SEO for Shopify web shops

SEO for Shopify webshops is essential for any webshop looking to increase its online visibility and sales. By applying smart SEO strategies, from choosing the right theme to implementing crucial measurement tools, Shopify users can improve their ranking in search engine results and build a strong online presence.

SEO challenges for Shopify web shops

Shopify offers a user-friendly platform for e-commerce, but with specific SEO challenges and opportunities. One unique challenge is the way Shopify uses URL structures; these are not always ideal for search engines. For example, Shopify often uses additional directories in URLs (such as /collections/ or /products/), which can lead to longer and less clean URLs compared to other platforms. This can negatively affect an online store’s indexability and ranking.

Another challenge is limited control over certain technical SEO elements, such as the robots.txt file, which can affect how search engines crawl the site. In addition, using Shopify apps for additional functionality can sometimes result in slow page load times, which can hurt the user experience and thus SEO performance.

At the same time, Shopify offers opportunities through its integrated SEO features, such as automatic sitemap generation and easy meta-tag customization. Shopify’s robust infrastructure and built-in mobile optimization provide a strong foundation for improving page load speed and mobile SEO. Moreover, the ecosystem of SEO-friendly apps encourages merchants to further refine and improve their SEO efforts.

Basic SEO settings in Shopify

For any Shopify webshop, it is crucial to start with the basic SEO settings. This ensures that the shop is properly set up to be indexed by search engines. Configuring titles and meta-descriptions is a first step; Shopify allows these to be customized for the homepage as well as for individual product pages, collections and blog posts. It is important to use relevant keywords while writing attractive descriptions that can generate clicks from search results.

Setting up the sitemap correctly and submitting it to Google Search Console ensures that search engines have a structured view of the content on the shop. Shopify automatically generates a sitemap, which is a significant advantage.

Structuring content using header tags (H1, H2, etc.) also helps improve SEO. Shopify themes often already use a good hierarchy of headers, but it is important to structure content in a way that is both user-friendly and optimized for search engines.

Read more about SEO within the largest CMSes

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Optimizing Shopify settings for search engines

An advanced step in optimizing a Shopify Web shop for search engines is fine-tuning specific settings that affect visibility and indexability. Adjusting URL and link structures within Shopify can help create cleaner and more search engine-friendly URLs. While control over this is limited, simple changes to the way products and collections are organized can help.

Implementing structured data (also known as schema markup) is another powerful way to give search engines detailed information about products and reviews, which can increase visibility in search results. Shopify themes often already include basic structured data, but it may need to be customized or expanded for specific needs.

Optimizing the mobile experience is also crucial. Although Shopify themes are generally mobile-friendly, it is important to test regularly and ensure fast load times, easy navigation and clear call-to-action buttons on mobile devices.

Shopify themes and SEO

Choosing the right theme is crucial to SEO success on Shopify. A theme affects not only the visual appeal and user experience of an online store, but also the site’s speed, code structure, and how well it is optimized for search engines.

How to choose themes that are SEO-friendly

When selecting an SEO-friendly theme for Shopify, there are a few key points to consider:

  1. Speed and performance: A fast theme not only improves the user experience, but is also rated more positively by search engines. Look for themes optimized for fast load times.
  2. Mobile-friendly: As mobile search continues to increase, the theme should be responsive and provide a seamless experience on all devices.
  3. Clean code: A theme with clean, streamlined code is better indexed by search engines. Consider themes that have been validated by W3C.
  4. SEO-friendly features: Look for themes with built-in SEO features, such as easy customization of meta tags and alt tags for images.

Some themes that meet this:

When selecting a theme for a Shopify website that meets SEO requirements, it is important to look for themes that are fast, mobile-friendly, and customizable, with clean code and good support for SEO practices. Here are some themes known for their SEO friendliness:

  1. Debut: Debut is a flexible theme right out of the box with a clean, simple design aesthetic focused on speed and ease of use.
  2. Brooklyn: Brooklyn is specially designed for modern clothing stores and brands.
  3. Narrative: This theme is ideal for web shops with a smaller number of products, focused on telling stories around the brand and products.
  4. Boundless: Another free theme known for its focus on visual appeal, with full-width images and a minimalist design.
  5. Turbo: Although this is a premium theme, Turbo is known for its exceptional loading speeds and rich customization options.
  6. Avenue: Avenue is a theme that provides robust navigation options for stores with extensive catalogs.
  7. Impulse: This theme is designed for large-scale stores with a large number of products.

Theme modifications for improved SEO performance

Even after choosing an SEO-friendly theme, there are tweaks that can further improve SEO performance:

  • Use header tags effectively: Make sure content is structured properly using header tags (H1, H2, etc.), with the H1 tag reserved for the main title.
  • Optimize images: Compress images to speed load times and use alt tags with relevant keywords.
  • Improve navigation: A logical and simple navigation structure helps search engines index pages and improves the user experience.

Shopify apps that improve SEO

Shopify offers an array of apps that can improve SEO. These apps can help with everything from keyword research and on-page optimization to speed improvements.

Overview of must-have Shopify apps for SEO

  1. SEO Manager: This app provides real-time feedback on SEO optimization and helps identify and resolve issues.
  2. Plug in SEO: An all-in-one SEO app that helps improve search engine rankings by identifying issues related to SEO.
  3. Image Optimizer: Improves load times by compressing images and adds alt tags to help search engines understand the images.
  4. Smart SEO: Automatically generates meta tags and structure data to save time and improve search engine visibility.

How to integrate and use these apps for maximum SEO value

  • Start with an audit: Use apps such as SEO Manager or Plug in SEO to create an SEO audit of the Web shop. This identifies areas that need improvement.
  • Optimize one step at a time: Focus on one SEO aspect at a time, such as improving product descriptions, optimizing images, or improving loading speed. Use relevant apps to perform these tasks efficiently.
  • Monitor performance: Use Shopify’s built-in analytics or Google Analytics to monitor the impact of changes made. Adjustments should be based on actual data.
  • Keep updating: SEO is not a one-time task, but an ongoing process. Stay on top of the latest SEO trends and adjust strategies accordingly.

Optimization of product pages for SEO

Setting up product pages in Shopify is a straightforward process, but optimizing them for SEO requires attention to detail. Start by navigating to the product section of the Shopify admin. Here you can create a new product page or edit an existing one. When creating or editing, make sure the following elements are included:

  • Product title: Choose a title that is both descriptive and contains the main keyword(s) that potential customers would use when searching for this product.
  • Product description: Write a detailed and attractive description that includes keywords, but avoid keyword stuffing. The description should be informative for both customers and search engines.
  • Images and Alt Texts: Add high-quality images and use the alt text feature to enter descriptive text explaining the image, including relevant keywords.
  • SEO settings: Adjust the SEO title and meta description in the “Search Engines” section at the bottom of the page. This text appears in search results, so make sure it is attractive and relevant.

What SEO settings are possible here within Shopify?

Within Shopify, several SEO settings are possible to increase the visibility of product pages:

  • SEO title and meta description: These can be manually adjusted to ensure that they are both attractive to potential customers and optimized for search engines.
  • URL: Shopify allows editing the URL structure of product pages, giving users the ability to create keyword-rich URLs that can improve findability.
  • Alt texts for images: These are crucial for SEO because they help search engines understand what is in the images. Use relevant keywords in alt texts to increase visibility.

Blogging on Shopify for SEO

Shopify offers a built-in blog functionality that allows store owners to create content that complements their products and improves their site’s SEO. Blogging allows stores to share valuable content such as manuals, product reviews, and news updates, which not only offers value to readers but also provides additional keywords for indexing by search engines. To start blogging in Shopify, navigate to the “Blog Posts” section in the Shopify admin, where you can create new posts, categorize them, and add tags for better organization.

What SEO settings are possible here?

Specific SEO settings can be configured for each blog post in Shopify, similar to product pages:

  • Blog post title and meta description: These are essential for attracting readers from search engine results and can be customized to maximize relevance and attractiveness.
  • URL and handle: Each blog post can have an SEO-friendly URL, customized to contain relevant keywords that reflect the content of the post.

Can you easily set up Article structured data for Shopify?

Yes, setting ‘Article’ structured data (schema markup) for blog posts is possible within Shopify and can further improve SEO by providing search engines with additional context. Although Shopify does not provide native support for adding structured data directly to blog posts via the graphical user interface, this can be achieved using customizations in the theme code or by using SEO apps from the Shopify App Store that support this functionality.

Setting up measurability for Shopify

For Shopify web shops, it is essential to be able to measure performance and understand how visitors interact with the site. This insight is crucial for optimizing SEO efforts and improving the overall user experience. Google Analytics 4, Google Tag Manager and Google Search Console are powerful tools that help with this analysis.

How do you install Google Analytics 4 in Shopify?

Installing Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in Shopify is a streamlined process that provides in-depth insights into traffic and user behavior. Follow these steps to integrate GA4:

  1. Create a GA4 profile: Go to the Google Analytics website and log in with a Google account. Follow the instructions to create a new GA4-property. Note the “Measurement ID” provided.
  2. Add GA4 to Shopify: Login to the Shopify admin and navigate to ‘Online store’ > ‘Preferences’. Scroll down to the ‘Google Analytics’ section and paste the ‘Measurement ID’ into the ‘Google Analytics account’ field.
  3. Enable eCommerce tracking: In GA4, make sure eCommerce metrics are enabled to receive detailed reports on shopping activity. This can be found in the GA4 prop settings under “Data collection” and then “eCommerce settings.

How do you install Google Tag Manager in Shopify?

Google Tag Manager (GTM) provides a flexible way to manage tracking codes and related scripts without direct modifications to the Shopify theme code. Here’s how to install GTM:

  1. Create a GTM account: Go to the Google Tag Manager website and create an account. Follow the steps to create a new container for the Shopify webshop. After creating, you will receive a GTM ID.
  2. Install GTM in Shopify: Login to Shopify and go to ‘Online store’ > ‘Themes’. Choose ‘Actions’ > ‘Edit code’. Add the GTM code to the theme.liquid file just after opening <head> tag and just after opening <body> tag, depending on GTM’s instructions.
  3. Configure tags in GTM: Use the GTM interface to set up specific tags for Google Analytics, conversion tracking and other scripts to be installed.

How do you verify the Google Search Console within Shopify?

Verifying a site with Google Search Console is important for understanding a site’s performance in Google search results. Follow these steps for verification within Shopify:

  1. Add the site to Google Search Console: Go to Google Search Console and click “Add a property. Enter the URL of the Shopify webshop.
  2. Choose an authentication method: Google offers multiple authentication methods. For Shopify, it is recommended to use the ‘HTML tag’ method. Copy the verification meta tag provided.
  3. Add the verification meta tag to Shopify: Log in to Shopify and go to ‘Online store’ > ‘Preferences’. Paste the verification meta tag in the ‘Google Search Console’ section and save the changes.
  4. Confirm the verification: Return to Google Search Console and click “Verify” to complete the process. After successful verification, you will have access to important data about how Google sees and indexes the site.

By following these steps, one can effectively set up measurability for a Shopify webshop, which is essential for monitoring and improving SEO performance.

Summary

Selecting the right Shopify theme and effectively using SEO tools such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google Search Console are crucial steps for improving the SEO performance of a Shopify webshop. By focusing on speed, mobile optimization, and clean, customizable themes, along with accurately measuring and analyzing web shop performance, Shopify users can significantly improve their search engine visibility.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
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I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 16 April 2024. The last update of this article was on 16 April 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.