Shopify SEO: the beginner's checklist.
Shopify has become THE hub for eCommerce brands wanting to grow their business and have more control over their digital presence. It's also become the default CMS platform for brands wanting to create unforgettable eCommerce experiences for their customers.
As Shopify Plus Partners, we’ve worked on a plethora of Shopify stores, so we know that great SEO is key to ensuring your online presence and visibility are not impacted when redesigning or migrating. So, to help you along the way, we've created a guide with integral and best-practice SEO improvements that help our clients maintain rankings and see them rule the SERP! (Search Engine Results Page). Let's dive in!
What is Shopify SEO?
Shopify SEO is a set of SEO best practices that are specific to Shopify’s online store. The built-in features help to optimise your website and are aligned with Google guidelines and, more importantly, the intent and behaviour of your customers.
This will help your website to become visible on Google Search for a set of keywords that are important to your brand, which, in turn, will be a catalyst for generating organic traffic.
Shopify stores have installed many useful features that optimise your SEO, including the following:
auto-generated Canonical tags,
auto-generated Sitemap file, and
built-in title tag, meta description and URL structure.
For your business to dominate your niche, you need to increase the visibility of your website for important keywords on Google Search. Any SEO expert will tell you this: unfortunately, there is no silver bullet, and it’s a continuous, long-term strategy where you can make incremental progress to become a powerhouse within your industry.
So, while you can't put a timeframe on when you can rank #1 on Google, you can use our Shopify SEO basic checklist below to get on the right track!
A. Set up Google Search Console.
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool that businesses can create that allows you to monitor your website’s performance. You can track how many organic clicks, impressions, click-through rate and average position of your content.
GSC has another great feature that allows you to monitor the website for technical issues such as broken pages, no indexed pages, and the indexing and crawlability of your pages.
You can take control of your website with the help of GSC, keep an eye on your rankings, and review the most important pages that drive traffic and revenue to the website.
Create a FREE Google Search Account, verify your domain and get started!
B. Set up Google Analytics 4.
Google Analytics provides you with data about your users' behaviour for all traffic sources. For SEO, the channel you want to focus on is Organic Search.
Organic search is the unpaid listing of your website on the SERPs. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the new analytics property that came out a few years back and is still in its infancy.
Setting up a Google Analytics 4 account will improve your understanding of your customers, showcasing their engagement and which of your products, services and blogs generate organic traffic and organic revenue.
Learn how to set up a GA4 Account with this helpful guide.
C. Set up Google Tag Manager.
Google Tag Manager (GTM) works together with Google Analytics as it can send data from your GTM account to your analytics property. With GTM, you can install tags that track the actions people take on your website.
For example, if you want to track people clicking on calls to actions for specific products such as ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Checkout’.
Then, you can set up a GTM tag which will fire every time a user performs this action on certain pages on your website. You have the ability to specify which pages this fires on as well as the text that people click on.
Learn more about how to use Google Tag Manager for SEO in this Search Engine Journal post.
D. SEO Tools.
Google has a number of extensions which are brilliant for tracking your SEO performance.
Extensions provide its users with an abundance of shortcuts and features that would otherwise be difficult or tedious to find.
What does it do?
See Related keywords on Google & Bing
See Trend chart in Google & YouTube
See YouTube insights & YouTube Tags
View monthly estimates of traffic and the top 500 keywords that any URL ranks for.
Analyse any URL to get the list of keywords in the content of the page, and the density of those keywords.
What does it do?
Get the complete list of broken or dead links (404 errors) including:
Also, it provides status codes (2xx, 3xx, 4xx, 5xx, 6xx) of every single link, including redirects information (301 and other).
Once the scanning begins, the Broken Link Checker will highlight links with a green highlight and switch to a pink highlight if the link is broken.
What does it do?
Adds a counter next to search results in Google to show its ranking.
What does it do?
Shopify on-page SEO best practices.
To get your important pages to rank on Google Search, you will need to utilise these on-page best SEO practices. You need to ensure each and every page is optimised based on the following checklist:
A. Conduct keyword research.
Keyword research tools such as Semrush provide monthly search volume data of various keywords relevant to your brand.
The keyword magic tool for Semrush is popular with many SEO professionals as it provides users with data based on the keyword’s intent.
For example, if we search for "Shopify", we will get various keywords associated with that search:
User intent is split into 4 categories:
Informational - The user wants to find an answer to a specific question.
Navigational - The user wants to find a specific brand, page or path.
Commercial - The user wants to investigate products/services.
Transactional - The user wants to complete an action & convert.
KD%: The keyword difficulty of ranking for a keyword based on online competition. 100 is the most difficult, with 1 being the easiest to rank.
B. Create keyword-focused title tags.
Title tags are a huge ranking factor for Google. For brands to build relevant traffic, you need to write compelling and keyword-rich titles that target the customers you want on your website.
Title tags are the clickable link that appears on Google Search. Best practices for optimising title tags are to:
Write title tags made for your customers. Describe the page people will click on, including keywords based on research and how you want customers to find you.
Avoid keyword stuffing. Strike a balance between including keywords within your title but not over-optimising so it becomes unreadable. If users can’t understand the page, it’s unlikely they’ll click on it.
Keep your title tags between 45 and 65 characters. Use enough characters to describe your page whilst incorporating various keywords. If you go over the 70-character mark, your titles can be truncated and be cut on the SERP.
C. Optimise meta descriptions.
A meta description is the extra line of content underneath the clickable title on Google. With this description, you can provide additional context to a relevant page that can contribute to an increase in click-through rate.
The best practice is to keep your description to between 145 and 160 characters, ensuring they’re highly descriptive and informative with relevant keywords included. A user’s search query can be matched with your description, depending on how well you optimise your description.
The length of your meta descriptions will change depending on the page. For example, a product page might include more calls to action, such as ‘Free Delivery’, instead of a blog topic, which will be more informational.
The goal of your meta descriptions is to encourage your customers to click on your page. The first step is done once you’ve managed to do this!
D. Use H1 headings.
Heading tags provide a clear structure to content and act as simple yet effective ways to optimise for target keywords.
You can think of heading tags like chapters in a book. Each has its purpose for whatever content exists in that section.
H1 headings are used to promote your page's most important text, information and theme.
Without it, Google struggles to understand how important your page is. As a result, this can impact the rankings of your pages if not correctly optimised.
Have clear and relevant H1 headings on all of your pages to help users and Google understand the page's contents.
SEO success on Shopify!
Shopify remains one of the most popular CMS platforms for eCommerce brands to improve their online presence and charge up the rankings on Google, and with our SEO checklist, you can supercharge your site! We've highlighted the importance of SEO, introducing tools to understand user behaviour and how to manage your website data. We also provided Shopify on-page SEO, including keyword research, title tags, meta descriptions and H1 headings. Happy SEO-ing!
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