There are several ways to influence the position of your store in search results, i.e. advertising (SEM or Google Shopping) and SEO. The first one consists in preparing ads that will be displayed on selected keywords, e.g. the name of a specific product. This method is very popular, but as we wrote in the article about selling via Shopify, short-term advertising brings us traffic until we invest in it.
We introduced the second method, i.e. SEO, in our post about attracting customers to your Shopify store. SEO requires patience, commitment and a lot of effort. However, it pays off to work on positioning your store on Shopify, because earning one of the first positions pays off. Let’s see what it is all about, which is how to top the list of results.
SEO and Shopify
Shopify is sold in the SaaS model . This means that the store’s software is on the manufacturer’s side. Many people say that closed platforms are doomed to poor SEO because there are few things we can do to rank better in Google and other search engines. Is this the case with Shopify? Having a store based on this solution, are we not able to compete for a place in the results? To answer that question, let’s see what influences SEO.
What influences Shopify’s SEO?
There are many factors that influence your search engine rankings. These include:
- permission to index the domain
- organic search bounce rate
- page loading speed
- page structure
- the subject of the page
- internal and external linking
- keywords and page content
- metadata (descriptions, titles, URL)
Some of these things take patience. If the domain is fresh, it is more difficult to outrank the competition in the rankings. It takes time to convince search engines. The domain needs to get a reputation. The same is true for external linking . Getting links from other sites should be a natural process. In addition, for the position to be higher, they must be links from websites that have a better so-called domain ranking than us.
What’s more, the subject of our website, its content, as well as its structure also affect the position in the ranking. Remember that Google and other search engines read sitemaps, and analyze HTML code and if they suspect that the page does not answer the question asked by the user, they place it lower in the results.
User behaviour also plays a role in this case. If the page is visited by users, but none of them stays on it long enough compared to other pages that display the given password, we lose our position in the ranking. When does a visitor decide to flee the site? The reasons vary, but one of the most common ones is that the page takes too long to load or is not adapted to the device on which we want to browse it.
We can also increase our position by optimizing keywords on the website , ensuring that they are displayed in meta descriptions and meta titles, and not only the short ones, e.g. a rain jacket, but also the long ones, such as a breathable rain jacket for mountain trips. Fortunately, thanks to positioning tools, we are able to discover the keywords that users enter to find products and the store.
Of course, neither of these tips will be helpful if we have introduced mechanisms that prevent the site from being indexed and thus the page does not appear in the search engine. If you want to learn more about SEO and how to make indexing easier, read the official Google guide that explains how the search engine works .
Do stores on Shopify have a chance to rank first on Google?
Of course. The Shopify store can rank first on Google. It is enough for us to focus on optimization.
Even though Shopify is a closed platform, it gives users a lot of control over the positioning of the store and product pages. Of course, we have to work on the website’s position in the results. Nothing happens automatically, but this is also the case with any store, including open source stores like Magento or WooCommerce.
Are there any special recommendations for positioning stores on Shopify?
There are a few things Shopify store owners may be aware of. First of all, it is the compression of photos so that they load faster, e.g. using Image Optimizer . And while we are talking about applications, it is worth noting that any applications you install can also slow down the page loading speed, so always test the site after uploading a new plugin.
Some sellers lose rankings due to duplicate content. This happens when two (or more) URLs link to pages with the same (or nearly identical) content. This prevents the search engine from knowing which URL is the original and which is just a copy of the original. This is fixable.
Positioning your store on Shopify
We found out what influences shop SEO on Shopify. Let’s get down to business. What can we do to develop a good position?
Time for some practical advice.
1. Optimization of the product card
Oftentimes, users search for a specific product on Google. If your Shopify product card is optimized, we have a chance to appear high on Google. How to optimize the product sheet? First of all, take care of how the product card looks in the search engine before the user clicks on any of the results.
- take care of the metadata, i.e. the description, title and URL structure, which will be shown on Google
- add structured data, e.g. asterisks that show the rating of the product.
Data optimization alone won’t do much if you don’t take care of optimized description and graphics. Put the technical data in the description and show how the product answers the customer’s question. Let’s say you sell backpacks made of eco-friendly materials. Explain to the client not only how many liters of such a backpack it has, what dimensions it has or what material it is made of, but show him when it is suitable for e.g. school, hiking or as an alternative to a handbag.
Remember to compress the graphics and add alternative text to them, enriched with the keyword for which you want to position yourself. Such text is displayed to visually impaired people instead of graphic material, so it should describe what is in the photo. It also makes it easier for search engine robots to read what is in the photo, so it is worth setting such a description.
Not only the content of the description matters, but also how we present it on the website. Make sure the product name has the right header size and that the description itself is easy to scan with your eyes.
Optimizing the product card also takes care of website speed.
2. Improving the UX of the online store
Generally, the templates created by Shopify provide a good user experience, also on mobile devices. Also, if you use Shopify Design services and build a template from scratch, the Shopify agency will make sure that your store design is relevant to your users and gives them a good UX no matter what they browse your site on. It is often forgotten that UX also influences how search engine robots rate our website.
3. Content Publishing
Running a blog, and recording podcasts or videos is a good way to drive traffic to your store and gain a compelling search engine position. In the context of SEO, blogging is the most talked about. Populating your store with tips, recommendations, or interviews seems like the perfect solution. It’s not for nothing that many people say that every business is a media house .
Shopify makes it much easier to run and optimize your blog, but if the written word is not your forte, you can host a podcast (which appears in a special place in search results) or publish audiovisual content. All they have to do is respond to things that users type on Google. You can find hints of what people can type on Google by typing words related to your product in Answer the Public or at the bottom of Google search results.
Blogging – no matter in what form – keeps your store up-to-date, and the more valuable content that answers users’ questions, the more traffic your site receives (and the greater your site’s reputation). Many people include audio descriptions underneath their audio or video recordings. In this way, they increase the length of the page, which is also a signal that there is a lot of useful information on it.
If you want to add value to your content, invest in getting external links to your most-read posts. This also proves that your website content is valuable and worth ranking high. Avoid buying links. Getting links too quickly or in excess from low-reputation sites can only hurt you, not help you.
Redirects, 404 errors, and exclusion of pages from the index
As we wrote earlier, the website structure has an impact on the SEO of your store on Shopify. To keep the page clean, remember to use redirects. There are several types of redirects. For example, 301 redirects are a signal to robots that a given subpage is available at a different address and at the same time a good way to avoid duplicate content.
However, there’s another signal that most of us know – it’s the 404 error code that tells users and search engines that the page is no longer available. An excess of deleted or inaccessible pages with which we do nothing can damage the reputation of our site (it has an impact on the increase in the bounce rate and loss of keywords). And the situation is even more serious when there are many links to these pages. When we are going to delete a subpage of the store, remember to redirect to a different address.
What if we want to exclude a subpage from the index? Automated Shopify does not index checkout, shopping cart, user accounts, terms and conditions, orders, and other pages where sensitive data may be found. It may turn out that we have other pages that we would prefer to “hide” from search engines. Shopify allows you to edit the robot.txt file, where we can usually do that. SEO specialists know how to exclude a given subpage thanks to changes in the code.
SEO of a Shopify store with an agency?
Most online stores have an SEO person on their team or outsource activities in this area, asking subcontractors for help with link building or writing product descriptions that will contain specific keywords. However, actions in this area are often not enough, because we still have to take care of fast page loading, set redirects or take care of better information architecture.