Shopify SEO Guide: 12 Tips for Powerful Shopify SEO
In this Shopify SEO guide, we share 12 essential SEO tips to improve your rankings and organic traffic.
Here’s what this article covers:
- A detailed Shopify SEO checklist
- Keyword research for Shopify
- On-page SEO for Shopify stores
- Things to avoid
- And more
By the end of this post, you’ll know how to optimize SEO on Shopify like an expert.
Let’s get started.
- 1 Shopify SEO Checklist
- 2 How to Improve SEO on Shopify: 12 Tips for Powerful Shopify SEO
- 2.1 1. Use a Custom Domain
- 2.2 2. Choose a High-Quality Theme
- 2.3 3. Perform Keyword Research for Shopify
- 2.4 4. Optimize H1 Tags, Descriptions, and SEO Titles
- 2.5 5. Optimize Product Images
- 2.6 6. Create Relevant Internal Links
- 2.7 7. Product Schema
- 2.8 8. Add Tracking and Analytics
- 2.9 9. Blogging on Shopify
- 2.10 10. Home Page Optimization
- 2.11 11. Improve Shopify Pagespeed
- 2.12 12. Utilize Shopify Apps for SEO
- 3 Things to Avoid
- 4 Conclusion
Shopify SEO Checklist
Here’s a Shopify SEO checklist if you want to digest these SEO tips quickly.
Make sure you bookmark this article so you can refer back to it later.
- Use a custom domain with HTTPS Redirection
- Choose a high-quality theme
- Setup Google Analytics
- Submit your sitemap in Google Search Console
- Perform keyword research
- Add SEO-driven collections pages
- Add unique keyword-rich product titles and descriptions
- Optimize your URLs
- Add high-quality images and include alt text
- Optimize the meta title and description
- Create a user-friendly navigation
- Write SEO blog content
- Add relevant internal links
- Make use of SEO apps for internal links, SEO, schema, image optimization, and product reviews
How to Improve SEO on Shopify: 12 Tips for Powerful Shopify SEO
Learning SEO for Shopify stores can be a daunting task. But, you don’t need to be an SEO expert to get it right.
Follow all of these steps to ensure your Shopify store gains more organic rankings in the SERPs.
1. Use a Custom Domain
Maybe it goes without saying, but getting a custom domain name is an important step for Shopify SEO.
Without one, your URL will look something like this:
As this isn’t a top level domain, it’s unlikely to show in search results. And even if it does show up, it wouldn’t get many clicks as it doesn’t look professional.
Adding a custom domain is easy and will offer a greater level of trust with potential customers.
To add a domain, you’ll see a setup guide from the home screen, or you can go to Settings > Domains:
You can connect an existing domain name or buy a new one from Shopify.
A free SSL certificate will be assigned to your site. This keeps your customer’s details secure when going through the checkout.
Lastly, make sure your store redirects to the primary domain name. This is essential for optimal SEO performance.
You can check by opening an incognito browser and entering your domain name like this:
Each version should successfully forward to the HTTPS version, like this:
- https://myawesomedomain.com or
The www is optional and will only show if you added it in the primary domain field.
2. Choose a High-Quality Theme
Your Shopify store comes with several free and paid themes to choose from.
The design itself won’t have an impact on SEO directly, but you’ll want it to match your brand.
For example, if you sell tea (like my demo store), a theme like Ride might not be the best fit.
If you’re going to buy a theme or hire a designer, make sure it’s fast and coded well, otherwise your SEO efforts will suffer.
That’s because page speed is an on-page SEO factor.
In the long run, a well-designed theme provides a better user experience, which can help improve rankings.
3. Perform Keyword Research for Shopify
Performing keyword research for Shopify helps you discover what people are searching for.
So, it’s an important piece of the puzzle that mustn’t be skipped.
However, SEO for eCommerce sites is a little different from blogs.
Here’s what you need to know.
Optimize for category pages
The most effective Shopify SEO strategy is to optimize your category pages.
Shopify calls their category pages collections.
To see an excellent example of well-optimized collections, take a look at GymShark.
GymShark shows on the first page of Google for almost any search term related to gym attire.
And it’s all thanks to their well-optimized collections.
When choosing your keywords, aim for broad head terms as the main category and more specific terms for sub-categories.
For example, for a site selling tea, ‘green tea’ would be the main category and
sencha tea, jasmine tea, and gunpowder tea would be its sub-categories.
Applying this principle to all your categories will create a well-optimized Shopify store.
Utilize long-tail keywords
In the previous example, I suggested using Sencha tea as a subcategory for green tea.
However, this is still quite broad and may be challenging to rank for on a new Shopify site.
That’s why it’s a good practice to target long-tail keywords.
These are more specific keywords that usually have less search volume, but are easier to rank for.
In the green tea example, this broad category could also be categorized as organic japanese green tea.
Then, you can organize your navigation so that people can find products based on different criteria.
Just make sure you aren’t creating categories that are too similar, because it can lead to keyword cannibalization.
Keyword cannibalization happens when you target the same keyword on different pages of your store.
To avoid this, you can use a keyword clustering tool to differentiate each group of keywords for their intended pages.
The search volume is how many times a keyword is searched for in Google. You can find these volumes in keyword research tools like SEMRush and Serpstat.
When creating your keyword list, look for keywords with high search volume.
These can be used for primary collections and product pages. Then the search volume for subcategory pages can be lower.
Just remember that the higher the search volume, the more competition they usually have.
If your Shopify store is new, it’s best to target lower search volumes in the beginning.
Looking at the tea example, here’s how the search volumes look for each category:
- green tea – 110,000
- loose tea leaves – 27,100
- green tea leaves – 5,400
- jasmine tea – 22,000
- sencha tea – 4,400
- gunpowder tea – 2,900
- organic japanese green tea – 170
You can see how the search volume differs depending on the specificity and/or popularity of the different teas.
For best results, find as many keywords as possible. Then narrow down the terms based on search volume and how well they describe your product line.
To determine the difficulty to rank a keyword, use a keyword tool with a keyword difficulty (KD) score.
Tools such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, and KWFinder provide a KD score which is based on a variety of factors.
Some of these factors come down to how the top 10 results are optimized. Others are based on the number of backlinks a page has.
Each tool’s KD score ranges from 0-100, with scores below 30 being easier to rank for.
Look for keywords with a good combination of keyword difficulty. Aim for plenty of lower scores with the main categories slightly higher.
Know the search intent
The last thing to be mindful of is keyword intent. This is vital to get right or you’ll find it difficult to rank for anything.
Search intent is based on the type of keyword being searched. Each term falls into four categories:
The keywords you’ll focus on for product and collections have a transactional intent.
As well as the keywords mentioned above, transactional keywords may also include terms like:
Informational intent keywords are where the searcher wants to learn something, which are best reserved for blog content.
This will include keywords that start with:
- how to
Navigational intent is related to finding specific pages on you site, which will usually include the brand name and words like:
And lastly, commercial intent keywords can be used for blog content and in some cases product and categories.
They will include words like:
- for women
Bear the keyword intent in mind when performing keyword research. If you’re not sure of a keyword’s intent, use Google to clarify.
Whatever the results show on the first page will reveal the intent.
4. Optimize H1 Tags, Descriptions, and SEO Titles
Now you know what your keywords are, it’s time to optimize your Shopify pages.
This includes using keywords for the:
- H1 tag or page title
- Content of the page as the description
- SEO title tag and SEO description
- Page URL handle
You’ll want to do this for both your collections and product pages.
Here’s how it looks inside Shopify.
The collection’s title and description will show on the front end of the website:
These are added to the first two boxes from the collections screen:
And the SEO title and description are what you’ll see in the search results:
These details can be edited at the bottom of the collections screen:
The SEO title also shows up in the browser tab:
Now, the title and description for your product pages are added in the same way:
As are the product SEO title, description, and URL handle:
Note that the page content should be more suitable for human readers. Whilst the SEO title and description can make use of more keywords.
Moreover, there’s a limit to the number of characters you can use for the SEO title (55 – 60) and description (120 – 150).
Lastly, the title and descriptions of your collections and products can always be edited and optimized in the future.
But you’ll want to avoid changing the page URLs because they’ll get indexed once they go live. Changing them can cause duplicate content or prevent visitors from finding your products.
5. Optimize Product Images
Another key to better Shopify SEO is to optimize product images.
This will not only improve SEO but also provide visitors with a better experience and earn you more sales.
To give customers the best experience, images should have a consistent background and match the theme of your brand.
For example, GymShark uses a light gray background that matches the colors of the website.
Then, to optimize images for better SEO, you’ll want to compress the file sizes. This can be done on a website like tinypng or with a photo editing tool like Photoshop.
You’ll also want images to be the same height and width. The size will depend on your theme and if you’re able to enlarge images when clicking them.
Another way to compress product images is to use a Shopify app like Tiny SEO Speed Image Optimizer. This gives you 50 image optimizations per month.
Additional image optimizations are to include your primary keyword in the file name and alt text.
To add the alt text, first, upload the image and save the product. Then click on the image to add custom alt text. Use descriptive words that include the main keywords for the product.
The app Tiny SEO Speed Image Optimizer also gives you more features for improving image SEO, including adding alt text.
6. Create Relevant Internal Links
Adding relevant internal links between your collections and product pages is a powerful way to boost SEO.
When your most important pages have multiple internal links pointing to them, it provides search engines with more context. They’re better able to understand what the pages are about, and so, rank them higher in the SERPs.
Here’s an example from one of the GymShark collections pages:
They’re like backlinks from other websites, except you have full control of adding them.
Doing this manually can be time-consuming, which is where Link Whisper for Shopify comes in.
Link Whisper will provide you with suggestions for the best pages to link to. This speeds up the process and will make a notable impact on your Shopify store’s SEO performance.
7. Product Schema
Schema markup adds structured data to your product pages and enhances their appearance in search results.
Instead of the basic title, description, and URL, you’ll see extra details about the products, also known as Rich Snippets.
This may include:
- Product price
- If the product is in stock
- Product image
- Review rating
Apart from improving your search result appearance, schema markup helps Google understand your site, which can improve rankings.
Additionally, structured data can generate automatic product feeds for Google Shopping ads, further boosting your online presence.
The easiest way to add schema markup to your Shopify store is with an app. GroPulse Rich Snippets for SEO provides an affordable solution and they offer a free plan to get you started.
You can test if your site supports schema markup by using the Rich results test in Search Console.
8. Add Tracking and Analytics
If you want to know how well your Shopify store is performing in search, then you’ll need to add Google Search Console.
You’ll also want to add Google Analytics to gather even more insights than what’s available with Shopify’s analytics.
Adding both of these will tell you what’s working and what needs more attention. You’ll be able to make informed decisions and get even better results for your online business.
To add Google Search Console, simply add a new property and verify your domain name. You’ll need to add a DNS record for verification:
You’ll also want to add your sitemap to GSC. This will help Google find and index your product pages.
Click the Sitemaps link in the GSC sidebar and add sitemap.xml inside the box:
Click submit and you’re done with Search Console.
Then, to add Google Analytics, first create an account:
Then create a property:
Continue following the steps and on the data collection page, choose Web:
Add your domain name and keep the settings as default:
Now head over to your Shopify admin and navigate to Online Store > Preferences:
Scroll down to Google Analytics and click the link to add the free GA4 app. Adding the old version of GA will no longer work in this section:
Click Connect to connect your account and follow the steps:
Then, under the Connect a Google Analytics property, select your Shopify property from the dropdown:
That’s it! Google Analytics will start to collect data about your site’s performance.
9. Blogging on Shopify
Starting a blog is one of the most effective ways to increase organic rankings and boost sales.
The theory behind it is simple.
It’s much easier to rank informational content than transactional content. Moreover, it’s much easier to get backlinks from other sites to informational content, than to products and collections.
A simple strategy is to find keywords related to your products that might lead them to buy from your store.
A great place to find keywords for Shopify blog SEO is Answer the Public.
You input a seed keyword and the tool outputs hundreds of questions that people are searching for.
Here are some great examples I found:
- what are the benefits of green tea 90,500
- what are the benefits of drinking green tea 5,400
- what are the health benefits of green tea 390
Each blog post should interlink with each other and then back to its related collections page.
Again, using Link Whisper will save you a ton of time with internal links.
Adding relevant links this way adds more context to your collections and helps Google know what your site is about.
In addition to better SEO, helpful blog content makes it easier to grow your social media channels, as they won’t be full of promotional posts.
10. Home Page Optimization
Your home page is the face of your online store. It’s a place to show off your best products and most important categories.
It’s also a place to collect leads, show social proof, and link to other important pages.
But how can you best optimize this page for SEO?
It’s best to focus on keywords related to your business, rather than what you sell.
Product-related keywords should be reserved for collections and product pages only.
The home page is a good opportunity to rank for your brand name with ‘Magnet words’ like:
- Free Shipping
- Money Back Guarantee
- Free Returns
To optimize your homepage SEO title and description, go to Online Store > Preferences in the Shopify admin.
You’ll see the boxes where you can add a custom SEO meta title and description.
Overall, your home page should be used to link to other important pages on your site. Ranking for the home page isn’t anywhere near as important as your products, collections, and blog posts.
11. Improve Shopify Pagespeed
Earlier in the post, we mentioned how images can have a big impact on pagespeed.
But pagespeed issues don’t end there.
First, you’ll want to test how your site is performing by using Google PageSpeed Insights.
This free tool offers a detailed look at your page speed performance and things you can do to improve it.
However, there are a few common culprits that slow down a Shopify store.
- Image loading time
- Too many apps
If you have some technical knowledge, you can manually minify some of the code yourself.
However, this can be a little tricky to get right. The easiest way to optimize your store for speed is with an app.
Booster Page Speed Optimizer offers a free solution and there are plenty of paid options to choose from.
You can also manually lazyload images, which stops loading images all at once and waits until you scroll near them.
Overall, Shopify apps can make a huge improvement to your Shopify store, but it’s best to keep them to a minimum.
12. Utilize Shopify Apps for SEO
Shopify is a powerful platform, but it can be extended even further with the Shopify app store.
Many apps are free or come with a free trial, so you can try them before fully committing.
To get the most out of your SEO efforts, here are some of the best SEO apps for Shopify that you might want to consider:
- Link Whisper
- GroPulse Rich Snippets for SEO
- Webrex SEO Schema Breadcrumb
- Smart SEO or Yoast
- Booster Page Speed Optimizer
- Yotpo Reviews
Things to Avoid
There are lots of moving parts when it comes to getting SEO right for Shopify stores.
And with a lot of moving parts, comes potential on-page SEO problems that can set you back.
Here are the most common eCommerce sites and how you can avoid them.
Broken internal links will prevent search engine bots from crawling and indexing important pages.
It will also give your website visitors a bad experience if they can’t find certain pages or products you sell.
Unfortunately, broken links will occur from time to time, so it’s important to stay on top of it.
The best way to monitor broken links on Shopify is with Link Whisper. This internal linking app keeps track of any links that may have broken on your site.
You can view the report from the broken links page and fix them in a couple of clicks.
Orphaned content are pages on your site that have no internal links pointing to them.
This is a problem because search engine bots will struggle to find these pages and add them to search results.
Another benefit of using Link Whisper is the ability to quickly identify orphaned pages.
The Orphaned posts screen lists all the pages without internal links and a fast way to add contextually relevant internal links
Having duplicate content means that some pages on your site are either identical or too similar to see any differences.
This confuses Google and so can prevent them from ranking these pages altogether.
If this happens on your Shopify store, there is a workaround, however, it isn’t a simple fix.
It requires some adjustments to your theme’s code. There’s a guide here if you’re brave enough or you could hire a developer from a site like Fiverr.
Thin content is a notorious issue for eCommerce sites. It’s a problem because having too many pages with little to no content lowers the value of your site.
This can diminish your site’s domain authority and in some cases, get your site hit with a Google penalty.
The easiest way to prevent thin content is to make sure every page has enough content, ideally over 300 words.
However, it’s common for Shopify stores to have tags and collections pages with no products assigned to them.
In cases like this, you’ll want to noindex pages to prevent them from being added to search results.
That concludes this Shopify SEO guide. Following these tips will ensure your Shopify store performs its best in Google.
In summary, a solid internal linking strategy and keyword research will give your SEO a good foundation.
Don’t forget, you can also use Link Whisper to avoid common issues such as broken links and orphaned posts.