To bring new customers to your Shopify store organically, you will have to keep Google happy. A whopping 87% of web searches are on Google, so although other search engines exist, we all know that Google is king 👑
In this Shopify SEO guide, we will share key information to help you develop a strategy that improves your store’s organic search ranking. Finding the sweet spot for SEO and your store will take time: search engine optimisation is a long term strategy but by focusing on the right areas, you should see an improvement in the position of your website across targeted keywords.
- How to get your Shopify store seen on Google
- Target keywords
- Shopify site structure
- User experience
- Products and pages
- Content strategy
- Shopify's SEO tools
How to get your Shopify store seen on Google
To improve your rankings with Shopify, you need to think long term. SEO is never-ending, so be prepared to develop a series of actions that will help you work towards competing for your keywords over time.
Google uses a continually-changing algorithm to rank websites in order of relevance. There are hundreds of ranking factors that affect what page and position your website displays on. Keywords are one of the main factors.
To stand a good chance of improving your ranking, you must understand what keywords you are targeting. Don’t assume you know what shoppers are searching for – in many cases, you’ll be wrong. Your keywords should be based on research, not assumptions. You should aim to create a list of 10-20 keywords that you’re aiming to rank for.
How to find your target keywords for Shopify SEO strategy
There are plenty of tools you can use to look at what people are searching for. Google’s keyword planner is free and a good place to start. Type in terms YOU would search for and see what the data says. Build a long list of potential keywords from this – you can prioritise the main ones later.
It is so important to know what keywords your competitors are ranking for. Once you have that information, you can build your Shopify SEO strategy around your findings.
Why is competitor analysis important?
- It helps you to identify your competitors – This is particularly useful if you are a new business.
- It identifies what you are already doing well – When you identify the areas in which you’re performing well, you can do more of them and improve your ranking.
- It identifies competitor links – Competitor analysis for SEO helps you identify the websites that your competitors are linked to, but you are not. This will show you where the opportunities lie for you to build your own link profile.
- It targets the right keywords – If there are specific keywords that are ranking well for your competitors but you are not using them, you can begin to incorporate them into your site too.
You might be surprised by how much (or how little) search volume is around particular search terms. It’s important to ensure the search terms you are targeting are actually getting traffic. Again, Google’s keyword planner can help you qualify your keywords based on volume.
Once you have the research and data, you can create a list of the 10-20 main keywords that you want to target over the next six months. As soon as you start targeting particular keywords, keep track of your ranking. You might not see an impact to begin with, but it’s important you are armed with as much information as possible from the very beginning, so you can make changes and tweaks until you begin to see it working.
Shopify site structure: clear and easy to use
The structure of your Shopify site needs to be clear and easy to use. Not just for potential customers, but for Google too. Site structure is very important in SEO; a confusing site map, for example, makes it harder for Google crawlers (a tool that explores your website and tells Google what it finds) and therefore your site is more likely to rank poorly. Of course your site structure should be easy for shoppers to navigate, if not, they are less likely to complete their purchase.
Shopify makes it easy for you to create categories and sub-categories for your site. For example, your structure could look like this:
Content Page → Category → Product Page
Content → Category → Sub Category → Product Page
As a Shopify merchant, delivering excellent customer service is probably high on your list of ‘musts’. It’s the same for your website – it must deliver the best customer experience as possible. Google uses key signals that help it to decide if users find their website experience positive and user experience has become one of the search giant’s core ranking factors. But what makes a good user experience?
A responsive and mobile-friendly site
There is no excuse to not make your website responsive and mobile-friendly. It should appear correctly across all major browsers and devices and adapt to the screen size the user is viewing your site from. Google will audit your website from a mobile-first experience, so this should be a priority for you.
Google considers site speed as a ranking factor to ensure everything is running smoothly. Optimise images and ensure your site is as speedy as it can be.
The bounce rate is the percentage of users who leave your website after visiting just one page. Generally, a bounce rate ranging between 26-40 per cent is excellent, 41 to 55 per cent is around average and 56+ per cent is considered poor.
Be aware that Google will compare your site against competitor sites, so your aim is to keep your users engaged on your website and encourage them to visit more pages. You can do this by including snippets about other pages and clear call-to-action buttons.
Product and page optimisation
Every one of your pages must meet Google’s ranking criteria if you are going to improve your Shopify search ranking.
Meta descriptions and page titles
When setting up a new page on your Shopify site, you must set up appropriate page titles and meta descriptions. The page title is the title text you see at the top of the web page and the opening line in search results. The meta description is the text that displays below the heading of a search result. When adding both of these, include your keywords without overusing them. Page titles don’t have to be the name of the page, often something more engaging will bring in a higher amount of new visitors.
Every single page you add to your Shopify site should tell Google what you’d like to rank for. Be mindful of ‘stuffing’ in too many keywords, but where relevant, include them. Always add alt text to your images too – not only are these another opportunity for you to use your keywords, but it will help explain to Google what is in the image.
Your website should be linked as a whole – always link between pages where relevant, as this will encourage customers to explore your site more (and therefore lower your bounce rate).
If your Shopify site is going to perform to the best of its ability, you need to create a content strategy.
Add new content, be it a blog post or new product pages, regularly – we’re talking every single week. Yes, really! Every blog post or article is your opportunity to improve your search ranking, so always write about topics that people are already searching for. If you’re not sure what topics to cover or aren’t comfortable writing articles, consider hiring an e-commerce copywriter.
Backlinks are another main ranking factor for Google and they refer to the number of websites that link to yours. Google considers this important because the more quality websites talking about you suggests your website is highly relevant and authentic. Every website is given a ‘domain authority score’ which is a score given based on a number of factors such as the number of backlinks, keywords it ranks for etc. It can be difficult to implement a backlink strategy as Google’s algorithm considers backlinks continually, so you should always be looking for new backlinks opportunities. When we said at the start that SEO is never-ending, this is what we meant!
Shopify's SEO tools
One of the biggest advantages of Shopify is it comes with a host of e-commerce tools to help you run your business. This includes opportunities to improve your SEO, as Shopify has its own blogging platform for new articles built-in. You can also update titles and meta descriptions on each product and page of your website. The platform gives speed data about your website from Google Page Insights to allow you to identify if any improvements can be made. Yoast SEO is also now live on Shopify for a fee, making it even easier to optimise Shopify product pages and blog posts.
Grow your Shopify store with SEO 🚀
Although SEO for Shopify can be time-consuming, the rewards when it is done well can be huge. You can drive more relevant traffic to your website and increase your Shopify sales significantly within just a few months. Once you have chosen your keywords and optimised your pages, continue to monitor your rankings and don’t be afraid to make changes to find the approach that works for your business. Good luck!