Shopify SEO Guide 2020 – Rank Your Store #1

Shopify SEO

Looking to optimize your Shopify store for multiple search engines like Google? This guide will help you with significantly improving your Shopify SEO game.

Are you looking for a detailed Shopify SEO guide? Read on.

So you’ve just built your beautiful e-commerce store via Shopify. You’re probably wondering how your target customers can find your store online and buy your products.

Or perhaps you or your company has been using Shopify for quite some time. You’re looking for a guide online on how to improve your store’s search engine visibility and SEO rankings.

If any of the above describes you, then you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s start by discovering what NOT to do when trying to rank your Shopify website online:

Build It And They Will Come: Why It Sucks As An SEO Strategy

A lot of Shopify eCommerce store owners use this basic “strategy”: build a store and hope for customers to come.

While this approach may have worked in the Industrial Age, it rarely works in the Digital Age.

Even if you build the best eCommerce online store with cutting edge design and functionality, you won’t make sales and earn profit unless your store can be easily found online.

For example, when people type the search phrase “fresh flower delivery” and your flower shop doesn’t appear within the top 100 Google search listings, it’s safe to say that the website visitor will end up on your competitor’s site, not yours.

The solution to this is to perform Shopify SEO techniques (search engine optimization).

When you implement best practice SEO techniques, your Shopify store and its pages will appear higher on search engine results, making it easier for your target customers to find your products or services on the web.

The ultimate goal is to achieve #1 Google rank for as many keywords as possible.

To be able to do this, it is important to understand how Shopify is structured in terms of SEO, and discover what it takes to rank your Shopify store on page one of Google search.

Is Shopify SEO Optimized By Default?

The quick answer is no.

In fact, it is almost next to impossible to find a CMS or website platform that churns out websites with complete SEO already in place.

However (and this is a big however), Shopify is one of the easiest platforms to edit in order to make your site an SEO friendly one.

In fact, Shopify has features in its dashboard that’s specifically created for SEO improvements.

And most of these SEO functions can be tweaked to your advantage without having to use advanced programming or coding.

Most of the SEO-related changes you need to make are already available inside the Shopify user login area. You just need to know where to find them.

In this guide, we will walk you through nine (9) simple steps to successfully optimize your Shopify store for SEO purposes:

  1. Research the right keywords
  2. Assign a focus keyword on each page of your site
  3. Assign secondary keywords to be targeted on each page
  4. Update meta title tags and descriptions on your site’s main pages using your focus keywords
  5. Optimize your on-page SEO content (headings, body text, image alt tags)
  6. Optimize product pages
  7. Optimize site images
  8. Create links to your store (internal and external)
  9. Submit your store for indexing via Google Search Console

If you’re ready, let’s dig in:

Research The Right Keywords

Almost every type of SEO effort starts with keyword research, and Shopify SEO is no different.

To be able to reach your target audience, you need to discover what search phrases they are typing on Google that’s relevant to your business.

Luckily, you don’t need to resort to guesswork in order to identify profitable keywords to target.

This step (keyword research) is something you do outside the Shopify dashboard. There are quite a lot of keyword research tools you can use, some are free and some are paid.

Here are some of the most reliable ones:

  • MOZ Keyword Explorer. This is one of the best free keyword research tools available online. Simply go to MOZ Keyword Explorer page, input your website URL, and the tool will instantly send you some keyword suggestions based on the content of your site:
  • Ubersuggest. This free tool lets you uncover many profitable keywords by just typing your domain, or your competitor’s domain. You’ll see keywords with the highest search volume, and you’ll also gain an idea about the level of competition for them.

Shopify SEO

  • Google Keyword Planner. This is an add-on feature to Google Ads. Although the keyword stats shown are for paid searches, it gives you an idea of the trends and keyword demand in your industry.

After generating a list of high to medium volume keywords that’s relevant to your business, it’s time to do the next step:

Assign Focus Keywords On Each Page

Now that you’ve generated a list of potential keywords to target on your site, it’s time to map them out so you can prepare to implement on Shopify.

But before implementing the keywords on Shopify, you first need to use this very important piece of software – Microsoft Excel.

In fact, you can pretty much use any spreadsheet software, like Google Sheets.

Here’s the first thing you can do:

Step 1: Generate a list of all the pages on your site

To do this, you need to use a software such as Screaming Frog. It allows you to crawl your site and export the full list of your URLs on a spreadsheet.

The free version of Screaming Frog allows you to crawl up to 500 pages. If you run a huge e-commerce store with thousands of product pages, you might want to invest in the pro version of Screaming Frog.Shopify SEO

If you don’t have a budget for Screaming Frog pro version, you can still get the full list of your site’s pages by typing this Google search query string:

site:yourdomain.com

This will instantly generate a list of all the pages on your site. You can then manually list each URL in Excel, or use a Chrome plugin called Link Klipper.

Step 2: Create a keyword mapping sheet that outlines the focus keywords for each page

Take a look at your full URL list, as well as your list researched keywords. The next thing you need to do is to choose a focus keyword for each page on your site.

A focus keyword is the main search phrase you would like to target for a specific page.

You have to map this out in Excel (hence, a keyword mapping sheet). On the first column, you have the list of URLs, and on the second column, you input the focus keyword you’d like to assign for a particular page. seo for shopify

Note that the focus keywords will come from the keywords you researched in the previous step.

When choosing a focus keyword, you want to choose the MOST RELEVANT keyword for a particular page.

The main keyword in your industry should be the focus keyword for your homepage. And then target the other keywords in your service pages or main category pages.

Obviously, keyword mapping takes a lot of time and work, but the results in the end are all worth it.

After doing this step, it’s now time to do the following step.

Assign Secondary Keywords To Target On Each Page

Keyword mapping doesn’t stop with focus keywords. You have to find around 2 to 3 secondary keyword phrases for each page which you will further target.

Dig into your keyword list again and look for other phrases you can use on each page, preferably long tail phrases.

Don’t worry if you run out of keywords to use. The important thing is that you try to find OTHER relevant keywords to optimize your pages with.

If no such keywords can be found for a specific webpage, move on to the next page on your list. Don’t get too hung up on this step.

Once you have focus keywords and secondary keywords assigned on your pages, it’s time to incorporate these keywords on your Shopify website’s content!

Here’s how to do that:

Update Meta Title Tags and Descriptions On Your Pages Using Your Focus Keywords

Just a quick refresher:

Meta titles and meta descriptions are snippets that appear on Google search that describes what each page on your website is all about.

By editing these meta tags within Shopify, your pages will stand a higher chance of getting found online by your intended customers.

The key is to write meta title tags that target your focus keywords, and to write meta descriptions that inspires people to take action and click on towards your page coming from Google search.

The challenge is to keep these meta tags within Google’s character length guidelines.

Meta titles should be 60 to 65 characters long, while meta descriptions should be around 150 characters.

For writing meta titles, I suggest you use your focus keyword along with the following modifiers and elements:

  • Action modifier – “Buy” or “Shop for”
  • Location modifier – “Australia”, “Tallahassee” or any locality
  • Descriptive modifier: “Best” or “premium” or “online”
  • Brand name: your company name, such as ‘Linkody’

So, for example, if your focus keyword is “weight loss pills”, here’s what a good meta title would look like:

Best Weight Loss Pills Australia | YourBrandName

Or

Buy Premium Weight Loss Pills Online | YourBrandName

As simple as that. No need to get fancy! Try to experiment with different modifiers and see what you come up with.

These modifiers actually help attract buyers, as these are the type of words that decided buyers use.

For the meta description, just try to give a general overview of what the page is all about and issue a call to action:

“Shop for premium weight loss pills today from YourBrandName.com. Free shipping and discounts await for bulk buyers. Click here to find out more.”

Do this page by page. Write your meta titles and descriptions on your Keyword Mapping Sheet before implementing on Shopify.

Once done with the meta tag content writing, it’s time to implement them on Shopify:

How To Implement Meta Titles and Descriptions On Shopify

You can edit meta tags separately for pages and blog posts. Follow the steps below:

  • Login to Shopify admin
  • Under Sales Channels on the left sidebar, click on Online Store
  • Click On Pages (or click on Blog Posts if you’re editing blogs)
  • Click the page or blog post you’d like to edit
  • Scroll down and look for ‘Search Engine Listing Preview”
  • Click on “Edit Website SEO”
  • Input your Page Title (Meta Title) and Meta Description on the fields provided, then click on Save
  • Check the live version of your page and hover the mouse on the browser’s title bar to see if the SEO tags have been updated
  • You may also preview your SEO snippet via Shopify admin (under Search Engine Listing Preview)Shopify SEO

Note that the above steps would only work for pages and blog posts. Product pages need to be optimized separately using different steps. We will cover that later on.

For the meantime, let’s do the next step: improve your on-page SEO content:

Optimize Your On-Page SEO Content (headings, body text)

Now that your SEO tag snippets has been updated, the next step is to implement your focus keyword and secondary keywords on the actual content of your pages.

There are two places where you can do this:

  1. Implement keywords on your Headings. Make sure you use H1, H2, and H3 tags on your site content. This gives Google an idea about the hierarchy of your content.

If relevant keywords can be found on those headings, you will stand a higher chance of ranking for long tail phrases and even semantic phrases.

  1. Implement keywords NATURALLY on your site’s body content. Gone were the days when you can keyword stuff your blog posts and get ranked highly on Google search. Today, the key is to incorporate your keywords on your text in natural, editorial manner. Don’t force it if it doesn’t make sense to the readers.

Editing H1 Tags on Shopify

To edit the H1 tags of your pages and blog posts, all you have to do is to change the Page Title of the page or blog post.

  • Go to Online Store > Pages (or Blog Posts)
  • Under ‘Page Details’, Edit the Page Title text
  • Click Save. The Page Title will automatically become the H1 Tag

Editing H2, H3, H+ Tags on Shopify As Well As Body Text Content

Follow these steps:

  • Go to Online Store > Pages (or Blog Posts)
  • Under ‘Page Details’, you will be making changes to the “Content” section
  • To insert an H2 and H3 (or H4 and so on), manually type your desired text heading on the content box. Make sure the heading appears above the text content
  • Highlight your heading text, then click the Formatting “A” icon and on the left hand side of the WYSIWYG editor
  • In the dropdown list, choose whether you’d like to turn the text into an H2, H3, H4, and so forth
  • Once done click Save.
  • From this same location, you may also edit the page’s text content by implementing your desired keywords within the paragraphs.
  • Click Save once the text content changes are done.

So far, we have optimized the most important SEO snippets for your Pages and Blog Posts. Now it’s time to work on your product pages:

Optimize Your Product Pages

This is where it gets challenging because if you’re running an online store with hundreds or even thousands of products, you will need to edit their SEO meta tags one by one!

By default though, Shopify uses the product name and its product description as the meta title and description tags.

In many cases, the product name itself is sufficient as a focus keyword. There’s no better keyword to represent a product than its official product name.

So if your product is called “10 Function Samsung Remote Control”, use that on the meta title!

What you want to add though, are buying keyword modifiers such as “buy”, “best”, “shop for” or other similar keywords to the meta title, then include your store’s brand name near the end.

For example:

Buy ZHT316 Iphone 22 mm Cable Jack  | YourBrandName

For meta descriptions, just give a basic product description which highlights a key benefit or two, then end with a call to action:

“Looking for ZHT316 Iphone Cable Jack? Shop online today from YourBrandName and enjoy top quality, fast shipping and lifetime warranty. Click here to buy.”Shopify SEO

To input your product meta titles and descriptions on Shopify, follow these steps:

  • Login to Shopify admin
  • Under Products, click on “All Products”
  • Click the product page you’d like to edit
  • Scroll down and look for ‘Search Engine Listing Preview”
  • Click on “Edit Website SEO”
  • Input your Page Title (Meta Title) and Meta Description on the fields provided, then click on Save
  • Check the live version of your product page and hover the mouse on the browser’s title bar to see if the SEO tags have been updated
  • You may also preview your SEO snippet via Shopify admin (under Search Engine Listing Preview)

Rinse and repeat until all products are optimized!

The next step in this Shopify SEO Guide 2019 is to optimize your images. Let’s talk about that below:

Optimize Your Images

There are two reasons why you should optimize your images to improve your SEO:

First, your images appear on Google image search and are also ranked there. Some website visitors will actually find your site by searching for relevant images.

Second, images play a vital role in your site’s overall speed, which is a crucial SEO ranking factor.

To ensure that your images contribute to your site’s overall SEO, make sure you implement “alt tags” on your site’s images (especially Product Images).

An ALT Tag is just a phrase that you attach to an image file which gives Google an idea what the photo is all about.

How To Edit ALT Tags On Shopify Product Images

SEO for Shopify

  • Log in to Shopify admin
  • Under Products, click on “All Products”
  • Click the product page you’d like to edit
  • Under ‘Images’, click on the main product image. You’ll see a “…” sign on the right side of the image. Click that 3-dot icon and then choose “Edit Alt Text”
  • Input an image alt text that describes the image, preferably use the product name or keyword-rich phrase
  • Click Save

How To Optimize Shopify Images For Speed

To prevent slow loading times on your pages, make sure your images are compressed and the file sizes are optimal for both desktop and mobile view.

Keep normal-sized photos to filesize of 50 to 100kb, while trying to keep feature images and HD photos below 500kb.

You may solicit the help of a graphic designer or front end developer to compress your images so that your site loads faster.

Site load speed is actually an important ranking factor in 2019 and beyond, so don’t underestimate this step.

Once your site’s content and images are optimized, it’s time to perform off-page SEO:

Create Links To Your Store

The single most important SEO ranking factor is still links. The more pages that link to your site’s pages, the higher it could go up in rank on Google search.

There are actually two (2) kinds of links you should build on your site: internal and external links.

Most SEOs focus only on building external links (also known as backlinks) from other websites.

But the truth, you can start building links RIGHT NOW internally.

Internal Linking

An internal link is just a hyperlink from a page on your website to another page on your website.

When you do this, you’re actually spreading link equity across your pages and giving Google some relevancy signals.

Make it a point to always mention another page on your site whenever you discuss something that is relevant to it. Google loves this.

External Linking

This is considered the “Holy Grail” of SEO marketing. But if you can build high quality links from other websites, you can really climb the mountain of SEO rankings and gain massive success beyond your wildest dreams.

It really is that powerful.

Here at Linkody, we’ve given away some free, in-depth articles about various link building techniques you can use.

Check out these detailed guides and feel free to apply to your Shopify SEO efforts:

A good way to start an effective link building campaign is to look at where your successful competitors are getting their backlinks and try to get links from the same sources. This is where our competitive backlink analysis tool, Linkody, comes into play.

Shopify SEO

Of course, you want all these changes to be noticed and indexed by Google, so it’s important you follow the next step:

Submit Your Site For Indexing Via Google Search Console

Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools, is where you can track your site’s SEO performance as well as technical issues.

To add your site to Search Console, simply add your website by going here.

Click on the sign-in button and choose “Sign Up”. You can use an existing Google account for this purpose.

Once you are inside the Search Console dashboard, you have to add and verify your Shopify site with Google.

As soon as you get verified, you will be able to submit your homepage and any page on your site to Google Search Console to request indexing.

This will cause all SEO changes on your site to be indexed and included by Google on its latest search engine results.

Conclusion

With patience, knowledge and some work, you can rank your Shopify store highly on Google search and gain more leads, customers, and clients.

Just follow all the steps listed in this article and you will be well on your way to the top of search engine listings for your industry.

Always keep in mind that SEO is a long term game, and so you have to be patient and build your rankings slowly over time.

If you build success gradually using Shopify SEO white hat techniques, you can ensure that you are building a high-quality website with top notch content that adheres to Google guidelines.