More than half a million Shopify stores have sold their products online at one point or another. More than 370,000 of them are still alive and using this platform to sell to online customers. When you consider the fact that these stores make up a small portion of the online commerce ecosystem, the numbers become mind-boggling.
In other words, it takes a lot to make your Shopify store stand out and earn any kind of decent revenue.
One of the ways to help your Shopify store stand out and start making money is to ensure people actually find it in search engines. To cut a long story short, you need to do SEO for your store if you want to see it succeed.
Use Shopify’s Own Features
One of the best things about Shopify, when it comes to search engine optimization, is that their own people seem to be quite versed in the whole thing and the platform actually boasts a number of features that can help your store follow Google’s (Bing’s, DuckDuckGo’s) guidelines for best practices.
These are nothing spectacular, but they help take care of the on-site basics that can build a decent base for the rest of your SEO efforts down the line.
For example, Shopify features editable title tags, meta descriptions and URLs, as well as ALT tags, automatically generated sitemaps and robots.txt files. They even provide automatically generated canonical URL tags which help avoid duplicate content. You can also find great domain names for your store(s), register them without leaving their website and even play with subdomains.
Even people who know nothing about SEO can sit down for a reading session of a couple of hours and learn SEO 101, that will help them set up their store for success.
It sounds like fanboy stuff, but really, kudos Shopify.
Often times, Shopify store owners do not have the time to also run a blog, especially if they happen to run a few separate stores. This is a big mistake, as a blog can be a great SEO tool.
For one, with great content, you keep people on your website, even if they are not purchasing, which is a great signal for search engines that your website has quality to offer. Also, it is a fantastic way to fill your website with keywords without seeming spammy in any way.
Once you start doing some guest posting (we will get to that later), you will also discover that other website and blog owners feel much more comfortable linking to a blog post on your store’s site than a commercial page. Of course, you should still try to get links to your commercial pages, but when this just isn’t happening, links to your blog posts will also help.
Finally, if you come up with innovative and interesting content, it is very likely that your visitors will get involved in the conversation, which makes for a fantastic signal for search engines.
Be Smart about Product Images
There are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with product images on your Shopify store. For one, you need to optimize them before you include them on your store’s website. This will speed up your loading times, which is something search engines love.
Also, you will want to include ALT tags for every image of every product that you feature on your page, as it will let search engine crawlers know what the image is of (machine image recognition still isn’t that advanced).
This will also help vision-impaired visitors know what is on the page. While it is not an SEO thing, it is a common decency thing.
It has been a couple of years since online shoppers have become majorly mobile, meaning that they do their shopping on their mobile devices (mostly smartphones). Because of this, all SEO efforts should keep in mind the need to be mobile-friendly.
The first step, of course, is to ensure that your Shopify store is mobile-friendly. In a perfect world, all Shopify templates would be 100% mobile-friendly, but this is still not the case. Google provides their own mobile-friendly test tool which will point out the issues that might be hurting mobile users and you will want to fix these as the first step.
You should also learn more about the differences between desktop and mobile searches and modify your content appropriately. Google’s Mobile Index is not yet live, but it is safe to say that it will happen one day.
Of course, you can always take this a step further and start using the mobile marketing platform that will best suit your needs, even beyond simple SEO.
Utilize Product Pages
Product pages should always feature an original product description. Many Shopify store owners decide to simply copy descriptions that they find on the manufacturer’s website or other stores. This is a huge mistake as search engines will flag this kind of content as duplicate and penalize your store. It may be time consuming, but it is a very basic SEO thing to do. If done the right way, product descriptions can be a good way to optimize your pages for search engines through smart keyword practice.
Another good way to utilize product pages is to give your customers the chance to write their reviews of your products. This will provide your product pages with additional content, which will be as natural as possible, also giving search engines signals that people are engaged enough to leave their comments.
The important thing to remember is that SEO is not some sort of a magic wand that will save your Shopify store. You will need a good product. You will need a product that people are willing to pay for.
SEO’s job is to ensure that people find it.
That is all.