What is Shopify Store Optimization?
Shopify store optimization is a challenging task for SEO professionals. To boost your sales and rank higher in SERPs, your Shopify store should be properly optimized.
The second-largest e-commerce platform in this world till now is Shopify. You can easily build and launch an attractive store in some hours. Shopify handles all the technical stuff required for store creation. You only need is to add merchandise. As far as SEO is concerned, Shopify does not provide all the required features. So one needs to perform some extra functions to do the SEO of your Shopify store.
There are some points to remember in the optimization of a Shopify store. First of all, you have to purchase the paid plan of Shopify, otherwise, Shopify will not let Google index your site. You need to go for a custom domain (without .myshopify) to earn more clicks in search engines.
Secondly, for tracking the customers and other metrics, you need to add Google analytics in your Shopify store and also set up a Google search console. Setting up an account at Google search console will give you a better idea of user behavior, page speed, mobile friendliness, indexing issues, and keyword performance
The Shopify team says that a store owner needs only to optimize the content and navigation. But it is not simple. Here I will try to explain the missing aspects of SEO in Shopify.
- Site structure optimization
- Keyword Research
- On-page optimization
- Schema Markup
- Website speed optimization
- Fixing indexing issues
Let’s discuss each point in detail.
Site Structure Optimization:
Site structure should always be simple and scalable. It helps users to navigate to your site easily. Also helps search engines to find and index the pages of your Shopify store. Site structure is considered to be simple if a user can access a specific page within 3 clicks from the home page. The meaning of scalability is that without adjusting the overall structure of the site, you can add products and categories.
Shopify offers you a simple and scalable structure by default. In Shopify, categories are called collections. By default, Shopify places collection pages above the product pages. The store owner only needs to optimize the navigation of the store by attaching the collections to the main menu.
Always sort product pages within collections, otherwise, collection pages will remain and indexed empty and search engines will consider your store as spammy. Due to this, you will lose your rankings.
For this go to Store –> Navigation –> Main Menu –> Add Menu –> Choose the collection that you want to add. With the same process, you can add products to the categories. Remember categories can be divided into sub-categories.
To boost the sales of your Shopify store, you need to do powerful keyword research. Rank Tracker is a powerful tool that uses semantics, analyzes competitors, and pulls keywords suggestions from SERPs.
After doing keyword research, store these ideas somewhere. Also keep in mind the different metrics as Keyword difficulty, search volume, and keyword length to get more suitable ideas for better rankings.
On-page optimization is one of the most important factors in SEO. Here we will discuss how to optimize the different components of a web page.
First of all, you need to do an audit of the website. Website auditor is the best tool to get insights for on-page optimization. It gives you insights into duplicate titles, empty meta descriptions, multiple H1 headings, etc. You can easily fix these problems in the Shopify admin panel.
H1 headings are much important as these let the different search engines know, what the page about is. Shopify themes do not use the H1 tag so many store owners complain that the H1 tag is missing. Website Auditor can help you in finding that your store page is using an H1 tag or not.
It is important to note that Shopify assigns an H1 tag to the name of the store or logo by default. For this, you need to edit the header section and replace H1 with H2. Similar action can be done in the products pages of the Shopify store.
For multiple H1 tags, you need to inspect the code manually and act accordingly.
Title, Meta Descriptions, and URLs:
Again take the help of the Website Auditor to see the issues of the titles, meta descriptions, and URLs.
Open the admin area of your store, then go to the preferences to fix the issue of the Home Page. The same can be done for products in the product page section.
You need to click the Edit section of your store SEO to set up how your store pages will be displayed in Google and other search engines. Shopify tells you about the title and description length whether it is long or short.
Thanks to Shopify that it gives a readable structure of URL. It helps users to navigate your store easily and reach a specific page instantly. If a page is having multiple URLs, Shopify marks another page as canonical ones, so your SEO is not affected.
Product and collection descriptions:
Always include comprehensive information about the description. It will help search engines to understand the content of your product page. Make the description unique. There should be no duplicate content as it ranks lower in SERPs.
Alt texts for images:
Make the alt texts of your images very informative and descriptive. It helps search engines to find what the images of your page are. You need to provide appropriate keywords.
You can easily add the alt text for your images in Shopify. For this click, any image and then click Add alt text. After adding alt text, simply save the text.
It is important to note that if your images are not properly named on your device, and you upload them, Shopify will not allow you to change the name of your images. This will hurt your image’s SEO. For this, you need to delete the specific image from your Shopify store and then upload it again with a proper name.
Despite your all efforts in the on-page optimization of your store, Shopify store may not rank higher in SERPs. Here comes the importance of backlinks. Backlinks are a strong ranking factor in SEO. If you do proper optimization of your site and then create niche-related backlinks, your store will rank higher and may get tons of traffic.
To create backlinks for your store, you should start creating from the sites of your business partners. There may be the sites of your distributors or manufacturers. Ask them to place a link to your store at their site. But remember that search engine bots are strong enough to catch you if backlinks are with spammy sites. It will hurt your SEO and your store’s ranking will drop in SERPs.
You can have a check the backlink profile of your competitors with the SpyGlass tool of the Website Auditor. If you have no idea about your niche competitors, take the help of Rank Tracker.
Getting the names of competitors’ domain from Rank Tracker, you can discover the backlinks prospects from SpyGlass, and start the backlinks campaign.
It helps search engines to find the different properties of your products. Search results with good ratings tend to have more CTR. It pushes these snippets higher in SERPs. If you optimize rich snippets properly, search engines will prefer to rank your Shopify product pages higher.
In Shopify product pages, schema markup is integrated into most themes. A store owner just needs to add the details of the product, and Shopify will automatically generate the schema markup in the code.
For some of the themes in Shopify, the schema markup feature is not integrated. So you need to take the help of Shopify Apps like Smart SEO or Schema App, etc.
Web Speed Optimization:
User behavior, session duration, bounce rate, and session depth are the metrics of user experience that are influenced by website speed. Google is emphasizing core web vitals and user experience.
User experience is an important factor in e-commerce. If the experience of your customer on Shopify store is not good, he may leave your store without purchasing. Ultimately, it will decrease your store sales.
Continuously analyze your store with Google Search Console and see the Core Web Vitals report there. Here you can see the pages that are affected. Then you can take the help of Page Speed Insights to see what objects on your Shopify store pages are slowing down the speed of a particular page.
Factors affecting page speed:
In a Shopify store, poor page speed may be caused by these factors.
- Too big images need optimization otherwise Core Web Vitals of your store will hurt your SEO and your Shopify store’s ranking will drop in SERPs.
- Too many apps integrated into your Shopify store will lower the speed of your store although these apps make your life easier.
- Third-party themes may not be the best option for you to customize your store. Instead, you should select a Shopify theme and customize it according to your needs.
- Too complex liquid code complicated the scripts of your pages of the store and these slower the speed of particular pages.
- Too many pop-ups or featured product snippets also affect the speed of your store and irritates the customer although your intention is to inform him of all the aspects of your products.
Your Shopify store should be mobile friendly as according to the study half of the traffic on any e-commerce store comes from mobile devices. Google is also insisting that your site should be mobile-optimized. Shopify even suggests that you should start designing your store for mobiles first.
You can track any issues related to mobile-friendliness in Google Search Console. Click Enhancements and then Mobile usability. From here you can see the errors related to mobile-friendliness.
Google Search Console provides you a full list of mobile errors for your Shopify store optimization. You can click on the issue to see the affected page and act accordingly.
Some of the advice for Shopify store mobile optimization are:
- Using a fixed navigation bar;
- Place the product images front and center;
- Usage of minimum text on product pages;
- Fixed Add to cart button;
- Real images for products.
The selection of an appropriate theme is also a major factor that influences mobile experience. Most of the themes are responsive, so one can save himself from fixing the troubles of mobile usability issues.
If you have a budget, and you decide to go for a paid theme, must pay attention to ratings and reviews of a particular theme. Shopify support team may not be able to help you in the case of third-party themes.
Fixing Indexing Issues:
The pages of your Shopify store must be indexed in the search engines to appear in SERPs. If some pages are blocked from indexing due to some reason, your store will not be displayed, and hence no traffic.
Once changes are made to the pages of the Shopify store, a sitemap is automatically updated. But there is not a 100% guarantee that these pages will be indexed in search engines.
Shopify suggests that you should submit a sitemap to Google Search Console to let Google find and index your pages faster. The sitemap of the store can be located at the root directory of the store domain.
In Google Search Console, go to index > sitemaps > then enter your domain sitemap file name > submit. It is important to note that submitting the sitemap of your store to the search console does not guarantee fast indexing. But the chances of certainly improve are there.
To hide certain pages from search engines, Shopify uses robots.txt. Cart, Orders, Checkouts, and others that are not for indexing and displaying publicly are hidden by robots.txt.
Robots.txt file is generated by Shopify automatically. It is important to note that you cannot edit your robots.txt file. You cannot include or exclude any file manually.
Thanks to the developers of Shopify, they listen to the queries of their users and try to solve their problems in time. Shopify focuses on you, so a store owner only needs to focus on their customers. You need not worry about the technical issues of Shopify. I have covered all the issues relating to the Shopify store optimization. With this strategy, you can outperform your competitors.