Last updated on 3rd October 2023 at 19:07 by Alex Nicholas
As a business and eCommerce site owner, it's crucial to have a strong online presence within Google in order to reach a wider audience and drive more sales.
And whilst Shopify is a great platform, simply having a website built on Shopify is not enough – you also need to optimise it for search engines by implementing SEO (search engine optimisation).
So if you're new to SEO and would like to get the basics right from the start, here are some basic SEO tasks to help boost your Shopify store's organic visibility.
Research and use keywords effectively
Research the keywords that potential customers may use to find products like yours, and map them out in a spreadsheet, along with the pages they'll be placed.
By doing this you'll end up with a clear picture of which search terms line up with which pages. But be aware that some of these search terms might be incredibly competitive and to be blunt, are out of your reach.
So make sure that you're being realistic with the search terms you go after.
Check the intent of your search terms
When mapping out your keyword/search term list make sure that the intent behind the search aligns with the search term you're targeting – i.e. when you Google a search term what does Google show you?
For example, if you're targeting the term running shoes, does Google show you category/collection pages of eCommerce sites, affiliate-based review websites that get a commission for sales or videos on running shoes?
This is important information to gather because Google will return the types of pages it thinks are relevant to the search term, and if your page doesn't meet that same intent and have the same content then you'll struggle/won't rank unless you create the same type of content.
Choose the right theme
This is a super important aspect of setting up and optimising a Shopify store because the theme you choose can be the difference between keeping browsers on your site or losing them.
Engagement is important and something that I'm sure Google watches closely at times with e-commerce stores and with the right theme this becomes a whole lot easier.
I've written a handful of posts about Shopify themes so be sure to check them out if you're interested in how picking the right one can help you.
Shopify page titles
Your page titles are a key indicator to Google as to what your page is all about so make sure that you include your main search term here, and describe the page.
For example, if you sell vintage dresses your page title should look something like “Vintage Dresses | Every Style Available”
By creating your page titles like this you're not only using your main search term but also enticing the customer to click because they can see that you have a good range to choose from.
Shopify heading tags
Headings (H tags) are another crucial part of the SEO puzzle because, like page titles, they're an indicator to Google as to what your page is about.
People are often afraid to write any more than 2 words in eCom page headings which in my opinion is a mistake. You need to describe the page, even if you have to write a slightly longer heading.
Optimise your Shopify store's structure and navigation
Ensure that your website's menu structure is clear and easy to navigate, with a logical hierarchy of pages. This will make it easier for search engines to understand the content on your website.
Also, make sure that you aren't overcomplicating your collection pages by throwing random products into one collection page.
The products that go into a collection page MUST be relevant to each other.
Create content that meets user intent
Search engines favour websites with high-quality, unique content that is relevant to the user's search. Make sure to regularly update your website with new blog posts that meet user intent because this content will help improve your website's visibility in search engine results.
If you want to you can integrate WordPress with Shopify, but in all honesty, I've only ever used the Shopify blog and it ranks just fine, so I only suggest doing this if there's a specific use case for it.
Related search terms
On top of this, you need to add search terms to your pages that are closely related to your main search term.
Whilst this can be a little more complex and is easier to get wrong, related search terms are important because they provide more understanding for the algorithms that rank websites. They essentially provide extra relevance to a page.
Use alt tags for images
Alt tags provide a text description for images, which can help search engines understand the context of the image and improve your website's visibility in image search results.
Alt tags are often overlooked, but they're another way to add relevance to your pages and should be used throughout your store.
Here's a more detailed post about optimising your Shopify alt tags.
This aspect of SEO is really important because by getting the internal linking correct you can create topical relevance and authority which will greatly help with your rankings.
Google likes to rank pages that are authoritative in their niche, and by clustering your topically relevant pages together via internal linking you're going a long way to achieving this.
Okay, so getting backlinks from other websites to your website can help to improve your website's visibility in search engine results is essential, but it's definitely not a “basic SEO task” so it's a little cheeky of me to include this here.
But the reason I've added it in is that linkbuilding is so important to the visibility of your site. You simply won't rank for any competitive terms without them.
Reaching out to other websites in your industry and asking them to include a link to your website in their content has been one of, if not the main factor in ranking pages highly in the SERPs for competitive search terms and will continue to be the main factor for the foreseeable future.
The unknown for any website owner that has little to no SEO knowledge is how many they need.
So my advice to anyone in this position looking to embark on a linkbuilding campaign is to hire an expert that does this day in and day out, like me!
Why do Shopify stores need SEO?
As we've already established, SEO is the process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website in search engine results. For businesses operating on the Shopify platform, SEO is especially important in order to reach a wider audience and drive more sales.
It's also the best mid to long-term form of marketing for 75% of eCommerce stores because it provides the highest ROI and will continue to bring in sales for years to come, long after PPC has become too expensive.
By optimising your Shopify website for search engines, you can increase your website's visibility, making it more likely that potential customers will find your business when searching for products or services related to your retail business.
It's also important to understand that SEO is not a one-time task, it's an ongoing process that often takes time, which is a good thing because if the results were immediate you'd have a whole lot more competition.
Search engines are also constantly updating their algorithms, so it's important to stay on top of the latest SEO trends and updates. It requires a lot of time, effort and patience, but I promise you it's worth it in the long run.
Improving content of your Shopify store
One of the most important factors that search engines consider when ranking websites is the quality and intent of the content on the website, and in order to improve your Shopify website's ranking in search engine results, it's important to create high-quality, unique content that is relevant to your e-commerce business.
One way to improve your website's content is by regularly updating your website with new blog posts so that you can create topical authority around your products. This is what Google wants to see so give them what they want and create content that answers the who, what, why and can questions that your customers might have.
Then internally link from the body of the content using relevant keyword-rich anchor text through to the relevant collection or/and product pages.
Product descriptions are also very important so make sure that you describe your products in detail, and make sure they're sitting within the correct collection page.
Additionally, it's important to make sure your website pages are loading quickly, as slow loading times can negatively affect your search engine ranking.
That's a wrap
This is an overview of the basic SEO tasks for your Shopify store, why they're important to implement and how to get them right.
This is by no means an extensive list and there are many different needs for each individual store, but they are (apart from link building) all SEO tasks that you can carry out yourself, and with enough time master completely.
But as ever if you get stuck and need some advice don't be afraid to reach out.