The Complete Shopify SEO Checklist
You want your Shopify store to rank higher in search engine results. You also want to drive more organic traffic to your site.
That’s the desire many other Shopify store owners like you have. But they’re also among the most stressful and puzzling aspects of running their stores.
Shopify powers more than 1.7 million small, medium and large businesses globally. To drive organic search traffic and sales, you’re going to need more than a visually pleasing online store.
You need to understand how search engines index and rank your store’s pages. You also need to know how to improve search engine optimization (SEO) for your Shopify store.
Shopify provides a blog and redirects, among other several helpful SEO features. However, you can also encounter duplication of content and page titles, along with forced URL structure and other SEO issues.
With a Shopify SEO checklist of tools and practices, you can learn SEO and successfully improve your store’s organic traffic.
Get a custom domain through Shopify so you can build trust with your potential shoppers and succeed in search. Make sure the domain is related to your industry so you can rank better for related keywords. You can use Shopify’s domain name generator to get domain name ideas.
Set up Google Analytics by creating an account and following the instructions to set up your property (Shopify store) and tracking code for the tool to collect data from your site.
You also need to connect Google Analytics to your Shopify store. To do this, you’ll need a Universal Analytics property, after which you can enable eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics.
Make sure you also turn on enhanced eCommerce tracking to get more visitor behavior data.
With your site connected to Google Analytics, the next step is to submit your store’s sitemap to Google. You can use Webmaster Tools in your Google Analytics account to do this. The Shopify sitemap will tell search engines how your site is organized.
Check for crawl errors when search engine bots try to reach your site or page and fail. Check for any errors that the tool brings up and fix them immediately. While you’re at it, verify your Shopify domain to indicate that you’re the correct owner of your store.
You can also create and set up Bing Webmaster Tools so that you benefit from the second largest search engine. The free service allows you to add your Shopify store to the Bing crawler so your store can appear in the search engine.
With a paid plan, your Shopify store is not only crawled and indexed, but you get all the work you put in, plus password protection on your pages.
If you want to meet goals like algorithm changes, competitors, and rankings, you can use some free or paid SEO tools. One of these tools is Google Analytics, which you’ve already set up, but there are others like Ahrefs, Keyword.io, Surfer SEO, Keywords Everywhere, Moz, and more that are available for free or at a fee.
You’ve set up your Shopify store; now you’re ready to set up SEO for your web pages. You need tools that will help you optimize your product, blog, and collections pages for better ranking on search engine results pages and drive more organic traffic. Here are our favorites:
Keyword Research is one of the most important aspects of SEO for your Shopify store. You can use Keyword Explorer or Ahrefs to get keyword ideas and determine keyword search volume (rough estimate of monthly searches).
Each page on your Shopify store can rank for different keywords. You can know the pages you need to create and the searches they need to target from your keyword research.
Page optimization includes title tags and page titles such as H1s and H2s, which influence how search engines crawl and rank your Shopify store. Use H1s for main headlines and ensure they have the main keywords. Your Shopify page’s title is the default header 1 tag for pages you create through the platform. So, you don’t need to add H1 tags on the page again manually.
Your page title should have no more than 60 characters. This way, the title won’t be truncated in the search engine results pages. Make sure your main keywords are somewhere in the beginning of the title and structure. This way, the page will look like a listing instead of a sentence or editorial title.
Make sure your title is human-readable, compelling, and clearly describes the page contents. Include the critical keywords and use attractive words that will convince users to visit your page over the competition.
Use no more than 155 characters in your meta description and make sure it’s punchy. You can include your strongest copy and target keywords at the beginning of your meta description.
Your page title appears before the default URL. Make sure you include a keyword in the URL, but avoid filler words so you can keep the URL short and sweet.
Make sure the images on your store have descriptive filenames and alt text that explain what your image is about. This way, your images can appear in Google Image search results.
Google needs to understand your site better. Adding Schema markup makes this possible while improving how your page appears in the SERPs. This way, you can get higher clickthrough rates and more traffic.
Develop a basic content marketing strategy to get started. You can brainstorm customer questions and create content around that. Help them get more value from your products by giving them tips and tricks that help them draw value from their purchase.
Match their questions with search terms by conducting keyword research based on what they’re searching for.
Make sure your product descriptions are original, so you can sell the product benefits and features. Keep your blog posts clear and concise, at least 500 words or more – but aim for quality rather than quantity.
Add product reviews to your product pages to build trust among your shoppers because 95 percent of them will consult user reviews before buying.
Set up social media accounts for your business to help you protect your identity and give shoppers a place to find you. Link these pages from and to your Shopify store, but make sure they’re all aligned to where you plan to reach and sell to your target audience.
Link building is vital for any website as it gives your site authority and helps you rank better on SERPs.
Search engines use the quality, relevancy, and number of backlinks to your Shopify store to rank it. You can focus on other sites or publishers in your industry and build partnerships with them to provide and share value.
Analyze the competition to see the mentions and links they earn. You can use tools like link Explorer or Site Explorer to find out the pages and sites that link to your competitors. Understand the context, why the sites link to the competition, and what makes their pages worth receiving backlinks.
Find ways to land mentions on other sites or use brand monitoring tools to find unlinked mentions of your products or Shopify store on other sites. When you get alerts, ask the publication or writer to add a link to it.
Is your site mobile-friendly? Shopify themes are all mobile-friendly, but you can still use the Google Mobile-Friendly test to see how it will look on mobile devices. The pages should be readable on both desktop and mobile platforms.
If you want to move from your current store platform to Shopify, consult Shopify migration experts to help so you can avoid data loss.
Speed is one of the ranking factors for any website. Go to PageSpeed Insights and run your Shopify store’s domain to get the necessary tweaks you need to make for store performance improvement.
Redirects come in handy for pages that become inactive. For instance, if you remove a product on sale, you can redirect its page to an existing, relevant page on your Shopify store. This eliminates dead links and gives your visitors a new destination instead.
SEO marketing also relies on internal linking to improve your store’s search engine rankings. You need to link from one page to another in your site so that the search engines categorize content, recognize topical authority and rank your pages.
Use related items, blogging about your products, and feature items for internal linking.
Your site needs a global navigation menu as it tells visitors the pages you consider important. This way, they can get to specific pages easily, whether it’s a product, sale, or collection page.
Among the popular navigation menu types are the single-bar, double-bar and dropdown navigation. You can also include the footer menu in the navigation menu so that visitors can find your policy and contact details.
URLs are critical in SEO as they tell search engines what content to find on your page. Make them readable, use hyphens instead of underscores, and include target keywords in the URLs.
This refers to an instance where there’s similar content on two different pages or URLs. Search engines will have a hard time trying to figure out which page to rank. Instead, use a canonical URL to tell search engines the page(s) they need to prioritize. You can also use a rel=”canonical” link on the head of any pages that have similar content.
So far you’ve set up the basics and technical aspects of SEO. Now you need to set up local SEO so that your can find your business in major platforms and directories on search engines.
Set up this free SEO tool to help customers find you across Maps and Google Search. You can sign up and follow the prompts to create your business listing. Give basic details such as your business name and category, location, and contact details.
Once you’re done, optimize the page to be found in search and start connecting with your customers.
Many online directories are available, but not all of them will impact your store’s rankings. You can use directories such as Facebook, Bing, Yelp, Apple Maps, Google Maps, Better Business Bureau, Foursquare, LinkedIn Company Directory, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, and more.
Find niche directories that work for your store and add your business listing to them.
As long as you’re in business, you need to provide a way for your customers to reach you. Adding a Contact Us page helps build trust and attracts local customers. It’s a crucial component for SEO because search engines value consistent and accurate information for web visitors.
Give shoppers details like your business name, address, email, and phone number so they can reach you.
Create and use unique landing pages specific to your physical locations in multiple locations or cities. Doing this ensures that you’ll easily rank for each target market without building separate landing pages or sites for each location.
Make sure the landing page copy is also specific to each location. It may take lots of resources, time, and effort to create and build, especially where your business has multiple locations. However, make sure your pages are helpful and have enough content to avoid potential Google penalties.
SEO is a huge and broad, ever-changing field. For this reason, you need to keep learning about it and the frequent changes that it comes with. Here are a few tips to help you stay informed:
- Hire a Shopify Development Agency to help you with your search marketing strategy.
- Get an SEO plugin for your Shopify store.
- Read Think With Google and Google Search Center Blog to get updates on SEO and other changes that may affect or improve your Shopify store
- Refer to Google’s official recommended practices when you’re not sure of something. However, these guidelines aren’t the gospel truth or gold standard for every single SEO thing that you do in your store. They’re just guidelines to help you avoid questionable practices that may impact your site negatively.
Nothing worries online store owners like SEO. While there are tools to help us understand how search engines perform indexing and ranking of websites and pages, not everyone can understand this quickly.
Merchants need to find and scale their SEO and marketing efforts, but it doesn’t come naturally – at least not when you’re a beginner.
SEO is a long game and long-term investment, so you need a simple strategy and the right tools to ensure that your store follows the recommended practices.
We’ve covered most of the things in this SEO checklist – fast-loading sites, clear image and page descriptions, interesting copy, and content – make your visitors’ lives easier.
As you develop your Shopify store, remember the connection between search optimization and user experience. That’s because pleasing search engines begin by pleasing the people who use them.
Vibhav Gaur plays a key role in empowering Ebzion’s Automobile Aftermarket clients to sustainably grow their online revenues by leveraging technology + digital marketing.
With a strong background in technology and key focus in Automotive marketing he has helped multiple aftermarket OEMs and Retailers make it big online.
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