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Shopify SEO, two words that personally should not enter the same sentence in a positive light. That being said, I am stuck with a website which provides jobs for a team at a company I own and it’s firmly seated in the Shopify CMS.
Let’s say this now, I am not a fan of Shopify, not just because it’s not remotely SEO friendly, not because I think a whole host of companies are going to find themselves on the bad side of Google’s Core Vitals update. But because it’s inflexible, expensive and to its credit, irritatingly robust.
Yes, I said robust.
I hate that as a CMS it’s VERY robust. This means it doesn’t feel like you are operating a web-based business with sticking plasters and cable ties. Which admittedly is a regular sensation when dealing with WordPress sites.
With a 99.98% uptime, the threat of system downtime is practically non-existent with Shopify or Shopify Plus
So today’s op-ed, I am going to dive into 5 things I am finding success with, when it comes to optimising my Shopify store for ranking better.
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Shopify SEO and 5 Things You Can Do To Make It Work-ish
So we know Shopify rarely ever goes down, and that’s great for the stability of your business. Take it from someone who uses both Shopify and Woocommerce for business, that not being able to take payments sometimes, is a very real problem. In fact, when you update the Woocommerce database as you will learn when you use WordPress, it can nuke the entire site.
Not great. In fact, it seems the only thing that stays working is the web-chat. Which means streams of disgruntled online shoppers.
So, yes Shopify is good for that. But try outperforming online for search and you need to be the Delboy of the Internet to find long-enough-tail keywords to score well for.
This brings me to my 5 Shopify SEO tips that I think can bridge the gap, sufficient you can stop going completely grey over it all.
Tip 1 : Add Breadcrumbs to Shopify
Breadcrumbs are those little text links that sit generally to the top left of your browser just below the menu bar on a website. They are placed in the golden square to help user’s on mobile navigate back to a main group or collection of pages.
But it isn’t just web users who can make use of them, they also show a hierarchy on your website to Google. This hierarchy or information architecture of collections and products is MASSIVELY lacking on Shopify. You can see people talking about as an issue on their forums half a decade ago.
So why does all this matter?
Poor site structure sends a message that the user experience and navigation of the site will not give the visitor the best of times. This may be a big factor or a small factor. But as a reference point, our better-organised sites on Woocommerce platforms, with far lower Domain Authority, often outperform our Shopify SEO lagging site.
Why breadcrumbs can help with optimisation is that they tell Google you have an order for your collections and it may help to ease cannibalisation issues, but it also creates an internal link on a page going back to a higher level collection.
So, if you have 20 products from Brand A, with breadcrumbs, you now have 20 supporting pieces of page content linking back to that collection. You are showing better UX, a hierarchy and strong internal linking signals, so this page is shown in the search results. Or at least that’s the theory. Either way, it’s better than crying about Shopify SEO.
Tip 2 : Make a Shopify Silo
So one method that works similar to breadcrumbs is to weave in a network of closely grouped pages that support one another and show a body of content relevant to a key topic.
We did this recently with a UK brand of product that is a long tail target for us. Every product in the first word of their description linked back to the collection, and in the text we recommended the review of that also. The review linked out only to one product and the collection.
While we linked each product to the next product within that group. This is not necessarily the perfect way, but we did this as this theme didn’t have the ideal breadcrumbs structure.
The goal here is to make sure the RIGHT page ranks for the key topic and not a product in it, like ours was showing.
By having lots of internal links pointing to a collection page that has relatively low keyword difficulty, our goal is to appear the best organised and most in-depth group of content for that brand online. Here’s the tips video to what we were doing. Or you can scroll to the bottom to watch it.
Edit: Within 2 days we had seen our ranking move onto page 1 of Google
Tip 3 : Speed Kills Your Shopify SEO Work
I have said this a dozen times, fast load times mean better user experience and therefore USUALLY better ranking. If you want to speed up your site, first you need to know what you are up against.
1. Visit Pingdom and do a speed test. Here’s there link: https://tools.pingdom.com
2. Visit Page Speed Insights and see how your performance scores in the eyes of Google. I added a link to that in this great piece I wrote on beginning in e-com:
Now you know what you are up against, you should start by seeing what apps that you have loaded you can do without, which I know is an irritating thing to hear, but you will find you can recreate the functionality in much simpler ways often. For a start, make your own version using code. Then you can stop paying an app company every month and you can place the minified code only on the pages that need it.
This is because most apps run on every page even if you don’t use them there.
Now, have a look at your theme liquid file, how much white space is there? I bet a lot.
Get yourself on People Per Hour or Upwork, or even better, Storetasker and find a dev to ‘Uglify’ the code. Without going into huge depth, uglifying code makes it super compressed. When one of Google’s ranking metrics is ‘Text to Code’ ratio, you will make your text percentage higher, if your code is slimmer.
For a really great lowdown on uglifying code, there is a conversation on it over at Quora
Doing this will improve your page performance load time, which speeds up your site, but also increases your text ratio. DOUBLE WIN in the Shopify SEO battle.
Tip 4 | Go Long
Let’s face it, if you are a behemoth of a company and nailing the big terms, sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees. In this case, hunt for the long tail versions of your targeted keywords. This means, target the more specific phrases that shoppers or service hunters type in, to find a product they want to buy.
If you sell a really specific brand of soap, make your Shopify SEO strategy to target that brand, and that product, not just soap.
In fact, care less about targeting soap, as the truth is, ‘soap’ is such a broad term, what you have may not be what 90% of those shoppers want.
So if the long tail version, which will be infinitely easier to target is only 5% of the traffic, it may still have a far higher conversion rate.
For every 1000 people that land on an e-com site, about 3-4% convert. If you focus on long-tail, you could see a conversion rate in the 30s of percentage.
Neil Patel, an online expert, states:
“…long-tail keywords have on average up to 36% conversion rates.”
So the long tail is the path less travelled. It is less competitive but converts higher. So you can afford to target the 100-200 visits a month topics as they will convert just the same almost as a 2000 visits term.
So our number 4 Shopify SEO tip is ‘Go, Long’.
Tip 5 | Don’t forget the schema
Schema is a piece of HTML language that sits on a template in your back end. It’s easy to add, I will show you in an upcoming video, and it explains to Google more rich data for what the page is about.
You know when you scroll through the results page on a search platform and you see things like the image above? Well, that is a richer looking result because we added FAQ schema to the template of the page. Google doesn’t guarantee it will show it every time, but if you have it, you take up more screen estate and improve your chances of being clicked.
The more you get clicked, the higher you may end up ranking as you look like you offer a more favourable experience to browsers.
If you want help implementing any of the things I spoke about, contact us here or jump on one of my Free 10-minute discovery calls to help with your Shopify SEO amongst other areas.
And now for your Shopify SEO Feature Length Movie…
Here’s how I added a silo to improve Shopify SEO on an e-com site. Enjoy.
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