If you search, you will find - and mostly via Google. Current statistics show that around 86% of web searches come from the big player. What this has to do with you as an online retailer should be clear: on average, online stores and websites gain around 50% of their traffic through organic search queries.
A good ranking with relevant search terms means that you can direct potential customers to your site and your products in the long term and without an advertising budget. To achieve this, however, you need to invest some time in your Shopify store at the beginning and perform search engine optimization (SEO for short). There are hundreds of ranking factors that are important for the Google algorithm - and which, by the way, are constantly changing.
In this guide, we would like to introduce you to the most important adjusting screws that you can use to help your Shopify store achieve better visibility.
Reading tip: Shopify Hacks: Optimize your Shopify Shop with these tips and tricks.
Table of contents
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What is Shopify SEO?
Shopify, an e-commerce company, provides valuable SEO tools for online store owners to achieve broad reach. However, effectively using these tools to increase reach is often a challenge for many businesses.
Shopify is among the leading global e-commerce companies. It enables small and medium-sized businesses to open their own online stores and outsource logistics. Extensive customization options are available through the simple browser login to the administration interface. Shopify is a cloud-based platform, which means companies don't have to worry about the technical infrastructure behind the store. For a small monthly fee, Shopify takes care of the complex technology behind the store.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to improve websites in search engine rankings. SEO is constantly evolving, and while exact criteria are secret from search engines, some known factors are important to rank well on Google. The store system offers some built-in options for search engine optimization as well as apps that can be additionally integrated for SEO.
Is Shopify well equipped for SEO?
Shopify convinces with user-friendliness, you have probably already noticed that. Even when it comes to search engine optimization, several useful functions are included to place keywords. However, successful SEO involves more than just spiking keywords in relevant places. Therefore, we'll give you tips on how to make your Shopify store
optimize the page structure,
improve the user experience,
find out the right target keywords and place them on product and category pages,
Build links to your store,
establish content marketing and
integrate useful Shopify apps for SEO.
Reading tip: Cross-selling: How easy it is to increase your average order value.
Advantages and disadvantages of SEO for Shopify
Despite potential disadvantages, SEO is a crucial strategic component for a company's success, as it offers long-term and sustainable benefits. We have summarized an overview of the advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of SEO for Shopify:
With an optimized SEO strategy, a Shopify store can be found more easily in search engine results, leading to higher visibility and more website traffic.
Compared to other marketing methods, SEO is more cost-efficient and offers long-term benefits as organic visibility increases over time.
SEO helps attract qualified traffic as those searching for relevant keywords already have an interest in the products or services offered.
Well-ranked pages are often seen as more trustworthy, which can boost brand image.
Once established rankings can generate consistent traffic over longer periods of time, without continuous investment.
Disadvantages of SEO for Shopify:
SEO results require time to develop. It can take weeks or even months to see improvements in rankings.
Search engine algorithms are constantly changing. Therefore, SEO requires a continuous adjustment of the strategy to stay relevant.
With many companies using SEO, competition is high. It can be challenging to rank well in competitive markets.
No immediate results
Unlike paid advertising methods, SEO efforts do not provide immediate results. It takes time for the positive effects to show.
These SEO onpage optimizations they should perform in the Shopify store
One thing you must always keep in mind: Your site should be made for the customer. You surely know it from yourself, if you don't find your way around a page well, you will jump off more quickly without even having dealt with the products beforehand. This is exactly what you should keep in mind with your own store. The way your website, pages and content are organized is important for search engine optimization. First, a cluttered sitemap can cause Google's crawlers (a tool that examines your site and tells Google what it finds) to potentially not reach all of the pages and therefore rank your site lower. The key is simplicity.
Shopify already takes care of one important to-do for you: the sitemap.
The sitemap lists all links and pages of a website so that search engines get a good overview of all content. To access the sitemap of your Shopify store, simply add a /sitemap.xml to your Shopify domain: https://www.beispiel.myshopify.com/sitemap.xml
But what specifically can you do to ensure a simpler website structure and make the navigation on your site clearer for your customers?
Here are three tips from us:
Don't overdo it with categories! Structure your site so that it remains clear. With Shopify, you can easily organize your products and distinguish between two structures when building them:
Home page -> Category -> Product page
Home page -> Category -> Subcategory -> Product page
Also create an About Us page and a Contact Us page to build trust with prospects.
Integrate a search box into your online store. This will help visitors find the products they are looking for and keep them on your site longer.
There are other points to improve the user experience for your customers besides ensuring a good page structure. User experience is also an important ranking factor and shows Google what value your page holds. Therefore, here are some elements that matter:
The bounce rate is the percentage of users who leave your website after visiting only one page. As a rule of thumb, a bounce rate between 26 and 40 percent is considered desirable. 41 to 55 percent is about average and 56+ percent is considered insufficient. It's important to note that Google is comparing you to competitor sites - so there may be some industry-specific target data. The main goal is to keep your users on your site and get them to visit more pages - do this with snippets to other pages and clear call-to-action buttons.
The page speed is not yet long ranking factor. You should make sure that the content of your pages loads quickly. Memory-guzzling images and bloated codes should therefore be avoided. You can test the speed of your store directly in the Shopify admin area. To do so, simply go to Statistics -> Reports -> Onlineshop Speed.
You should also say goodbye to Shopify apps that you don't really need.
Also, using sliders and carousels can slow down your page. Consider whether you really need them to convey your products and brand message.
Reading tip: Here we have listed important information about website speed.
Responsive & Mobile Friendly
Especially in the social media age, it is important that your website is displayed correctly on all popular browsers and devices. Many users will come across your store through Facebook or Instagram - if you are active on these channels. So make sure that the user experience is flawless from mobile as well. If you use a responsive theme from Shopify, your content will automatically adapt to different screen sizes and your customers will be able to shop more stress-free from smartphones.
Reading tip: 12 subpages every e-commerce website needs: Do you have them all?
Google's algorithm is not rocket science. At the end of the day, the search engine simply wants to show searchers the most relevant results and the basis for that are search terms, also called keywords. One of the most important parts for you, therefore, is to understand which keywords are relevant to your products and your pages and which ones you want to rank for in Google's search results. You should therefore do a keyword research and build a keyword list with the 10-20 most important keywords and search phrases to start with. But how do you find the keywords that are of interest to you? Here are some tips:
Search yourself in the search engine for your or similar products. Think like a human being - what would you search for as a normal consumer?
Look at the results of your competitors. What terms are your competitors using in descriptions and headlines?
Let Google Suggest help you. Google suggests other search queries or completes your input, which gives insight into the search behavior of other users.
Use tools to come up with new keywords. We will tell you which ones are suitable in the course of this article.
Then evaluate how good your keywords are. Here you should look at the search volumes of the individual keywords through certain tools such as the Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest. The higher the search volume, the more often users search for that exact term. However, make sure that the competition for a term is not too high. If you are competing against big players (e.g. online marketplaces) you will have a hard time.
The selection list
Last but not least, make a list of 10 to 20 keywords that you want to target in the next three to six months. We recommend that you check the ranking your page is taking for a keyword every week and record it in this list.
Product and category pages
Optimize products & pages
Google is known to have no eyes. All the information that the crawlers of the search engine receive, they obtain from code. Therefore, it is important that each page of your website serves the right factors for ranking. Nevertheless, product and category pages should be built in such a way that your customers find them appealing and get all the information.
So the next step is to optimize your store pages with your keywords. Start with your top pages first. These will probably be your homepage, the main categories, as well as the top seller product pages. You should pay special attention to the following elements:
Meta descriptions & page titles
Before you make a new page live, whether it is a content page or a single product page, you must store appropriate page titles and meta descriptions. The page title is the title text that is displayed in the first line in the search results. The meta description is the text that is displayed below the headline of a search result.
In Shopify, the SEO-relevant information can be integrated quite easily. This is how you add the title and description of your store: Sales Channels -> Online Shop -> Configurations.
Meta title and meta description can also be added to the products. To do this, go to Products -> Open the product you want to edit -> Scroll down to Search Engine Listing and click Edit.
Meta title and meta description at Latori GmbH
We recommend using keywords in both texts, and the text on each page should be appealing and varied - written for the potential customer and not for the Google robots. It can also be useful to place the keywords in the meta description as far up front as possible. The description should not exceed 160 characters to avoid being cut off by Google.
Page titles don't have to be the name of the page - think about what might appeal to customers.
This formula is a great way to structure your page title:
Keyword 1 - store for keyword 2 - name of the store.
If you are providing page content, you should put your focus keyword in the H1 - the top heading. Other headings can also be peppered with relevant terms. You should use the texts to accommodate your keywords - but don't overdo it, it should always be a readable text that doesn't sound like "keyword spam". Think of all text on a website as a way to tell Google what you want to rank for. Also, when uploading images to Shopify, make sure to add alt text - Google can't see images and therefore needs alt text to understand what it is - a great place for keywords related to the image.
Your website should be an interwoven experience of pages. Each page should link to other pages - not all customers will use navigation to explore your store.
Internal content strategy
Good content is crucial to improve your organic ranking on Google. So you should not only provide products and categories with content, but also think about a blog. Here you can place a lot of content and address problems and typical questions of your customers. A FAQ page also makes sense to pick up important keywords and phrases from searchers.
Your content is an opportunity to introduce prospects and potential customers to your brand in a way that isn't about selling. It's also one of the easiest ways to rank for more keywords and get more backlinks.
This offpage SEO optimization you should do
Backlink Strategy - What are backlinks and how do I build them?
One of the most important ranking factors for ranking well on Google is the number of websites that link to your site. It's considered a measure of how many people are talking about your site - the more quality sites are talking about you, the more relevant your site is. Word of mouth for your website, if you will. This part belongs to the so-called off-page optimization, as it is not a measure that you can actively implement on your site. How can you still get links to your store? Here are a few tips:
Supplier/Manufacturer Links: If you sell products that are manufactured or supplied by established companies, they may have a policy that merchants can get a link. Email them and ask if they can link to your store.
Influencer testimonials: Ask influencers for interviews to generate both links and content. You can also provide products in exchange for link mentions on blogs and social media channels.
Mentions: You may already be mentioned in several places without being linked to. You can use mention.com to find these mentions. Then send an email asking for a link to your store in addition to that mention.
Apps & Tools - SEO Tools Comparison
SEO is a very time-consuming job, but there is a lot you can do yourself. Nevertheless, to make your work easier, we would like to share with you the best SEO tools.
Google Search Console
This tool from Google shows you which possible errors there are on your page and with which specific search queries users come to your store. A great way to keep track of everything.
This paid SEO tool helps you retrieve data on keywords and see where your competitors rank.
UberSuggests by Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the US SEO guru and offers a great tool to help you find new keyword ideas. It even shows the search volume for individual keywords.
Plug in SEO
This Shopify app helps you target SEO issues and save time and money while improving your SEO. It provides automatic, regular checking of page titles and headings, meta descriptions, speed, content, item structure, and more to make sure your site is optimized the way it should be.
With Smart SEO, you can generate relevant meta tags for product, collection, blog, and item pages in your Shopify store, as well as alt tags for product images, without having to do any editing manually. Additionally, the app submits your store information to search engines using JSON-LD data that is already structured the way search engines need it.
SEO Image Optimizer & Resizer
Increase traffic from Google Image Search and optimize your images quickly and easily with this app.
Reading tip: These Shopify apps you should know!
Need help implementing your SEO strategy for the Shopify store? We will be happy to support you. Contact us so that you soon attract all eyes in the search results with your store!
Frequently asked questions about SEO for stores and SEO measures
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to all measures taken to achieve better, organic visibility in search engines.
What do you do with SEO?
SEO involves optimizing all the pages of your store using tools and keywords to get a better search engine ranking.
What tools help me with SEO?
There are some tools you can use in search engine optimization, these include Google Search Console, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, UberSuggests by Neil Patel, Plug in SEO, Smart SEO, SEO Image Optimizer & Resizer.
Which is better SEO or SEA?
SEO (search engine optimization) and SEA (search engine advertising) are different ways to improve search engine rankings. SEA is recommended if you want to achieve quick success and awareness, because with it you place targeted campaigns for search terms in search engines. However, this is associated with higher costs than SEO. If you want to get a good ranking in search engines in the long term and without costs, then search engine optimization is recommended.