It goes without saying these days that Shopify is the platform to beat when it comes to user-friendly eCommerce, and with good reason.
Shopify is wonderfully flexible and easy to customize to your unique needs and goals.
It also comes packed with helpful tools, simple back-end administration capabilities, and even a suite of built-in search engine optimization (SEO) features.
However, even the most beautifully built Shopify store needs a thorough SEO strategy if it’s going to maximize its potential to attract customers and close sales.
Here are some expert Shopify SEO tips to keep in mind when putting together your campaign.
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1. Conduct thorough keyword research
The foundation of any effective SEO campaign is savvy, thorough keyword usage, and this is just as much the case when optimizing a Shopify store.
So start with a round of careful keyword research and planning.
If you already have some primary key terms in mind, you can use those as a jumping-off point. But if you don’t, start by listing five or six broad topics that are important to your customers.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and consider the terms you might use to find products like those listed for sale in your store.
Consulting your buyer personas for inspiration can be helpful here. So can looking at social media hashtags related to your industry or key terms used by your competitors to optimize similar types of content.
2. Optimize your site layout
Everyone knows what it’s like to land on an eCommerce site where the site structure doesn’t make much sense.
Finding what you came there for can be a frustrating process that takes a while. And if the process is too complicated or time-consuming, you might well leave without buying anything.
Now compare that to your last smooth, streamlined shopping experience on a site where everything was perfectly laid out, and all items were exactly where you’d expect them to be.
You probably spent a lot of time there and may even have spent more money than you planned. Your customers will respond to a well-organized Shopify site in the same way.
So keep your site structure simple, clean, and intuitive.
Don’t go overboard creating too many categories and subcategories. For best results, none of your products should be more than a couple of clicks past your home page.
And don’t forget to create key standalone pages — like an about page and a contact page — so visitors (and crawl bots) can easily find all the info they need.
3. Make sure all content is original
Duplicate content is bad for SEO any way you look at it, including across category and product pages.
However, it’s a common problem in eCommerce, so it’s essential to make sure your content is as original as possible.
Internal duplication within a single site isn’t as big a deal, but you don’t want your copy to be too similar to anything on any other site.
If your eCommerce shop sells goods that are also for sale in other places around the web, avoid simply reusing the manufacturer’s stock descriptions.
Fully rewrite them for originality, and compose original keyword-rich copy for your category pages.
Audit regularly for originality and double-check content like product descriptions with a tool like Copyscape.
4. Optimize metadata across all pages
One of the most important Shopify SEO tips to keep in mind is to use your keywords wisely throughout your site.
Yes, you should sprinkle them throughout your content in a strategic but natural-sounding way, but that’s not the only way you can use them to boost your SERP rankings and drive traffic.
Don’t forget to create original keyword-optimized metadata like title tags and page meta descriptions.
Each page should get its own original keyword-optimized URL, as well. And, of course, the chosen keywords should be relevant to the product and any other content on the page.
This can be a time-consuming process if your site sells many products or has a lot of content, but it’s crucial if you’re serious about helping your shop rank well.
5. Create an optimal user experience
Many of the best Shopify SEO tips you’ll ever hear speak to various ways to improve your overall user experience, and with good reason.
The easier an eCommerce site is to use, the more time (and money) your visitors will spend on it. That said, site layout isn’t the only design element to consider when making your Shopify store more user-friendly.
Nearly 70 percent of consumers say that page load speeds directly impact their willingness to buy from a particular online store.
What’s more, most people are only willing to wait about four seconds for a page to load, while the average load time for a mobile screen is closer to fifteen seconds.
That said, speed should be a significant concern, as should mobile-friendliness.
Make sure your site meets expectations by optimizing images and keeping them on the small side. Pick a sleek, responsive, fast theme for your shop that loads well on mobile devices.
Avoid cluttering your store with too many unnecessary apps, and avoid sliders wherever possible.
6. Optimize your images, as well
Many website owners forget to include their images and visual elements when optimizing their eCommerce shop’s content, but they really shouldn’t.
Search engine crawl bots can’t see images the way human visitors can, but they do index them, and they use alt tags to determine what a given image is all about.
Also, you may have visitors with vision trouble who rely on site readers to help them understand the pages they visit, and site readers use alt text.
That said, you’ll want to create original keyword-rich alt tags for each of the images on your site.
Not only does this help improve site accessibility for all of your visitors, but it improves your site’s chances of ranking for searches related to the products you sell.
For instance, if you sell green handbags, you’ll stand a much better chance of ranking well for related searches if your on-site images of green handbags have accurate, keyword-rich alt tags.
7. Improve engagement with video and multimedia
Need more Shopify SEO tips for keeping your visitors engaged once you’ve got them on your site?
Make videos, interactive content, and multimedia options a part of your plans.
The longer you can hold a visitor’s attention and keep them on your site, the better your site looks to Google and the rest of the search engines.
Videos and similar elements help capture a user’s attention and add energy to your pages.
360-degree images, AR shopping features, and other interactive elements help customers better understand your products and make informed shopping decisions.
And cross-posting your best videos to YouTube and optimizing them there, as well, can give you an even bigger SEO push in the right direction.
8. Work on your backlink catalog
Backlinks are important authority signals that help search engines determine how relevant a site is and how well it’s doing at producing valuable content people want to see.
Think of each backlink as a vote of confidence for your brand, site, and content. Each one represents someone who not only visited your site but found something there that was valuable enough for them to want to recommend it to others.
Backlinks are just as crucial for Shopify stores as for any other type of site, so don’t forget to spend some time building your catalog.
One of the best ways to earn organic backlinks is to produce great content that naturally inspires others to share and recommend.
However, you can also reach out to influencers and peers in your industry and discuss opportunities like guest blogs or interviews to help your cause.
Keep track of any linkless brand mentions that may appear around the web, and consider reaching out to the source to request a backlink.
Monitor your backlink catalog on an ongoing basis, as well, to make sure everything on it is relevant, helpful, and beneficial.
Know how to spot toxic backlinks and act quickly to prevent them from damaging your SEO efforts.
9. Add a blog to your site
No list of Shopify SEO tips could be considered complete without touching on the importance of ongoing content production.
Many e-merchants make the mistake of thinking the content on their product, category, about, and contact pages is more than enough.
But they’re missing out on a golden opportunity to improve their SERP rankings, attract more customers, and build authority by adding a blog to their site.
Search engines love frequently updated websites with plenty of relevant content, and a blog is among the easiest, most accessible ways to meet that benchmark.
A well-maintained blog can also be a fantastic resource for customers across every stage of their buyer’s journey.
Fill yours with answers to frequently asked questions, shopping guides, product maintenance how-to tutorials, and write-ups on topics your customers care about.
Streamlining your store using essential Shopify SEO tips like the above as a guide is one way to propel your store to the top of the SERPs.
Mastering the art of full-scale eCommerce optimization is another. A fully-optimized, well-maintained store is the key to boosting conversions, winning your customers’ trust, and turning your brand into a household name.
Get started in the right direction by checking out our quick start guide to everything you need to know about eCommerce optimization to get ahead.
You’ll learn what a good conversion rate really looks like, discover practical tips for boosting your sales margins, and more!