Shopify SEO Guide | Zima Media

Shopify SEO: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: October 10th, 2019

Retail ecommerce sales worldwide are expected to reach $4.9 trillion by 2021, or in other words, it’s a 276.9% increase in global sales. It means that the future is already here. Now, more than 600,000 businesses are using Shopify to host online stores, making it one of the most popular solutions on the market.

Even though it’s not a hard guess, if you’re reading this article, you’re most likely using it too.

It’s relatively easy to set up a nice-looking Shopify store. But how do you drive organic SEO traffic to it? This task requires quite a lot of effort and determination.

Thankfully, having helped more than two thousand clients scale their online businesses, we know all the ins and outs of SEO tricks. And if you’re not feeling lucky yet, you should, because we’re going to share them with you.

What Is the Best Way to do SEO for a Shopify Store?

As we’ve already mentioned, just having a Shopify store isn’t enough to get fruitful revenue. There’s a certain number of steps you have to take before your online business starts bringing you money.

The author of The Digital Handbook 2020, Kevin Lockett adds: “I think when you watch YouTubers, you are led to believe that all you have to do is create a niche store, and the money will come. For some, this does happen, but for many newbie Shopify owners, the process will take time to grow. Like most new brick and mortar stores, when you are a new online store, it takes time to build a relationship with customers that will lead to consistent traffic and sales.

Here are seven ways to set up and improve the SEO on your Shopify store, and ensure it runs smoothly:

  1. Use SSL
  2. Use clean URLs
  3. Set up Google Search Console
  4. Get your titles and headings right
  5. Use optimized ALT text for images
  6. Build quality backlinks
  7. Add Shopify SEO apps

What is the importance of the SSL certificate for a website?

SSL stands for ‘secure socket layer.’ Consequently, search engines prefer secure ‘https://’ websites (the ones that use SSL) over non-secure ‘http://.’ That means that using SSL gives you a better chance to appear at the top of search results. So, if you don’t want customers to see warning messages on your website and lose trust in you, get an SSL certificate.

The good news is, as a Shopify store owner, you can easily do it yourself on the platform. In your dashboard find Sales Channel > Online Store >Domains, and you’re good to go.

Why do URLs matter for SEO?

Would you like to prevent your customers from being confused? If yes, then clean URLs are vital for your online store. They’re short, neat, and easy to understand for both humans and search engines. Try to include the focus keyword in each URL. The better it describes the product, the better it will be for your SEO.

And again you can do it yourself too. Go to the product page and click Edit Website SEO at the bottom. However, remember to choose the Create URL Redirect option every time you change the Shopify URL.

What is a search engine submission in SEO?

If you’re a website owner, you have to register your site with Google Search Console. It means that you’re letting one of the leading and most important services know that your website exists.

Also, remember to register and verify both the www and non-www versions of your domain, as well as secure and non-secure ones. Google domain properties is a new feature that lets you set up your website and register all versions automatically. It’s very important for your Shopify SEO.

How do better titles and headings affect Shopify SEO?

A title is one of the most critical elements of any webpage. For search engines, it’s the main piece of information they use to rank and categorize your site. Sounds pretty serious, right? As long as you make sure to start your Shopify page title with the ‘focus keyword’ and keep it concise, you’re golden.

For instance, the owner of Mom Beach, Becky Beach strongly suggests using Google trends to see if the products have demand before you create them. “It saves you money if you are getting Google traffic and using a blog to promote your store. I also use Pinterest to get free traffic as well,” says Becky. That would help you target the best focus keywords and leverage SEO from the beginning.

Also, if you want search engines to index your content properly, don’t ignore headings (like a lot of people do.) By applying headings correctly, you make it easier for a search engine to rank your website. Not only are they essential for search engines to understand the structure of the page, but also for better user experience. Especially H1. It’s like the title of a book, and every page needs to have only one.

What is a smart image SEO strategy?

When search engine algorithms are trying to index your site, they’re reading not only words but images too. So, make sure both the ‘alt text’ and file names of your pictures are nice and neat.

Here’s why you should add ‘alt text’ to your Shopify images.

  1. Alt text helps visually impaired users navigate your website using screen readers and know what you’re selling.
  2. It also provides a description in case the image fails to load.
  3. It lets search engines better categorize your content.

Jeff Neal, the owner of a Shopify store called The Critter Depot, also added: “Something I wish I did 12 months ago was use jpegs for all of my images, and reduce all my image sizes. Site load speed has been a trendy topic among ranking factors. And if the images are too large, that can slow down a page’s load time. I needed to reduce 100’s of image sizes, which was a tedious task. So, I used the image minifier app.

How important is creating content for a Shopify store?

When it comes to Shopify, content is king too. Apart from buying something from you, your customers also enjoy reading useful information. That’s why creating quality content for them is so vital.

If your blog posts are informative and include a lot of backlinks (or ‘external links’), your online store gets a better chance to perform well in search. Want to know how to keep customers interested in your content? Check out The 10 Essential Rules for High-Quality Content Creation.

Why should you use Shopify apps?

As much as you could do things yourself, it’s so much wiser to take advantage of technology and make your life easier. When you start managing your ecommerce store, you’ll see that it takes a lot of SEO to get high Google rankings.

Let’s dig in and focus more on Shopify SEO Apps.

10 Best All-in-One Shopify SEO Plugins to Increase Sales

Now that you know how vital SEO is for any ecommerce store, it’s time to start doing something about it, right? That’s why Shopify offers a lot of tools to help you sort out all those SEO things you don’t have enough time for.

Calloway Cook, Founder of Illuminate Labs, suggests to “stop consulting software developers and considering hiring for a custom build of the site, because the site I was able to build with Shopify looks as good as any custom build I’ve seen and cost me $100 instead of $10,000+ for a custom build.

We decided to save you even more time and analyzed 10 best SEO apps for Shopify you can use to grow your online ecommerce business:

  1. Plug-in SEO
  2. Smart SEO
  3. SEO Manager
  4. All in One & Auto SEO
  5. Kudobuzz SEO
  6. ReloadSEO
  7. SEO Expert Pro – SEO Tools
  8. SEO Get Clicked! SEO Tools
  9. SEO Assistant by Buymaxx
  10. Ultra SEO

How to Know if a Shopify SEO App Is Effective for Me?

We must admit: finding the perfect SEO plugin for your ecommerce store is a time-consuming process. Luckily, we had a chance to try these 10 best SEO apps, and we can now share with you our results.

Below you’ll find short descriptions of plugins and how each of them works in reality. This will give you a clear understanding of which one is better for your online store.

1. Plug in SEO

According to Shopify, Plug in SEO is meant to fix SEO issues, improve store rankings, and boost store traffic. As for now, this app has great reviews, and more than 30K Shopify stores are already using it.

Key Features:

  • Identifies main issues
  • Provides you with an analysis and highlights the pain points you should be working on
  • Lets you stay on top of SEO thanks to regular, automatic checkings

How you can use it:

This app will help you out a lot if you already got most of your SEO right. Plug-in SEO will save you time because it will tell you directly what issues are worth fixing and spending money on. It means that you’ll be able to better optimize your meta descriptions, page titles, headings, speed, and overall content structure.

Note:

  • A lot of app users don’t notice that this app’s free trial is for the premium plan, so if you subscribe to it, be ready to pay.
  • The free plan is available, but it includes only basic features. To get the most out of this plugin, you’ll need to get the premium plan.
  • Some users claim that they experienced problems with the app’s performance (e.g. they had to change a liquid theme code all the time; messed up a storefront.)
  • If the app is installed in your theme note, uninstalling it will make all the generated meta descriptions and titles disappear; broken links will no longer be tracked.
  • Plug-in SEO might be too confusing for novice web owners.

2. Smart SEO

According to Shopify, search engines will love the way Smart SEO automates your on-site SEO. Currently, this plugin has 271 positive reviews, but they’re growing every day.

Key Features:

  • Automatic generation of meta tags
  • Fast process of creating meta tags thanks to the use of templates
  • Boosting search results by providing ‘structured data’ to the search engines

How you can use it:

The creator of Smart SEO states that the app will save you up to 80% time spent on SEO. If you haven’t done any optimizations for your online store yet, you’ll find this plugin very useful. Plus, it’ll help you provide all the relevant information search engines need to rank your business.

Note:

  • If you have occurring error pop-ups while trying to install the app, contact the support immediately, they will set it up for you.
  • The app might be a bit complicated for inexperienced web owners, but in general, it’s very straightforward to use.
  • Press the “Add Integration” button on the Setup page to add Smart Seo code to your theme, and press the “Remove Integration button to remove the code from your theme. Don’t remove the code manually to avoid having a lot of code left behind.
  • The support team seems to be very helpful, so don’t hesitate to contact them and ask for advice if needed.

3. SEO Manager

The inventors of SEO Manager claim that it’s an SEO power tool that will help you rank higher, get found, sell more, and manage SEO in general. Plus, this plugin already has 1500+ reviews and offers a free trial.

Key Features:

  • Lets you not only implement SEO measures but also understand them
  • Provides a comprehensive SEO issues scan with suggestions on how to fix them
  • Offers real-time 404 repairs

How you can use it:

SEO Manager has more than 20 features, 15 of which are unique. It means that this app will help you optimize your store from A to Z. This plugin integrates with Google Search Console Analytics, Google Trends, and Google PageSpeed Insights. So, if you want to do everything right from the very beginning, the SEO Manager is the way to go.

Note:

  • There’re a few claims from users stating that the app inserts invalid JSON microdata.
  • Complete removal of the app involves a fresh install of the raw theme files.
  • SEO Manager is easy to use even for beginners.
  • Follow the install and uninstall instructions precisely to avoid a website crash.
  • The support team might take too long to reply to your requests.

4. SEO ‑ All in One & Auto SEO

According to its description, SEO – All in One & Auto SEO will help you find SEO problems, improve your store’s SEO, and as a result, sell more. As of now, 2800+ Shopify store owners are using it.

Key Features:

  • Includes advanced JSON+LD structured data
  • Provides complete SEO scan
  • Offers templates for meta tags

How you can use it:

After using SEO – All in One & Auto SEO for 4-6 months, you’ll notice that your store will have a higher rank on different search engines. Apart from that, you’ll also be able to monitor the performance of top keywords and social media shares. By integrating with Google’s Webmaster Tools, this plugin is all you need to keep your Shopify store’s SEO in good shape.

Note:

  • The app gives you a detailed description of what you have to fix and how, but you’d need to already know quite a few things about SEO to be able to fix them. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay more to get everything fixed.
  • It might be difficult to get in touch with the support team promptly.
  • The Dashboard might not seem too intuitive for newbies.

5. Kudobuzz SEO

If you’re a fan of automation, Kudobuzz SEO is perfect for you. Kudobuzz helps you gain more organic traffic with the help of SEO automation. Plus, it offers a free plan.

Key Features:

  • Automatically scans and fixes SEO issues
  • A premium option to use an SEO guru to help you fix the problems
  • A diagnosis report of the state of your SEO

How you can use it:

Concerned about your Shopify SEO? This app will scan your website from top to bottom and then will provide suggestions on how to resolve existing issues. Also, it gives you the option of ‘putting your SEO on autopilot’ emphasizing on-page SEO related problems.

Note:

  • Even though the app has a free trial, you’ll have to use a paid version if you want to see the results and have access to all the important features.
  • There’re a few claims from customers who had troubles trying to unsubscribe from the mailing list but kept receiving emails from the app regardless.
  • The autopilot feature doesn’t work as well as advertised.
  • If you don’t uninstall the app properly, it might mess up your inventory.

6. ReloadSEO

The makers of ReloadSEO claim it to be the all-in-one SEO tool for ecommerce. Whether you’re an SEO newbie or a pro, you’ll find ReloadSEO very useful.

Key Features:

  • Analyzes the content of your online store
  • Provides an AdWords assistance
  • Lets you research the best keywords in Shopify

How you can use it:

This plugin will suit everyone who wants to enhance the quality of their store’s content and rank it higher. Search for the best keywords, build the content around them, and optimize it in a matter of a few clicks. This is how you can get seen on Google asap.

Note:

  • The app is easy to install and use for beginners.
  • The character count is sometimes incorrect.
  • If you have any issues, contact the support team straight away, they’re claimed to be very responsive and helpful.
  • Remember that it might take some time to see the results after you install the app.

7. SEO Expert Pro ‑ SEO Tools

According to its creators, SEO Expert Pro helps Shopify store owners scan their Onpage issues and fix them straight away to boost organic traffic from Google.

Key Features:

  • Image SEO Tool for bulk image optimization
  • Lets you know whether your site is “mobile-friendly”
  • Offers JSON-LD for better storing of data

How you can use it:

If you’re looking for a complete Onpage SEO solution, this app is for you. It scans your site and identifies issues that you can quickly fix inside the plugin itself. Moreover, your product’s images will start ranking higher in Google Image Search thanks to the unique alt text this app generates. And if you enjoy reports as much as we do, SEO Expert Pro will send you an error report of the site directly to your inbox.

Note:

  • This app is good at analyzing your store’s SEO state, but the instructions on how to fix issues are a bit vague.
  • The app is straightforward to install and use.
  • The app is good for minor improvements, but you’d need to put more effort or add another plugin if you want to optimize your store as much as possible.

8. SEO Get Clicked! SEO Tools

This is the only app with educational video and weekly features updates. According to its inventors, this plugin will help you fix your site’s SEO issues in a matter of seconds.

Key Features:

  • Scans your online store and adds structured data to your website
  • Provides educational tutorials and guides
  • 404 Error Redirect Tool

How you can use it:

Do you want to get a higher click-through rate with the help of SEO? This plugin is exactly what you’re looking for. You can install it in just one click, no code needed. It will also help you stay on top of the latest SEO updates. Plus, you’ll always be able to improve your SEO skills while using this app.

Note:

  • It takes time to see SEO results, just like with any other app.
  • The customer service is claimed to be outstanding, so never hesitate to shoot them a message if you experience any issues.
  • The app provides in-depth guidelines for novice web store owners.

9. SEO Assistant by Buymaxx

This app is claimed to be very powerful thanks to the SEO automation it provides. It also lets you increase your rank in search results.

Key Features:

  • Offers an SEO Assistant Page 404 scanner
  • Automatic bulk editing of meta tags and alt tags

How you can use it:

This plugin is perfect for those who aim to optimize thousands of pages without applying any programming skills. It will bring your SEO automation to the next level saving you tons of precious time. It can be the personal digital assistant you’ve always dreamt of.

Note:

  • The app is easy to use, but you should be familiar with the SEO terminology to understand how to fix issues correctly.
  • Customer service is very efficient at helping users solve any unexpected issues.
  • It suits stores with a large number of products better.
  • If you’re a beginner, you might need more explanations to get used to the app.

10. Ultra SEO

According to its developers, Ultra SEO is simple, powerful, and smart. Moreover, it’s very reasonably priced and has already become very popular among Shopify store owners.

Key Features:

  • Gives you quick analytics and recommendations
  • Lets you optimize your store to look better in search engines results
  • Assists with keyword targeting

How you can use it:

This app will be best for those who haven’t been optimizing the meta tags regularly. Even though it seems like a trivial task, it’s one of the critical SEO aspects. Haven’t spent enough time on it? No worries, Ultra SEO will perfectly deal with this assignment.

Note:

  • The app is very straightforward, great for newbies.
  • The support team will be happy to help you resolve any issues.
  • Perfect for those who want to have everything done right from the first time.

What Is the Future of Ecommerce?

If you haven’t joined the ecommerce revolution yet, you probably don’t know that the number of online buyers is going to reach 2.14 billion by 2021.

Don’t want to miss out on the opportunity of your life? Then start embracing and implementing the emerging trends because the future of ecommerce is more exciting than ever.

Let’s see what it’s holding for online store owners and look closer into these 5 future ecommerce trends:

  1. Personalized approach
  2. B2B ecommerce
  3. Interactive product presentation
  4. AI bots
  5. More powerful content

Personalized Approach

If you want to sell something, engage with your customers. It was and will always be the most fundamental principle of the sales process, and ecommerce isn’t an exception. The only difference is that, unlike in a physical shop, you don’t need to talk face-to-face to potential customers. However, you still need to engage with them somehow.

How do you do that? Easy. You use data to create a personalized customer journey. Whether it’s an email that includes their name, or a pop-up that shows items they might want to buy, people love receiving customized suggestions.

As Matt Baglia, CEO of SlickText, states: “Shopify owners should not underestimate the negative impact of abandoned carts on their bottom line. The good thing is, abandoned cart rates are one of the easiest business problems to fix. By sending an abandoned cart text message, you can automate your marketing to recover revenue without having to manually follow up with shoppers. You can customize texts with a first name and even include a personalized link directly to their shopping cart so they can pick up right where they left off.

Surprisingly, 57% of online buyers don’t mind sharing their info with a brand, as long as it helps them receive better shopping experience. So, don’t be afraid to ask them for it. Connect your online store to a CRM and reap the benefits of data.

B2B Ecommerce

It’s not just about B2C brands anymore. B2B ecommerce sales are believed to reach $6.6 trillion by 2020. So, if you’re a B2B company owner, you better get ready to leverage all the upcoming trends, too.

B2B ecommerce will only be moving forward, and that’s a fact. Also, don’t forget to personalize the shopping experience of your B2B customers as well. According to a survey, 50% of B2B shoppers prefer personalization when looking for B2B partners.

If you own a B2B company, now is the perfect time to take advantage of this ecommerce trend and start scaling your business.

Interactive Product Presentation

It takes a lot of doubts, observations, and touches to decide on buying a particular product. And that’s one of the main obstacles online shops are facing.

Sometimes, pictures aren’t enough to persuade a customer to press ‘Buy.’ However, thanks to VR, AR, and 3D images, online stores can offer a more advanced product interaction to their buyers. All of these technologies let shoppers comfortably sit on the couch and add products to their shopping carts without the need to go to a physical store.

Want people to buy the stuff you sell? Give them more 3D images, cool product videos, and let them customize the products if possible. Online buyers love with their eyes, so provide them with something that won’t let them leave your page without placing an order.

AI Bots

Web robots are becoming a part of our daily life already, so it’s not surprising that they’re invading the ecommerce territory, too. And now we’re not talking about those state-of-the-art Japanese machines, but chatbots and artificial intelligence.

Both AI and chatbots can bring tremendous value to online stores. They can take care of the inventory, and various inquiries, letting you focus on more important business issues. Plus, these technologies are evolving every day and providing a lot of new ways to enhance the customer experience.

For example, Jeff Moriarty, Marketing Manager at Moriarty’s Gem Art, also adds: “I would tell myself to have started collecting emails through pop-ups when I first launched the site, instead of a year later. I could have had a much larger email list I have just invested a small amount of money showing pop-ups.

So, instead of exploiting human force to cover customer service needs, try using chatbots. They can answer tons of different questions about products and save your team a great amount of time.

More Powerful Content

We aren’t the first to state that content is still king. So, we’re just reminding you one more time how vital it is to create quality and engaging pieces of content.

Jeremy Ong, Founder at HUSTLR, agrees: “I would’ve focused on SEO and producing content related to my industry right off the bat. Build your team to be media-focused first, create amazing linkable content and outreach as much as possible to blogs and publications in the niche. I only realized this after discovering 50% of my revenue was driven by search in 2017 (which I was wrongly attributing to Facebook ads). Search now drives 70% of my store’s revenue. So, also definitely track traffic sources and set up eCommerce tracking with Google Analytics the right way.

As we already mentioned, it takes much more than just placing a “Buy” button on your online store to make customers choose your product. You need to give people a good reason to want to buy something from you.

Fill your store with informative articles that speak to your customers’ pain-points and provide possible solutions, and you’re already more likely to sell something. However, keep in mind that it’s also critical to pay attention to the results your content is showing. So, don’t just write for quantity. If you manage to make words work for you, they’ll start bringing you money.

Final Thoughts

SEO is like a magic ingredient that will help your online store climb up the search result rankings if you know how to make use of it. We tried to provide you with the essentials you need to succeed in Shopify. Remember that applying various plugins is one of them.

Of course, you’re not going to use all of the apps we mentioned, but if you’re a Shopify store owner, you need to choose one. It can help you boost the rankings and increase traffic. A Shopify app will not only make it easier for you to reach your goals faster, but also automate a lot of time-consuming processes. And we all know that time is money. So, don’t waste it and start improving your store’s SEO now.

If you want to succeed in the ecommerce industry, whether it’s B2C or B2B, you also have to keep track of the latest trends and implement them as soon as possible. The future of ecommerce is bright, don’t lose a chance to make it the same for you, too.

And if you have any concerns about the state of your SEO, you can always take a look at our service packages. We’ll be happy to take care of your store’s SEO and help you skyrocket your online business.

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