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SEO For Shopify Store Guide – All Comprehensive Ecommerce SEO

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With Shopify, you can start your own eCommerce business. You have this great product that you think will sell. But, you wonder how you are going to make your eCommerce business stand out from the other Shopify stores.

Where do you start?

Whether you just started your Shopify store or already have one, using SEO for your Shopify store is a guide that will walk you through what you need to beat other Shopify sites and rank in Google.

What Is SEO for Shopify Store?

SEO for your Shopify Store

What is SEO you wonder?

It stands for “search engine optimization,” and it is the process of improving aka optimizing your Shopify store’s website to increase your traffic. This is done by catering your site to search engines like Google so you can be seen in the top search results.

SEO for Shopify is the same but for optimizing your Shopify site so that it can be seen in the top results in Google or other search engines.

 

How does Google’s Search Engine work?

Just make your Shopify site better and you’ll be in the top search results. Simple enough, right? Wrong.

By using my definition, it is simple enough, but Google’s search engine is far from simple.

There are many factors that Google’s algorithm looks at to determine where to place your domain in the search results.

Some factors include keywords, links, content, URL, domain rating, and many more.

This article will go over some of the major factors that affect your Shopify’s SEO and guide you on how to optimize your store to rank in Google’s search results.

 

SEO Resources For Your Shopify Site

Before we get started in optimizing your Shopify site, here are some recommended tools that will help you be on top.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a highly recommended tool that can be used in many different ways. It is a web analytics service offered by Google that does tracking and reporting on website traffic.

You can use it to get data on who is looking at your store and what they click on your site. It also includes data on which pages users exit out in the first few seconds (bounce rate) and many more. Google Analytics’ data can help with tracking what you need to improve for your site and even help you find your audience.

google-analytics

Google Analytics is a free and easy tool to set up on Shopify.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another recommended free tool that will help you with your Shopify SEO. It provides data on your site’s search traffic and even shows which page is working the best and even errors in your Shopify site.

google search console

All you have to do is upload the sitemap of your website and Google Search Console will track all your Shopify store’s website.

Unsure how to set everything up?

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Keywords

Once you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you can start optimizing your Shopify site. The first part of SEO is keyword research.

What Is A Keyword?

When it comes to SEO, keywords are important. Keywords are words that people use to search for a specific topic on the internet. It could be as simple as “dog parks” to  “how to start your Shopify store.”

By building your Shopify site based on a specific keyword, it increases the chance of being chosen by Google to be in the top search results. For example, if you search for cat toys, you will get Shopify pages that optimized for that keyword.

What Is The Searcher’s Intent?

Aside from choosing a keyword that matches what’s on your Shopify, you should find a keyword that matches people’s search intent. People search differently for the same topic. The way people search is related to where they are in the sales funnel when it comes to searching for products or services.

sales funnel for shopify

Depending on the user’s searcher intent or their main goal for their search query, people use different keywords when searching. Do they want to find a specific item or do they want recommendations? Do they want to know about your products or do they want to find deals?

There are different keywords for each stage of the sales funnel for the same topic. For example, here is how some users may search for stuffed animals:

  • Best stuffed Animals
    • This is in the interested stage in the buyer phase where people want to know more about different types of products.
  • Stuffed animals for sale
    • This is in the consideration stage where you want a stuffed animal but will only buy one if you found a stuffed animal that you like and have a good deal.
  • Small pink bunny stuffed animal for all ages
    • This is in the intent stage where you know you’re going to buy one but you are looking for a specific type of stuffed animal.
  • Bunni the Bunny Rabbit
    • This is near the purchasing stage and you have a specific stuffed animal from a specific store that you want to buy.

You’ll find that search engines will give you different search positions because specific pages better match those keywords and searcher’s intent. If you don’t consider the searcher intent for your Shopify, you might not be able to rank in search results.

Here are some examples:

“Best stuffed animals” is a phrase that customers will usually use if they are interested in buying a stuffed animal and they want to know what’s a good recommendation. Google understands the intent and you’ll find that most of the things Google outputs from this search are blogs. These blogs then have recommendations for best-stuffed animals and even links to the products they recommend.

best stuffed animals google results

As the searcher’s intent changes, the keywords change. With that, Google’s search results changes. By searching “Bunni the Bunny Rabbit,” Google will output eCommerce stores’ product pages for that specific stuff animal. This is because customers who search this want this specific stuff animal and are looking for a product page with the item.

bunni the bunny rabbit google search result

bunni the rabbit shopify product page

 

We’ll go back to how to optimize your pages in the later section but for now, keep in mind that it’s important to research searchers’ intent and where they are in the sales funnel.

Want to know more about how searchers’ intent plays a role for your Shopify Store? Our team is here to help.

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Keyword Research aka How Do You Find The Right Keywords?

In the previous section, we talked about the sales funnel and how the keyword changes with the searcher’s intent. For SEO, this is one place to start doing your keyword research.

Look at this in a searcher’s shoes. Write down different ways you would search for something. Start by looking for the general product then be more specific. After, write them down and separate them by searcher intent and where they are in the funnel. This will help you optimize your different Shopify later.

There are many tools to help you find and pick keywords. You can even find keywords using Google. When you search, you find that Google automatically tries to complete your search. Also, if you go down, there will be recommendations on similar topics.

google related keyword recommendation

Here is some SEO tools recommendation that will help with your keyword research:

These are some examples of how they look:

ubersuggest keyword ideas

With Ubersuggest, there is a Keyword Ideas section where you can put a keyword(s) and it’ll search up related keywords and provide various data on them.

Another one is Answer the Public. It is like Ubersuggest where you can put 1-2 keywords and it will give you other keywords people use with the 1-2 keywords you put in. It is a good way to get different keyword combinations.

answer the public keyword combinations

 

Choosing Good Keywords based on User Data

After researching possible keywords, which ones should you choose for your Shopify?

Competitiveness

In SEO, one big consideration is to look at how competitive a certain keyword is. Typically, single keywords are very competitive because there are a lot of people ranking for them. If you search for “shoes”, there’s a lot of people going for those keywords. Typically, they are bigger companies with more resources to rank higher.

There is a way to get around the competition. When choosing a keyword, it is a good idea to use long-tail keywords and modifiers to be more specific. Long-tail keywords are keywords that are more specific and usually longer. Keyword modifiers are words that you can add to make a more specific long-tail keyword.

For example:

Keyword: “shoes”

Long-tail keywords: “men’s Nike tennis shoes”

Modifiers: “men’s”, “Nike”, and “tennis”

By doing this, it narrows down the search and reduces the amount of competition there is to rank for the keyword. Also, by being more specific, it can match people’s searcher intent. You’ll help people who are actually interested in your products to click on your Shopify site and make a purchase.

If you have a keyword in mind, you can use Ubersuggest and search that keyword to see the difficulty to rank for that keyword. The higher the SEO Difficulty (SD) is, the more competitive it is.

ubersuggest shoe keyword difficulty

Volume

After looking at the competitiveness, you should look at the search volume. Although you get a keyword that’s not competitive, you shouldn’t pick keywords that no one is searching for. You may be number one in search results but you won’t get a lot of traffic. Try to find a happy balance between both.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a keyword with a good search volume for your Shopify:

Sounding Good

You might have run across an online store that has some nice and fancy section names. Although it’s pleasing to read, most people don’t search that way.

Let’s take a look at “Gifts & Delights” vs “Unique Gift Ideas” on Google Trends

google trend unique gifts ideas vs gift and delights

Fancy name but zero searches. Which keyword would you choose for your gift section?

Of course, you would choose the one “Unique Gift Ideas” based on the data. You may not rank number #1 on Google but it’s a lot better than having zero search traffic.

Plural vs Non-Plural

What is the difference between a plural and non-plural keyword? Wouldn’t you get the same thing? Although you are searching for the same thing, you’ll be surprised that there is a slight difference in search volume between the two labels.

Let’s look at the difference between “stuffed animals” vs “stuffed animal”

google trend animals vs animal search volume

In this graph, we can see the data that the non-plural keyword has a higher search volume and you might consider choosing this over the plural version.

There isn’t a hard rule for this because there are times when the plural version of a word has a larger search volume than their non-plural counterpart. You’ll have to see which one has a larger search volume and works best for your Shopify.

Term Usage Over Time

Language is always changing and people begin to use different words for the same thing as time goes on. It’s good to keep up with how people think and search.

Here is an example of how Google rebranded. This shows how Google Adwords slowly became known as Google Ads.

google trend google ads vs google adwords

You might have noticed why a certain keyword isn’t getting the same amount of search volume as it usually did in the past. It is a good time to look at data and see if it’s time to find a more up-to-date keyword.

Name Things Base on User Searches

Similar to having a fancy label, some store owners describe their product in a way that most people don’t search for them. Although the descriptions are correct, most people don’t really search like that. One example is using color to describe a product.

Let’s look at data on the two different descriptions:

google trend midnight black vs black search volume

Although “midnight black scarf” is more specific, the data shows that the amount of people that search that way is smaller or practically none at all.

How would you describe this flower?

fuchsia flower

If you know this specific flower, you would use Fuschia but most people would say a pink flower. It is similar to descriptions. The best way to find out is to ask around or look at data on search volume.

Common SEO Mistake: Using Internal, Technical, or Manufacturer Jargon

Being an expert in your product, you might be more technical and write a different way. For example, if you work in a shoe store, you might say the technical term footwear instead of shoes. However, most people don’t use technical terms and instead, they would say or search for “shoes”.

Let’s compare “men’s footwear” to “men’s shoes”

google trend footwears vs shoes search volume

Looking at the data, you’ll see that people search for shoes more than footwear, so you should rank for “men’s shoes” instead of “men’s footwear.”

Keyword research can be long and confusing, but we make it easy for clients to understand. We can find you the keywords that will get your Shopify site the most revenue.

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Optimizing On-Page SEO

You thought of some good keywords. It’s now time to optimize your pages by using those keywords.

Category Pages (aka Collections Pages)

collection page

Title

For your Shopify site’s collection pages, there are a lot of things you can change. But, the first place you can optimize is your title. Based on the keyword you chose for your title, it determines how the whole collection page will look.

The reason why is because has to do with the searchers. If they search for something, what they click on should be what they want to see or something related. The more relevant the product is to the keyword you use, the more likely it is to rank higher in Google’s search results.

If you picked a title using a keyword like “Samsung TVs for sale,”  your collection page should have Samsung TVs for sales. This is because people who search this keyword are looking specifically for Samsung TVs for sales. Another example is “4k Samsung TV’s for sale”. This collection page should be structured to be more specific and have only 4k Samsung TVs for sale.

What if you already created your collection page(s)? Most of the time, you might have a collection’s title that is already matching your products. But, you’re still not ranking.

The first reason is that the keyword you used for your collection’s title is too competitive and other sites are outranking you because their content is more relevant to the keyword or their domain authority is higher than yours. To get around this, you just have to find a less competitive keyword that you can rank for but still has search volume.

Here we use Ubersuggest to see the search volume and the keyword difficulty between “stuffed animals” and “animal plushies”.

ubersuggest stuffed animals

ubersuggest animal plushies

One has a large search volume but high competitiveness while the other has less search volume but not as competitive. “Animal plushies” might be a better option to start off in until your Shopify site gets bigger.

The second reason is the keyword that you used for your collection’s title doesn’t match the product of your category pages. It could be too broad and as a result, is more competitive or doesn’t match what people are searching for.

To get around this, you can change your keyword to better fit the products on your collections page. This will result in a more relevant collections page that is preferred by search engines and searcher

Another way is to break up your Shopify’s collection pages into smaller collections pages with more specific products and using a less competitive keyword.

cookbook villages collections pages

Although being more specific has less search volume, this will make it easier for your Shopify shop to rank. Also, another benefit from being more specific is your pages are more relevant to searchers’ intent and increasing the chance of being clicked and leading to a sale.

Content Description

Another way to make your Shopify SEO better is in the content description. This is where you can describe the keyword you used as your title.

cookbook village collection page content description

Some Shopify sites don’t have a content description but it can really help boost your Shopify SEO. Search engines love content especially when the description is relevant to your title and overall page.

You’ll have to use relevant keywords and the same keyword you used as your title. By including your keyword(s) and related keywords aka LSI keywords in your content description copy, it sends a signal to search engines saying this domain has a relevant page about “Community and Regional Cookbooks.” Because search engines find this to be a relevant site to the topic of community and regional cookbooks, it will put that collections page higher when it’s searched by that keyword and related keyword.

How much do I write then? You should write between 1000-2000 words.

However, be careful where you put the words. The words on the section above the product items should be kept down to 50-100 words on the section above the product items. This is to prevent your content copy from pushing down what users came for which is the products.

For the rest of the words, you can either: include a “read more” button OR put it under the products. This is the most optimal because you’re able to have more content without messing with the UX (user experience).

Product Pages

Title of Products

Optimizing your product page is similar to optimizing your Shopify’s category pages. Unlike category pages, the searcher intents for products are different and searchers won’t use the same keywords like the one on your collections page. They require a more specific keyword that describes a specific product.

For the pages of your products, it is best to use certain keywords that people will use to search for products and not for collections pages. By building your product pages based on how people search for a product, it will really help with your Shopify SEO.

For example, if you have a product label called “pink stuffed bunny”, it won’t rank as well and it would get any sales. Search engines know that more people are looking for different types of “pink stuffed bunny”, so it will show collections pages.

Here you’ll see that you’re going to get a majority of collections pages.

pink stuffed bunny google search results

pink stuffed bunny collections page

pink stuffed bunny collections page target

To optimize your product title, you need to be more specific on the label to get the best results. For example, when you search a keyword like “Bunni the Bunny Rabbit”, it will display the exact product page. This is because this keyword is exactly targeting a specific product and the page matches it.

By doing this for your Shopify site, will result in having product pages that are more relevant to the searcher’s intent and easier to rank for. Although the search volume for this keyword is low, it has large sales potential because people who search like this are already near the bottom of the sales funnel. This large sales potential is called high search intent in SEO terms.

Want to name your category and product a certain way but don’t know if it is good for SEO? We ready to help you.

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Content

The next thing to optimize is your product page’s content description. Like the collection page, it is a way to describe your title and what you are trying to sell. Again you’ll be using keywords you researched that people are searching for when it comes to your product.

Have a look at these two product pages:

 

amazon product page with great content

seo for shopify ecommerce product page done right

 

 

Above, there are two product page examples. The first one is Amazon with a slow cooker and the second one is Solo Stove’s bonfire. Both have a product description that has a brief description of the product without pushing down important information like the “add to cart.” However, what makes these two pages different from most product pages is the amount of content there is. There is a lot. You’ll read more about additional content in the next section.

Another important thing to do is to use the keyword that you used in your product title especially at the beginning of your product description. Afterward, they should be found throughout the product page.

Here is a Shopify example:

product page content description

In the product page for “Gourmet’s Guide to New Orleans”, the content description uses it in the beginning and then starts describing it with other LSI keywords. This is a good way to boost your SEO score

Additional content

When writing your content on what you are selling, you can go on and on about it. Search engines like more text. But like the category page, you should stay within 50-100 words on the area above the images and have the rest of the text below it. This way so it doesn’t push down more important content on your page. You can look again at the Solo Stove and Amazon example above.

You can use a “read more” button or FAQ accordions to hide some text and if searchers want to read they can read it. Here is an example from a Shopify site:

beardbrand faq

beardbrand faq displayed

Another solution is to add an “Additional Details” section on your product page.

additional detail section

Here we see Cookbook Village’s product page for “Gourmet’s Guide to New Orleans.” Cookbook Village already describes its product in the beginning but decided to include more details at the bottom. By doing this, they add more text without pushing down the price and the “Add to Cart” button.

Writing this way allows product pages to have more keywords that will help it rank higher when someone searches for it.  “Gourmet’s Guide to New Orleans” and Solo Stove’s bonfire will do a lot better than product pages that didn’t add as much content. Again search engines love to see websites that have a lot of relevant text on their pages. Search engines then reward stores with a higher position in search results.

If you have a lot of things to say about your page, don’t be scared to add it. Nothing beats well-written descriptions of your products. Just remember not to push the important things on the page down.

Reviews

The last way you can optimize your product page is by having a review section. It’s the cherry on top that can really help you generate new and unique content on Shopify. It also helps show how other customers liked your product. But, another thing it does is it bulks up your page and since it’s in the bottom, it doesn’t mess up the main goal of the product page is to sell your product.

More content, the better.

review section

Google loves fresh and unique content. Who better to write them than customers who used them. They can provide descriptions that you would never have thought of before.

How do you get people to review then? Incentivize them. That’s how Amazon started and now it has crazy reviews that fill up the page.

Blog

Some Shopify stores don’t have a blog because they don’t think it’s worth the time and effort. However, blogs can be a good source of traffic.

With UberSuggest where you can see a domain’s or website’s top pages.

ubersuggest top pages

Beardbrand is a Shopify example that started off as a blog sharing their knowledge of growing and styling beards. Eventually, they started their own business selling products associated with beards. You can see that their top pages are blog posts that are getting large amounts of traffic.

Although those articles aren’t necessarily selling things, they are providing great content. This brings many people to their sites and eventually buy their products. These articles do this by internally linking to their collection or product page. You can find these links in the navigation bar or spread out through the article text.

Like I mentioned in the searcher’s intent section, people who are searching for recommendations are at the top of the sales funnel and blog posts are a good way to satisfy their interests. Once they’re on your blog, there is a good chance they will continue or come back to your Shopify to look at the product your blog recommended.

Blogging sounds like a great idea, but you don’t have time to spare. Don’t worry

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Pillar Content

Another benefit that blogs can do for your SEO for your Shopify is it can be used to support the main keywords you are going for.

Pillar Content: covers all aspects of the topic on a single page then has more focused content linking back to it

For example, Beardbrand has multiple articles that talk about how to take care of your beard or mustache. These blogs then have internal links via relevant keywords in their article back to their home page and even other articles. Google will see this semantic relationship and boost Beardbrand’s authority on the subject of beards, mustaches, etc. Google will then trust Beardbrand more on the topic of men’s beard and put them on the top of its search result.

Optimize your Blog

When building your blog, there is no such thing as too much content. More is better in search engines’ eyes. You can write as much as you want but most people recommend a minimum of 500 words.

Using a Google extension called Keyword Surfer you can see the estimated monthly traffic of a page and other things. For now, we are using it to see the number of words a page has and compare it with others.

using keyword surfer to see word count of page results

How do I optimize my blog?

When writing a blog post, you don’t need to optimize it too much. If you write an article where it matches the keyword topic you chose, it will already be about 80% optimized.

If you wrote a story about your first day of high school, you’ll naturally write keywords related to the topic and even use “first day of high school” across your article. The remaining 10% is the URL, title, headlines, and content (using specific keywords).

Tip: Don’t get too preoccupied with using specific keywords throughout your article in hopes of fully optimizing your blog. Although Google will go through your article and see the keywords, it is people that really read it. Just write some good content that people will read and you’ll do well in your SEO.

For URL and title, I will briefly go over it in the SERP section.

SERP (aka Search engine results pages)

SERP is known as search engine results pages. It is what you see when you Google search something.

search engine results pages

Title

Having a proper title applies to all the Shopify pages. Similar to the previous times it was mentioned, you need to have a title that includes a keyword you are trying to rank for and that people will search for.

For Beardbrand’s “Top 21 Best Beard Styles & The Best For You” article, they have beard style as their main keyword. When people search “beard style” it is ranked second in the Google search result. When you click the article, it is exactly what you are looking for. It even includes “beard style” 32 times throughout the page.

beard style google search results

If you choose a keyword and title that doesn’t match your content, it will be very hard to rank high in Google.

In addition to optimizing for a good keyword, it is good to create a title that stands out from the rest of the other SERP. This works well, especially for article pages. In the example above, Beardbrand used a power word. It is not just the Top 21 Beard Styles but the Top 21 Best Beard Styles.

Like keyword modifiers, it also helps to rank for longer-keywords that not many people are ranking for.

Although Beardbrand is not first for “beard style”, it is ranked first for “best beard style.” Having a good title can change you from being third to being first. Although that is only two positions higher, its effect is big. Going up a position does not have a constant increase in traffic but it has an exponential effect. By being first you can get up to 31.7% of all clicks while being in fifth might get you significantly less. It’s important to choose your title well by doing your keyword research.

best beard style google search results

URL

The next thing to optimize for your Shopify pages is the URL. Creating a friendly and easy to read URL will help users know what they are going into when going through your page and it’s better for Google’s algorithm.

How do you optimize your URL?

The biggest thing again is to include your keyword(s) you want to rank for. Typically the URL will be the same as the title that you put for the page. But, your title could be too long and include numbers. Short URLs usually look and rank better than those that aren’t. It is easier for people and Google to read.

A general rule is to have only up to 5 words in your URL. If you don’t, you can edit out unnecessary stings and only include the keyword(s) you are ranking for. Here is an example of one of BeadBrands articles:

beard brand URL example

Although the title is “How to Grow a Thick Beard Fast: The Only Guide You’ll Need”, its URL only includes how-grow-beard. Compared to how-to-grow-a-thick-beard-fast-the-only-guide-you’ll-need, they provide a cleaner URL. Even if you search “how grow beard”, it will be near the top of Google’s search results.

This is because if you look at UberSuggest, one of Beardbrand’s keywords is “grow beard.” The URL still includes the keyword.

Include the keyword you are ranking for and keep it simple and it’ll help with your SEO

Meta description

Similar to the content description in your Shopify pages, the meta description describes what’s on the page. But, there is also a limit. Typically, the meta description will automatically put the first 150 characters on your page and blur the rest. However, you can change it and edit manually. It’s better to edit your meta description so it’s optimized.

What should I include in the meta description for your Shopify?

Again, you’ll need good keywords. If you look at Beardbrand’s meta description for “Top 21 Best Beard Styles & The Best For You”, it gives a summary of the article while using the keyword “beard style” and related keywords throughout the description.

beardbrand meta description

By creating a well-optimized and relevant meta description, Google boosts BeardBrand’s SEO since everything is being optimized towards specific keywords. When people search that keyword, Google will prioritize it.

Wondering how to design your SERP for your eCommerce website?

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Links (aka Off-Page Optimization)

You optimized your pages (On-page optimization) and now it is time to move to your links (Off-page optimization).

Backlinks

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are links from one website page to another website. But, they’re no ordinary links. They are one of the three main factors that Google uses to rank web pages. If you look at your search results, sometimes you’ll find one page that doesn’t really match your search.

How does it work?

The other factor is content and that’s why keywords are important. However, backlinks also help rank certain pages even if the content isn’t matching everyone else or if you’re a smaller domain. With the help of backlinks, you can rank your Shopify website higher.

Here we are using a free Google extension called MozBar, you can see how many people are linking to a page (backlinks) and even see a page’s Page and Domain authority. Beardbrand may have lower Page and Domain authority, but they have more backlinks. This helps them outrank a page like Men’sHealth.

using mozbar to see number of backlinks of search results

Backlinks can be seen as “likes” from other domains. By having more like, it sends signals to Google saying the content is useful, valuable, and credible. Google would put that web page with more backlinks because it is trusting those “likes” as an indicator that people like the content.

How then do you get backlinks?

One way is to ask. The first place to ask is your manufacturer or supplier. After you can ask other people you think are interested in your topic or product as resources that can benefit their page. By backlinking to each other, you’ll help each others’ SEO.

There are other ways of getting backlinks and by putting the effort into them, you’ll help your Shopify shop to rank in Google.

However, the most important thing is always content. Great content promotes itself. If your content is great, people will link to your page on their own. For example, Storypick wrote an article “6 Trending Beard Styles From 2018 You Can Still Sport In 2019” and linked one of Beardbrand’s articles as a reference.

 

storypick giving a backlink to beardbrand

Internal links

We talked about internal links and how it could be used in blogs to link to your various product pages. But, internal links can really help with your SEO as well.

Internally linking to other pages of your site is a good way to spread your SEO or “link juice” around. If one of your pages is doing really well and is ranking, it can help one of your other pages that aren’t doing too hot.

champagne tower analogy

It’s like a champagne tower. As the top glass (top page) is being filled, the rest of the champagne is slowly pouring out from the top glass. Eventually, even glasses (other pages) at the bottom would get something.

SEO works like a champagne tower. You can have pages that are doing good and can use them to help other pages by linking to each other.

Outbound Links

You have your backlinks and internal links but it’s time to talk about outbound links.

Outbound links are links where you link to other pages. There are even some outbound links in this article.

What will you get out of outbound links?

The first thing it does is that it builds trust in your domain. It is like quoting from experts to add to your own content and building credibility. By doing this, it shows that you know the topic you’re talking about and where to find resources about that subject. However, most importantly, your content can become very relevant with the addition of other resources. A claim needs to be backed up and linking to other pages can do help with that.

Although outbound links prove someone’s credibility, it can also hurt your reputation. You wouldn’t want to quote someone who is wrong. For your Shopify website, you shouldn’t link to spammy websites or dead-end links (404 errors). Your readers and search engines will associate your domain with spam content or unhelpful. They wouldn’t want to come back and your ranking will go down.

google 404 error page

But still, outbound links are really helpful when used right. It can help with user experience. When someone is reading your content and there is something that they want to know more about, you can link it to another page where they can find a more detailed explanation. You can see this happening even in this article.

Another benefit of linking to other pages is you might even get a backlink yourself. Outbound linking tells other websites that you’re participating in the web’s natural linking environment. It’s like giving a “like” back to a page that liked your page.

Tips: When using any links, make sure you choose the option where it creates a new tab when a user clicks on the link. It’s so that people can come back to your page after reading from the link.

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Best Practices For Shopify SEO

404 errors

When you’re running your Shopify site, you might have to have some problems. These can be in the form of a 404 error.

404 aren’t bad for users because they can simply go back but it’s not good for search engines. When crawlers go through a site, it will go through everything. If they run into a 404 in your site, they will lower your SEO because search engines are wasting resources scraping a 404 page.

Also, all of the SEO value of that page disappears with it. Although one product page might not have a lot but imagine if it was multiple pages. The loss will accumulate.

To make sure your 404 doesn’t hurt your SEO, you’ll be required to redirect them.

One good plugin is to use Easy Redirects by ESC. It allows you to redirect pages in bulk and can track 404s. Another good tool to use is Google Search Console. After uploading your site, you can go to a section called “Coverage” and see if you have any errors.

google search console coverage

There is another popular tool you can use to check for errors and it’s Screaming Frog SEO Spider. It’s a program that can scrape your domain to find common SEO problems so you can effectively implement redirects.

After you have a tool to check for errors, it’s important to keep track of 404 as you keep growing your Shopify business. A good recommendation is to check at least once a week so you implement redirects if you need to.

Duplicate content

Search engines love unique content. However, you might have copied some content because you don’t have much time. It’s understandable but this could hurt your SEO.

One example is in your product description. You can find some eCommerce sites that just use the manufacturer’s description.

Here is a product page from Amazon and they are known to sometimes copy the manufacturer detail.

 

amazon content description

 

Although it’s easier to copy something that is already made, it will hold back your SEO for your product page. It can be especially bad if you do this for a majority of your product pages which makes a majority of your SEO. This sends a signal to Google that your content is unoriginal, you can find it elsewhere, and is poorly written.

You might say that Amazon does this. But, they can get away with it because the copied content doesn’t make the majority of its content. In the Product Page section, we talked about having a review section and how it can create fresh unique content. For Amazon, it has a huge review section and other content that can outweigh the effect of duplicating manufacturer details. Amazon just has a lot of content that is unique that they don’t need to worry about copying sometimes.

In the end, it’s still better to put the time into creating unique content. Amazon puts a lot of effort into it and nothing beats being natural. It’ll really help your SEO starting off or even when you’ve been in the eCommerce business for a while.

Handling Duplicate Pages

Aside from duplicate content, Shopify sites have a tendency to make duplicate pages.

In some cases, it’s not bad to have duplicate pages. There are different variations of the same product. You can create a different product page for those different variations. You can have different sizes, colors, or designs for a single product. For example, you can have a type of shoe but for some reason, people just love the blue design so you create a separate product page for that one.

However, for the most part, having too many duplicate product pages can be bad when doing search engine optimization. Going back to the champagne tower, if there are too many glasses, you’ll need more champagne to eventually reach all the glasses. There are a few ways for you to get around this and not hurt your SEO.

Redirect

The first option is to redirect the page towards a single page. This will redirect search engine crawlers to the page you want it to go to and it won’t hurt your SEO. Crawlers won’t be going to multiple duplicate pages. However, it also redirects users and it doesn’t make a good user experience.

Canonical tag

The second option is to use canonical tags. It is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Canonical tags make it so that only one page is looked at instead of having multiple duplicates that could hurt your SEO. Doing this prevents problems caused by duplicate content on your Shopify.

To do this, you have to go back to your code and add rel=”canonical” to your HTML.

NoIndex meta tag

The third option is to use a noindex tag. This can prevent a page from appearing in Google search results by including this tag in your duplicate pages’ HTML code to prevent most search engine web crawlers from indexing those duplicate pages on your site.

To implement a noindex tag, you place the following meta tags into the <Head> section of your page(s) you don’t want to index:

<meta name =”robots” content =”noindext”/>

There is also a Shopify plugin that you can use and you can find it here.

Tip: With Screaming Frog SEO Spider, you can see which of your pages has a canonical tag or a noindex meta tag.

Images

Your images play a big role in attracting customers. Nobody wants to go to an eCommerce store with only words. But, did you know that your images can also help with SEO?

You have tons of images on your Shopify and all of them can help you rank. Again, it has to do with keywords.

renaming files

When downloading an image to your computer, it is important to label or rename it. Don’t just use a random label with numbers. Try naming your image file so describes what’s on the image and even includes a keyword because Google also looks at file names.

shopify image alt text

In addition to file labels, you should also use alt text. But for eCommerce SEO, this is required. Before you upload your image to your Shopify store, you should add a description in the alt text section. With this, you’ll be able to add a description that will be seen if the image doesn’t load. But, it can also help boost your SEO because you can also describe it using keywords that you are trying to rank for.

Page Speed

Page speed is a ranking factor. Typically, it is the server and images that impact it. However, for a Shopify website, you don’t need to worry about the server because Shopify will take care of that. That leaves your images as the main factor in your Shopify website’s page speed.

A page won’t load as fast because the images weren’t compressed. If the image file is too big, it’ll take more time to load. Luckily, Shopify has a plugin called Image Optimizer + Compression.

Doing all of these things for your Shopify store is a lot more work to do but it’s required to boost your eCommerce SEO especially when your site is majority images.

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Bonus: Google Map Pack (For eCommerce shops that have an in-person storefront).

Some of you guys may have a physical storefront and wonder what you can do with it. Here is something that can help your physical location. You might have heard of Google Map Pack and even have signed up for it.

 

google map pack for ecommerce shops with physical stores

Having your business in the Google Map Pack results can get people coming to your physical location. There are some people who prefer a physical location. When searching for a product or service, people look to Google Map Pack for recommendations.

Similar to search results, the stores are ranked, and being in the top significantly changes the amount of traffic you’ll get. Though this is different from ranking with just SEO. You have to optimize your Google My Business Listing.

Here are some ways to optimize them:

Reviews

Reviews are a good factor in where you’ll rank in Google Map Pack. The better the reviews your store has, the higher you’ll be in the list. Try to incentivize people in writing a review with a coupon e.g 10% off next purchase.

Questions and Answer

Add to your Questions & answer. By answering questions people have, it is a good way for people to know about your business and helping them before they even come to your physical location.

google map pack questions and answers

Photo / Image

Adding photos of your physical store, logo, team members, etc can help people see what your store looks like and what to expect.

Keywords

Like Google search results, the listing is determined by keywords. When adding a business description or post, you should add keywords. Here “burgers near me” is searched and the businesses that have “burger” in their description are on top and “burgers” in one of their reviews.

google map pack seo burgers keyword

Post

Posting in Google Map Pack is a good way to show that your business is active and Google will see that and choose to rank you higher in the list. Post something new like a new product, employee, or something interesting.

Local Directories

The last thing to do is submitting your business on local directories like Yelp and Foursquare. This will give you another means of being found in Google search results.

All these things will help your in-person storefront be noticed by Google and by people. If you want to find out more, here is another resource to look at.

 

Overall what is SEO for Shopify Stores

That was a lot of content to go over and there are more things that I haven’t gone over. You might not know where to start. It’s okay and don’t worry about doing it all in one sitting. Take your time and really think about those keywords and your searchers’ intent. In the end, it’s creating great content that will provide what people are looking for. Keep searchers in mind and put the effort into optimizing and you’ll improve your Shopify SEO.

Interested in SEO for Shopify Stores? YoYoFuMedia has experts in SEO and can help you start optimizing your Shopify website.

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Other Shopify Resources from YoYoFuMedia

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