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Shopify SEO Tips: Push Shopify to its Limits!

Shopify, the plug-and-play eCommerce platform from Canada, has been growing at the rapid pace of around 86% year-over-year. Their Q3 2021 financial results(opens in a new tab) were nothing short of impressive too: their revenue grew to $1.1 billion (up 46% compared to Q3 20201 and their Gross Merchant Volume grew to $41.8 billion, (up 35% compared to Q3 2020).

And as we’re all aware, eCommerce spending has increased dramatically during the COVID pandemic, which Shopify has undoubtedly benefited from as they helped existing merchants sell more and helped new merchants start selling quickly. According to W3 Techs(opens in a new tab), Shopify is now the second most popular CMS (WordPress is still number one).

Shopify is booming, and meanwhile its (frustrating) lack of flexibility has been a topic of discussion in the SEO community. SEO Specialist Nick Wilsdon(opens in a new tab) has suggested on Twitter that Shopify should start focusing more on making the platform perform better in search, and their CEO Tobi Lutke(opens in a new tab) noted that 9 out of 10 recommendations SEOs make regarding Shopify are snake oil:

How can you improve your Shopify SEO?

Doing SEO on Shopify is very similar to doing SEO for any other platform. The same SEO best practices apply.

In a nutshell, all SEO success comes down to:

  1. Technology: making it easy for search engines to quickly find and easily understand your content.
  2. Relevance: creating content that satisfies your visitors, which – if done right – sends the correct signals to search engines so they can figure out what search queries your content needs to rank for.
  3. Authority & Trust: gaining high-authority and relevant links to your store.

So, what does it take to make your Shopify store rank well? Let’s dig in!

SEO checklist for a store’s technical foundation

As mentioned above, a strong technical foundation for a store lets search engines quickly find and easily understand your content.

Here are the most important elements that comprise that technical foundation:

  • URL structure
  • Managing URL redirects
  • Meta information
  • Headings
  • Site architecture and internal links
  • Crawling & indexing directives
  • Image optimization
  • Structured data
  • Page speed
  • Client-side Javascript

A quick note on responsive design and HTTPS

We hardly need to explain the importance of responsive design and using an SSL certificate to serve visitors well. But they are important from a search engine standpoint too, as both HTTPS (source(opens in a new tab)) and mobile-friendliness (source(opens in a new tab)) have been Google ranking factors for years now.

Oh, and some good news: all the 1,000+ themes offered by Shopify itself are fully responsive, and every Shopify subscription level includes an SSL certificate. If you’d like to double check whether your theme is fully responsive, check out Google’s mobile-friendliness test(opens in a new tab).

URL structure

A clear URL structure helps both visitors and search engines in navigating your site.

A URL is generally considered good if it’s:

  • descriptive and easy to read
  • brief
  • consistent
  • lowercase

Shopify’s URL structure is rigid; there’s not much you can change about it. Only the slug – the last part of a URL – can be modified.

Before we jump into the URL structure of the different content types, let’s first look at how people can reach your domain.

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