Buying a domain and setting up a website doesn’t guarantee that your store is able to have high organic traffic. SEO, short for search engine optimization, is crucial for individual and enterprise businesses because it helps build a strong online presence and increase organic traffic.
Today, we look at Shopify SEO in a nutshell and share several SEO checklists with you, including an on-page SEO checklist, a technical SEO checklist, a local SEO checklist, and so on.
Hopefully, with this tutorial article, you can build an SEO-friendly Shopify website with high visibility on Google and other search engines. Let’s get started.
Shopify SEO Overview
The popular e-commerce platform Shopify offers a wide variety of tools and features that help its users build a store optimized for search engines.
Keyword search, title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, image alt texts, URL structures, content quality, mobile adaptability, page speed, XML sitemap, SSL certificate, product pages, backlinks, and social media integration are part of Shopify SEO considerations.
The following sections will detail the points above. By focusing on those aspects, online business owners can optimize their stores for search engines, increase visibility and exposure, attract targeted traffic, and generate more revenues.
SEO Basic Tool Checklist for Beginners
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics, a powerful web analytics service provided by Google, enables online store owners to analyze website performance and customer behavior.
Its key features include traffic sources, user behavior, visitor demographics, conversion monitoring, e-commerce monitoring, event tracking, and real-time analytics.
Website owners can take full advantage of Google Analytics by adding a unique tracking code to their website. Then, Google Analytics collects data through the code and processes it. Reports are generated and available in the dashboard, allowing users to gain insight into how their websites perform.
2. Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner, also developed by Google, helps online business professionals identify prevailing keywords for better advertising campaigns and SEO efforts.
One of the essential features of it is that users can enter keywords or phrases describing their products, and Google Keyword Planner automatically generates a list of relevant keywords. Such a functionality lets website owners discover new keywords and better understand what people are searching for.
3. Google Search Console
Google Search Console, formally known as Google Webmaster Tools, serves as an effective and efficient tool to monitor and analyze website performance on the Google search engine.
It provides users with reports on search performance, coverage, sitemaps, links, mobile compatibility, security, structured data, etc.
After creating an account, online business owners add and verify their websites by adding a meta tag to their websites’ HTML or other verification methods. Then, they are free to explore a wide variety of tools and features.
4. PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights is an essential tool for online business owners and SEO professionals to ensure that the website works smoothly on both desktop and mobile devices.
It assesses the website’s performance and gives a score, from which users can know whether their website is good (90-100), needs improvement (50-89), or is bad (0-49).
Other features include desktop and mobile analysis, performance metrics, and lab and field data.
SEMrush is an all-in-one tool for search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media management, competitiveness analysis, and so on.
Its highlighted features include but are not limited to competitor analysis, keyword research, rank tracking, backlink analysis, content marketing, market analysis, and advertising analysis.
As a valuable tool for online merchants and SEO professionals, SEMrush helps improve website visibility, optimize marketing strategies, and attract organic traffic.
On-page SEO Checklist
An effective and efficient on-page SEO strategy is crucial for a website’s performance in search engine results. Here are ten things to check when doing on-page search engine optimization.
1. Keyword research
Keywords indicate the prevailing trend in a particular field. Online business owners can do keyword research to get a list of keywords relevant to the products they sell and frequently searched by internet surfers.
Such an effort helps online merchants to plant high-performing content easily into their web pages, thus increasing organic traffic.
2. Title tag
Shopify store owners can create a unique, appealing title tag for each page, incorporating frequently searched keywords (mentioned in the previous point).
Good title tags convey a web page’s topic and its relevance to both search engines and consumers. For one thing, the title tag is often displayed as the headline in search engine results. People are more likely to click the title tag that is compelling and relevant. For another, a concise and informative title tag quickly tells consumers what the web page is about, contributing to a satisfactory shopping experience.
3. Meta description
The meta description, an essential SEO element, provides a summary of the webpage content. Creating an attractive meta description can increase click-through rates, offer better experiences, and boost conversions and revenues.
Often displayed below the title tag in search engine results, the meta description is the same important as the title tag in attracting customers.
4. Header tags
Header tags create a hierarchical structure for your content, indicating the importance and relationships between a range of sections. Such a structure makes it easier for search engines to understand the content of your website and how it is organized.
It also offers an opportunity for you to display and highlight keywords (again, mentioned in the first point). Last but not least, header tags enhance the readability of web pages, letting customers grasp the main topics by scanning. In this way, they can go directly to the sections that interest them most.
5. URL structures
A well-structured and user-friendly URL enhances customer experiences by enabling them to quickly read and understand critical information, such as the product type.
In addition, when shared to media platforms, an aesthetically pleasing URL increases the opportunities for other people to click and visit your store. Lastly, a clean and logical URL makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index, thus contributing to higher online visibility and organic visits.
6. Content quality
Search engines aim at offering consumers the most relevant results. High-quality content ensures the website matches customers’ needs, leading to higher search engine rankings.
Clean and organized content makes it easier for consumers to find what they want on your website, and they are more likely to return to your stores. Moreover, chances are they share your store on social media platforms, and your high-quality content can attract more people to visit your website.
7. Internal linking
Internal linking, a hyperlink that links one page of a website to another page within the same website, is a vital element in Shopify search engine optimization.
For one thing, it contributes to the hierarchical structure of the website. For example, internal links on the home page instruct visitors to different series of products. For another, internal linking facilitates the crawling and indexing of search engines, as they use such links to analyze and understand the importance and relationships of different pages within a website.
8. Image alt texts
In Shopify store SEO, image alt texts refer to the descriptions associated with pictures on the store website. They serve multiple purposes and are crucial for search engine optimization.
Since search engines use alt texts to understand images on web pages, online business owners should create clean and impressive descriptions. Adding keywords is an effective and efficient way to make it easier for search engines to capture and recommend your website to online consumers.
9. Mobile compatibility
Ensuring your website works perfectly on mobile devices is a crucial point in search engine optimization. Search engines tend to prioritize mobile-friendly web pages for customers searching on their mobile phones. More excellent mobile responsiveness contributes to better SEO efforts in such a case.
Another reason to pay attention to the mobile usability of your website is that Google, the most popular and frequently visited search engine in the world, predominantly uses mobile-first indexing.
10. Social media integration
Social media plays a vital role in Shopify search engine optimization by influencing online presence and customer behavior.
When your content is shared and engaged on social media platforms, it can be more widely read and recognized, thus contributing to higher search engine rankings. That is because search engines take social signals, such as likes, shares, and comments, as a key consideration in determining the popularity and relevance of certain content.
Creating SEO-friendly content requires multiple considerations. Here are 10 points to ensure your content is valuable for your customers and search engines.
1. Keyword placement
Keyword placement in Shopify search engine optimization is a strategic practice of incorporating relevant words or phrases into website content with the aim of improving online visibility in search engine results.
Keywords can be strategically placed in page sections such as title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, URLs, body content, image alt texts, anchor texts, headers and footers, internal links, external links, etc.
2. Quality and relevance
Quality and relevance are fundamental elements to increasing search engine rankings and organic traffic.
For one thing, high-quality content involves several assessment criteria. For instance, originality and uniqueness are favored by search engines, while duplicate content or content that closely mirrors that on existing websites may be identified as low-quality.
For another, understanding the prevailing trend in a specific field and creating content that mostly matches customers’ needs are vital steps to SEO success.
3. Hierarchical structure
Well-organized content with a hierarchical structure is straightforward for search engines to crawl and index and for customers to explore.
For one thing, a clear structure informs search engines of the importance of sections on a web page and their relationships. For another, it is advised that online business owners develop a user-friendly navigation menu where visitors can click and go to different sections.
4. Content length
Content length is a crucial factor in search engine optimization. The most suitable content length varies according to the industry, product type, and so on.
Always remember that quality is over quantity. Online merchants are recommended to structure and organize the content on their websites with the aim of presenting customers concise and clear content with excellent readability.
5. Local SEO
Local search engine optimization plays a vital role for those doing local business on Shopify or taking local business as part of their business plan. That will be detailed in a subsequent section.
An effective way to do this is by creating and optimizing your business information on Google Business Profile, where you can add information such as name, address, phone number, opening hours, and so on.
6. Ethical considerations
Shopify store owners are always recommended to take ethical issues into consideration so as to establish trust with customers and build a sustainable and trustworthy brand.
Ethical considerations in SEO include pricing transparency, marketing honesty, user privacy, and so on. A warning for online merchants is that they should avoid black hat SEO techniques, which will only have an adverse impact on their SEO efforts.
7. Media optimization
You can generate more SEO-friendly content by implementing media optimization strategies on your Shopify website.
One way to do so is file compression. Compressing image files, video files, and other media files contributes to smaller file sizes without compromising quality, leading to faster loading.
Always remember to analyze media performance on your website by utilizing analytics tools to generate reports regularly.
8. User engagement
For more appealing and SEO-friendly content, user engagement is a good perspective to make an effort. When users interact positively with a website, such action informs search engines that the website is valuable.
Ways for better Shopify SEO through user engagement include expanding dwell time, decreasing the bounce rate, increasing pageviews, boosting the click-through rate, increasing the number of social signals, and so on.
9. Regular updates
As the saying goes, “The only constant is change,” Online business owners are advised to regularly update their content for better performance in search engine results.
Regular updates make sure that web content is consistent with the prevailing trends and consumer preferences in a certain field. In addition, up-to-date changes in product details and pricing contribute to a more trustworthy shopping environment.
10. Analytics and monitoring
Analytics and monitoring in Shopify SEO refers to regularly tracking and checking the website’s performance based on multiple measurements. Such an act leads to improvements and, therefore, better performance in search engine results.
As mentioned earlier, Google Analytics is a powerful tool for online business owners to track website performance and customer behavior. The service provided by the search engine giant Google equips merchants with regular reports on several metrics, such as traffic sources, conversions, bounce rates, and page views.
Technical SEO Checklist
This section includes technical aspects to improve a Shopify store’s online visibility and organic traffic.
1. Crawling and indexing accessibility
Crawling and indexing are fundamental processes in SEO where search engines access, analyze, and include web pages in their database.
Ensuring crawling and indexing accessibility is vital for search engines to understand and rank your website. Regular monitoring and assessing through tools like Google Search Console is a good way of making sure search engines perfectly index your website.
2. XML sitemap
An XML sitemap is a file of a range of URLs from a website, along with metadata about each URL.
Shopify store owners are recommended to create a clear and logical XML sitemap and submit it to search engines, with the aim of helping search engines discover and index the website more efficiently.
3. Canonical tags
Canonical tags in SEO mainly target at addressing duplicate data. They offer website owners a convenient way of specifying one version of a page when there is similar or identical content.
Canonical tags are commonly used in deciding whether to use www or non-www, HTTP or HTTPS, and paginated content. Implementing proper canonical tags helps build clear and compelling websites, especially useful for those with complex structures and content variations.
4. 404 errors
404 errors may negatively influence user experience, search engine crawling and indexing, and link juice loss, all leading to less satisfactory SEO efforts.
Therefore, handling 404 errors properly contributes to better customer experiences and higher search engine rankings. One way of doing this is customizing 404 pages. Options include but are not limited to providing helpful information, offering navigation choices, and a search bar to find other content.
5. Page speed
Search engines, especially Google, consider page speed a crucial factor in determining the ranking of a website, making it vital in search engine optimization.
Slow page speed results in higher bounce rates since consumers may lose patience when the page is not loaded over a long period of time. Therefore, do remember to regularly check the speed of your Shopify website pages for a better shopping environment and more outstanding performance in search engine results.
6. Website architecture
As a crucial factor in Shopify SEO, site architecture indicates how your website is organized. A well-structured website not only offers customers comfortable online shopping experiences but also contributes to higher rankings on search engines.
Ways of realizing a user-friendly and SEO-friendly website structure include designing hierarchical structures, creating descriptive URLs, and implementing strategic internal and external links.
7. Security issues
Security issues have significant implications for search engine optimization because search engines value user privacy and security. Websites with vulnerability may be ranked lower.
Things to check in terms of security issues include SSL/TLS encryption, malware and hacked content, irrelevant content, crawl errors, and SQL injection attacks.
Testing in search engine optimization is the systematic evaluation of a wide range of metrics to improve online presence and search engine rankings.
Such tests include A/B testing, multivariate testing, on-page SEO testing, off-page SEO testing, technical SEO testing, content testing, local SEO testing, mobile usability testing, and so on.
9. Content delivery network
Content delivery network, or CDN, helps enhance websites’ performance, speed, and availability by reducing latency and loading time. It ensures that website content is distributed globally and accessible to users across the globe.
Therefore, it is a crucial part of the technical SEO checklist. Choosing a good CDN provider and integrating it properly into your Shopify store helps improve the website’s performance in search engine results.
10. Regular audits
Regular audits are vital for maintaining and improving website performance. They ensure that your website is in accordance with search engine algorithms and guidelines, contributing to competitive performance in exposure and rankings.
SEO audits involve various aspects, such as technical SEO audit (crawling issues, the XML sitemap, website speed), on-page SEO audit (title tags, header tags, meta descriptions, content quality and relevance, keyword placement), off-page audit (social signals), mobile adaptability audit (mobile page speed, mobile-friendly design), local SEO audit (Google Business Profile), security audit (SSL certificate, security protocols), and so on.
Off-page SEO Checklist
Contrary to the on-page SEO checklist, the off-page SEO checklist includes significant points outside your website that matter to its visibility and ranking in search engine results. Here are ten examples.
Backlinks, links from one website to another, play a vital role in Shopify SEO. One reason is that search engines use them to determine the authority and credibility of a website. In addition, the quantity and quality of backlinks influence how well a website performs in search engine result pages.
Therefore, do not forget to check quality backlinks from diverse sources, such as industry-related sites, niche communities, and authority publications. They can drive organic and referral traffic to your website.
2. Link building
Link building talks about a more general link network than the previous backlinks. Online business owners are advised to develop a strategic and comprehensive link-building plan.
One significant point in such a plan is to create high-quality content to attract natural backlinks. Moreover, Shopify owners can contact influencers on social platforms for more linking opportunities.
3. Social media presence
With the development of the internet, social media platforms play an increasingly significant role in search engine optimization. Online store owners can establish and manage accounts on social media to promote their brands.
Shopify merchants themselves can share their products and relevant content across various social media platforms. Other content includes promotion, advertising, and industry-related information.
4. Social signals
Social signals refer to likes, comments, and shares with content you post on social media platforms. They are an effective indicator of search engine optimization.
One method of utilizing social signals in Shopify SEO is encouraging user-generated content on social media platforms. You can directly message your customer to offer a coupon in exchange for such posts.
5. Influencer marketing
Online celebrities are the product of the fast-growing social interaction platforms. By inviting influencers to promote your products, your store website can get more positive social signals and, therefore, a higher ranking on search engine result pages.
The steps are easy. First, identify influencers in the industry. For example, if your target group is the young, TikTok and Instagram are two of the best choices. Then, send invitations to state your intent to collaborate. Whether you want product promotion or link building, you can make it clear in the messages. Last but not least, leverage the celebrity effect to realize social media amplification.
6. Content marketing
The core of content marketing is to create and share quality and relevant articles, images, podcasts, and videos to attract, interact with, and retain customers. Such a method contributes to a more significant online presence.
For one thing, the posts can be created by your staff or customers as long as the content is valuable and worth sharing. You can also invite professionals to post on communities or industry blogs.
For another, you can distribute each piece of high-quality content through multiple channels, including emails, newspapers, and social media platforms.
7. Brand building
Brand building, a comprehensive and long-term process, influences customer experiences and, therefore, search engine optimization.
Online business owners are recommended to monitor and manage brand mentions on social platforms.
The key is to encourage positive mentions and address negative mentions. Helpful tools are always at your disposal. Instances include Google Alerts and Mention.
8. Community participation
Industry forums and communities are the best places to find professionals in the same field. You can always find helpful guidelines if you are new to e-commerce and the Shopify platform.
People working in the same field share experiences, ask questions and update news in communities. One suggestion is to include your website link in your bio (if the platform allows it, of course).
9. Q&A platform participation
Apart from field-related forums and communities, general Q&A platforms are also recommended.
One example is the popular Quora, where people ask and answer others’ questions. You can take advantage of such platforms by smoothly planting your products or website into your answers. Such soft advertising contributes to greater online exposure.
10. Press releases
An increasing number of newspapers and magazines are turning digital, which provides online store owners with a great opportunity to improve their websites’ performance in search engine results.
The steps are simple: issue press releases for noteworthy events or announcements of your products or services and distribute the press releases through a wide variety of channels, online and offline.
Do not forget to include relevant links back to your website. As mentioned earlier, backlinks are helpful in Shopify SEO.
Local SEO Checklist
As mentioned before, local search engine optimization is vital for online businesses that serve a particular geographical area. Local SEO helps businesses appear in local search result pages, Google Maps, and other local directories.
1. Google Business Profile
Formally known as Google My Business, Google Business Profile helps merchants turn people who find their stores on Search & Map into new customers.
When doing local search engine optimization, it is recommended that you list your business on such an application. With basic information such as name, address, phone number, opening hours, business category, business description, product photos, website photos, and website URL, your store is SEO-ready to attract and attain local customers.
2. Local keyword research
Different geographical areas enjoy different lifestyles and shopping habits. Doing local keyword research enables you to understand the locally prevailing trends in your field.
Adding such key words or phrases to your website content is an effective and efficient way of doing local search engine optimization.
3. Local citations
Most people tend to turn on location services in exchange for a convenient local life. With citation sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Bing Places, it’s easy for consumers to find desired stores.
Online business owners can utilize such reputable local directories by listing their businesses on such sites.
Remember to ensure consistency in business information across various citation sites.
4. Online reviews
People are encouraged to leave reviews of stores they visit on citation sites, letting others find nearby businesses more quickly.
Shopify store owners can use such a functionality to improve their website’s performance in search engine results by encouraging customers to generate high-quality comments. A little gift may be good enough in exchange for such a review.
5. Local link building
As mentioned earlier, link building is a vital part of Shopify SEO. When it comes to local SEO, links in a tailored area are of great importance.
Research can be done on locally influential newspapers, magazines, and websites. In addition, you can partner with other businesses in the same field for cross-promotions and link exchanges.
6. Website localization
Localizing your online store website is an effective way of connecting with local people.
One way to do this is to include local-specific keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, etc. To be more precise, local-specific content can be related to local culture, language, and history.
It is worth noting that if your website serves multiple geographical areas, you are advised to create different local-tailored landing pages for the best customer experiences.
7. Local business associations
Shopify merchants can join local business associations for search engine optimization.
Such local business associations or chambers of business regularly organize gatherings where professionals in the same field can share experiences, learn from each other, and, most importantly, exchange links and boost cross-promotions.
8. Voice search optimization
With the development of voice recognition technology, voice search optimization has become a vital part of local search engine optimization.
Online businesses that offer voice recognition in the local dialect tend to be closely connected with local people, thus earning more positive reviews and higher rankings on search engine result pages.
9. Monitor competitors
It’s not easy to stand out as a shining figure in your industry within a certain area because there are always newcomers and competitors.
In such a situation, monitoring and evaluating your competitors becomes rather essential in local SEO. By doing so, you can identify your shortcomings and make corresponding improvements. Also, you can discover niche markets in which you differentiate yourself from others.
10. Regular updates
Word gets around fast in local areas, so word of mouth plays a crucial role in local SEO strategies. Suppose one customer is unsatisfied with your products or services; they may tell their friends and family not to visit your store.
Another notice is that during special times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or other emergencies, you should always make sure that your information on the internet is correct, such as opening hours.
1. How do you do SEO in Shopify?
Shopify search engine optimization is a comprehensive process of on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO, local SEO, and so on.
Example steps include but are not limited to keyword research, keyword placement, URL structure design, meta description creation, title tag creation, and sitemap submission.
2. Does Shopify have an SEO tool?
As a popular e-commerce platform, Shopify is designed to be user-friendly and SEO-friendly.
It has many built-in tools and features that help online business owners to improve their websites’ performance in search engine results. Instances include customizable meta tags, SEO-friendly URL structure, customizable image alt texts, automatically generated sitemaps, and so on.
3. How do I check my Shopify SEO score?
Shopify doesn’t provide a specific SEO score within the platform. However, you can turn to a wide variety of tools and methods for help.
Such powerful tools and services include SEMrush, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Mobile-Friendly Test.
4. How do I rank my Shopify store on Google?
Getting a high ranking for your Shopify store on Google is the result of a combination of various SEO techniques, such as adaptation to algorithm changes, regular updates, regular audits, and competitor analysis.
Such strategies contribute to a better performance of your Shopify store on Google and other search engines. Always keep in mind that Shopify SEO is an ongoing process.
5. Which is more SEO-friendly, WordPress or Shopify?
The choice between WordPress and Shopify depends on a wide range of factors, such as specific needs, business types, business fields, technical expertise, and so on.
Suffice it to say that both platforms boast effective and efficient SEO tools, such as WordPress’ content flexibility and SEO plugins and Shopify’s customizable title tags and meta descriptions. Research and comparison lead to an informed final decision.
Today, we covered several SEO checklists, such as on-page SEO checklist, off-page SEO checklist, technical SEO checklist, and local SEO checklist.
Remember, powerful third-party tools are always at your disposal. For example, SEOAnt is an AI-powered SEO package that consists of a number of SEO helpers: Trust Badges & Icon for building trust between you and your customers; 404 Link Redirect for better customer experiences by creating a customized error page; Sticky Add To Cart for fewer abandoned carts, and so on.