Shopify SEO: the ultimate guide

Shopify SEO: the ultimate guide

Shopify has become the leading online shopping platform in just a few years. It has become an anti-Amazon, helping small and large retailers worldwide run successful online stores with minimal effort. Although Shopify makes everything easy, there’s a lot you can do to improve the SEO of your online shop. In this Shopify SEO ultimate guide, we’ll help you get on the right track by giving you many tips and tricks. In addition, we’ll tell you the best SEO app for Shopify, and we have a Shopify SEO checklist for you!

Table of contents

Introduction

Launching an online store has become increasingly popular due to several economic and technological trends driving growth. The e-commerce market has been growing steadily, and with increased accessibility to the internet, entrepreneurs can connect with a broader global audience and start businesses from anywhere. The low cost of starting and operating an online store makes it easier for small business owners or start-ups to enter the market.

Advancements in e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Adobe Commerce have made launching an online store easy. The platforms simplified managing store operations and enabled businesses to conduct digital marketing campaigns. A couple of years ago, the global pandemic further accelerated the shift to online shopping. The trend is expected to continue as e-commerce businesses evolve and adapt to changing consumer behavior and technologies.

One of the most apparent successes in the meteoric rise of online shopping is Shopify. With the following SEO tips for Shopify, you can also benefit from that rise.


Yoast SEO for Shopify

Want to outclass your competitors and boost your Shopify store’s organic traffic? Yoast SEO for Shopify has everything you need, from creating top-notch content to making your products eligible for rich results in Google. Our 24/7 support team and valuable SEO courses will ensure you stay ahead of the curve.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an online tool that helps you easily build and maintain an online store. It is a managed platform, meaning the software is hosted on their servers, so you won’t need separate hosting. Shopify will take care of all of this for you. You take out a subscription to use it to build your online shop. Currently, Shopify has several plans:

  • The Basic Shopify plan starts at $39 per month.
  • The Shopify plan is $105.
  • While the Advanced Shopify plan is $399.
  • In addition, there’s also the enterprise-grade Shopify Plus plan.

The differences between the plans consist of having more options or different discounts on various costs. For instance, you’ll get better shipping rates and lower payment costs. The most significant difference is the selling internationally section: only the higher plans let you set up an international domain and specific pricing for these countries. Also, the basic plan does not come with reporting options.

Remember that paying yearly will save you 25% on the subscription costs.

the homepage of the popular ecommerce platform shopify
Get your store online in no time with Shopify, and follow the SEO tips in this ultimate guide to get started

What is Shopify SEO?

While Shopify helps you set up everything correctly from the start, there are some things to consider when considering SEO. As with all content management systems, you must optimize your store to ensure it performs well for customers and search engines.

With Shopify SEO, you’re building a technically sound store that is tuned to what potential customers are looking for. You will use Shopify SEO in such a way that you build a much better solution than what your competitors are doing. You use research to find out what customers need, and you use the power of high-quality content to draw people in.

The Shopify SEO tips also have to do with what you do to market your store in other places — both online and offline. At Yoast, we practice holistic SEO and advise you to do the same — it’s the only way to get sustainable results.


Shopify SEO tips in a handy checklist

This is a pretty epic Shopify SEO article, and we can imagine it is hard to keep track of all the great tips. Luckily, we put all the main tips in a handy little Shopify SEO checklist. Download the pdf and get started on the SEO of your Shopify store!

Does Shopify have good SEO?

Shopify ensures you set up your store quickly, and customers and search engines can reach it. Shopify already has some basic SEO features, and you can use SEO apps such as Yoast SEO for Shopify for a lot of the other tasks. Of course, this being a closed platform, your control over SEO is limited to what the developers of Shopify allow.

For instance, you have to use the built-in URL structure and a system to manage your products in so-called collections, but these can be suboptimal and might cause duplicate content issues. In the rest of this guide, we will go through the SEO basics you need to cover and how Shopify and Yoast SEO for Shopify can help you.

What are the biggest SEO issues with Shopify?

Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms out there. It does most things reasonably well, and with some finetuning and care, it’s a solid platform to build your online store.

Most SEO issues with Shopify arise from its handling of different products and their variants. Shopify products can live in multiple places/URLs in your online store, and that can confuse search engines. Luckily, Shopify adds canonical URLs to signal to search engines that the one in the /products/ section is canonical. Unfortunately, you cannot do much about this, but be aware of the limitations.

Another area people could improve is Shopify’s rigid URL structure. It uses a system based on subfolders, making for unnecessary long URLs. For instance, you can find the contact page on a regular site on example.com/contact/, but on a Shopify store, that’s always example.com/pages/contact. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about this.

Shopify is listening to its community and has begun to roll out several improvements that make it even more attractive as an ecommerce platform. Let’s hope they keep their focus and help you get the best results with your store. In the meantime, Shopify SEO apps like Yoast SEO for Shopify and the tips and checklists in ultimate guides like the one you are reading now help alleviate the various issues.

What is the best SEO app for Shopify?

Shopify is extendable, and you can choose from a broad selection of apps that help you improve your store. Some apps help ship your products, design your store, and offer customer services. Too many to choose from! Of course, there are also some SEO apps to take note of.

Some apps help you optimize images, others help with Schema structured data, and there are all-in-one SEO suites. The best one? We’re biased, but we think Yoast SEO for Shopify stands out from the competition.

Yoast SEO for Shopify: Your Shopify SEO expert

WordPress fans have enjoyed using Yoast SEO for more than a decade — it’s the most popular SEO plugin for a reason! Yoast SEO is for SEO experts by SEO experts. But we didn’t make it for experts only. We’ve made SEO accessible so everyone working with WordPress can use Yoast SEO and get a fair chance in the search results. Over 13 million websites trust Yoast SEO, and our WordPress SEO app has over 25,000 five-star reviews on wordpress.org. Now, Yoast SEO is also available for Shopify. We’re ready to help shop owners get more out of their stores.

Yoast SEO for Shopify helps store owners improve their site technically and comes with an advanced SEO and readability analysis. The app will suggest improvements to your product page descriptions, helping you create the best product descriptions.

These analyses also work on your Shopify blog. Content marketing plays a massive role in getting your store noticed on Google. The Yoast SEO for Shopify app helps you write high-quality, readable content that resonates with potential customers.

Yoast SEO for Shopify helps you write awesome product descriptions that serve both customers and search engines
The best structured data for your Shopify store

To enhance your Shopify store’s organic traffic, it’s crucial to capitalize on the benefits of rich results, which increase search visibility and edge out competitors. Yoast SEO provides rich structured data/Schema.org output in JSON-LD format, supporting various types such as Product, Organization, WebSite, WebPage, BreadcrumbList, Article, and Offer. Yoast SEO also ties all its structured data together in a single graph, which helps search engines understand your store.

Additionally, Yoast SEO has integrated with the popular Shopify review apps Judge.me, Loox, Ali review, and Opinew, to generate the necessary AggregateRating schema to show your reviews in Google. Furthermore, the Yoast SEO breadcrumb block can conveniently be added to Shopify themes v2.0 to increase your store’s structured data and help boost its organic traffic.

Of course, that’s only part of what the SEO app does. Be sure to check out the product page for Yoast SEO for Shopify or the Shopify SEO app store listing to find out more. In addition to the app, our SEO content gives you all the knowledge, tips, and tricks you need to make the most out of your Shopify SEO.

Read more: How to become a Shopify expert »

SEO basics for Shopify

Shopify is an excellent platform to host your online shop, but there’s a lot you can do to make it perform even better. SEO can help you get your store noticed on Google and other platforms while making it more attractive to potential customers. In this guide to Shopify SEO, we’ll give you loads of tips — and a checklist — to make your ecommerce site successful.

Define who you are and what you stand for

To kick things off, we need you to think about who you are. Why does your business exist, and why do you need people to visit your store and buy your products? What makes you stand out from the competition? If everyone sells the same products, what would be your number one reason for people to come to you?

Define a mission for your store. A mission is an effective way of explaining what you have in your head. It provides a line that you can connect to your values and principles. You can use your mission as input for your online store’s SEO and marketing strategy. We have a post explaining exactly what you need to do to define a good mission and what to do with it.

shopify online store death wish coffee has a a good mission. "Rebellious by nature: live with a death wish"
Branding and storytelling are essential — so is having a mission!

Start with keyword research for your store

SEO for your Shopify store must start with keyword research. Keyword research for online stores produces a list of terms you want your products, services, or store to be found. It will also give you insights into your audience, which words they use, which solutions they prefer, and how they behave. If you do it well, you can instantly fill in your SEO strategy for your Shopify site.

Various tools out there can help you get those insights quickly. You could use Google Trends, Answer the Public, or more professional tools like Ahrefs and Semrush — Yoast SEO for Shopify even integrates with Semrush. You can even use generative AI tools like OpenAI ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot, or Google Gemini to inspire you.

Do thorough research and find out which terms are used most often. Find out what people usually search for and which phrases have search volume that you might aim for. Remember that trying to aim for the most popular head terms only might not make the most sense — try to aim for more long-tail keywords that still attract traffic.

It would help if you also looked at the different search intents around your products or services. No one goes from not needing something to buying it in the next second. The buyer journey has a number of steps, and you need to provide content for those steps.

Look at what the competition is doing

When doing keyword research, you must also see what your competition is doing. There are a ton of competitors operating in every niche you can imagine. Whenever you are looking at entering a market — or growing your piece of the pie — you must look at the competition. Who are they? What do they stand for? What’s their offering? Their prices? Service? How do they talk about the product? Who are they targeting, and by which terms do they do that?

Looking at your competitors gives you an idea of who to beat. You might find a weakness in their store or a strategy you might use. Or, you can find something that inspires you to work from. Please look at their content; are they writing thoroughly and with expertise about the product? Is that something you can improve on?

Write unique and high-quality product descriptions

Together with product photography, product descriptions are the life and blood of your online store. With good product descriptions, customers can get a good feel for a product without having it in hand. The problem is many online shops count on the descriptions manufacturers supply to stores. You can probably guess what that means: the same descriptions litter the web, causing duplicate content issues.

Writing your product descriptions can help you establish trust with the consumer. Having your content in your own words makes you more unique and lets you stand out from the crowd. Do keyword research for the products to determine which terms your consumers use. Use those terms in your descriptions and craft a compelling piece of content from that. Incorporate the details from the manufacturer, like SKU and product titles, but don’t rely on their descriptions.

7 tips to write better product descriptions

Writing excellent product descriptions is crucial for online stores as it can significantly impact the products’ success in driving sales. Here are some expert tips on how to write product descriptions that will help you attract customers and make money:

  1. Know your target audience: Before writing any product description, understand your target audience’s needs and preferences. Compile a consistently elaborate and compelling answer to the three core questions: “What is the problem?” “How will my product solve this?” and “What will you get by buying this?”
  2. Focus on benefits: Emphasize the products’ benefits rather than just their features. Benefits tell customers what they stand to gain from buying your product, while features describe what the product does.
  3. Use sensory language: Use descriptive language to paint a picture of what the product looks, feels, smells, or tastes like. Invoking the sensory love of your target audience enhances their chances of making a purchasing decision, which is crucial for converting visitors to buyers.
  4. Keep it short and skimmable: Online shoppers bounce between different tabs or windows. Make your product descriptions short but informative and easy to scan so that they can be quickly absorbed. But don’t make it too short! The text has to have a certain heft to it.
  5. Optimize for SEO: Be intentional about your keywords, headlines, and subheadings to ensure your product descriptions are optimized for search engines. Include descriptive terms to make it easy for potential customers to find your products.
  6. Address pain points: Mention common pain points that the product can solve so that the product description speaks to your customer’s pain and provides them with a solution.
  7. Use social proof: Including reviews or testimonials from happy customers can increase the credibility of your product’s quality and effectiveness, increasing the likelihood of purchases.

By implementing these expert tips, you can create persuasive product descriptions that drive conversions and attract customers, increasing sales and revenue. We have more tips on improving your product descriptions in your online store in general and an article on how to do that, specifically in Shopify.

Helping you improve your product descriptions is one of the standout features of Yoast SEO for Shopify. The app gives you suggestions while writing your descriptions and tips to help you improve both readability and SEO.

Taylor Stitch gives you everything you need to know about a product on one screen

Keep reading: Product identifiers like SKU and GTIN are essential for ecommerce SEO »

Write great titles and meta descriptions

Just as your product descriptions should be excellent, your titles and meta descriptions should also be epic. Title and meta descriptions are essential aspects that you can focus on to improve Shopify’s SEO. Use your keywords tactically and write something enticing those consumers want to click.

Shopify automatically generates titles and meta descriptions based on a straightforward template. You can edit your products’ titles, meta descriptions, blog posts, pages, collections, and general site settings.

Go to a specific page and open the search engine listing preview in Shopify. Add a title and meta description for the search results pages here. These differ from the regular titles and descriptions, as these are specifically meant for the search results. You might have a specific title visible on your store and choose something else to show on the search results pages.

Quickly edit the information that will show up on the search results pages

You can edit these in Shopify, but Yoast SEO for Shopify makes this process much more manageable. This SEO app comes with the incredible power of variables. Using variables, you can automatically generate part of the title and the meta description based on your settings. Of course, it’s always better to write both yourself, but this allows you to automate some parts, which can be helpful when you have many products.

How to create SEO-friendly URLs in Shopify

SEO-friendly URLs are easy to read, relatively short, and consistent. Unfortunately, Shopify is inflexible, and there is little wiggle room to improve your URL structure. If you sell ugly Christmas sweaters, your Shopify collection URL looks like this:

https://example.com/collections/ugly-christmas-sweaters

The only thing you can change in this setup is the last part. Many people feel that there should be a way to have Shopify give more control over the rest.

Fix your site structure with internal linking and proper navigation

One of the most impactful tips to improve your Shopify SEO is fine-tuning your site structure and navigation. The more logical your site is, the better and easier customers and search engines like Google can navigate it and find what they need.

Your site structure should follow a logical path, and your collection system in Shopify should make sense. Please keep it simple. You can see collections as categories, so use the collections to keep customers from having trouble understanding your site. It’s also nice if they don’t have to wade through a million products to find what they need. Make sure to give the collection overview pages the love they need. At the least, give these a proper description.

Internal linking helps you give the most critical pages proper weight. By linking to your product pages from various parts of your online shop, you signal to search engines that these are important. With proper anchor texts, you can identify the destination and tell search engines in words what to expect from that link. All of this helps search engines understand your site.

For your navigation, keep it as straightforward as possible. Use recognizable terms and destinations; your menu should describe where a click would lead. Contact us says a lot more than Touch base, right?

Your most important pages should appear in your navigation. While the age-old three-click rule for navigating to all the pages on your site was debunked quite a while ago, there’s still a lot to be said for keeping everything within reach. Your most important pages should be accessible without digging for them.

Make products findable with an XML sitemap

XML sitemaps are like maps detailing all the routes to the different parts of your website. Search engines use sitemaps to discover new and updated content. This also applies to your online shop. Shopify will automatically generate an XML sitemap based on your site structure. Your Shopify XML sitemap will include product pages, collections, blog posts, and pages.

You can find your sitemap at the following URL, with example.com being your domain, of course:

https://example.com/sitemap.xml

There’s a set limit for XML sitemaps of 50.000 URLs. As many sites have more than that, they will generate sub-sitemaps with fewer URLs. The Shopify sitemap, for instance, can contain up to 5.000 URLs, after which the platform breaks these up into smaller parts. This also has the added benefit of speeding up the loading times of these sitemaps.

To a certain extent, Yoast SEO for Shopify lets you control what appears in your XML sitemap. For instance, you can add a noindex to determine that a specific page or post won’t appear in the search results. You can also decide whether archive pages should or should not appear in the XML sitemaps. For the most part, though, your out-of-the-box settings will be good enough. But if you want to tailor your crawling, you can.

the advanced settings help Yoast SEO for Shopify set up what goes into the XML sitemap
Yoast SEO for Shopify helps you determine what does and doesn’t appear on Google

Don’t add a bunch of Shopify apps you won’t use

While trying out every Shopify app under the sun is exciting, keep yourself in check. Many apps are bulky and heavy on JavaScript. Adding many apps will add much extra code to your store, as everything must be constantly loaded. One of the most crucial performance improvements you can make is to keep the number of apps low. Think about what you need for your store, pick the best apps that do that job, and remove the rest.

Properly working with images on your store to improve Shopify SEO

Images are an essential asset for every online store. Customers can only get a good feel for the product with great photos. But you need to offer all those images in the best way. Optimizing your images is one of the best and quickest tips to improve your Shopify SEO.

The importance of good product images

Good product images make it clear what a product is all about. It helps consumers view products from all angles without having the product in their hands. Product images need to be good, as they are one of the main drivers of conversion. Good photos also can catch the eye of the shopper. Great photos stand out in visual search engines like Google Images, Instagram, or Pinterest. So what should you look for?

  1. Use high-quality images: Use high-resolution images that are clear and visually appealing. This will highlight your product features and attract customers to your website.
  2. Use consistent image sizes: Maintaining image consistency throughout your website will give your store a more professional look and make it easier for customers to compare products.
  3. Use multiple images: Use multiple images to show different angles of the product, including close-ups of essential features, which will help customers easily understand the product.
  4. Develop lifestyle images: Contextual lifestyle images, such as images of people using your product, will help customers visualize how they might use it.
  5. Optimize your images: Optimize images for faster loading times, improving your website loading speed and preventing customers from leaving before seeing your products. Shopify automatically optimizes images for the online store.
  6. Consider getting professional help: Work with a professional photographer or graphic designer to create high-quality images to make your products stand out and attract more customers.

Optimize the file sizes

One of the essential tips to improve the SEO of your Shopify store is optimizing your images. It’s also something everyone can do — whether you are a seasoned ecommerce SEO expert or just starting. Optimizing your images, compressing them, and giving them proper names helps!

Average product pages have around five or more images. If these product photos are enormous, high-res files, your product page’s loading times will increase. You need to keep your file sizes in check. There’s no need to upload 3MB photographs. Be sure to size them and run them through an optimizer properly. You can find several tools in the Shopify App Store to help you do this.

When uploading, Shopify already compresses images, but not to a massive extent. In addition, Shopify automatically converts your images to the next-gen WebP image format and serves those smaller files to browsers that support these.

Optimize your images before you upload these to Shopify. If you already have them uploaded to Shopify, you can use an app to fix them. Compressing thousands of images is tedious, and there are better ways to spend your time than going through them individually.

Luckily, some tools can help you speed this up. The Shopify App Store has multiple apps that compress and optimize your photos. You could try Crush.pics to get started.

Lazy loading images

Another effective way to improve the loading times of your images is by lazy loading them. With lazy loading, the images will only load once they appear on the screen. Of course, you should always load all your images, as you want the images at the top of your browser window to always be visible. For the rest, lazy loading is a good choice.

While Shopify does some lazy loading by default, you might have to check if your theme has incorporated it. In the past, you needed to use JavaScript libraries to get this done. Today, you don’t have to use those for lazy loading — use native lazy loading. This works in almost all major browsers.

<img src="screenshot.jpg" loading="lazy">

Preventing CLS

While at it, check if your theme enforces width and height attributes on img tags. This helps avoid cumulative layout shift (CLS), one of Google’s metrics to determine your Core Web Vitals scores. CLS happens when elements move around during loading because image boundaries haven’t been defined. This causes jerkiness, and that’s a sign that your user experience is lacking for Google. You can try this by running your online store through Google’s page quality checks at web.dev/measure. You can also learn why and how to optimize your site for CLS on that site.

<img alt="screenshot" src="screenshot.jpg" width="100" height="200">

<img
  alt="{{ image.alt }}"
  src="{{ image.src }}"
  width="{{ image.width }}"
  height="{{ image.height }}"
>

Many sites still have visual elements that can use a proper width and height specification to prevent CLS

Add alt text and good file names

Alt text is crucial for both SEO and web accessibility, and there are essential tips to follow when writing them for your product images. Firstly, it’s vital to be descriptive in the alt tag and clearly and concisely describe the product’s features, manufacturer, and model number. Additionally, including relevant keywords in the tag can improve your website’s visibility in SERPs and drive more traffic to your site. However, avoiding keyword stuffing and keeping the tag short is essential. Lastly, you should always follow best practices for accessibility, ensuring that the alt tag is descriptive and accurate and can be used by screen readers to describe the image to people with visual impairments.

an example of an alt text added within Shopify images
You can add an alt text in Shopify’s media editor

File names also help Google understand your image. Suppose your file name is DSC37612.jpg, which says nothing about what the image contains. Add something useful. For example, if you sell iPhones and the photo shows a close-up of the back camera of an iPhone 15, you can give the file a name like this: iphone_15_back_camera_closeup.jpg. You see this, and you know right away what the image contains. Try to add relevant keywords as well if it makes sense.

Just as with the proper compression of images, give your pictures an appropriate file name before uploading them to Shopify, as it’s hard to fix once they’ve been uploaded. Of course, you can also delete the image you’ve already uploaded and re-upload the proper one.

Can you create a blog on Shopify?

You can create a blog on Shopify quite easily. Compared to WordPress, Shopify has a basic blogging engine that functions appropriately, and you can get started without much effort. Blogging on your ecommerce store can be an excellent way to enhance your SEO strategy as you try to reach an audience via search engines. It’s a beautiful way to offer customers more insights into your products and company.

Starting a blog on Shopify is very easy. Open your online store and navigate to blog posts in the sidebar. You can add a blog post from here by clicking the green button. By default, Shopify has a blog called News, but you can change that to anything you want. You could also run several blogs side-by-side. If you need help setting up your blog, we have a more detailed post about adding a blog to your Shopify store. Check it out!

If you have Yoast SEO for Shopify installed, there’s another way to improve your blog posts. Click Apps > Yoast SEO, and you’ll see an overview of all your products, collections, pages, and blog posts ready for you to optimize. Open the post you choose to edit, and you’ll get the full Yoast SEO readability analysis and SEO analysis. You can manage everything, from crawling directives for search engines to defining the proper article structured data.

the screen of Yoast SEO for Shopify where you edit the product content
Optimizing your store with Yoast SEO for Shopify it get noticed by Google

Is blogging good for my Shopify store?

Blogging can be a good asset for your Shopify SEO strategy. For many fledgling stores, growth mainly comes from paid ads. Focusing on content marketing through a blog allows you to expand your reach and form a connection with your customers. But, as with everything, it depends on how you use it. Don’t go at it randomly; you need to strategize.

First, you have to determine the goal of your blog. Do you want to reach new customers, build your brand, form a bond with your current customers, or do something else? What type of content would you want to share — or, instead, what content resonates with your customers? Think about how the user might find you — in other words, map out the user journey. And don’t forget about keyword research! Use those insights to build a content strategy for your Shopify store.

When you have a strategy, you can build the blog content on your store. Use cornerstone content as a basis and add articles supporting that main content, so you can fully describe your topic from all angles — and connect everything by proper internal linking. Be sure to write high-quality, unique content that comes across as trustworthy and authoritative.

Blog on WordPress or Shopify?

WordPress is the king of blogs, while Shopify has a basic but competent blogging feature. Wouldn’t you use WordPress to build a blog and tie it into your Shopify store? While WordPress does give you more tools to create a perfect blog, combining these two is probably not worth the hassle. You would be running WordPress on a subdomain, which isn’t always the best option. Unless you have particular hard-core needs, the ease of using the built-in blogging tool in Shopify makes a lot of sense for most people.

You can integrate your Shopify store with external plugins if you already have an excellent WordPress site. This makes handling your store different from how you would typically do it. Primarily, if you use any third-party apps, many of these won’t function correctly in this manner due to the limitations of the Shopify API. You can use Yoast SEO on WordPress and Shopify to optimize your store and site.

Another option to effortlessly integrate ecommerce functionality into your WordPress site using Shopify is the Shopify Buy Button feature. With this feature, you can quickly sell products on your WordPress site for $5 per month.


Yoast SEO for Shopify

Get more organic traffic by creating the best product and blog content. Make your products eligible for rich results in Google. Plus, you’ll get access to our top-notch SEO courses and fantastic support team (24/7). Check out the Yoast SEO for Shopify product page, or get the app now!

How to pick a good Shopify theme

Your theme is an essential part of your online shop. Your chosen theme influences many things — from branding to user experience to conversions. Everything depends on how awesome your Shopify theme is. Luckily, there’s ample choice in the Shopify Theme Store, and many of these should function perfectly fine for your store.

Let’s go over a couple of things you should look out for when choosing a theme:

  • Determine what you want and need: Will you run a store with a single product or a theme that can handle thousands or more? The theme store has a handy selection of themes for stores with large and small catalogs. What type of design do you need? What options do you need?
  • Figure out your budget: Themes in the Shopify theme store run from free to a one-time payment of a couple hundred dollars. Check what you are willing to spend. Free works for some, but then you hardly get support from the developer. Paid themes often come with more options and tend to be better built.
  • Check the themes in the marketplace: Quite a few themes are available. Shopify has even structured these into several collections, such as catalog size or the type of industry, such as clothing or electronics. You can filter on different properties, like features you need for the product pages or what’s available on a shop’s homepage. Now, almost 200 themes are available in the Shopify Theme Store.
  • Read the reviews: You are probably not the first to pick a theme, so it’s a good idea to read the reviews of people who worked with it.
  • Check the support the developer offers: Every theme comes with documentation and support, but the level and quality of support differ from developer to developer. Read the documentation and check around. Don’t be afraid to ask your questions.
  • Ensure the Shopify theme is lean and mean: Many themes want everything and appeal to every store owner. But that means that there’s bound to be stuff built in that you don’t need. Keep in mind that all those features come at a price. Try to find a theme that has low overhead and loads lightning fast.
  • You can try the demos and check out other stores that run the theme: The Shopify theme store offers demos for all the themes, and you’ll need to check these out. Also, Shopify provides examples of stores that run the specific theme you are looking at. It’s a good idea to closely examine those online stores and run them through their paces. For instance, run a performance test on web.dev/Measure and see how they do. You’d be surprised at the results.
  • Check mobile-friendliness: As consumers increasingly use their mobile devices to shop, your online shop must function correctly. Again, the theme store allows you to see a mobile view of the theme.
  • Test the user experience: The Shopify theme store also gives you a good idea of how users might experience the store. Click around, see the various layouts, and check how images load, how the animations work, the structure of the menu, and how it all feels. You can also try out the theme on your store to get an even better sense of how the theme feels and performs.
  • Pay extra attention to the shopping cart: Does it feel like it wants customers to move through the process as quickly as possible? Or are there elements that take away focus? Are there other distractions? Is there room to expand the basic cart with upsells/cross-sells, promotions, and the like? Test your cart to see if you can reduce shopping cart abandonment rates.
An example of a Shopify theme in the Theme Store
An example of a Shopify theme in the Theme Store

For total control, build your own Shopify theme

Having your own Shopify theme built might not be something you start with, but it offers many opportunities to take your store to the next level. With a self-built theme, you are in control, and you get to define what it looks like, what it needs, and how it functions. You can make it as lean or as complex as possible.

Building your theme is a good idea if you reach the limits of what’s possible with a pre-built theme. Only so much customization is possible in an existing theme — both in a technical and design sense. You have much more control over the conversion optimization options if you do it yourself.

Building your theme is quite complex, and you must consider what you want and need. It would help if you planned to ensure you avoid issues later. Of course, it’s possible to go into the nitty-gritty yourself, but there are also agencies out there that can help you get this done. The developer section of Shopify has ample documentation to help you learn more about building and adapting store themes.

Technical SEO for Shopify

Much of what you should focus on for Shopify SEO in your day-to-day activities is content-focused. You are working on your product descriptions and content marketing, and you won’t be rebuilding your theme every day. Still, there are several things you can do to improve your Shopify store in a technical SEO sense. Let’s go over a couple of highlights.

Optimize your Shopify store for speed

As a managed platform, Shopify works hard to provide users with a speedy experience. Shopify focuses heavily on speed to help customers quickly improve those all-important loading times. Fast converts!

If your store loads slowly, customers will leave it and try a competitor. Luckily, Shopify has performance high on the list of priorities. For instance, it has an automatic content delivery network (CDN) for hosting your content on servers near your customers. In addition, it has a performance report that gives you insights into how well your store is performing regarding loading speed. For this, Shopify uses Lighthouse to get real-world results on your store’s performance.

While Shopify provides a good platform by default, there are other things you can do to speed up your online store. For one, you should pick a highly optimized, lightweight theme — or get one built based on your specifications. Ensure that you properly optimize images on your site and take care not to use too many photos. Discard those sliders — nobody uses these anyway — and don’t install tens of apps you hardly use.

an example of a Lighthouse test run in Chrome from Shopify store
Regularly running a Lighthouse test gives you great insights into the performance of your Shopify store

How to prevent duplicate content in your Shopify store

We’re talking about duplicate content when a product or content appears on multiple URLs. This is not ideal, as Google might need clarification about the main one. Therefore, duplicate content can hinder your search performance.

Thanks to Shopify’s preference for collections, a specific product you add to a collection will be visible on two different URLs:

https://example.com/products/alien-ugly-christmas-sweater

and:

https://example.com/collections/ugly-christmas-sweaters/alien-ugly-christmas-sweater

Not ideal! Luckily, the second one is canonicalized to the first one, but this causes a headache. Recent themes, like the Dawn Shopify theme, have improved and now automatically output the correct URL.

Working with product variants

Shopify works well with product variants like sizes or colors. You have plenty of options to make different combinations of whatever you like. The thing with variants is that it’s hard to get them to show in Google properly. You might not need that depending on your needs, but if you want the different variants of products to be indexed, you might be better off turning your variants into individual products.

Of course, you must provide sufficiently different product descriptions for each to appear individually in Google.

Faceted navigation or product filters

Shopify has only a handful of filtering options for your online store—no Amazon-style mega menu for you! Luckily, there are ways to add more filters to your navigation. There are two options: add your custom filters if you use an Online Store 2.0 compatible theme or add an app to manage them.

The first option is relatively straightforward but might be limited, while the second option opens up a world of possibilities. Product filter apps give you more control over how you want to categorize and visualize the faceted navigation. They also come with intelligent options that make it easier to load filters based on loads of variables dynamically.

Whatever you pick, ensure that the parameters generated by the faceted navigation don’t end up in the search results pages — block them in the robots.txt liquid file with a disallow rule.

Here’s an example of a faceted URL :

https://www.allbirds.com/collections/mens?bestFor=everyday&hue=red&material=wool

Editing robots.txt to determine what ends up in search engines

Shopify hired top-notch SEO people to help expand and improve the platform’s capabilities. One of the things that came out of that team pretty quickly was the new ability to edit the robots.txt file. Having complete control over robots.txt gives you more ways to control what Google can and can’t do in your store. This takes away one of the most significant issues SEOs have with Shopify.

The robot.txt file is one of the crucial tools that you can use to optimize your online store or your website. It gives a way to tell Google how you want them to crawl the site. Ideally, you use this to prevent search engines from crawling less critical pages or sections of your site. For huge ecommerce sites, this is very important.

You can find your robots.txt file at https://example.com/robots.txt. Here’s what a standard robots.txt of Shopify looks like:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /admin
Disallow: /cart
Disallow: /orders
Disallow: /checkout
Disallow: /54914154724/checkouts
Disallow: /54914154724/orders
Disallow: /carts
Disallow: /account
Disallow: /collections/*sort_by*
Disallow: /*/collections/*sort_by*
Disallow: /collections/*+*
Disallow: /collections/*%2B*
Disallow: /collections/*%2b*
Disallow: /*/collections/*+*
Disallow: /*/collections/*%2B*
Disallow: /*/collections/*%2b*
Disallow: /blogs/*+*
Disallow: /blogs/*%2B*
Disallow: /blogs/*%2b*
Disallow: /*/blogs/*+*
Disallow: /*/blogs/*%2B*
Disallow: /*/blogs/*%2b*
Disallow: /*?*oseid=*
Disallow: /*preview_theme_id*
Disallow: /*preview_script_id*
Disallow: /policies/
Disallow: /*/*?*ls=*&ls=*
Disallow: /*/*?*ls%3D*%3Fls%3D*
Disallow: /*/*?*ls%3d*%3fls%3d*
Disallow: /search
Disallow: /apple-app-site-association

Shopify automatically disallows crawling for several parts of the store. It does this well; most users don’t have to touch this file. However, adding rules to ensure that more advanced features don’t generate duplicate content in the search results for more complex or expansive sites might make sense.

You can edit the robots.txt liquid file by visiting your Online Store admin page. Go to the theme section and select Actions > Edit code. Find the template section and click Add new template. Click the dropdown and select robots.txt from the bottom. Click Create Template, and you can start editing.

Structured data for your products

Structured data is essential in this day and age. This data is coded in a specific vocabulary — Schema.org — that search engines read to better understand your website. Structured data describes every part of your website to Google, so it knows all about your authors, articles, types of pages, businesses, and how they connect. Of course, there’s also Schema structured data for products.

With product structured data, you can describe your product to search engines. You’ll tell them about the product’s name, description, images, SKUs, prices, reviews, etc. Search engines like Google might give your product listings rich results in return for this valuable information. A rich result is a highlighted search with price information, availability, and even star reviews. Getting this is essential for online shops.

an example of a rich result in google for a product powered by structured data
An example of a rich snippet for a product in Google

Luckily, most themes and Shopify itself output some product structured data. If you need a more complex setup without coding, you can use one of the structured data apps in the Shopify App Store. But there’s also another possibility: Yoast SEO for Shopify.

Yoast SEO for Shopify outputs structured data automatically

On WordPress, Yoast SEO has one of the best implementations of structured data out there. We built a complete graph that describes and connects every nook and cranny of your site. Google loves this! We bring that to Shopify in our Yoast SEO app so we can help you tell Google all about your products and their details.

You must follow some steps to get Yoast SEO to output Schema. A lot of structured data is added automatically, like Product information on product pages, but we need your input on other details. First, go to Apps and open the Yoast SEO for Shopify app. Go to the settings and click the Schema tab in the sidebar. Click Site Representation and fill in your store name, upload a logo, and fill in the social profiles. Now, your site is ready to rock.

Schema structured data for your articles and pages

Yoast SEO for Shopify does a lot more with Schema structured data. For instance, we tell Google about your business — the name, logo, and social handles. The SEO app is flexible, so you can determine which parts of the Schema structured data you want to turn on or off should you ever want to integrate with another service.

Yoast SEO for Shopify has an additional structured data option to set yourself up for posts and pages. You can now describe the pages in detail. For instance, you can tell Google that your contact page is exactly that using a simple selection in the app. After that, Yoast SEO will add ContactPage Schema structured data to your contact page — ready for Google to enjoy.

This also goes for articles. Yoast SEO adds Article structured data to every article by default, but you can easily change this. There are news articles, reports, scholarly articles, and more options. By defining this, you give search engines more details on what they can find on the page, and they have to guess less.

How to manage redirects in Shopify

Redirects are incredibly important and helpful when working on your site structure. With a proper redirect, you can send a customer from one URL to another URL without them noticing it. This is useful when you remove pages or products and don’t want people to stumble on dead links.

Shopify has a redirect feature built in. For one, Shopify automatically adds a redirect when you change the slug of an existing post. If you need to do large-scale work on your site, you can upload CSV files with your redirects. You can also use the URL redirect feature in the navigation section of the admin settings. It’s a straightforward redirect feature with just two fields: one for the old URL you want to redirect and one for the new URL you want the old one to point to.

Shopify has a simple redirect manager in the backend
You can manage redirects via a simple URL redirect feature

Add your Shopify store to Google Search Console

With Analytics, Google Search Console is an essential tool for insights into your store’s performance in search. It gives you an idea of how your site does in a technical sense — crawlable, fast, and with valid structured data — and in a visibility sense. How do people see your pages and products, and how do they interact with them? Adding your store to Search Console is a must.

A quick rundown

Adding your Shopify store isn’t complicated:

  • Open Search Console and log in,
  • Add a new property
  • Choose either way if you’ve bought your URL from a third party
  • Choose the URL way for your examplestore.myshopify.com or examplestore.com URLs you got from Shopify (this is the only way that works)
  • Temporarily turn off the password protection (if needed)
  • Enter your domain name (including https://)
  • Copy the HTML file
  • Open your site theme settings
  • Click Actions > Edit code
  • Find the theme.liquid file and paste in the HTML tag below the head tag
  • Save and wait for Google to verify your site

Yoast SEO for Shopify makes adding the verification code to your ecommerce store easy. You no longer have to touch any code to do that! Open the Yoast SEO app, go to the settings, and click on Webmaster tools in the sidebar. Find the webmaster tool you want to verify — Google, Baidu, Bing, or something else — and paste in the verification code you received. Click Save, and you are good to go. Check the head of your site to see if the code is correctly added

How to increase sales in Shopify

When your store is up and running, the next step is to attract customers—and get them to return and spend more. Ranking products in the search results is complex for fledgling stores. It would be best to do more to get noticed, and marketing your Shopify store can help. Also, improving the UX can help you increase conversions.

Conversion rate optimization in Shopify

Your store should have great products, good content, an excellent design, and proper SEO to maximize its potential. But even then, the chances are that you are still not getting the most out of your store. Getting customers is one thing—getting them to convert and return is a whole different thing.

Besides improving your store, you should also improve the customer experience. You should remove any bump in the road that might keep a visitor from becoming a customer. These could be technical things — your shopping cart loads poorly — or they might be related to your content — is the text on that CTA explicit enough? Can you find ways to improve your product pages?

This is the domain of conversion rate optimization. Start thinking about the user journey and see if you’ve missed a step. Test different setups of your shopping cart to see which performs better. Put your product pages through the wringer. Track, test, change and improve!

Internationalization

Expanding your online store to markets outside your country has always been a chore. Things get complex fast, even with Shopify, getting everything set up — from international domains to hreflang, localization, and targeting. But there’s money to be made in the world, and why wouldn’t your shop have a piece of the pie?

To make selling a more viable option for online stores internationally, Shopify has Markets. Shopify Markets takes the guesswork out of internationalization. It comes with automatic solutions for payments in local currencies, translation of content and interfaces, fulfillment and shipping, and even tax and custom handling.

For SEOs, the beautiful thing about Shopify Markets is that it is part of the international domain. You can pick your proposed global domain setup using subfolders, subdomains, or top-level domains. A new Geolocator app helps redirect customers to the proper domain in their respective countries. Shopify will automatically add the appropriate hreflang tags to the pages so search engines can also make sense of the setup.

How to move from WooCommerce to Shopify

One of Shopify’s biggest competitors is WooCommerce. We’ve compared them both in an article on this site. If you are looking to move from WooCommerce to Shopify, you can rest assured, as the process of migrating is pretty straightforward. First, you need to export your data from WooCommerce. Then, import your data into Shopify through the Store Importer app. Lastly, carefully check and review the imported data. Missing products or customers can be added manually. Check Shopify’s store migration guide for more information.

The Yoast SEO for Shopify training improves your skills!

In this guide, we gave an overview of what you can do to improve the SEO of your Shopify store. Of course, there’s more to Shopify — and to ecommerce itself. Luckily, we can help you on both fronts. Our SEO solutions come with training courses, and Shopify is no different. You’ll find an ecommerce SEO online course and training explicitly showing how to properly set up Yoast SEO for Shopify. Be sure to check out Yoast SEO academy. Please try the ecommerce and Shopify training and bring your online store to the next level.

Conclusion on Shopify SEO

Shopify is a popular platform for hosting your online store. Rightly so, because it is easy to use and performs well out of the box. Of course, there are many things you can do to improve your store’s performance by focusing on Shopify SEO. This ultimate guide to Shopify SEO gives you an excellent place to start.

Don’t forget to download the Shopify SEO checklist and sign up for Yoast SEO for Shopify!

Read on: How the right Shopify SEO tools can boost your traffic »

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