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The SEO Shopify Checklist: How to Get Your Store to Rank Higher Fast in 10 Steps (Part 1)

The SEO Shopify Checklist: How to Get Your Store to Rank Higher Fast in 10 Steps (Part 1)

by Adriana Cacoveanu on Jul 16 2020

You've just opened your Shopify store.

Now, you want to make it easy to find in the search engines (obviously!). So, you're working on its SEO.

And you ask yourself:

"Is there an easy-to-follow SEO Shopify checklist that I could use to get my store to rank higher on Google... fast?"

Higher ranking on Google » Higher traffic » More sales. The butterfly effect of good Shopify SEO...

To give you a hand with that, we've reviewed our own process for improving the SEO of our clients' Shopify stores. And we've extracted the 10 most common adjustments that you, too, can make to give your new Shopify store a boost in the searches... quickly.

But First: Is the SEO for Shopify any... Different?

Can we really talk about "SEO Shopify vs BigCommerce"? Or "SEO Shopify vs Woocommerce or WordPress or..."?

What makes the SEO approach for Shopify stores any different than the one for any eCommerce websites?

There are some nuances that make it somehow unique:

  • SEO particularities when it comes to crawling and indexing that you'll need to be mindful of
  • the fact that you cannot edit the robots.txt file in Shopify (so, you'll need to come up with an alternative solution for that)
  • issues related to duplicate content that are specific to Shopify 
  • ...

Step 1: Create a Strong and Logical Structure for Your Website

"The better your site structure, the better your chance of ranking higher in the search engines." (Neil Patel)

"How to optimize SEO on Shopify?"

You go ahead and set up a powerful structure for your site.

"What's a powerful structure?" you ask?

A structure that makes it easy for the user the navigate the content and for the search engines to understand your website (that is, to crawl it and to rank your products).

Which can only lead to:

  • a great user experience
  • a higher ranking in the search results

SEO Shopify Checklist: Create a Logical Structure for Your Store

A "powerful website structure" based on a logical hierarchy:

Main categories  » Subcategories  » Products.

In the context of a Shopify store, an example of a "good structure" would be:

Homepage » Collection pages » Product pages 

Tip! Keep it simple. A too complex maze of categories and subcategories will only discourage your users.

Good to know! In Shopify, the "collection" pages stand for the product category pages.

SEO Shopify Checklist: Example of a Good eCommerce Site Structure

Step 2: Choose Your Keywords (A Key Point on Your SEO Shopify Checklist)

"How to set up SEO for Shopify?"

You go keywords hunting, that's how.

Where to start? There are 2 paths that you can take:

  • the free one
  • the paid one (aka, choosing one of the SEO Shopify tools to search for the best keywords)

2.1. The Free Way to Find the Best Keywords for Your Shopify Store

Here are 4 simple methods that you can use to identify the most suitable keywords:

 

  • explore forums and subreddits related to your products

     
  • analyze the social media hashtags related to your products

     
  • make a list of 5 key topics that your customers are interested in, which are closely related to your products (i.e. if you sell bicycles, your buyer personas might care about "bike riding lessons", about "how to store a bike outside" or about "bike wear and shoes"...)

     
  • scan the title tags, image alt-texts, and meta descriptions on your competitors' websites and see what keywords they're targetting

     

Note! These are all non-data-driven ways to search for keywords. 

2.2.The Paid Way to Look for Keywords: Using Keyword Search Tools

If you don't feel like doing any guesswork when it comes to choosing the best keywords for your Shopify store, just use one of the best tools available:

  • SEO Metrics
  • Moz's Keyword Explorer (use it to spot high priority keywords and to uncover new keyword opportunities)
  • Ahref's Keyword Explorer (i.e. you can use the "Content Gap" report to identify those keywords that your competitors' webshops rank for and yours doesn't)
  • Google's Keyword Planner
  • ...

And here are a few more simple strategies to get keywords ideas:

  • list of all those keywords that are currently getting most clicks your Google Search Console
  • find and target those Google AdWords keywords that generate the most revenue for your Shopify store 

When doing your research, you'll want to find the (almost) perfect balance between search volume and keyword difficulty. 

SEO Shopify Checklist: You Don't Want to Target Too Competitive Keywords

And always make sure that the keywords you've selected align with the search intent.

Tip! Target long-tail keywords.

Conversational, natural language search queries are powerful enough to boost your website's ranking on Google.

Step 3: Keyword-Optimize Your Pages (Titles, Meta Descriptions, URLs...)

With your list of keywords at hand, it's time for you to sprinkle them strategically throughout your website.

Here are the best spots to place them:

  • your pages' title tags (homepage, product pages, category pages, blog posts)
  • the meta descriptions
  • the URLs
  • the page content (i.e. in your product's descriptions)
  • the image Alt tags

Now that you know what are the "hot spots" on your website, here are some Shopify SEO best practices for optimizing them:

  • keep your page title tags under 60 characters
  • write a unique title tag and meta descriptions for each page
  • keep your meta descriptions under 155 characters
  • place your focus keyword at the beginning of the meta descriptions

Step 4: Target One Focus Keyword per Page

And this is another critical step on your SEO Shopify checklist to be mindful of.

Make it even more powerful by linking it to another SEO best practice:

Mapping keywords to content types. 

It's still one of the top SEO tips for Shopify.

Meaning that you target specific types of keywords for each type of page on your website — blog posts, product pages, homepage, category pages, etc.

Let's say that you're selling kombucha tea on your Shopify store:

You'll want your blog posts to target searches for information ("what is kombucha"), and your product category pages to target lower search volume, but which point out to a strong intent to buy ("buy kombucha in bulk").

Step 5: Optimize Your Product Category Pages

“To help category pages rank better, we advise our clients to not only have a list of product names, thumbnails and ‘view more’ buttons, but to turn this page into an experience that helps the user with making a decision,” (Arsen Rabinovich on searchengineland.com)

This is one of the SEO optimizations on Shopify best practices that more and more eCommerce brands have been adopting these days.

So, how about seizing this opportunity to have your Shopify store rank higher than your competitors'?

By upgrading your product category pages from... mere lists of products to influential touchpoints in your customers' buying journeys. To pages that deliver a richer experience.

Pages that provide more informational type of content, aligning with the user intent.

5.1. Best Practices for Optimizing Your Category Product Pages:

  • display star ratings, tips, recommendations, user comments
  • ... excerpts from product descriptions, related products, FAQs
  • create content around users' questions
  • feature direct access to your blog posts related to that specific product type
  • use a combo of fresh and evergreen content on your collection pages

Make it useful, make it relevant.

SEO Shopify Checklist: Balance SEO and Usability

You want those pages to rank high, but you also want them to deliver a rich user experience...

5.2. Best Practices for Optimizing Title Tags for Categories

You know now how to optimize the content on your collection pages. But what about their title tags?

Is there a formula to keyword-optimize those titles?

There is:

Keyword 1 – Shop for Keyword 2 – Store Name

For example:

Trek Bikes – Shop for Trek Bike Online – The Store

That's it for today!

But stay tuned for the Part 2 of this post, where we'll be sharing 5 more steps to add to your SEO Shopify Checklist.

Now, if you find these tips on how to optimize our store for higher ranking too time-consuming and overwhelming, just shift the "burden" to us.

Drop us a line and let's come up with a fine-tuned SEO strategy for your Shopify store.

One that'll guarantee it the ranking and traffic that it deserves.

 

Image by Abdul Rehman from Pixabay

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