head to Web Store> Navigation to add the collections to your main menu.
In addition to the product and collection pages, you should include an About page and a Contact page on your store’s website. These pages tell shoppers and search engines that you are trustworthy and credible, so don’t overlook them.
Also, include a search box on your page. It will help visitors find what they are looking for, which is important for eCommerce optimization so you can earn more from the traffic you already have.
3. Make sure the website loads fast
Google already announced that page speed is an important ranking factor. Therefore, you should try to keep your site relatively fast. There are tools to check your store speed like GTMetrix or Google Page PageSpeed Insights.
Because you use the Shopify server, your page speed is somewhat quick already. But you can still do something to make sure it loads in a blink of an eye:
- Choose a fast theme: If you use themes from the Shopify Theme Store, you’ll be fine – however, sliders can slow down your speed.
- Compress your images: Use apps or tools to reduce the size of your images before uploading them to Shopify.
- Remove unnecessary apps: Most apps can add code to your store, which can slow your website performance, so only use the apps that are most necessary.
4. Build backlinks
Backlinks are used by all search engines to determine how your community and industry members appreciate your site. Consider it as word of mouth for SEO. It’s a well-known off-page optimization strategy that promotes your reputation and credibility.
The question is: how can you get better backlinks?
A good way to start is to find out who is currently affiliated with your competitors. The idea: if there are sites that have linked to many competitors, they are more likely to link to you. If it makes sense to do so, contact and ask them to include your product too.
If you sell products manufactured or provided by established companies, they may have a policy that authorized retailers may receive a link. Email them to ask if they can link to your store. You can also reach out to industry leaders and influencers to interview to create both links and content.
5. Optimize the titles, meta descriptions, URLs, and product descriptions
You can also optimize the page title, meta descriptions, and URLs of your Shopify store to get a better ranking. Editing them is quite easy.
You just need to select one of your collections or product page, which has a section called ‘Search engine listing preview’. Click ‘Edit website SEO’ and you can edit the metadata.
Here are some best practices for optimization:
- Have a unique meta description and title for each page
- Avoid writing too long or too short, follow the recommendations in Shopify
- Include your target keyword (if suitable).
- Be brief but descriptive
6. Fix duplicate content issues
Shopify allows the indexing of two versions of your domain: a custom domain name and a myshopify version. This can cause duplicate content issues because the content on both domains is often the same.
Fortunately, fixing this is easy because Shopify automatically redirects traffic to your primary domain. You just need to double-check.
To check, go to Online Store> Domain Name. If the message “Traffic from all of your domains redirects to the primary domain” appears, you’re fine. If the message says otherwise, just click “Enable redirection”.
This prevents Google from indexing both domains and gets confused about which to give a rank. It also ensures that all links point to your main domain.
7. Use Shopify SEO apps
You can also use many Shopify SEO apps from the App store to boost your site’s rankings and save time learning everything about SEO. Such as Shopify SEO Suite app by Avada. This Shopify app is created to optimize your site’s structure, content, and images so that Google Search Engine can find your store quickly and rank you better.
8. Add multiple languages
A great way to increase your traffic is to add multiple languages to your Shopify store. Cross-border ecommerce is growing fast and people are increasingly purchasing goods outside of their home country.
Whilst this is a great way to expand your reach and start selling in new markets, adding new languages will also increase your chances of appearing in search engines for new keywords, in your new targeted languages. It can sound like a daunting process to add languages to your store, but in fact, just like the above, adding an app makes the process quick and seamless.
The Weglot Shopify translation app gives you a fast first layer of automated translation, displays the content of your website without the need for multiple websites, and includes important multilingual SEO features to help you rank higher in search engines for your new keywords.
You can then manually edit all your translations or order pro translations through the Weglot dashboard, making the multilingual experience efficient and painless.
Whatsmore it translates the whole of your Shopify store, including your checkout so your new customers understand the full buying process.
As Shopify continues to grow in features and users, it will become increasingly important for business owners to understand the SEO basics of the platform. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with the necessary knowledge to increase your Shopify SEO ranking and have a better position on the market. If you have any questions, leave them below, and thanks for reading!