Should My Business Use Shopify For SEO?
You might have heard of Shopify if you’re a small business owner looking to build their first website and start selling your products or services online. Or you could be the marketing manager of a global ecommerce firm looking to create a new website using a streamlined platform.
In both cases you might consider using Shopify just like millions of others in your shoes have already done. In this manual crafted by our content team within the Ecommerce SEO Agency POLARIS, we'll delve into the world of Shopify, exploring its features and useful tools.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an ecommerce platform that businesses use to ‘start selling online’. Like Squarespace, Shopify is a website builder that businesses can use to create online stores, or sell their products on third party marketplaces, like how businesses sell their products on Amazon, or social media.
The platform and back-end dashboard - the part of the site where the administrator uploads and manages content – are user friendly and designed for non-experts.
Shopify as a software company also create point-of-sale (POS) software to retailers with physical shops.
Shopify is a SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform. It operates on a subscription model, with five main forms of subscription:
- Basic - £25 per month – you’ll be able to set up a store and process payments
- Shopify - £65 per month – Shopify describe this tier as for small businesses, you’ll be able to compile reports and get additional accounts for staff
- Advanced - £344 per month – for medium to large business, you’ll receive custom reports and cheaper transaction fees
- Starter - £5 per month – gives you access to sell products at events, on social media and messaging apps
- Free trial – Shopify offers a free trial, get 3 months for £1 per month
Shopify & SEO - is Shopify SEO Friendly?
Many people ask is Shopify good for SEO and whether Shopify SEO services will be useful for their business, as an SEO Agency, these are questions we get asked regularly.
Those are good questions. Most digital marketers and SEO agencies will agree that Shopify is good for basic SEO services and is especially useful for beginners.
To answer the question ‘Is Shopify SEO friendly’, we’d have to say yes, but it does come with limitations that may not suit companies looking to prioritise their SEO strategy.
If you are considering Shopify to build your new website, you’ll want to compare it with Shopify’s closest competitors.
WordPress is Nike’s Adidas or Apple’s Android.
When weighing up whether you should use Shopify or WordPress as your content management system (CMS) to optimise your SEO, consider the following pros and cons.
Shopify for SEO
|Shopify pros||Shopify cons|
|Mobile optimisation is built in||It’s closed source – fewer customisation options|
|User friendly interface||Limited URL customisation – SEO drawback|
|Reliable hosting services||Blogging features not very powerful|
|Fast page load speed – important ranking factor||More expensive than other platforms|
WordPress for SEO
|WordPress pros||WordPress cons|
|It’s open source - code can be customised||Can need expert knowledge to effectively optimise a website|
|Designed for blogging and content creation||As it is open source, there is no central customer support – some developers don’t like it!|
|Users can choose from thousands of stylish website themes||WordPress can be slow because all the heavy code behind the scenes|
|Access to SEO plugins such as Yoast||Can be overwhelming to navigate with so a many of options available|
Shopify SEO Tips
Though Shopify is geared towards ease of use, there is still some effort needed to set up your Shopify account for the best SEO results.
Whether you’re porting existing well-ranking content to a new Shopify site or are starting from scratch looking to scale the SERPS (search engine results pages), we’ve compiled our favourite tips for improving the SEO ranking of your Shopify store.
- Place primary keywords in key real estate – Google and other search engines, pay the most attention to keywords placed in headers (H1, H2, H3), the first paragraph of a page and internal and external links, so be sure to optimise your keyword placement
- Make use of alt tags – you’ll see the option to create an alt text tag when you upload an image to Shopify. When you fill this in screen readers narrate this information out loud to give visually impaired people context. The benefit of doing this for SEO is debatable, but rest assured your competitors are doing it, and it’s an important part of creating an accessible website
- Website hierarchy – ensure you make your main product and service pages accessible from you home page. When attributing link value, search engines give a lot of weight and authority to your home page, you can pass this onto other prominent pages on your website, that directly make sales, by adding an internal link on your home page
- Build high authority backlinks – backlinks are another name for another website linking to your website. The way search engine algorithms work is highly influenced by links. Backlinks are like a reference in an academic book, they give kudos to another source of information. Google and Bing the two most used search engines, see a backlink as a vote of confidence. Learn more about how backlinks work
How to Optimise Shopify for SEO
Your primary focus to improve your search visibility for your Shopify store is to choose relevant keywords and include them throughout your content. This includes your entire website hierarchy from your home page > category pages > product pages > blogs, and don’t forget to wrap your internal links that point between these key areas of your website with highly targeted keywords.
Secondly, start writing new content or target pages that you can generate quick ranking wins on and rewrite them. Quality content takes into consideration keywords, but ultimately is written for humans and tries to solve their problems. So, always assess your search competitors, have they done a good job at creating content that matches the user’s search intent, or can you improve upon it?
Some more technical tips include:
- Edit your robot.txt file – this tells Google which pages to consider for ranking and which to ignore, e.g. test pages
- Add your sitemap to Google Search Console – when Google searches the internet for new content to serve to its uses it sends its spiders (robots) to crawl the ‘web’ in search for information that solves user’s queries. By adding your sitemap (a list of your website’s pages and hierarchy) to Google Search Console (a tool by Google to help improve your search visibility) you can give the search engine a better idea about how your website is structured
- Eliminate duplicate content – or at least limit it. If there are reasons for having duplicate content or pages use canonical tags to let Goggle know which page is the original and therefore which page you want to be considered for ranking
SEO Apps for Shopify
If you’re at the beginning of your website project, you might want to consider hiring Shopify SEO experts or a developer that’s familiar with Shopify to help you get the most of its apps.
Here are some of our favourites:
- pics: this smart tool will automatically compress image files for you as you upload them. Large image files can slow your site down, which can impact your ranking as site speed is one of Google’s key ranking factors
- Schema App Total Schema Markup: add structured data to your website without a developer. Schema markup can help your website grab ‘position 0’, also known as featured snippets, the rankings at the top of Google
- Yopto reviews: your website will feature product reviews using this app, and can appear in SERPs with review stars
Using Yoast for Shopify
Yoast is an SEO tool that makes optimising your website easy for junior SEOs or copywriters. Before 2022, Yoast was native to WordPress, the developers have now integrated it into Shopify, removing one of the CMS’ unique selling points.
Yoast for Shopify requires users to pay a subscription fee. If you don’t have the resources to pay for a Shopify SEO consultant, Yoast can help you optimise your website for less.
Yoast Shopify features:
- Rich snippets – add structured data to your website to get featured in the coveted ‘position 0’
- Keyword optimisation – Yoast gives your content an SEO analysis which will point out how to improve your optimisation, e.g. telling you the key places where you can include keywords
- Readability scores - it also offers readability scores, which are guidelines around how easy it is to read and understand your content
What is the Best SEO Tool for Shopify?
There are a wide variety of tools and apps for Shopify, the best for your organisation will depend on the circumstances of your website.
Some popular tools include:
Shopify SEO Checklist
- Create a custom domain
- Select a stylish and responsive theme
- Put analysis tools in place (Search Console etc.)
- Install SEO apps
- Do your keyword research
- Make your URLs easy to read
- Optimise page titles and meta descriptions
- Boost content on key pages
- Check for duplicate keywords and keyword cannibalisation
- Compress images and set descriptive keyword driven alt text
- Add product reviews – use tools to port them from trusted review platforms
- Add schema and other forms of structured data
- Optimise your site navigation
- Write new content to capture identified ranking targets
- Sort out your internal linking structure
- Outreach to create new relevant backlink opportunities
- Audit your website for broken links, 404s, duplicate content, poor or thin content