According to a report from SimilarWeb, approximately 39% of all global e-commerce traffic came from search, with 35% organic and 4% paid search. While SEO is one on the most effective digital marketing strategies, it can also be intimidating for many new Shopify store owners.
In this post we’ll go through 8 key steps on the Shopify SEO checklist to help improve your ranking.
Must have “Shopify SEO tools”
It’s important that you find and utilize the right tools for the job. Familiarizing yourself with the tools listed below will put you at a huge advantage.
- Google Analytics is an important tool that provides actionable insights into a wide range of key metrics to help you make informed decision to improve your site’s performance.
- Google Search Console allows you to check indexing status and optimize visibility of your store.
- Keyword Research Tool – Keyword research is a key part of SEO. There are many effective tools out there and we will recommend a few proven tools a bit later in this post.
1. Google Search Console
Now, let’s submit your sitemap to Google Search Console. Your sitemap is a list of your website’s individual pages. Shopify store owners can find this xml file through [yourstore.com/sitemap.xml]. Once you have set up your Google Search Console account follow these steps.
- Sign in to Google Search Console
- In the sidebar, select your website
- Click on ‘Index’ to expand the section and then click on ‘Sitemaps’
- Remove outdated or invalid sitemaps (if any) like sitemap.xml
- Enter sitemap_index.xml into the text box that appears
- Click Submit
Fix “Crawling” errors you see after submitting the sitemap. Search engines systematically browse (“crawl”) through your website and all its web pages. If a bot is unable to reach a web page, it will return an error. Be sure to fix any of these errors.
2. Keyword Research
Keyword research is a fundamental practice in Shopify SEO. Although it is possible to manually conduct keyword research, it is very time consuming and quite frankly tedious. We recommend using a keyword research tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner or ahrefs. There are tons of tools out there. Find the one that is best satisfy your needs and familiarize yourself with it.
3. Page Optimization
Another important item on the Shopify SEO checklist is Page Optimization. While keyword research is the process of gathering information on what search term people are typing into search engines, page optimization is process to utilizing that information to improve your ranking.
Here are a few tips to help optimize your pages:
- Use only one H1 tag on your pages. H1 tags are usually designated for page titles and should contain the page’s main keyword.
- Keep your page titles short and concise. Google displays the first 50 to 60 characters for most page titles, so be sure to keep your page title below 55 characters. Ensure that it accurately describes your content and is not misleading.
- Meta descriptions. Like page title, meta descriptions are also truncated to 160 characters. Be sure to keep your meta descriptions brief (under 155 characters) and include keywords toward the beginning of your descriptions.
- Enticing page titles and meta descriptions. Ensure that your Shopify page titles tags and meta descriptions are clear and concise with your content.
- Optimize your URL. This is another important item on the shopify SEO checklist. A well-crafted URL provides both humans and search engines an easy-to-understand indication of what the destination page will be about.
- Here are some SEO best practices for URLs:
- Keeping URLs as simple, relevant, compelling, and accurate as possible is key to getting both your users and search engines to understand them (a prerequisite to ranking well). Although URLs can include ID numbers and codes, the best practice is to use words that people can comprehend.
- URLs should be definitive but concise. By seeing only the URL, a user (and search engine!) should have a good idea of what to expect on the page.
- When necessary for readability, use hyphens to separate words. URLs should not use underscores, spaces, or any other characters to separate words.
- Use lowercase letters. In some cases, uppercase letters can cause issues with duplicate pages. For example, backinstock.org/Blog and backinstock.org/blog might be seen as two distinct URLs, which might create issues with duplicate content.
- Here are some SEO best practices for URLs:
Shopify store owners should note that a page title becomes the default URL.
4. Optimize your images for SEO
Another important item on the Shopify SEO Checklist is image optimization. So much of how we understand SEO is all about text and keywords, but images have a role to play as well. Images are a big part of how we experience a web page. That matters for SEO because Google’s algorithm pays attention to behavior metrics that reflect user experience, like bounce rates and the amount of time visitors spend on a web page. Images can also be optimized to more directly help with SEO as well. Where the average visitor to your page will only see the image itself, search engine crawlers see text behind the image that you can fill in to tell them what you want them to see.
Before you add an image to your website, take time to customize the filename. Change it to something that’s relevant to the page and includes one of your target keywords for the page. Also, make sure that you have the right to use the image.
Always update the alt text for your images. Include your primary keyword for the page and something descriptive from the image itself.
Backlinks are external links to your website. They show the transition from one site to another or from one page to another. They help to index your website’s pages correctly. Backlinks are an essential part of Shopify SEO success. They help search bots to crawl your site and rank it correctly to its content. Google PageRank algorithm takes into consideration the sources and the number of web page backlinks, then estimates the importance of that page.
Here are a few tips how to increase backlinks to your shopify store.
- Guest Blogging: One of the most popular ways to get inbound links from other sites is through guest blogging. Bloggers generally love having guest writers because it gives their site fresh content for very little effort, so it’s worthwhile to take advantage of this opportunity to secure a backlink.
- Get Links From Your Manufacturers: A common practice for many ecommerce shop owners is to kindly ask the manufacturers of the products that they sell to list their shop on their directories. Don’t be afraid to email the manufacturer and ask if they can create a directory page. After all, listing all of the possible places to buy their product helps everyone involved.
- Get Your Products Reviewed by Influencers & Bloggers: Another easy way to get backlinks is by sending your products to bloggers within your niche to do a product review. This will certainly earn you a few links and high quality traffic, though it takes a bit of time and effort.
6. Content Strategy
Develop a content marketing strategy. Shopify provides an excellent resource. Be sure that your content is clear, concise and original. Incorporate your keywords strategically in your content.
7. Social Media
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram give potential customer the opportunity to find you. Ensure that your business has a presence on all major platforms and that you upload new content at least once per week.
8. Additional Tips
There are a few other ranking factors to consider:
- Optimized for mobile. Fortunately, pretty much every theme on the Shopify Theme Store is mobile friendly.
- Speed. Ensure that your store is quick and responsive. Google’s PageSpeed Insights in an excellent tool to analyze the performance of your store. Here are a few tips to help boost the performance of you store.
- Stay up to date with Google’s recommendations. Google has a long history of famous algorithm updates, search index changes and refreshes. To ensure that you are following best practices that are current, visit Google’s Search Console Help Section.
Final thoughts: Search Engine Optimization takes time and effort but it certainly pays off. It is an excellent way to drive new traffic to your store. Back In Stock: Customer Alerts allows you to retain customers and maximize conversions and sales. Sign up for a free 30 day trial.
Love This Shopify SEO Checklist?
Check out our interactive version so you can check off each item as you go, set email reminders for tasks, and more.