The Ultimate Guide to Marketing and SEO for Your Shopify Websites
What are the best ways how to market your Shopify website? And SEO tips to boost your website traffic, leads, and sales? Is Shopify good for SEO? What Shopify SEO strategies can help you get to the first page of Google? We cover that in more in this all-in-one guide to SEO for Shopify.
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world. According to data from builtwith.com, nearly a million ecommerce sites use Shopify. And there’s a simple reason.
Beyond its ease-of-use, Shopify is good for SEO. As a result, many start-ups and retailers have leveraged the platform to grow quickly and drive traffic to their online stores.
How do they do that exactly? With effective SEO for Shopify strategies. When you use the best SEO strategies for Shopify, you’ll amplify your marketing efforts and get to the top of Google faster.
And we cover everything you need to know in this Guide to Shopify Marketing and SEO, including:
The Best Search Engine Marketing Tips for Shopify (Online and Offline)
If you’re planning to switch to Shopify, or you want to launch a Shopify store, this guide will help you dominate search rankings for your most relevant keywords. These are the most important Shopify SEO tips that we’ve used to help eCommerce sites grow faster. If you’ve read this far, continue on your journey as you learn everything you need to know about marketing, promoting, and optimizing your Shopify websites.
Is Shopify Good for SEO?
A short answer: Yes! Shopify is built with a number of out-of-box SEO features, and the platform provides great technical SEO performance. Pages load quickly, site structures are clean, and the code of most themes is optimized for search. On the back end, there are number of user-friendly SEO tools for Shopify users, including:
Easy title tag, meta description and URL optimization
Simplified image optimization
Auto-generated canonical tags (which helps you avoid duplicate content penalties)
Auto-Generated XML sitemaps and robots.txt files
In other words, the platform is set-up for great SEO. But although Shopify is good for SEO, store owners have to do their part. Smart keyword research, keyword optimization, and well-designed product pages can make or break your SEO strategy for Shopify.
Shopify Marketing & SEO Tip: As you begin to optimize and market your Shopify site, do your homework. Learn everything you need to know about SEO in our handy guide What Is SEO and How It Works.
What Is Shopify SEO and Why Does It Matter?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing organic search traffic to your website. You do this by optimizing your website with search keywords and optimizing for important Google ranking factors.
Shopify SEO is using SEO strategies on your Shopify site.
A site that’s using great Shopify SEO techniques ranks at the top of Google for relevant search terms:
And this matters quite a bit. Take a look at this chart from Advanced Web Ranking:
Position 1 on Google generates a click-through rate of 30%; the second position earn just half that! In other words, if you rank at the top of Google, you’ll generate tons more traffic to your site, and if you convert these visitors, that means more Shopify sales.
Best SEO Tips and Tools for Shopify:
How to Get Started
Shopify sites are designed for SEO performance. Yet, website owners have to do the work to see real results. Fortunately, you don’t need a Shopify SEO consultant to jump to the top of Google. (Although, a good Shopify expert will certainly help!)
What you need to do is pay attention to SEO for Shopify in three areas:
Here are the best SEO tips for Shopify that you need to know:
How to Select the Best Keywords to Optimize –
Keywords form the basis of effective SEO strategy on Shopify. If you’re targeting the right keywords – words your potential customers actually use to find your products – your pages will earn better rankings on Google in the most important searches. You can use an SEO tool like Ubersuggest for ideas. In particular, pay attention to these metrics when looking for the best keywords to target:
a. Pick Keywords with High-Volume of Keyword Traffic –
The number of searches a keyword or phrase receives each month. You want to target high-volume keywords. But remember: Target relevant words on each page. Here’s an example of how to track your Shopify website’s keywords and rankings:
b. How to Beat Your Online Competitors - Pick Better Keywords.
Competition refers to how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword phrase. Target low to medium competitive keywords on your Shopify store. Here’s an example:
Shopify Marketing & SEO Tip: Adding descriptive words to your searches – like model names, colors, and features – can help you find lower competition keywords.
c. How to Pick Relevant Keyword for Shopify On-Page SEO –
On product pages, choose keywords that encapsulate the product you are selling. “Women’s slippers pink” is the perfect keyword for a page selling pink women’s slippers. However, you should choose more broadly focused keywords to target on your homepage, e.g. “women’s slippers.”
d. How to Determine User Search Intent –
Look for keywords that show buyer intent and target them on product pages. For example, the phrase “red dress size 8” has a high buyer intent. A search term like “pictures of red dresses” does not.
Shopify Marketing & SEO Tip: Adding modifiers to keywords like “buy,” “shop,” “for sale,” and sizes and styles can help you target high-intent searches.
2. How to Improve User Experience on Shopify Sites –
When people land on your Shopify website, there’s a good chance they are searching for buy something. The reason is simple: Shopify websites are eCommerce websites. They are designed to bring customers products and services that are relevant to the end-user.
Interesting fact about Shopify sites: On average a web lead spends less than 5 seconds on a Shopify site. This means your website better convey its message, and quickly.
A good user experience is a key Google ranking factor. User experience is measured in: Time customers spend on your page, number of pages they view, and bounce rate. To improve user experience on Shopify, focus on these three categories:
a. How to Speed Up Your Shopify Website –
You need to make sure your Shopify store loads lightning-fast. When we say “lightning-fast,” we mean in less than 1 second. In fact, your goal should be to load your website in milliseconds (not seconds).
First, test your Shopify store (or the theme if you’re pre-launch) in GT Metrix:
You’ll get a handy report outlining some tips for improving your Shopify site speed:
b. How to Build a Shopify Mobile Website –
Use a responsive theme in Shopify. Responsive themes look great on screens of any size, which is an important Google ranking signal. You can easily design a mobile-friendly, responsive website in Shopify because most Shopify themes already have the customization and formatting built into the theme.
Here’s an example of an awesome Shopify website that is built for mobile, is responsive, and matches the desktop version:
c. How to Pick the Best Shopify Theme –
Choose a theme that’s user-friendly. People should be able to find your products quick, without having to make unnecessary clicks.
The Best Shopify themes to download and install for your store:
#1 Ranked - Best Shopify theme: The Handy Shopify Theme
#2 Ranked Best Shopify theme: The Kingdom Shopify Theme
#3 Ranked Best Shopify theme: The Startup Shopify Theme
[Excellent for Businesses and Startups!]
d. How to Optimize Shopify Product Pages (On-Page SEO Tips) –
Let your product pages do the selling. First, start with great product photography. Great photos amplify sales. Second, incorporate reviews which help add credibility.
Finally, SEO optimize your product pages by incorporating keywords into:
Image alt text
Shopify Marketing and SEO Tips:
Three Things that Are Game Changers for Search Engine Marketing
Here are some more excellent tips to help you with marketing for your Shopify website.
The key: Do things differently. SEO is a very important Google ranking signal. Without it, you will struggle to rank. So make it a priority to use some of these strategies to get higher rankings on Google and drive more traffic to your website.
Here are some of the most important SEO and marketing tips for your Shopify site:
Earn Quality Backlinks –
The more inbound links to your site, the better your site will rank. eCommerce sites can earn links from distributors, in product reviews and from affiliate blogs. We recommend that you aim for at least 10 backlinks per Shopify page!
Be Active on Social Media –
A strong social media presence helps you stand out, and social signals – likes and shares on products, # of followers, and social traffic – can help you rank higher in search results. We recommend using a social media sharing platform such as Buffer to post at least 3x per week on social media.
Optimize Images on Shopify –
Without optimization, your images won’t contribute to and can actually harm SEO on your site. Images that are too large, for example, slow down performance. We recommend that you optimize every image with simple alt-text and image descriptions.
A few options for image optimization on Shopify include:
Image Compression –
An image compression plugin like Image Optimizer will reduce file sizes of your images, without diminishing quality.
Shopify makes it easy to add metadata to your images. Alt text is a brief description of what the image is, and it should include keywords.
How to Use Content Marketing to Grow Traffic –
Shopify makes it easy to launch a blog. And blogging can help you generate traffic to your site and rank for organic keywords. Create content that’s relevant to readers and that’s optimized for keywords. Then, use internal links in blog posts to drive customers to your product pages.
Here’s an example of how to use content marketing to boost your Shopify search rankings:
Shopify Marketing & SEO Tip: Blogs tend to be easier to rank for broad keywords than product pages. Find broad keywords in your niche – for example: let’s say women’s shoes – and then build quality, long-form content around that keyword: “A Style Guide to Women’s Shoes.”
Which Shopify Themes are Best for SEO?
The majority of Shopify themes deliver great SEO performance out-of-box. Yet, if you want to choose the best theme for SEO, there are a few things you should consider. The best Shopify themes for SEO are:
Always pick a responsive, mobile-friendly theme –
Responsive themes automatically adjust your store’s layouts based on user screen size. Since a mobile friendly site is. Try the demo site out to see how a page looks on desktop vs. mobile. We tested Shopify’s Pacific theme here:
Only Work with Themes Supported by developers and Shopify –
You should choose a theme that’s regularly updated and supported. Regular updates protect your site from new security vulnerabilities, and ensure performance is always great. Check the support status before choosing a theme:
The best Shopify themes for SEO are almost always the ones where the categories for your products are easy-to-establish, and the ability to add meta descriptions and keywords, is as easy to do as possible.
Bonus Shopify Theme Tip: Check the theme’s documentation for info about how recently it was updated.
Here’s a look at the Pacific theme’s developer updates:
Always select a Shopify theme that is fast and can load quickly –
Test the theme’s demo site on Google PageSpeed Insights. This will give you a good idea of the overall speed and the quality of the theme’s code. Your goal should be to have your theme as fast as this one:
The Best SEO Plugins for Shopify
Plugins on Shopify are backend SEO tools that help store owners maximize performance and automate SEO tasks. These tools can help make your site more functional, better optimized for conversions, and make it easier to analyze SEO performance. The best Shopify plugins for SEO are:
Plug in SEO – FREE
The Plug in SEO for Shopify is a handy SEO tool. It helps users visualize important SEO tasks, like adding page titles, meta descriptions, and optimized content to each page. You can conduct a quick audit of your site too, using the SEO checker feature, and Plug in SEO also allows you to sign-up for email alerts for SEO performance anomalies.
2. SEO Manager – $20/Month
SEO manager puts 20+ features at your fingertips, and it’s a great tool for helping your rank your Shopify store on Google. The tool simplifies critical SEO tasks, including metadata writing, XML sitemap management, and its SEO scan tool is helpful for determining performance of an individual page.
3. Checkout Boost – $20/Month
Say goodbye to abandoned carts! Checkout Boost is the ultimate Shopify SEO tool for improving sales page conversions. The tool allows you to prevent cart abandonment, by offering promotions to potential abandoners, adding promotional parameters to sales pages, and adding countdown clocks to increase urgency.
4. Ultra SEO – $10/Month
When it comes to SEO, meta tags still matter. They’re an important ranking factor on Google. And the Ultra SEO app for Shopify makes meta tag management easier. You can open an editor for your store or individual product pages and quickly edit the meta tags. This is a powerful tool for keyword optimization on your Shopify store.
5. Reload SEO – $59/Month
Reload is an all-in-one SEO tool for Shopify. It has some incredible features that will help you perform critical SEO tasks like backlink management, content optimization, traffic monitoring and keyword research.
One great feature: The app allows you to track your site’s rankings and compare your rankings to competitors.
6. SEO Image Optimizer – FREE
Image Optimizer automates image SEO for across your entire Shopify store. Once you’ve installed the app, you set parameters for how you’d like alt text to appear. Then, the app takes care of the rest, and writes alt text for all of your images.
Here’s a look at what SEO Image Optimizer does:
7. JSON-LD for SEO – $69/one-time fee
Structured data, which is also called schema markup, is data that’s added to the code of your product pages. Google uses this data to add rich information to your Google listings like reviews, images, pricing and stock status. This adds instant legitimacy to your site, and will help you stand out in search. Using the tool, JSON-LD for SEO can help your site appear in search like this:
8. SEO Audit Pro – FREE
SEO Audit Pro is a useful whole store SEO auditing tool. You can use it scan your entire site, and the tool provides a great with action items for improving SEO. If you’re an SEO beginner, the SEO Audit Pro app can help you identify opportunities. It also provides helpful information about why each issue matters with tips to fix it.
6. Opinew Product Reviews – from $9.99/month
Reviews are a powerful sales tool and they can also enhance SEO on your product pages. This app from Opinew makes integrating reviews simple, and it allows for streamlined management of reviews data. If you’re serious about optimizing product pages, you need a review app for Shopify.
On-Page SEO for Shopify:
How to Use Keywords on Shopify
How to Use Title Tags –
Title tag is the No. 1 most important place to use keywords. This refers to the title that appears in Google search results, as well as browser windows.
Quick SEO Advice for Shopify: Title tags have a 65-character; use a focus and secondary keyword + the brand name, e.g. “Keyword 1 – Keyword 2 | Brand Name.”
How to Use Meta-Descriptions –
These are brief, 160-character descriptions of each page that appear in search results. Use this to draw people into the page – promotional offers work – and use keywords, which are bolded by Google.
How to Use Body Text –
You should use keywords in on-page titles, as well as in product descriptions, a blog, or a page. Our DSW example, uses the exact keywords in the H1 main title.
Quick Marketing and SEO Tip: More optimized content can help your pages rank. On category pages, like this DSW slippers page, some optimized footer text – which sits below your products – can help your pages rank. Learn more tags can also help you add content to product category pages.
Be sure to add “Image Alt Text” to your images and product photos –
This refers to the brief image metadata that describes the image. You can use an image optimization Shopify app to do this automatically for every image you update. Alt text for the first product image on the DSW page might read: “Womens pink slippers, Nine West for sale at DSW.”
Optimize your Image File Name for SEO –
Uses keywords in the image file name is a small Google ranking factor. Therefore, rather than having a generic name, you would customize image names. An example would be, “pink-women-slipper.jpg.”
Product Page SEO for Shopify:
How to Design and Build Better Product Pages That Increase Your Sales
How can you design and build better product pages that convert more leads into actual customers? How do you get Shopify product pages to the top of Google? Well it starts with effective optimization, the right images and information, and a well-designed experience. Then, once you’ve driven people to the page, you’ll want to follow conversion optimization best practices to turn more of your visitors into customers.
To get started, let’s look at an example of a great Shopify product page. This tote bag product page from WP Standard hits all the right marks.
Why is this such a great product page? We’ve broken down each element of the page to give you some ideas for optimizing your product pages.
The best tips for product page optimization on Shopify include the following:
TIP #1: Use Keyword Rich Heading “H1” Tags
Use your focus keyword in the title tag. This is the main keyword you want to rank for. To rank in long-tail searches, you can add modifiers including colors, sizes, brand names or model names.
TIP #2: Use High-Quality Visuals
Without incredible product photography, your pages won’t do a great job of selling. Be sure you’re using a hero image that flatters your product and include several variations. Also, be sure you’re using keywords in the image file names, titles and alt text.
TIP #3: Focus on Content Length
More content on your page can help you rank in search. Yet, chances are you’ll want to be brief on product pages.
A few tips for using more content include:
Use a “More” Tab for Your Shopify Product Description:
Use a Drop-Down Menu:
Use Tabbed Content:
TIP #4: How to Add Product Reviews on Your Shopify Site.
Product reviews help you accomplish two tasks:
A huge trust indicator. Lots of reviews helps customers feel comfortable making a purchase.
Expand optimized content. Written reviews add content to your page, and often, this content contains keywords. You can instantly boost the text count on a page by allowing reviews.
Quick Shopify Developer Tip: Use a Shopify app to incorporate user-friendly reviews. Some of the best apps for Shopify include: Stamped.io is one of the best, which is used by leading brands.
TIP #5: Use Upsells, Cross Sells + Promotional Offers
Here’s a helpful conversion optimization tip: Integrate easy upsell and promotional options into the checkout process.
The Shopify Standard page allows users to “Add a Monogram” as a custom option and upsell:
And here’s an example of an effective promotional offer:
These offers can help you increase average cart values, and drive significant revenue growth. The key is to keep them relevant and offer demonstrative value (e.g. a 6-piece FREE gift) or personalization options (e.g. a custom monogram).
There are tons of Shopify apps that can help you add coupons, credits, promos and special offers.
TIP #6: Show Recommendations of Like Products
Recommendations have also been shown to be a great conversion optimization tool, which can help you cross sell complementary items and accessories.
Shopify allows website owners to put product recommendations of “like”/ “similar” products:
How to Add Product Recommendations Manually –
Users can hand select and add complementary products to each individual page. This allows for complete customization, but it’s very time consuming. Not an ideal choice for stores with 100s of products.
Search in the Shopify themes store for themes with Related products functionality. Just browse all products, then open the Product page tab, and check Related products.
Shopify Plugins –
There are dozens of plugins that can help you integrate customized recommendations. The best Shopify plugins for recommended products include: Personalized Recommendation, Frequently Bought Together, and Also Bought.
BONUS Shopify Marketing Tip:
Use Limited Time Offers “Countdowns” and Urgency to Drive Shopify Sales
Here’s one feature we didn’t see on the WP Standard product page: Urgency signals. Urgency signals encourage sales by giving shoppers time limits, stock levels, and other bits of information during the checkout process.
The following image is a strong urgency indicator from Udemy for a New Year’s Sale.
How you can add “limited time” or “urgent” countdown offers to your Shopify account:
Go to Shopify’s tools site and install one of the countdowns to your website.
Monitor these countdowns to determine their efficacy.
Change these offers every week so as to A/B test which are the best for converting leads into sales.
Quick Shopify Tip: You don’t have to be an expert to incorporate these. There are dozens of great Shopify tools for creating urgency. You can find an app for executing many different techniques, from cart countdowns to limited-time offers.
How to Optimize Your Shopify Store and Start Generating More Sales
The No. 1 position on Google earns about 1/3 of clicks for every search results page. That represents a huge opportunity for Shopify store owners.
Getting to the top of Google will bring many more customers into your store. It can significantly increase sales opportunities. The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert to achieve Page 1 rankings; you just have to be smart, work hard and use SEO best practices to refine and improve your store.
What’s next? We recommend you read these articles on how to do marketing and SEO for your websites:
Need a little help? Vail Networks offers proven Shopify web development and SEO optimization services for business. Call now for a free consultation: (800) 313-7950.