The adage, “build it, and they’ll come,” really doesn’t work in the digital world.
If your Shopify store is going to be successful, you’re going to need to reach your customers, and you’re going to need to convince them to do business with your brand instead of with your competitors. That’s where the search engines come in.
Your Shopify store’s search engine rank will play an essential role in how potential customers find your products. The better your rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs), the better your chance of drawing traffic to your Shopify store. Of course, more traffic will inevitably lead to more sales.
So, your first order of business is to optimize your Shopify store to rank higher.
Does Shopify Offer Good SEO?
Although Shopify offers a number of SEO-friendly features, you’ll need to do more if you want to achieve a higher ranking more quickly. Although SEO typically relies on finding the right keywords, it will take more than strategically placing keywords in your website’s content to put your Shopify store where you need it to be.
This Shopify store SEO best practices guide will outline the key steps you’ll need to help your Shopify website to rank higher on the SERPs.
These steps are as follows:
#1 Optimize The Structure of Your Shopify Store
The way you organize your Shopify store content is essential to its overall SEO success.
If your customers can easily find what they are searching for, they’ll view more pages and spend more time helping your overall search engine rank.
The key lies in making your Shopify store as easy to navigate as possible. That means keeping things simple and not overdoing it with too many categories or subcategories. Having a simple website structure will also make crawling your site easier for the search engines.
A simple, SEO-friendly Shopify site structure may look something like this:
Shopify Home Page » Shopify Category Pages » Shopify Product Pages
Using this structure, the products that you offer are just a few clicks from your Shopify homepage.
In some cases, subcategories may be necessary. In that case, the structure might look something like this:
Shopify Home Page » Shopify Category Pages » Shopify Subcategory Pages » Shopify Product Pages
The idea is to build your Shopify site for your customers first.
#2 Enhance User Experience
There are several ways to enhance user experience, which can also help your search engine rank.
Speed Things Up
Your Shopify store needs to be accessible, which means that it should not only offer easy navigation, but everything should move quickly. If potential customers get frustrated because your site is disorganized or not easily accessible, they may leave your site and go somewhere else.
- Follow these steps to inject some speed into your Shopify website:
- use fast loading themes that are mobile-friendly
- use images that are smaller and optimized
- remove apps that are slowing your site down
- avoid the use of sliders
Use Responsive Designs
Using responsive website designs for your Shopify site will ensure that it works well on all devices, including desktops, smartphones, and tablets.
When you use a responsive theme, you will greatly improve a user’s experience, and it will keep visitors around longer.
Because the search engines look at a user’s “time-on-page” as a measure of a website’s value, your rankings will improve when your website is easy to read and navigate. Also, ensuring that your Shopify website works on smartphones is incredibly important because most shoppers but using their mobile devices.
#3 Find the Right Targeted Keywords
Keyword research is the foundation for successful SEO.
So, you need to find the appropriate keywords that will bring people to your Shopify store.
Before you start using fancy Shopify SEO tools to help you in your quest, create a list that consists of five topics your customers most care about. If you’re having trouble coming up with topics, try putting yourself in the shoes of your customers. Ask yourself what keywords you would use to search for the products that are sold in your Shopify store.
Another way to come up with those targeted keywords is to seek inspiration from:
- search product related forums or subreddits
- research the hashtags that are associated with products you sell
- look at the meta titles, descriptions, and alt-text that your competitors are using
#4 Optimize Product Pages
Once you’ve made your keyword list and built a logical website structure, you’ll need to start optimizing your Shopify store’s pages by integrating your targeted keywords.
You’ll want to start with the top pages of your site first, like your home page, main collection pages, and your best-selling Shopify product pages. Focus on the pages of your website that have the best conversions and are most profitable.
When opening your store for the first time, you’ll want to focus on optimizing your homepage.
Optimize Your Title Tags on Your Category Pages
Once you’ve decided which pages you will optimize, you need to consider how you will name the pages across your site.
You must be consistent in the way you use your chosen keywords.
Take, for example, this sample formula:
Keyword 1 – Shop for Keyword 2 – Store Name
Artisan Jewelry – Shop for Artisan Jewelry Online – The Jewelry Store
Optimizing Product Titles and Description
You’ll next want to write your product and category descriptions and titles. Although you can lift this information from your supplier’s marketing information, customers and search engines will reward you for using original content.
Remember that your keywords will need to fit naturally into your website copy. If the keywords you use end up seeming awkward or challenging to manage, you might want to reconsider the keywords you have chosen.
You can even optimize your image alt text for SEO. Again, these keywords should be a natural fit and never be forced.
If you want more info on optimizing your product pages we put a lot of info in our post: The Complete Guide for Shopify Meta Descriptions
#5 Build Those Backlinks to Your Shopify Store
Search engines use backlinks to determine your website’s value. This off-page SEO strategy relies on your ability to establish trustworthiness and credibility.
Here are some ways to increase your backlink profile:
- Get backlinks from your manufacturers and suppliers: If you are selling products supplied or manufactured by an established company, they may offer a link to authorized retails from their website. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them to backlink to your online store.
- Get backlinks from influencers and industry Voices: Try connecting with influencers or industry leaders to generate marketing content and backlinks.
- Get backlinks from anyone that has already mentioned you: You may already have been mentioned online without a backlink. Mention.com is a great way to find who has mentioned you. Once you’ve figured that out, send the website an email and ask them to add a backlink to that mention.
- Use competitor’s broken links to your advantage: While this might require some serious detective work on your part, it will be well worth it. You’ll want to look for broken backlinks to any products similar to the ones you currently offer. Once you’ve found one, contact the site owner displaying a broken link and suggest that they backlink to your website instead. Because a broken link can hurt a website’s SEO efforts, it offers a solution that is mutually beneficial for both of you.
Check out our entire post on How To Get Backlinks to Your Shopify Store.
#6 Use Content Marketing to Help You Achieve a Better Search Engine Rank
Once you have put everything else into place, you’re going to want to think about a content marketing strategy for your Shopify store.
As a Shopify store owner, you might feel a temptation to skimp a little when it comes to content. Perhaps you think that your product descriptions supply enough website content for your SEO. The bottom line is that it is the content that brings people to your eCommerce website.
The truth is that you will achieve a higher rate of success when you actually take some time and create some original content to add value to your Shopify store and enhance the user experience overall.
At first, trying to figure out what you should write about might be a daunting task, but it really doesn’t have to be. An excellent way to get started is to come up with a comprehensive list of everything your customers have asked you in the past or anything that you might think your customers would want an answer to. Remember, this isn’t about product information. It’s about giving your customers real answers to real questions, not selling points.
Creating quality content gives you more opportunities to allow your customers and your potential customers to familiarize themselves with your products and brand in a way that’s not at all salesy. Quality content also offers you the best and easiest way to increase your rank for your targeted keywords and obtain additional backlinks.
The Importance of Following Shopify Store SEO Best Practices
When you follow SEO best practices for your Shopify Store, you have a better chance of getting your eCommerce site into a better position on the SERPs. In turn, you have a better chance of driving high-quality traffic to your Shopify store. As a result, you should see an increase in sales and fortify your probabilities for overall success.