Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store

Contents

This is the ultimate guide to Shopify SEO for beginners and intermediates alike.

Whether you are a business owner looking to do some DIY search engine optimization (SEO) for Shopify websites or a savvy marketer looking to expand your Shopify SEO chops, this one’s for you.

In this expert-written Shopify SEO guide, you will learn everything you need to know about improving your Shopify store’s SEO to drive more traffic and customers from organic search.

Let’s jump right in.

shopify seo hero image

Is Shopify Good for SEO?

Shopify is good for SEO, though it’s trickier than other ecommerce platforms. It comes with several SEO-friendly features right out of the box.

But there’s so much more you can do to improve your position in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Much like other ecommerce platforms, Shopify has its fair share of problems.

Let’s address the most common Shopify SEO issues.

URL Structure

Google favors short and easy-to-understand URLs. One of the most talked-about Shopify SEO problems is the URL structure.

Shopify’s URL structure is fixed. And there’s no way for you to fully customize it.

Case in point: subfolders /products/, /collections/, and /blog/ are irreversible. They will appear in your URLs, whether you like it or not.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 1

For the blog page, it’s required to display the folder as /blog/news/ or /blog/blog/, depending on how you name it. And for other pages, Shopify puts /pages/ in the URLs.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 2

Duplicate URLs

Shopify’s tendency to generate tons of duplicate URLs is the bane of many Shopify SEOs. This happens for a variety of reasons.

  • When using URL parameters to store user information
  • When loading similar content regardless of URL capitalization but fails to redirect the URL
  • When embedding product tags in the URLs

To be fair, duplicate URLs are not just a Shopify problem; it’s a common ecommerce site problem.

Duplicate URLs can simultaneously end up in Google’s index, adding more complexity to the problem. Multiple identical URLs in Google’s index compete against each other for backlinks and authority, thereby diluting SEO link juice.

rel-canonical-shopify-seo

Let’s argue to use a canonical tag to tell Google which page it should be ranking. This, however, is no silver bullet. 

Even if you use rel=canonical, Google sees that as more of a suggestion than a command. In other words, Google may or may not follow your canonical tag.

The best way to solve this problem is to set up redirects or change duplicate links.

But bear in mind that Shopify’s redirect tool only allows you to redirect URLs that are broken or deleted. You cannot redirect existing URLs that still load a webpage as well as URLs that begin with /apps, /application, /cart, /carts, /services, /orders, or /shop.

In addition, Shopify does not allow editing .htaccess, so there’s no way to set up a redirect rule and resolve this problem.

Robots.txt

The robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers how to index and crawl your online store.

These may include:

  • Blocking certain subfolders or pages (like the shopping cart page and search results as Google recommended)
  • Tagging dofollow or nofollow links
  • Pointing your sitemap’s location
  • Other similar commands

Sadly, Shopify does not allow you to touch this — one of the major Shopify SEO issues that have been haunting developers and site owners.

Adding more complexity to this problem is the presence of quite a few disallow commands in the robots.txt file that prevent search engines from crawling pages on your site that you may most likely want to be indexed.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 3

For instance, Shopify’s robots.txt contains this command:

  • Disallow: /collections/*+*

Any URL that contains a plus sign after the collection folders will be blocked. This is a major flaw if you categorize your products into types or vendors.

  • /collections/types?q=Product+Type
  • /collections/vendor?q=Vendor+Name

In case your product types and vendors have more than one-word names, the plus sign in the URL is self-activating. And because of this command, there’s no way for search engines and other crawlers to see the content from these pages.

Is there a workaround for this problem? Unfortunately, no.

Blog

Shopify has a blog component, but given that it’s designed as an ecommerce platform more than anything else, you really can’t expect much from it.

In fact, Shopify’s blogging feature is less than basic — an obvious indication of it being an afterthought. And this is not a good thing.

Keep in mind that blog content is still one of the most reliable ways to grow organic search traffic and build search engine authority.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 4

It’s not possible to run Shopify from inside a WordPress website. And there’s no way for WordPress to be installed in a subfolder of your Shopify store.

What this leaves you is to either use Shopify’s basic blogging feature or install a subdomain blog on your Shopify site.

We’ll discuss more about choosing between Shopify and WordPress for blogging later on.

  • HTTP Headers

HTTP headers can help to tell search engines a lot of essential information about your website.

These include canonical links, hreflang links, X-Robots-Tag, cache-control HTTP header, vary HTTP header, and a few security-related headers.

Sad to say, Shopify does not allow any form of customization on your site’s HTTP headers, leaving you with a lot of missed opportunities.

Now that we’ve got the most common Shopify SEO problems out of the way, let’s compare it with other ecommerce platforms’ SEO.

Shopify SEO vs. Other Ecommerce Platforms

Seeing Shopify’s flaws from an SEO perspective, you might ask:

“Is Shopify SEO-friendly, still?”

There are quite many Shopify SEO reviews out there, mostly regurgitating the same thing — how bad Shopify for SEO is.

Regardless, I think most of us digital marketers and SEOs would agree that Shopify is still SEO-friendly and still an excellent ecommerce platform to consider.

But taking other ecommerce platforms into account, how does SEO for Shopify websites stack up?

Let’s break it down.

Shopify vs. BigCommerce SEO

bigcommerce-vs-shopify-seo

Let’s set the record straight — Shopify is a few steps behind BigCommerce in terms of SEO.

For one, BigCommerce allows you to fully edit URLs, a powerful functionality that Shopify does not have.

Although BigCommerce doesn’t provide .htaccess, in case of duplicate URLs, BigCommerce allows you to set up URL redirect rules outside of the platform and apply them to your store. BigCommerce also allows editing of the robots.txt file right on its platform. With Shopify, it’s not an option.

In terms of blogging features, both Shopify and BigCommerce have one that has bare-bones functionalities.

The difference, however, is that BigCommerce has a WordPress plugin that enables you to run its blog inside of WordPress. This is an immensely useful integration, enabling you to get all functionalities of WordPress.

Moreover, the BigCommerce WordPress plugin gives you the ability to customize HTTP headers, which, as discussed above, Shopify does not.

But one thing that makes Shopify a cut above BigCommerce and other ecommerce platforms is its massive library of third-party apps and tools, enabling you to expand your store’s functionalities even further.

But it’s not entirely an advantage if you use too many of them. So you need to be wise with the number of apps you want to use on your site to avoid slowing it down.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce SEO

woocommerce-vs-shopify-seo

Although both are similar online store builders, Shopify and WooCommerce are built differently.

Shopify is a cloud-based software that’s packed with ready-to-use applications, allowing you to build an ecommerce shop even without the help of a developer.

WooCommerce, on the other hand, is only a WordPress application that provides developers with ecommerce tools.

In terms of SEO, Shopify and WooCommerce are also very different from each other. Shopify is already optimized for you in a way, but this puts limits on your SEO, as discussed earlier.

WooCommerce has more flexibility in it SEO-wise given you are self-hosting your store, running on a great content management system (CMS), and the hundreds of SEO plugins available at your disposal.

Shopify vs. Magento SEO

magento-vs-shopify-seo

Adobe’s Magento is a force to be reckoned with in its ecommerce SEO capability, and not many SEOs recognize that.

But like Shopify and all other ecommerce platforms here, it comes with flaws.

While Shopify has many things on lockdown, leaving some SEO tasks off the table, Magento is the exact opposite.

Magento is so wide-open that sorting out SEO tasks becomes an unnecessarily difficult chore. However, the difference is that there are ways to resolve its SEO issues, though most have to be done manually.

For instance, Shopify automatically generates and updates the sitemap.xml file, while Magento 1 requires you to set it up manually.

In case of updates, you need to manually do that whenever you update the site or set up a cron job to update it automatically. Unless you are using Magento 2 where automatic updates are done to the sitemap.

As with Shopify and other platforms, Magento also has duplicate URL problems. This is true with configurable products, product categories, and product sorting. And to get to the bottom of this issue requires a major development work.

Shopify SEO Tutorial: How to Improve Shopify SEO

Despite Shopify’s limitations, you still have a lot of reasons to use the platform. Its themes contain product markup out of the box and integrate with all sorts of apps at the click of a button.

Now let’s talk about how to SEO Shopify websites and discuss Shopify SEO tips and best practices. Also, you will learn how to get around some pressing Shopify website SEO problems.

1. Submit Sitemap to Google Search Console

If your Shopify store is brand new, the first thing you must do is submit your sitemap to Google Search Console. If you have done this already, skip to the next point.

All Shopify stores automatically generate a sitemap.xml file.

A sitemap.xml file contains links to all your products, pages, images, collections, and blog posts. Google and other search engines use sitemaps to index your Shopify store so that its pages show up in SERPs.

While search engines can crawl and index your store on their own, there’s no guarantee when.

So submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console makes sure that Google — which owns 87.35% of the search engine market share — can find your store’s web pages.

It’s time to get Shopify and Google Search Console working together.

Here are the exact steps to find your sitemap, add Search Console to Shopify, and submit your sitemap to Google:

Step #1: Find Your Sitemap

Your Shopify store’s sitemap can be found at yourstore.com/sitemap.xml.

Shopify’s sitemap automatically updates itself if you add or remove pages from your site.

In order for Google to crawl and index your site, make sure that your site is not password protected.

Follow these steps to disable password protection.

Step #2: Verify Google Search Console With Shopify

After submitting the sitemap of your Shopify store, Google Search Console verification is next.

This ensures that you are the rightful owner of the store before GSC gives you access to their services.

Let’s verify your store using the meta tag verification method.

Go to Google Search Console » Settings » Ownership verification » HTML tag.

Copy the meta tag, including the angle brackets.

Here’s an example:

<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”-VkuilDNiC_aBPVlL_ppDWBU4NailL5jBZwZF0Z3sBg” />

In Shopify, go to Online Store » Themes.

Find the theme you want to edit, and then click Actions » Edit code.

In the Layout section, click theme.liquid to launch the file in the code editor.

Paste the meta tag on a blank line below the opening <head> tag, like so:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 5

Then click Save.

Step #3: Submit Your Sitemap to Google

It’s time to submit your sitemap to Google.

Go to Google Search Console » Sitemaps.

In the Add a new sitemap section, simply enter sitemap.xml in the field box and then click SUBMIT.

It usually takes four days up to one month for Google to start indexing your site.

2. Simplify Site Structure

Site structure is a critical part of both search engine crawlers and user experience.

In ecommerce, it’s 10x more important.

A bad site structure can leave search engines and potential buyers confused. This could translate into poor conversions and low sales.

A good site structure makes it easier for search engines to crawl your store and rank your products.

And it motivates visitors to spend more time on your site, thereby increasing dwell time.

So how do you organize an ecommerce site structure that’s optimized for conversions?

Simplify everything.

Include only relevant categories and subcategories.

You don’t want a site structure that looks like this:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 6

What you want is a site structure that looks like this:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 7

Products should be 2-3 clicks away from the homepage. The closer your products are to the homepage, the easier for your visitors to locate and buy them and for search engines to crawl.

Remember, the order of your pages from the homepage reflects which pages are more important.

With Shopify, you can follow either of these two structures:

  • Homepage » Category Pages » Product Pages
  • Homepage » Category Pages » Subcategory Pages » Product Pages

Here’s an example:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 8

In Shopify, category pages are named “collections,” and product pages are named “products.”

There’s no way to differentiate between categories and subcategories on the platform. The only way to go about this is to create a collection and nest it within a hierarchy in the menu.

Apart from category and product pages, include important pages like About and Contact pages. These add credibility and trustworthiness to your online store.

And lastly, don’t forget the search box. It’s not something you need for SEO, but it will definitely improve user experience and maximize your traffic.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 9

3. Conduct Keyword Research

While it seems like a no-brainer, a lot of Shopify store owners put keyword research on a back burner.

Huge mistake!

Doing keyword research early on will simplify your SEO tasks later.

Note that conducting keyword research for ecommerce is a little bit different than the keyword research you do for regular websites.

Finding keywords is only one part of the process. Half the battle is mapping the right keywords to your product and category pages.

A free way to do keyword research is to look up the target keyword or keyphrase of a page on Google Search.

By looking at the titles of top results, you can pretty much guess the target keyword your competitors are going for.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 10

You’d hope this is the case for all your target keywords, but sometimes it’s not obvious.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 11

Regardless, both methods don’t say it all.

Too much is at stake for your business to rely on guesswork. You need to see the monthly average search volume of these search terms.

SEO software like SEMrush and Ahrefs have the best keyword research tools that can help you dig deeper into your target keywords.

At the end of the day, you still need to check the top results to know the SERP intent.

Are the top results for a keyword mostly category pages? As much as possible, you want to avoid using that keyword as your main target for a product page. It’s an uphill struggle.

Make sure to check out this comprehensive guide on ecommerce keyword research for the right steps.

4. Optimize Pages

Once you have your target keywords in a row, it’s time to spread them all throughout your site, most importantly on your homepage, category pages, subcategory pages, and product pages.

If you have thousands of pages, this might sound like a lot of work. Well, it is — but there’s no other way around it.

So my recommendation would be — prioritize your top pages, or pages that are the most profitable and convert best, and work all the way down.

Your top pages will probably include your homepage, main product collections, and product pages that are driving the most revenue.

For new stores, start optimizing your homepage and product pages whose primary target keywords have the highest search volume.

The five places you want to optimize for your target keywords are page titles, meta descriptions, image alt texts (alternative texts), body copy, and URL.

  • Page Titles

Page titles carry the utmost importance of all pages. They are seen in big, bold blue texts in SERPs, so they should provide information related to the query right off the bat.

Per guidelines for Shopify SEO, titles must:

  • Be unique, descriptive, and readable
  • Have 70 characters or fewer
  • Include the page’s most important target keywords near the beginning of the title
  • Match the page’s content

Make sure to set a consistent format to name your pages across your entire store.

Here are some formula and example:

  • [Keyword 1] – [Shop/Buy Keyword 2] – [Store Name]
  • [Keyword 1] – [Store Name]

Here are examples of good page titles:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 12

For product page titles, avoid bad titles like this:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 13

To edit the page title in Shopify, go to the Search engine listing preview section, then click Edit website SEO.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 14
  • Meta Descriptions

The meta description is the next most important part of a page after page titles. They are a brief bit of text shown in SERPs under the title.

While Google does not always use custom meta descriptions, it’s still important to create your own meta description.

Per guidelines for Shopify SEO, descriptions must:

  • Include relevant keywords
  • Include your store name
  • Be straightforward, unique, and readable
  • Have a call-to-action (CTA)
  • Have 320 characters or fewer

Here are examples of good meta descriptions:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 15

To edit the meta description in Shopify, go to the Search engine listing preview section, then click Edit website SEO.

  • Image Alt Texts

Google Images is the second biggest search engine, accounting for over 20% of all searches in the U.S.

It makes sense to make sure the alt text for your images is optimized with the right keywords.

But there’s a deeper meaning why you should optimize image alt texts.

Search engine bots can’t read images; they read texts. And in case the image does not load or breaks, users will still have an idea of what that image is.

Therefore, alt texts should describe an image well.

To add alt text in Shopify, upload an image » Click the three-dot option » Click Edit alt text.

For existing images, go to Products » All Products.

Click the product image you want to edit, and then Click ALT.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 16

To set the alt text for a blog post or collection featured image, click the name of the blog post or collection, click Update under the image, and then click Edit image.

Per Google’s guidelines, the alt text should be in context with the page’s content.

  • Body Copy

When writing the body copy — whether it’s for a collection page or product page — nothing is worse than using the same product descriptions as your supplier’s websites.

Using your supplier’s product descriptions means you will more likely have the same product descriptions as everyone else.

Like this description that appears in 500+ more pages:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 17

To stand out, be original. Avoid copy-pasting the same sentences at all costs!

In addition, use your target keywords as naturally as possible. Nothing is more off-putting than a product listing stuffed with irrelevant keywords.

Per guidelines for Shopify SEO, product descriptions and collection descriptions have to have at least 250 words.

For informational pages and blog posts, it should be at least 500 words.

  • URLs

Google wants short URLs.

As I mentioned earlier in the common Shopify SEO issues, /product/ and /collection/ subfolders are mandatory in their respective URLs.

You can’t do anything about it other than to ensure your URLs don’t have unnecessary words. So edit the URL slug to include your target keywords only, nothing else.

For existing URLs, make sure to check the box when renaming the URL to redirect the old one to the new URL.

To edit the URL in Shopify, go to the Search engine listing preview section, then click Edit website SEO.

5. Improve Site Speed

Site speed has been a ranking factor for nearly a decade now, yet not all Shopify stores are taking advantage of this low-hanging fruit in SEO.

Shopify stores are using the platform’s own servers, so your options for enhancing page load time are sort of limited.

But you can still do a couple of things to improve your store in some way.

  • Use Shopify’s native themes as they are responsive and mobile-friendly.
  • Compress all images before uploading them to your Shopify store.
  • Remove Shopify apps you don’t need.
  • Avoid using any type of slider. Use a hero layout instead.
  • Create accelerated mobile pages (AMP).
  • Keep redirects and broken links at a minimum.
  • Minimize the number of HTTP requests.
  • Use Google Tag Manager to organize all your tracking codes.

What is a good page speed for ecommerce websites?

The average load time of the top ranking websites in Google is under 3 seconds. But the ideal page load time for ecommerce sites per Google standards is 2 seconds.

Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix to check your page speed and diagnose critical page speed problems. Both platforms will give you recommendations on what to do with your site to improve its performance.

More than a ranking factor, site speed is also important for user experience and ultimately conversions. Have you tried browsing an online shop that takes so much time to load a single page?

6. Add Schema Markup

You’ve probably seen results in Google that look like this:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 18

This is achievable using Schema markup.

Schema markup provides search engines with structured data about a product or category. Search engines use the data to show rich results. And rich results often mean more clicks and more sales.

These rich results could include reviews, ratings, price, and availability.

While manually configuring Schema markup requires a bit of technical SEO know-how, lucky you as most Shopify themes make it super easy to add markups.

All you need to do is to fill in the detail boxes and it will automatically add the markup in the code.

What if your Shopify theme does not have this functionality? Shopify apps like Smart SEO and Shopify Schema Plus can help you out.

7. Drive Quality Links

Backlink profile is one of the most important off-page ranking factors.

The quality of your backlinks — or links from other sites pointing to your store — speaks of your credibility and trustworthiness.

Think of it as a recommendation of some sort.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 19

If sites in your niche are linking to you, then you must be a good source of information. A good bunch of these backlinks tells Google and other search engines you must be an industry authority.

But not all backlinks are created equal.

Some are spam — these are useless links that carry no value or worse harm your store’s link profile.

When building backlinks to your ecommerce website, make sure they come from reputable and relevant websites.

Truth be told, building backlinks is the least favorite task of many SEOs. It’s tedious, requires a lot of work, and often expensive.

One free way to gain good links is by publishing high-quality content on your blog. But that too is a long game.

Here are some ways to generate backlinks to your online store:

  • Product Supplier or Manufacturers

If you sell products of an established manufacturer or supplier, then you will probably get a free link from their website.

Check up with them if they can give you a free link.

  • Brand Mentions

Your brand or product may already be mentioned somewhere without being linked. This is a perfect opportunity to reach out to those websites and see if they can link to you.

Use tools like Mention or Brandwatch to find companies, websites, or customers mentioning your brand or product.

  • Broken Links

Finding broken links takes more hard work. You need to scour the web for broken links pointing to brands or products similar to yours.

Once you find one, reach out to the webmaster and ask them if they can link back to you instead.

This is mutually beneficial as broken links have a negative impact on SEO. You find the broken link for them; they give you a link.

  • Influencers and Industry Leaders

Find out who the top personalities in your industry are and get yourself invited to an interview. That should generate a link to your site.

Alternatively, you can interview them, publish content on your blog, and ask them to share it with their audience. Your exposure increases your chances of getting more backlinks.

SEMrush and Ahrefs also have competitor analysis tools to check who is linking to your competitors’ websites.

You could create a list of these websites and reach out to them if you could get a backlink, write a guest post in exchange for a link, etc.

8. Publish Content Your Audience Will Love

Adding blog content to your store improves Shopify SEO optimization even further.

It increases your organic search traffic, provides context to your store, and boosts your brand’s identity.

By using blog posts, you can also help your visitors make purchasing decisions so much easier and transform your customers into repeat buyers.

In addition, you can use blog posts to drive backlinks to your site.

Getting links to your product and category pages is never easy. But you can use these blog posts with a robust backlink profile to link to your product and collection pages to pass on some of that authority.

Be sure you create a solid content marketing strategy that you can follow through.

And when brainstorming blog content ideas, always put your customers first.

  • What are their pain points?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • How can your product or service solve their problems?

Content is without a doubt good for your bottom line if you do it right.

Shopify Blog vs. WordPress Blog

If you are dead-set on Shopify, you have two options for your blogging needs.

  1. Sell on Shopify and blog on Shopify
  2. Sell on Shopify and blog on WordPress

Both routes have their own set of pros and cons.

So why am I hinting at using WordPress when you can blog on Shopify?

If you can remember what I told you in the Shopify SEO problems earlier, blogging on Shopify is too limited and it can put a damper on your efforts.

With content a crucial part of SEO, using Shopify to blog is likely going to be “less effective,” as others would say, compared to WordPress.

But of course, though WordPress is a robust blogging platform, it also comes with a few downsides if your store is built on Shopify.

In order to make Shopify and WordPress work together, you need to create a subdomain. So your blog domain would look something like this:

  • blog.yourshopifydomain.com

This is where the rubber hits the road — subdomains are treated as a different site.

It means your traffic and authority is divided between your blog and your store. The same goes for SEO link juice.

A lot of Shopify stores who are hell-bent on producing more content take this route. 

However, it kind of forfeits one of the main purposes of blogging, which is to improve your Shopify store SEO. And this technique seems counterintuitive.

What I would suggest is — if Shopify’s basic blogging functionalities get the job done for you, stick with Shopify and work with what you have.

Most likely, what you need for a blogging platform is a text editor, adding image, and categorizing. All these can be done using Shopify’s blogging platform.

But if you really need to customize your blog further, seeking the help of a developer may work wonders.

Blogging on WordPress should be your last option.

10 Best Shopify SEO Apps to Use

One of the best things about Shopify is its apps store boasting over 2,500 free and premium tools.

Yes, it has SEO hiccups, but Shopify has the best SEO apps to fill the gap.

1. Smart SEO

Smart SEO provides structured data to Google and other search engines to display rich results in SERPs. It also automatically generates meta tags and image alt tags.

It’s pretty useful for displaying review snippets, star ratings, price, availability, and other important information. Rich results increase click-through rate in SERPs and improve search engine rankings.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 20

Smart SEO costs $4.99 per month with a 7-day free trial. Schema Plus and AMP by Shop Sheriff are both awesome Smart SEO alternatives.

2. SEO Doctor

SEO Doctor scans for Shopify SEO issues and automatically fixes them. Whether it’s image sizing, missing image alt texts, broken links, or poorly optimized titles, descriptions, and product images, SEO Doctor can patch it up.

Additionally, this Shopify SEO plugin allows you to add rich snippets data just like Smart SEO.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 21

SEO Doctor costs $10 per month with a 5-day free trial. Plug in SEO is a great SEO Doctor alternative.

3. Fire AMP

Fire AMP is the best Shopify SEO plugin for generating AMP validated pages. As previously discussed, accelerated mobile pages can speed up your website and reduce load time.

In return, this could mean a low bounce rate, better user experience, and more conversions.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 22

Fire AMP costs $7.99 per month with a 15-day free trial. RocketAMP is a great Fire AMP alternative.

4. SEO HTML Sitemap

SEO HTML Sitemap auto-generates an HTML sitemap page and updates it instantly as new products, collections, blogs, and pages are added or removed from your site.

It also has a flexible sitemap layout and format to match your site design and Shopify SEO optimization.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 23

SEO HTML Sitemap costs $3 per month with a 7-day free trial.

5. Crush.pics

Crush.pics is one of the best free Shopify SEO apps. It does both image compression and image SEO optimization to improve site speed and search engine performance.

And the best thing is it can work in the background while you are away.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 24

Crush.pics is also available for paid plans.

6. SEO Product Optimizer

SEO is another free Shopify SEO plugin that’s very handy. It enables you to create attractive social link previews in bulk.

It also helps you find keywords in your niche with good search volume.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 25

SEO Product Optimizer is also available for paid plans with a 14-day free trial.

7. TinyIMG SEO Image Optimizer

TinyIMG SEO Image Optimizer does not just compress images and edit alt texts, but it also converts PNG images to JPEG at a click of a button.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 26

TinyIMG is one of the best free Shopify SEO tools with premium plan options.

8. ReloadSEO

ReloadSEO is an all-in-one Shopify SEO tool. You can use it for keyword research, content optimization, competitor analysis, and backlink tracking, among other things.

It’s quite a nifty tool that can level up SEO on Shopify sites.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 27

ReloadSEO costs $14.95 per month with a 14-day free trial.

9. Sputnik

Sputnik is the perfect Shopify SEO plugin for setting up new stores. You can do keyword research with it and optimize your pages for search engines.

If you don’t have a huge marketing budget yet, this one’s for you.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 28

Sputnik has a free plan with paid plans starting at $9.99 per month.

10. Site Booster

Site Booster is the right app to level up your SEO with Shopify. It enables you to list your store to SMB Home Online and Business Data Index.

The app also shows your address, hours, and contact details in important places like Google Maps, Yelp, Yahoo! Maps, FourSquare, Bing Maps, and more.

Site Booster plans start at $6.99 per month.

Shopify SEO Audit Checklist

Before wrapping this up, I want to leave you with a Shopify SEO checklist to make sure you are treading the right path.

1. Is your online store safe?

As an ecommerce website owner, you owe it to your visitors to make their online shopping experience safe. Therefore, having a secure website is mandatory.

The good thing is — Shopify provides free SSL certificates to all of its stores to encrypt the site’s content, including credit cards and personally identifiable information. You just need to enable it after checkout.

Your store should look like these:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 29

Not like these:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 30

2. How many versions of your domain are indexed?

Shopify allows two versions of your domain to be crawled and indexed — the myshopify version and your custom domain.

For instance, DayDesigner.com is indexed in Google.

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 31

But so is their myshopify domain:

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 32

This will likely cause duplicate content issues since both custom and myshopify domains have the same content.

To check this:

Google site:yourdomain.com and site:yourdomain.shopify.com to see if both versions are indexed.

Though Shopify redirects the myshopify version to your main domain, make sure it’s working fine.

Head over to Online Store » Domains.

Under the Primary domains section, you should see “Traffic from all your domains redirects to this primary domain.”

Shopify SEO Guide (2020): Step-by-Step Guide to Rank Your Shopify Store 33

Otherwise, click Enable redirection.

Having only one version of your store indexed ensures that Google ranks the right domain and that no link equity is wasted.

3. Does your Shopify store have 404 pages?

Broken links, moved pages, and deleted pages can return 404 errors. Make sure to redirect these links to the canonical page.

Use Google Analytics to set up an alert for 404 errors.

If the deleted page does not have much value or traffic, just leave it. Google will eventually find that out.

But if it’s linked within your site, make sure to redirect it or remove it altogether.

4. Have you submitted your sitemap to Google Search Console?

Make sure to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console. Your Shopify store’s sitemap can be found at yourstore.com/sitemap.xml.

Check the first point in the Shopify SEO tutorial section above for the whole process.

5. Are you using internal and external links?

How’s your link building strategy?

Internal linking is one important link building strategy that many Shopify stores tend to push aside.

This leads to a lot of missed opportunities. Linking within your site encourages your visitors to stay on your site, to keep browsing.

The obvious benefit is that the average time on page is higher. Google loves that. The not-so-obvious benefit it helps spread link juice.

In addition, adding outgoing links help provide relevancy to a page, thereby helping search engines understand your page better.

6. Does your store have unnecessary pages?

Unnecessary pages that don’t provide much value or relevance to your site have to be axed.

Alternatively, you can no-index these pages so search engines can’t see them.

7. Do you have these important Shopify apps?

No, I’m not talking about Shopify SEO apps. We’re talking about apps that make your pages more intuitive and user-friendly.

Get a product review app so customer reviews can be added to your products. Also, you need a Q&A app so your visitors can ask questions and see questions that have already been answered.

8. Do your collection pages have content?

Shopify store owners think product pages are the only pages that need textual content.

Wrong.

Collection pages or category pages should have content too that describes the page. Around 300-500 words will do.

9. Is your homepage well-optimized?

Your product and collection pages should not be the only ones optimized. Make your homepage title, meta description, and content contain the right keywords, too.

In Shopify, editing homepage SEO is simple. Go to Sales Channels » Online Store » Preferences.

10. Are your pages over-optimized?

While it’s important to optimize your pages for search engines, you don’t want them over-optimized with keywords.

Despite the constant reminder that keyword stuffing is already a thing of the past, we still see a lot of Shopify stores doing it.

And I will never get tired of saying this — to get your store to rank higher takes more than just cramming keywords into your site’s content.

For a more effective Shopify SEO, keywords should be kept at a minimum.

When to Hire a Shopify SEO Expert

Truth be told, Shopify is NOT the most SEO-friendly ecommerce platform.

By hiring a Shopify SEO expert, you can rest assured that a lot of good things will be accomplished with your Shopify store.

When should you seek the help of Shopify SEO companies?

If you don’t have experience running a successful SEO campaign, ecommerce SEO experts can handle that for you and ensure that your business will grow exponentially.

If you are laser-focused on running your business, that’s fine. Running a business requires undivided attention for it to succeed.

But you should get a company that can accomplish the SEO side of your Shopify store so you have nothing else to worry about.

How do you know that you are talking to the right company and not just any other SEO companies?

The best ecommerce SEO companies with Shopify SEO services have great results from their previous campaigns, client testimonials to show, and a systematic SEO process.

Better yet, ask for a free SEO site audit report.

If you need help with your Shopify SEO strategy, call us today at (+65) 6817 0087 or contact us online to talk with a Shopify SEO expert.

Ian Ong

Ian Ong

CEO & Co-founder @ Roots Digital. Over 8 years of experience in digital marketing. I strongly believe that a true digital marketing specialist can understand each online advertising platform well only when they willing to get their hands dirty in carrying out the execution work.

Share This Article

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on twitter
Twitter

What you will get in your free proposal

Competitor Analysis

Spy on your competitors to find out the exact marketing they are using.

Growth plan

Our unique campaign plan to help you grow your business.

What we charge

It will include our charges in relation to the ROI we can drive.

Tell us more about your business

What our customer Says?

He is clearly good at what he does and being transparent about it only serves to highlight that even more. In all, Ian was absolutely great to work with, extremely humble and very keen to help. Couldn’t have asked for more!

Andrew Yin
E-commerce Digital Marketing Manager
BRAND’S Suntory Asia

Skip to content