Shopify SEO Guide to Improve Search Engine Visibility
Whether you are just starting out or have been running a Shopify store for years, SEO is something that needs your immediate attention. An overwhelming majority of people depend on search engines to look for products online, and you want your Shopify store to be visible to them.
Shopify SEO is an essential marketing tool that sometimes gets overlooked in favor of social media marketing and paid advertisements. Even if you have a Shopify SEO strategy in place, there is a good chance that you are ignoring certain elements or carrying on practices that are detrimental to your search rankings.
Our team of experts at 1 Digital Agency has studied common Shopify SEO practices and identified certain do’s and don’ts, which we are sharing with you today.
Shopify SEO Do – Submit Your Sitemap to Google
A sitemap is essential for search engines to be able to crawl your website efficiently and index your pages on its search results. The great thing about Shopify is that it comes with the built in functionality of generating a sitemap.xml file for your store, so you don’t have to put in the time to develop one on your own.
An essential part of Shopify SEO is having a completely indexed website. The problem is that Google spiders often take time to do this on their own, especially if you’re just starting out. They won’t visit your site regularly in the beginning. Once you have been updating your content regularly for a while, then only will the crawling become more frequent. (Hint: we provide high quality, keyword rich content, https://www.1digitalagency.com/content-marketing).
According to the Official Google Webmaster Blog, “Sitemaps help your great content get crawled and indexed, so it can rise to the top of SERPs more quickly.”
We recommend that you speed up the process by uploading a sitemap manually every time you add more pages to your Shopify website. You will need to create a Google Webmaster Account and upload your sitemap from there. When you upload a sitemap, Google is forced to crawl and index it. This Shopify SEO secret will speed up your visibility substantially.
Shopify SEO Don’t – Forget to Redirect Product Pages That Are No Longer Functioning
A common mistake that store owners make is that they ignore the webpages of those products that might not be active anymore. These products might have become outdated or are no longer in production. Leaving their product pages as is and just deleting them may seem harmless to you, but you have to consider the consequences this has on your SEO.
For one, these pages are already indexed by search engines, and therefore visitors are possibly clicking on them. There is also the possibility that some of your regular customers might have bookmarked the pages with hopes of returning later. When they do come to the page, they see that it’s no longer there and leave immediately. This leaves a bad impression on your customers who might not return the next time and also increases the bounce rate. You don’t want a page showing a message like this:
One of the primary considerations of Shopify SEO is to convince search engines that your website has content that is useful to the visitors. A high bounce rate or a low click through rate is the opposite.
What you should do is 301 redirect your inactive pages. Redirect them to your homepage or where appropriate, to products that are similar to the ones that are no longer there. You can use your Shopify console to do this by clicking on “Navigation” and “Add your first URL redirect.”
Shopify SEO Do – Hide Unnecessary Pages From Search Engines
When Google or other search engines crawl a website, they crawl all the pages of that site. Every Shopify store automatically generates a robot.txt file that prevents search engines from crawling certain unnecessary pages that would otherwise dilute the authority of important pages. By default, these include checkout, cart and order pages which are useless when you consider that you want your customer to click on a product first before starting the payment procedure.
A definite do of Shopify SEO is to check your robots.txt file to ensure that all your unnecessary pages have been blocked. You can do this by adding “/robots.txt” at the end of your site’s primary URL. For example, if your site is abcomfort.com, type in abcomfort.com/robots.txt.
If you want to hide pages that are not already showing on the robots.txt, you can do this by editing the theme.liquid layout file. Don’t attempt this if you do not understand coding and liquid. A digital agency like ours can do this for you easily.
Shopify SEO Don’t – Ignore Your Product Images
Don’t forget to optimize your product images. Search engines don’t yet have the capability to be able to recognize images for what they are, and still view them as text. So you need to put in the effort to make sure that they can understand what the images are.
We recommend that you name your images before uploading them. Make sure that the image name contains the keyword. Your images must also have Alt tags, which are brief descriptions of the image. Once again, these tags should contain the keyword. You don’t want all your image Alt tags to be similar, so acutally describe the image here rather than putting in keyword-stuffed text which might come across as spam to search engines.
Neil Patel says, “The key to creating good alt tags consists of three points:
- Image needs a proper description, without keyword stuffing.
- It should be keyword rich.
- It needs to be short and to the point.”
Shopify SEO Do – Create a Shopify Blog With Proper Tags
Blogs are a way to build authority and keep your audience engaged. It is one of the most trusted Shopify SEO strategies out there. A regularly updated blog, with relevant content, can do wonders for search engine visibility.
One practice that often gets ignored and sometimes abused is the use of tags. The purpose of tags is to create individually searchable pages for these tags, pages that contain all the blogs with relevant content. This gives readers the convenience of finding blogs on the same subject in one place and helps create extra relevant pages which are great for SEO. You can add a title, description and meta description to each tag page to further improve its ranking.
On the flip side, you also don’t want to overdo tags. Many bloggers are in the habit of populating each blog post with 15-20 tags, which is way too much and defeats the purpose. Your best bet would be to stick with 10-15 tags in total (not for one blog) and use them sparingly in those blogs where they fit.
Get Help From Shopify SEO Experts at 1 Digital Agency
Shopify SEO is by no means a walk in the park especially if you are going it alone. There are so many layers to SEO that it can be overwhelming trying to figure out every tiny detail. Unfortunately, unless you get into these details, it is incredibly hard, and dare we say it, almost impossible to rank in search. There are some apps available in the Shopify App Store that may help. We’ve found Plug in SEO and Smart SEO to be quite useful. (Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st9zkiQ0NRA)
We always advise our clients to take their time and understand the intricacies of Shopify SEO to help them see the bigger picture. In the same breath, there is no shame in turning to experts for help. 1 Digital Agency is a Shopify Partner with a team of SEO experts who can take your hand and walk you through the process. Our aim is to enable you to reach your business goals by ensuring that there is a proper SEO strategy in place to boost traffic and sales. Give us a call on 888.982.8269 or contact us at https://www.1digitalagency.com/contact.
- March 9, 2017
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