Last updated on 5th October 2023 at 14:14 by Alex Nicholas
In this SEO Shopify guide, we will be discussing a few different aspects of on-page optimization in the form of a Shopify SEO checklist. This checklist will help you become a Shopify SEO expert so you can pilot your Shopify eCommerce store's SEO page rank to the top of the search engines.
A checklist is an efficient way to keep track of progress and ensure that all important tasks are completed. As you go through this Shopify SEO checklist, be sure to take note of any areas that need improvement in your store.
SEO is so much more than the content management system you use. It's about making sure that you understand the competitive landscape, how you fit into that landscape, research and implementation of both on-page and off-page, user experience and above all, consistency and patience.
All platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, and that includes Shopify. However, what Shopify does very well is cover the most critical aspects with great flexibility, leaving you to work on maximising your site's potential.
On to the most important aspects of SEO that eCommerce site owners should focus on above all else. Below are our Top 10 tasks to check off of your Shopify SEO checklist!
Take advantage of Shopify's built-in SEO features
Let's start by stating an important fact, Shopify is a powerful eCommerce platform that comes with a lot of built-in SEO features.
For example, Shopify automatically generates sitemaps and has built-in URL optimization. This means that you don't have to waste time configuring these things yourself.
In addition, Shopify also has built-in support for social media integration and canonical URLs. These features can help you promote your content and get more traffic to your website.
An SEO-friendly Shopify store is a store that has been designed and developed with mobile users, user experience and search engine optimization in mind. Without it, your store will likely have a hard time ranking in search results. This will make all efforts to build your site futile as it will not be visible to your potential customers.
When trying to first understand the proper way to perform SEO for your Shopify store, it is important to understand how search engines work. To put it simply, search engines are a type of software that helps people find the information they need on the internet by indexing websites and pages according to certain keywords.
This can be a lot to understand when first starting out learning how to do proper SEO for a Shopify store, but not to worry! Here are some tips on how you can make your Shopify store both user and SEO-friendly:
1. Invest in a custom domain
Whilst this isn't strictly an SEO task, it most definitely does provide a better user experience in the sense that people might be put off by the myshopify.com URL.
And in case you aren't sure what this is, below is an example of a Shopify store showing the myshopify.com domain redirecting to the custom domain.
By doing this your custom domain will show up in the SERPs like this.
You can buy your custom domain to use on your Shopify store through a 3rd party domain provider or through Shopify itself.
2. Choose a fast theme
Without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of building your Shopify store is the theme because it must be:
- Fast, because it greatly improves conversions and has an impact on organic rankings
- Have great user experience (especially on mobile)
- Be flexible so that you can change the layout to how you need it
It's easy to spend a lot of time looking through and researching Shopify themes, but in my opinion, there's a stand-out theme developer, and that's Out of the Sandbox.
Out of the Sandbox are experts at building great themes that work exactly how you need them to. They're not the cheapest, but they do come with great support and updates.
This is something to bear in mind when choosing your theme because the free themes get basic support if any, meaning you're relying on expensive developers of potentially a theme change.
3. Do your keyword research!
The most effective approach to boost the visibility of your Shopify shop's search results is to make sure that your site's content and items include the keywords that consumers are looking for. To achieve this, you'll need to undertake keyword research.
Knowing how to find SEO keywords for your website's products and pages is critical for on-page optimization. The process of finding the right keywords can be broken down into 3 steps:
- Brainstorm a list of potential keywords
- Use a keyword research tool to get search volume data and competition level for each keyword
- Select the most relevant and achievable keywords to target
We'll go into more detail on each of these steps below.
1. Brainstorm a list of potential keywords
To get started, you'll need to come up with a list of potential keywords that are relevant to your Shopify store's products and pages. The best way to do this is to think like your target customer. What words or phrases would they use to find your products?
You can also look at your competitor's websites to see what keywords they're targeting. To do this, simply visit their website and then view the source code by right-clicking anywhere on the page and selecting “View Page Source.”
Once you're in the source code, press CTRL F (on a PC) or Command F (on a Mac), and then type in “keywords.” This should bring you to the section of code that contains all of the keywords that the site is targeting.
Make sure to write down any relevant keywords that you find!
2. Use a keyword research tool to get search volume data and competition level for each keyword
Now that you have a list of potential keywords, it's time to use a keyword research tool to get search volume data and find out how difficult it will be to rank for each keyword.
There are many different keyword research tools available, but if you're on a tight budget we recommend using Google Keyword Planner. This tool is free to use, and it provides reliable data straight from Google, even if it's primary use is for PPC.
To get started, go to the Google Keyword Planner website and sign in with your Google account.
Once you're signed in, click “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category.”
On the next page, enter your potential keywords into the “Your product or service” field and then click “Get Ideas.”
Google Keyword Planner will now show you the average monthly search volume for each keyword, as well as the level of competition.
You can use this data to determine which keywords are the most relevant and achievable for your Shopify store.
3. Select the most relevant and achievable keywords to target
Once you have all of the data from Google Keyword Planner, it's time to select the most relevant and achievable keywords to target.
To do this, simply create a list of all of the potential keywords that you want to target, and then rank them in order of relevance.
Once you've done this, take a look at the competition level for each keyword. If a keyword has a high level of competition, it will be more difficult to rank for that keyword.
Therefore, you should only target keywords that are relevant to your store and have a low level of competition (if you're just starting out on your eCommerce journey).
You can use this process to create a list of target keywords for your Shopify store. Once you have your list of target keywords, you can start optimising your site's content and items to include these keywords.
To be sure about what SEO keywords to use on your website, it's important to do keyword research regularly. This will help you to keep up with the latest trends and ensure that you're using the most relevant and effective keywords for your Shopify store.
4. Use keyword-rich page titles and headings
And now on to an SEO basic!
When creating page titles and headings (H tags) for any page on your website it's important to use keywords that people are searching for along with variations of the keywords.
This will help your products show up in search results when people are looking for them and give Google a much better understanding of what your page is about.
Unfortunately, people who construct and update their own eCommerce platforms like Shopify frequently make the error of disregarding basic page elements such as headings. Your headings are just as important on your product and category pages as they are in your blog posts.
If you don't use titles and headings properly, your content will be difficult to read and it will be less likely to rank well in search engines.
Therefore, it's important to use headings to structure your content and make it easy to read.
Headings play an important role when it comes to improving your search engine ranking. This is because search engines will often use the headings on your pages to determine the topic of your content.
If you use relevant keywords in your headings, it's more likely that your content will rank well for those keywords.
Here are some tips for using headings properly:
- Use headings to structure your content and make it easy to read
- Use relevant keywords in your headings to improve your search engine ranking
- Make sure your headings are formatted correctly
It's simple to add headings and subheadings in Shopify: simply highlight a section of text and then pick your desired heading from the formatting drop-down menu while editing a page or product description. You can also add headings by using an HTML tag.
To create a heading in Shopify, highlight the desired text and then use the formatting bar to select the heading style.
There are six heading styles to choose from – H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6, but for Shopify collection pages I recommend only using the H1, or H1 and H2 if you're planning on adding content to your collection page(s).
H1 is the largest heading and H6 is the smallest. It's best to use headings in order, so if you're using an H2, you should also use an H3, and so on.
5. Optimise your images
Another important aspect of Shopify SEO is optimising your images.
When you upload an image to your store, make sure to include keywords in the file name and fill out the alternate text field with a brief description of the image.
This will help search engines understand what the image is and how it relates to your product and will potentially drive traffic via Google Lens.
I also recommend uploading your images using WebP.
6. Carry out a technical SEO audit
A technical SEO audit is a process of assessing a website's compliance with search engine optimization best practices and making sure that there are no technical blocks hindering your site's performance in the SERPs.
The purpose of an SEO audit is to identify any areas where a website is not following best practices and to make recommendations for how those issues can be fixed.
SEO audits should be performed both manually and by using specialised software.
Many different factors can be included in an SEO audit, but some of the most common and basic ones are listed below:
- Title tags that describe the product
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags that match the page
- Correctly implemented faceted navigation
- Alt-text on images etc
- 301 redirects
- 404 errors
- Make sure crawlers can read and index your pages
An SEO audit can help you identify any areas where your website is not following best practices. By fixing these issues, you can improve your website's compliance with search engine optimization best practices and increase your chances of ranking well in search results.
7. Customer reviews
Customer reviews are one of the most important factors in determining whether or not people will buy from your Shopify store. Positive customer reviews can help to increase your conversion rate, while negative customer reviews can decrease it.
There are a few different ways to collect customer reviews. The most common method is to ask customers to leave a review after they have made a purchase.
You can also collect customer reviews by sending out surveys, or by using a tool like Qualaroo to gather feedback from visitors.
Once you have collected some customer reviews, it's important to display them prominently on your website. You can do this by creating a dedicated page for customer reviews, or by adding a section for them on your product pages.
As you can see from the image above you're instantly drawn to the fact that there are 18 reviews when you land on the page and they're positive.
If you're not sure how to collect or display customer reviews, Shopify has a great guide that can help you get started.
8. Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis is the process of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. This information can be used to improve your website and marketing strategy.
There are a few different ways to perform a competitor analysis. The most common method is to use a tool like SEMrush, Ahrefs or SpyFu to track your competitor's keyword rankings and advertising spend.
This information will give you insights into which of their pages are the best performing and where their website traffic is coming from.
You can also collect information about your competitors, social media following, and backlink profile. This data can be collected using a tool like Ahrefs or BuzzSumo.
Once you have collected this data, you can use it to improve your own website and marketing strategy.
For example, if you notice that your competitor is ranking for a lot of keywords that you're not, you can use that information to improve your keyword research.
Or, if you notice that your competitor has a lot of social media followers, you can use that information to improve your social media marketing strategy.
By understanding your competitors, you can make sure that your website and marketing strategy are as strong as they can be.
9. Site speed
Site speed is the amount of time it takes for a page on your website to load and is important for two main reasons:
– It affects your website's search engine ranking. Google has stated that site speed is a ranking factor, and faster websites tend to rank higher in search results.
– It affects your website's conversion rate. Studies have shown that slower loading websites have lower conversion rates.
There are a few different ways to improve your website's speed. The most common method is to use a content delivery network (CDN).
A CDN is a network of servers that deliver content to visitors based on their location. This can help to improve your website's speed by reducing the distance that the content has to travel and is something that Shopify has baked into it's system.
Another way to improve your website's speed is to optimise your images. Large images can take a long time to load, so it's important to make sure that they are as small as possible without compromising quality.
10. Mobile optimization
Mobile optimization is the process of making sure that your website is accessible and easy to use on mobile devices as this is where most of your customers will be coming from.
Mobile user experience is important for 3 main reasons:
- It affects your website's search engine ranking. Google has stated that mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor, and mobile-optimised websites tend to rank higher in search results.
- It affects your website's conversion rate. Studies have shown that mobile-friendly websites have higher conversion rates.
- It affects your website's bounce rate. Websites that are not optimised for mobile devices tend to have higher bounce rates.
There are a few different ways to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. The most common method is to use a responsive design.
And as with site speed, this too is something Shopify offers straight out of the box with responsive designs that makes sure your website looks good on all devices, including mobile devices.
11. SEO-driven content
The most important aspect of SEO is your website's content.
Content is the lifeblood of your site and what helps you rank in search engines and drive traffic to your website, but there are a few different things that you need to keep in mind when creating SEO-driven content.
The first thing is to make sure that your content is keyword and entity rich. This means that you should include your target keywords and all related entities within your content.
However, you should also make sure that your keywords are used naturally and not forced into the content so that it looks unnatural and unreadable.
Another thing to keep in mind is to create the right types and length of content. Sometimes that might be long-form content as that's what the query needs. Other times it might be short-form content that quickly answers a question and leads the reader deeper into your website.
The trick here is to look at the SERPs to see what's ranking on the first page because this is what Google has determined that the users want to see.
And finally, you should make sure that your content is updated regularly. Google prefers content that's relevant to the user, so it's important to add new content to your website consistently and make sure it's relevant to the search intent.
NOTE ON USER INTENT: User intent can and does shift from time to time. This happens when search engines understand that the users aren't happy with the results being shown. For example, users want to see videos instead of long form content.
12. Link building to help build authority
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to your website.
The most important thing to keep in mind with link building is that quality is more important than quantity. It's better to have a few high-quality links than a bunch of low-quality links.
There are a few different ways to build links. The most common method is to create great content and then promote it via other websites or blogs that fit within your niche or industry. Again, relevance is key here in my opinion as it sends a strong signal to Google that your content is important and deserves to rank higher.
If the linking page(s) and the target pages are closely related then you will rank higher.
Another way to build links is to reach out to other website owners that have created link roundups or the best of pages. Link roundups are posts that curate a list of the best resources on a certain topic that are useful resources for their readers.
If you can get your website included in a link roundup, you'll likely get a high-quality link.
13. Use engaging meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are the short descriptions that appear under your website's title in search results.
The purpose of a meta description is to provide searchers with information about the page they're on. It serves as an abstract for a webpage, summarising the content and operations in it. Meta descriptions are short descriptions of web pages that appear under blue clickable links in search engine results pages.
The goal of a meta description is to give searchers enough information about the page so they can determine if it's relevant to their search. An engaging meta description should:
- Be less than 155 characters
- Include your target keyword
- Be relevant to the page's content
- Be unique and not duplicated across other pages on your website
However, Google has a habit of rewriting meta descriptions if it feels the search query needs something different so don't be surprised to see something pulled from the page itself rather than the description you wrote.
14. Implement Schema markup to stand out in the SERPs
Schema markup is code that you can add to your website to help search engines understand your website better.
Schema markup is a type of structured data that helps search engines understand the information on your website.
It's used to give search engines specific information about your website, such as the products you sell, the services you offer, or the events you host.
Schema markup can also be used to provide information about your business, such as your business name, address, and phone number. But most importantly, as an eCommerce site, you need schema because it will pull your aggregate review rating through from your page and show it in the SERPs (see below).
Adding schema markup to your website can also help you rank higher in search results and get more traffic to your website as it's giving the crawlers direct information about your content in a format it lives on.
15. Utilise Social Media to drive engagement
Social media is a great way to promote your website and content. When you share your content on social media, you're providing a link back to your website. This helps you get more traffic to your website and can also assist you in ranking higher in search results as it shows Google that you're a brand (which is what they want to see).
In addition to sharing your own content, you should also share other people's content that is relevant to your niche. This will help you build relationships with other businesses in your industry and can also lead to more traffic and links back to your website.
Now that you've got your checklist ready to begin your Shopify SEO journey, it's time to nail down Shopify SEO tips, examples, key insights, and practical information into your approach to Shopify SEO.
16. Have a clear and concise website structure
User experience is a ranking factor and one of the most important aspects of Shopify SEO. Therefore, having a clear and concise website structure that's easy to navigate is crucial.
This is easy with Shopify due to it's ease of use and flexibility.
As you can see in this menu, everything is easily accessed with just 1 or 2 clicks.
This means having well-organised navigation, proper Shopify SEO page title, clear and concise product pages, and easy-to-find contact information.
A well-structured website is easier for both search engines and users to understand, and it can help you rank higher in search results.
With these Shopify SEO improvement tips in mind, you're well on your way to optimising your store for better search engine visibility.
Now it's time to take a deeper dive into how you can make your Shopify store more SEO friendly.
17. Use Google Analytics & search console to track your traffic and impressions
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are free tools that allow you to track and monitor your website traffic, where it comes from and what users do on your site when they get there.
And importantly with Search Console, after a period of time, you can start to see which search terms Google is showing you, for each page on your site.
To get this information go to your Google Search Console > performance > pages > select a page that's showing 1000+ impressions > Queries
You'll notice that in the data provided by Google are search terms that you aren't actively trying to rank for but Google sees them as relevant to the searcher's query, therefore if it's possible to do so you should add those search terms to the page.
18. Use SEO-friendly URL structures
When creating URLs for your products and pages, it's important to use keywords and make them easy to read.
Search engines prefer URLs that are easy to understand and describe the page itself.
Long, complicated URLs full of random characters don't generally work as well unless you're an authority within your niche.
19. Create original supporting content
One of the best things you can do for your Shopify SEO strategy is to continually create fresh, original content to support the collection and product pages, in the form of a topical content map.
This could be in the form of blog posts, product descriptions, or even just how-to's, images and videos.
The more content you have on your site, the more opportunities you have to rank in search results but most importantly, by adding closely related content that focuses on your products you create topical authority in Google's eyes.
20. Internally link your supporting content
After you've created and produced your closely related content it's important to internally link it together.
By doing this you're creating a silo of content and telling Google that these pages support each other (with the internal links) and cover the topic in question with depth and breadth.
However, what I can't tell you without looking at your site is how big your topical map needs to be to create topical authority, so if you'd like some help then do reach out to me and I can do it for you.
How to increase conversion rates & revenue on your Shopify store
The purpose of an eCommerce store is to make money, but that's not always as easy as it sounds.
Making your Shopify eCommerce website profitable takes a lot of work in the form of providing more value than other sites in your niche.
Shopify eCommerce pricing plans give users the ability to start an online store quickly and cheaply, but the real work comes in afterwards.
It sounds like a daunting task, but it's not impossible. Here are some tips on how you can make money with your eCommerce Shopify store:
1. Offer free shipping
One of the best ways to increase conversions is to offer free shipping.
This entices customers to buy from you instead of your competitors who may charge for shipping.
You can either absorb the cost of shipping yourself or build it into the product price.
2. Use scarcity tactics
Scarcity is a powerful marketing tactic that can be used to increase conversions.
When you tell customers that there are only a limited number of products available, they're more likely to buy them before it runs out.
3. Offer discounts and coupons
Discounts and coupons are another great way to increase conversions.
People love a good deal, so offering a discount on your products can entice them to buy from you instead of your competitors.
4. Use social proof
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people are more likely to do something if they see other people doing it.
You can use social proof in your eCommerce store by displaying customer testimonials, product reviews, and social media posts.
5. Offer a money-back guarantee
Offering a money-back guarantee is a great way to increase conversions because it removes the risk from the equation.
Customers are more likely to buy from you if they know they can get their money back if they're not happy with the product.
Making your Shopify eCommerce store profitable takes a lot of work, but it's not impossible.
By following the tips in this article, you'll be well on your way to success.
If you're looking to upgrade your Shopify store to the next level, it's time to turn its revenue into a passive income stream for you with automation!
Different ways to sell through a Shopify store
Having a Shopify store is fantastic, but what's even better is turning its revenue into a passive income stream for you. Instead of having to be actively involved in creating profit for your Shopify store day in and day out, wouldn't it be amazing if it could do that for you even while you were sleeping?
The fact is that many websites are generating passive income for their owners right now, and there's no reason why your Shopify store can't be one of them. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Sell digital products
One of the best ways to generate passive income from your Shopify store is by selling digital products. These could be things like ebooks, online courses, printables, or anything else that can be downloaded and used by your customers.
The great thing about digital products is that they can be sold over and over again without any additional cost to you. Once you've created the product, all you need to do is set up a payment gateway and delivery system, and you're ready to start selling.
2. Sell physical products
Another great way to generate passive income from your Shopify store is by selling physical products. These could be things like t-shirts, mugs, posters, or anything else that your customers would be interested in.
The great thing about physical products is that they're often less work to set up than digital products. You can use a fulfilment service like Shipstation to automate the shipping process, and you can use a dropshipping service like Oberlo to source products and have them shipped directly to your customers.
3. Offer a subscription service
Another great way to generate passive income from your Shopify store is by offering a subscription service. This could be a monthly or yearly subscription to your product or service, or it could be a subscription to a digital or physical product that you sell.
Using Shopify for a service business is a great way to further your customer's connection with you and your brand. Thus, helping to create a more loyal customer base that is more likely to continue using your products or services in the future.
4. Sell memberships
Another great way to generate passive income from your Shopify store is by selling memberships. This could be a membership to your website or product, or it could be a membership to a physical or digital product that you sell.
The best part about memberships is that they usually come with recurring payments, which means that you can generate passive income from them month after month.
5. Offer consulting services
If you have a lot of experience in eCommerce or Shopify, you could offer consulting services to other businesses. This could be done on an hourly basis, or you could offer a package price for a certain number of hours.
The great thing about consulting is that it can be a very profitable way to make money from your Shopify store. If you're able to land a few good clients, you could easily make a full-time income from your consulting business.
6. Sell an online course
Another great way to generate passive income from your Shopify store is by selling an online course. This could be a video course, an audio course, or a written course.
The great thing about online courses is that they can be sold over and over again. Once you've created the course, all you need to do is set up a payment gateway and delivery system, and you're ready to start selling!
Shopify eCommerce examples to study
There are many different examples of how Shopify eCommerce businesses are ranking in search engines. Here are a few key examples to keep an eye out for:
1. Fashion Nova
Fashion Nova is a fashion retailer that specialises in women's clothing. The company was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.
Fashion Nova has been successful in ranking for a variety of keywords, including “women's clothing,” “dresses,” and “tops.” They consistently rank high in these SERPs due to many different on-page and off-page SEO factors, such as:
- High-quality content
- Relevant keywords
- Title tags and meta descriptions
- Schema markup
- Social signals
GymShark is an online retailer that specialises in fitness apparel and accessories. The company was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Birmingham, England.
GymShark has been successful in ranking for a variety of keywords, including “fitness apparel,” “gym wear,” and “workout clothes.” Their marketing efforts are unique in that they've focused on building a strong social media presence. This has helped them to rank high in SERPs for their target keywords, as well as get more traffic to their website.
Allbirds is an online retailer that specialises in selling eco-friendly shoes. The company was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
Allbirds has been successful in ranking for a variety of keywords, including “eco-friendly shoes,” “sustainable shoes,” and “men's shoes.”
Allbirds' success can be attributed to their passion for their product, as well as their focus on building a strong brand.
That concludes our Shopify SEO Checklist guide. We hope that this guide has given you some ideas on how to make your Shopify store more profitable. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!