If you want a good stream of free traffic while simultaneously boosting brand equity, then upgrading your Shopify SEO strategy should be on top of your to-do list. When it comes to Shopify SEO, there is no greater goal than getting your Shopify store to rank first on Google, organically.
Why? It improves your chances of clicks by new potential shoppers while building brand authority and trust – ultimately improving conversion rates and sales.
Here’s the thing: Shopify SEO is about so much more than keywords, and it goes hand-in-hand with building an excellent shopping experience. In this post, we show you exactly how to do just that.
So grab that coffee and follow this foolproof Shopify SEO guide to boost organic traffic.
Let’s jump in.
1. Set Up the Right Tracking and Indexing Tools
The first step in helping your Shopify store rank #1 on Google is setting up the right tracking and indexing tools. After all, if you can’t correctly analyze your traffic and SEO strategy, you can’t adapt your strategy to improve your ranking.
And how do you correctly track online store visitors and behavior? With the right combination of Shopify SEO tracking and indexing tools.
Let’s break them down.
Google Search Console
Google’s free Search Console is a must for Shopify SEO tracking. It enables eCommerce brands to measure search traffic and performance, and points to important issues you can fix to boost search rankings. With Search Console, you can:
- Obtain detailed crawl, index, and serving information about your Shopify store’s pages
- Assess which Google Search queries bring users to which product pages
- Analyze impressions, clicks, and position on Search
- Test and upgrade your site’s mobile usability
- Monitor, test, and track your AMP pages
- Track and improve rich results using Search Console reports
- Submit sitemaps and individual URLs (such as new product pages) for crawling
- Get site email alerts to review issues in real-time
Shopify Google Analytics
Do you need Google Analytics for Shopify? Absolutely. This SEO tool will help you track conversions, revenue, and traffic.
When it comes to Google Analytics vs. Shopify analytics, it shouldn’t be an either/or decision. To track properly, you definitely need both.
- The amount of Shopify analytics data you have access to is limited by the Shopify plan you are on
- Google Analytics offers far more report customization
- Solely relying on Shopify analytics limits you from changing cart platforms down the line, as data will not migrate with you
- While Shopify tracks total pageviews, Google Analytics segments metrics further into regular and unique pageviews
Shopify stores should turn on enhanced eCommerce tracking for maximum insights, if you haven’t already. To do this, you need to do both of the following:
- Shopify: Check “Use Enhanced eCommerce” in the Google Analytics section in your store preferences (Online store > Preferences).
- Google Analytics: In the View column in your Analytics admin, click “Ecommerce Settings” and set “Enable Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting” to on.
Don’t forget, Google is not the only search engine. You also want to optimize for Microsoft.
Bing Webmaster SEO Tools
You need to set up Bing Webmaster Tools to be able to track and tweak SEO strategies for Bing or track Microsoft Ads.
Bing Webmaster features and tools include:
- SEO reports
- Backlink analysis
- SEO Keyword research
- Site scans
- API access
- Diagnostic tools
Tracking and Indexing Best Shopify SEO Apps and Third-Party Tools
Along with the free SEO tracking tools, you may want to consider additional Shopify SEO apps for advanced tracking and SEO optimization. Here are some options to get you started:
- Fat Rank: Fat Rank is a Google Chrome tool that enables you to check the ranking for a particular keyword in Google and Bing for the website you are viewing.
- Plug In SEO: Plug In SEO is an all-in-one SEO app with a host of features designed to analyze and improve rankings.
- Screaming Frog: Screaming Frog is a website crawler that extracts data and audits for common SEO issues.
- SEO Manager: SEO Manager is a Shopify app that includes SEO scan, meta content tools, keyword suggestions, Google Search Console connection, and additional search analytics.
- Benchmark Hero: Benchmark Hero is a free site audit tool designed to help you improve SEO and outperform your competitors.
2. Review and Optimize Your Shopify Store Structure
Once you have the right tracking SEO tools in place, you want to review and tweak your store structure for maximum optimization. Why? Your store structure and data help Google classify your store and better understand your content (and products).
The good news is that Shopify is designed to make structured data (or site architecture) easy to implement for products and content marketing.
- Shopify includes a schema type called “Article” just for eCommerce articles, letting Google know your blog has editorial content, not just product pages. Additionally, it ensures Google pulls all the correct information to help you rank for content.
- Many store themes include product markups that send all the right data to Google, including product name, description, and price.
- Built-in collections make shopper navigation easier with product groupings and categories.
The bad news is that even though it’s set up for good structure, you’ll still have to put in the work to optimize it.
In other words, it’s easy to structure content and group products. The trick is doing so in the right way. This will ensure that the shopping journey is streamlined without hiccups and help get the right data to SERPs, both of which improve your rankings.
So, how do you optimize your store structure? Whether you’re using manual or automated collections, Shopify stores should make collections and structure logical. And although menu placement and naming seem menial, they’re vital.
Here are some tips from Shopify to get you started:
- Every store page should include a link in your store’s navigation
- Link text for navigation menus should match page titles
- Store pages should be at most three clicks away from your homepage
- Menus should be ordered logically, showing their relationship to one another
- Don’t get too creative with titles. Instead, make sure menu titles clearly describe the content of the page a user is being sent to
Additionally, outside of navigation, you want to ensure that you use descriptive image file names and link text.
3. Test and Optimize Your Shopify Store Speed
Next, you want to test, and then optimize, your store speed.
The testing part is easy. You can use this free tool to test technical performance and site speed in a matter of minutes to assess if your store upload time meets the requirements of both your customers and Google.
It’s optimizing that may take some work, but it is vital if you want to get your Shopify store to rank #1 on Google. The most common reason for slow Shopify store speeds is large images and videos. While Shopify offers safeguards such as maximum products within collection limits or built-in image sizes for most themes, these safeguards often do not entirely prevent poor speeds. If you think your store images are contributing to your slow store speeds, then you will want to review:
- Your image optimization strategies
- The number of slides for feature images
Alternatively, you can do this automatically with tools like the Benchmark Hero Shopify app. Here are some other top things from Shopify within your control that are probably contributing to slow store speeds, and how you can fix them:
- Fonts: Fonts can play a role in loading times. For example, if you use uncommon fonts that customers are less likely to have on their computers or phones, the font would have to be downloaded before your text can be displayed, slowing download times.
- Themes: Make sure your chosen theme isn’t slowing down your store speeds. You can prevent this by ensuring that you choose themes optimized for performance, disable theme features you don’t use, or test speed using system fonts.
- Third-party Shopify apps: Store apps that change the functionality or appearance of a store are likely to add additional code to your theme. This can slow down your site. However, in some cases, you can reduce this by either removing or reordering unnecessary code or disabling app features you don’t use (with the help of a developer).
- Complex or inefficient Liquid code: According to Shopify, stores that repeatedly do complex operations can increase their Liquid render time, impacting store speed. They suggest running the Shopify Theme Inspector for Chrome or hiring an expert.
4. Update Your Store Content and Optimize Your Images
Once you have tested your store for speed, you want to update your content and optimize your store images. Let’s discuss both.
When it comes to store content, brands need to make sure that they update store content regularly and also fix duplicate content – both of which are bad for SEO and overall store ranking.
This means you should not only be adding new products to your store – or updating the content of older product pages with new content or product videos – but also ensuring that you continuously include new site content. This is where having an eCommerce blog for your store can really boost SEO. Additionally, it is vital that you fix duplicate content. The two most common duplicate content issues are:
- Almost or entirely identical product descriptions: This can happen when products are very similar, or when online stores create different product pages for each variant. Outside of variants, you will need to get creative to fix duplicate product descriptions. You can do this by adding more specifications, adding product-specific testimonials to product pages, expanding page descriptions, or including original video guides.
- Duplicate product pages: This can quickly occur when stores associate product pages with a collection. When allocated to a collection, an additional URL – the way a product can be reached – is created. This becomes particularly problematic when adding a product to multiple collections, but it can be rectified with canonical tags.
How to Fix Duplicate Content for Shopify Stores
The best way to fix duplicate content is with canonical tags. According to Moz, a canonical tag is a way for stores to tell search engines that a URL represents the master copy of a page and prevents problems caused by identical or duplicate content appearing on multiple URLs.
You can either audit content automatically with tools such as Semrush Site Audit or canonical Shopify apps, or you can do it manually by reviewing tags and changing theme.liquid.
When it comes to image optimization, you want to ensure that you:
- Consider using image sitemaps
- Review and reduce the size of your images
- Include alt attributes that perfectly describe the image without keyword stuffing
- Use short, relevant image names
- Optimize your product thumbnails by varying alt text and making them as small as possible
- Test the number of images and what product angles you show for each product page to determine the lowest number of images needed to convert
For established stores with large categories of products, you will want to use an image optimization and automation tool for this. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Shopify Image Optimization Tools and SEO Apps
- Benchmark Hero’s free Shopify image optimization tool
- AVADA image optimizer Shopify app with plans starting at $29 per month
- TinyIMG SEO and image optimization Shopify app with plans starting at $1.99 per month
5. Invest in On-Page SEO for All Pages
Next, you want to review on-page SEO strategies and be ready to optimize in order to improve your Shopify store’s ranking. In fact, building awesome product pages that convert actually goes a long way to optimizing each page for SEO and increasing your store rank.
As we highlighted in our DIY SEO post, on-page optimization is vital for your page and store ranking, and it should be applied to each and every page on your store. This includes optimizing your:
- Meta data: Put effort into creating good meta descriptions and titles, as this not only helps attract bots (ranking), but shoppers (clicks).
- Page titles: Page titles should include main keywords/phrases and be highly relevant to the page’s content. In other words, don’t put irrelevant keywords for the sake of keywords.
- URLs: Each page URL should be as short and user-friendly as possible.
- Header keyword placement: Headers should include the main keyword in at least one H1, H2, or H3 header.
- Page UX: Page design and responsiveness affects page user engagement and therefore plays a key role in how Google ranks your pages.
- Image optimization: Images should be optimized for speed (size) and SEO (alt text).
- Inbound and outbound links: Each page should include both internal and external links where possible.
6. Upgrade Your Keyword Strategy
If you want to get your Shopify store to rank high on Google, you must review and upgrade your keyword strategies on a continuous basis. There is a lot that goes into choosing the right keywords for your Shopify store, but the two most important elements include:
- Keyword difficulty
- Keyword research
When it comes to SEO keyword research and upgrading your keyword strategy, you want to find pockets of keywords that offer the most potential for the least competition. To get you started, here are five steps to help you find the right keywords to boost your store strategy:
- Look to your most popular products
- Mine your Shopping Search query reports
- Discover winners in your Dynamic Search Ad queries
- Use search engine search suggestions to find new gems
- Look to the right third-party tools and research sites
You can find out how to upgrade your SEO keyword research and strategy in full detail in our eCommerce Keyword Research [Full Guide + Hacks] post, which covers:
- How to do eCommerce research the right way
- Where to find effective eCommerce SEO keywords
- How to choose the right eCommerce keywords for your goals
- The top eCommerce keyword hacks every seller needs to know
7. Practice Good Link Management
Link management and strategies are another important element that play a role in your overall store ranking, as well as your product page SEO. The four most critical parts of your overall link management strategy include:
- Broken link review and fixing
- Inbound link management
- Link title attribution
- Backlinking strategy
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Shopify Link Management: Fixing Broken Links
An essential part of your overall link management strategy is reviewing and fixing broken links. They not only negatively impact your customer experience, but hinder your store’s standing and ranking with Google. Simply put, too many broken links tell Google that your store quality is lacking.
The easiest way to fix broken links is to:
- Use link checkers such as W3C Link Checker or Google Search Console to find broken error pages
- Fix broken links using Shopify URL redirects. You can visit this guide if you’re new to creating URL redirects on Shopify
Shopify Link Management: Inbound Link Management
Internal linking is another part of link management that improves Shopify SEO. This means strategically linking to related pages from other pages, and when done right, it will boost sales potential and ranking.
Here are some winning inbound link strategies you can test to drive your Shopify SEO:
- Build a solid organic social following
- Implement an eCommerce blog full of how-to guides and other high-value content that you can add to your product pages
- Go multichannel with content and invest in new streams such as live commerce, podcasts, YouTube channels, etc.
- Use email marketing to drive traffic back to your website and through your sales journey
- Personalize product recommendations on product pages to add more relevancy
Shopify Link Management: Link Title Attribution
When doing a complete SEO audit for your Shopify store, you’re likely to see instances where you’re alerted to missing title attributes. More often referred to as anchor text, attributes give additional information about the page you’re linking to.
For example, let’s take this StoreYa link, Facebook Ads for eCommerce.
In a nutshell, link title attributes are used to clarify link context and help control how Google perceives the link. The key is focusing on your users, not search engines. And when it comes to Shopify SEO optimization, your titles play a critical role. This is critical for backlinking strategy.
To improve link text, Yoast suggests the following:
- Links should match perfectly with the page you’re linking to
- Text that includes the link should flow naturally with the rest of the content
- Links should not include tricks or use gimmick text to get clicks
Shopify Link Management: Backlinking Strategies
Lastly, let’s talk backlinking. The more links to your store you have on sites that Google views as good quality, the higher your store’s perceived quality will be, which in turn helps improve your ranking.
Getting links on good-quality third-party websites is vital in helping your Shopify SEO strategy and getting your store to rank #1. A good backlink strategy should be centered around creating high-value content (blog articles) and then matching it to highly relevant content.
Here are some ways you can get backlinks to your Shopify store to boost SEO:
- Interview niche influencers on your site to promote links and mentions
- Up your word-of-mouth and PR strategy game
- Approach niche-related blogs and submit guest post pitches
- Spy on your competitors and see who is linking to them
- Create engaging high-value content that people will want to link back to
- Have your products reviewed by top-ranking sites and/or influencers
Bonus Content: Everything You Need to Know to Double Traffic with Instagram Sponsored Posts
8. Invest in High-Value Content
Creating high-quality content can go a long way to boosting Shopify SEO. Not only does creating a blog help you rank for niche-specific keywords (bringing more targeted traffic to your store), but it also opens up more possibilities for the other SEO optimization steps mentioned in this guide.
In short, you need an SEO-driven content marketing strategy and an eCommerce blog. Why? It:
- Improves your overall bounce rate, which improves your ranking
- Encourages inbound and outbound links
- Helps you rank for long-tail keywords
- Keeps your store fresh in the eyes of Google
You can read more about how an eCommerce blog can boost SEO here.
9. Boost Organic Traffic with PPC
Yes, organic Shopify SEO is the dream. But it’s slow, and to really capitalize, you should boost your strategies and change keywords with the right Google Ads for eCommerce.
When planned well, organic and paid search strategies should boost each other, ensuring you get maximum exposure for the least amount of spend – AKA, great ROAS.
Paid ads can help you dominate the top of the first page while earning you clicks. Clicks don’t just mean potential sales. They also mean lower bounce rates and longer sessions, all of which improve organic Shopify ranking. The key is relevancy and strategies.
So, how can you boost organic and PPC strategies to boost SEO? Here are some top tips from our PPC and eCommerce marketing experts:
- Help promote new content with Google: While you are waiting for an organic post to gain traction, PPC campaigns can boost initial traffic to the post, helping to build authority with Google.
- Dominate SERPs: Combining organic and PPC campaigns for the exact search term helps Shopify dominate SERPs for that term.
- Keyword Research/test target keywords: PPC ads give you access to new potential keywords, especially when using campaigns like Smart Shopping. They also are a good tool you can use to test a potential SEO keyword before investing in content for new keywords.
- Test new regions and markets: Before opening your SEO or content marketing strategy to new locations, use PPC campaigns to gauge product or content interest in that region.
- Use PPC to test SEO content: Before finalizing your meta titles and descriptions, you can run test campaigns using these titles to gauge CTRs and user engagement.
- Convert search traffic: Even if most of your traffic comes organically, PPC is vital in nurturing that traffic through the shopping journey, especially when combined with expert PPC automation.
The bottom line is that while Shopify SEO is a long-term game, PPC plays a crucial role in continuously driving traffic, dominating SERPs, and boosting sales. And while you devlope long-term strategies, you need to have traffic-driving marketing strategies in place that not only fill in the gaps where SEO lacks, but also feed your SEO success.
Pro Tip: Boost SEO and store ranking while driving conversion in real-time with eCommerce ads automation. Traffic Booster automates Google, Facebook, and Instagram ads using unique AI technology. Ultimately, it takes the burden off the shoulders of Shopify stores and ensures they get the right customers at the right time for the right cost.
10. Use the Best Shopify SEO Apps and Tools
Last but not least, you need the right tools and apps if you want to upgrade your Shopify SEO and rank #1 on Google.
Going at it manually as your list of products – and customers – grows becomes harder and harder. With developing machine learning tech, eCommerce automation is a must if you want to compete, and SEO is no different. But, as we mentioned earlier, you don’t want to go overboard with apps, as this can slow your site, which harms Shopify SEO.
It’s a balancing act. You want to choose the right tool for your needs that fits into your budget. Here are some of the best SEO Shopify apps for 2022 worth considering:
- Benchmark Hero: Benchmark Hero is an entirely free smart SEO, Shopify store, and image optimization tool built by eCommerce SEO. PPC and marketing experts.
- SEO Manager: SEO Manager is an SEO management tool that includes SEO scan, meta content tools, keyword suggestions, Google Search Console connection, search analytics, and more. Plans start at $20 per month.
- Plug In SEO: Plug In SEO Shopify app helps you spot SEO issues and broken links in order to boost your overall Google ranking. Paid plans start at $29 per month.
- Traffic Booster: Traffic Booster combines marketing experts and AI to run and manage paid campaigns to help boost organic traffic. There are no additional costs outside of your actual advertising budget, but Shopify brands need to be spending a minimum of $120 per month to sign up.
- Smart SEO: Smart SEO is a Shopify app that includes SEO tag generation, broken link fixes, and sitemap management. Plans start at $7 per month.
You can read more about these and other top Shopify apps here.
Pro Tip: As your business grows beyond the seven-figure mark, it may be worth hiring a Shopify SEO expert to help. Competition is getting fierce, and although running a lean business is the goal, you need to invest more to keep up with increased saturation. You can start with our eCommerce Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finding Freelancers to find Shopify SEO experts and other eCommerce service providers.
Final Thoughts: Boosting Shopify SEO the Right Way
Here’s the thing, the journey to get your Shopify store to rank #1 on Google is not a quick one. It’s a long, ongoing strategy that takes time to come to fruition. Whether it’s your meta descriptions or your image alt text, every aspect of your store plays a role in your overall running and SEO.
And as tedious as it can be at first, it is vital that your strategies are in place to tackle each element for each page. Why? Because search engine optimization and long-term traffic streams depend on it.
To recap, here is a Shopify SEO checklist, or cheat sheet.
eCommerce SEO Checklist
- Set up the right tracking and indexing tools
- Review and optimize your Shopify store structure
- Test and optimize your Shopify store speed
- Update your store content and optimize your images
- Invest in on-page SEO for all pages
- Upgrade your keyword strategy
- Practice good link management
- Invest in high-value content
- Boost organic traffic with PPC
- Invest in the right Shopify SEO app or tool
Still have SEO questions for your online store? Post your comments below or visit these other top eCommerce SEO guides.
Nicole is a content writer at StoreYa with over sixteen years experience and flair for storytelling. She runs on a healthy dose of caffeine and enthusiasm. When she’s not researching the next content trend or creating informative small business content, she’s an avid beachgoer, coffee shop junkie and hangs out on LinkedIn.
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