Search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial factor in ensuring your e-commerce site is visible to the world. There are various tactics you can use to boost your SEO ranking. Perhaps you’re already using them. But what happens when your Shopify store’s performance is still underwhelming? How can you figure out what’s holding your e-commerce site back?
In this article, we’re going to explore what you can do to detect what’s holding your e-commerce site back. We’ll be looking at how you can conduct a Shopify technical SEO audit. Moreover, we’re going to focus on how you can solve technical SEO issues for Shopify.
A Shopify SEO audit consists of getting quantifiable data you can use to measure your e-commerce site’s SEO ranking. In particular, Shopify SEO audits can reveal issues within your Shopify store’s SEO configuration.
So, why is it important to conduct an SEO audit?
Shopify SEO audits are highly useful when looking to figure out why you’re not getting the traffic you expect. It’s especially important when you’ve invested in SEO tactics but are still not getting the desired results.
There are situations in which your best SEO tactics, even when you have thought them through carefully, have some type of issue that’s holding results back. As a result, it’s crucial to uncover technical SEO issues with Shopify. Uncovering these issues will enable you to tweak your SEO strategy so you can get the traffic you need to boost your e-commerce site.
Search engines use algorithms to rank pages and sites based on a number of criteria. If your Shopify store hits the mark, it’ll be at the top. If something is off, it will rank below sites that have got it right.
So, the challenge is to figure out where those technical SEO issues with Shopify might be. Let’s discuss them more closely.
Robots.txt is a file that contains key information that search engines use to “crawl” or read website content. Unfortunately, Shopify has been known to restrict access to this file. In short, most Shopify stores are stuck with Shopify’s default configuration. This situation makes it hard for search engines to read Shopify store content properly and subsequently display it on search results.
Luckily, Shopify has realized this situation and allows access to the robots.txt file. Now, it has become easier to modify this file to ensure that search engines have an easier time reading website content. This is a really important part of technical SEO for Shopify.
Hierarchical structure refers to the way a Shopify store is laid out. Like the robots.txt file, Shopify tends to limit modifications to a hierarchical structure. The issue lies in creating custom pages and subpages that search engines can read.
Consequently, you might be missing key terms and information that limits search engines’ ability to spot keywords specifically related to your e-commerce site.
Image optimization is a key element in SEO. Shopify uses its own content delivery network, meaning that it controls how images are displayed and the metadata, or information about the file, that users can manage.
The good news is that there is some flexibility in overall image optimization, specifically related to sizing and metadata such as descriptions and filenames.
Content duplication means sharing a significant chunk of the same content as other sites, or other pages on your own site. Unfortunately, search engines can’t figure out which site first had content and which site inadvertently duplicated its content. Similarly, some sites outright copy content from other sites. When this occurs, search engines punish both sites for having the same content.
The same goes for metadata on filenames, images, or page titles. Search engines push these sites down the trough if there is duplicate metadata. Therefore, Shopify stores must ensure a minimal presence of duplicate content. Ideally, keeping duplicate content as close to zero percent as possible is ideal.
Third-party apps can be a blessing. They can help automate many processes saving time and effort. However, you must be careful when installing them.
Some third-party apps may purposely delete metadata or page titles. This action can have negative effects on your SEO ranking. Worst of all, you may not realize it right away. It may take you a while before coming across these issues.
When it comes to running your Shopify SEO audit, there are 10 effective steps you can take to optimize your Shopify store’s SEO strategy.
The first step begins with checking your Shopify store’s current ranking. This task is simple. Go to a search engine such as Google and type in your brand name. Ideally, your brand name should towards the top (if not first) on the first page.
Here is a key consideration: it’s quite probable that another company is using a similar brand name (or the same) as yours. As a result, this situation can negatively impact your SEO ranking. The name might be exactly the same but with a different domain in some instances. For example, happy.com and happy.org are different sites, but for SEO purposes, they are the same.
Differentiating your brand with relevant content can help boost your SEO rankings. In particular, be sure to optimize metadata to reflect your location, branding, and products.
Duplicate content is a big issue for search engines. Therefore, eliminating as much of it as possible is crucial for SEO purposes. You can use duplicate content-checking tools to verify if your site has inadvertently produced duplicate content or if someone else is using your content.
A good rule of thumb is to update your content periodically. For example, refreshing product pages and descriptions can help spruce things up. In doing so, you can eliminate duplicate content to ensure your content stays atop search rankings.
When you create a new page, such as a product page, the page must contain a title and a meta description. The worst thing you can do is leave this information blank. The next worst thing to do is get the information wrong.
Getting page titles and metadata rights involves keeping them within recommended character limits and including relevant keywords. Please remember that page titles over 60 characters may get truncated.
Additionally, the most relevant keywords must appear within metadata, such as meta descriptions. Failing to include relevant keywords will cause search engines to miss your page entirely.
H1 and H2 tags are used to highlight titles and sections within the content. These tags must contain relevant keywords in order to ensure search engines can read the page and properly index it.
For example, a shoe store could use an H1 tag such as “casual weekend shoes.” This H1 tag is readable and allows search engines to classify it properly.
In contrast, “what shoes to wear on the weekend” may fail to do the job.
It doesn’t contain relevant keywords! Please remember that relevant keywords are those users type in to find content. So, don’t forget: include as many relevant keywords to ensure search engines can find your site.
This task takes time, but it’s worth the trouble. A content audit refers to your e-commerce site’s content as it relates to what users want. For instance, your site’s blog may be filled with unrelated information. Similarly, your product pages may contain descriptions that do not contain keywords or provide unrelated data.
Taking the time to review, delete, and update content can go a long way toward helping you improve your SEO. Remember to include content loaded with keywords. Pack in any many of them as possible without resorting to spammy texts.
This characteristic often gets overlooked. Page loading times are a big deal to search engines. In short, the longer it takes for your page to load, the lower its SEO ranking.
Why are page loading times important?
Think about it this way: visitors will leave if your site takes too long to load. Therefore, search engines prioritize faster sites due to improved user experience.
There are two key things you can do to improve page loading times:
– Optimize images to reduce their size and load faster
– Remove any needless scripts and apps
Internal links consist of linking data within the same domain. For example, a new blog post links to an older post on the same blog. This linking strategy helps search engines figure out the way you have structured your e-commerce site.
In particular, using anchor phrases, such as titles of previous posts, product pages, or information, can help boost your SEO rankings.
Like internal links, external links help boost your Shopify store’s SEO ranking. Using external links or backlinks helps boost your Shopify store’s SEO ranking since search engines can associate it with relevant data.
Here are three ways you can use backlinks to help boost your e-commerce site:
Link to top-ranking sites. For instance, link your product pages to high-ranking product reviews.
Connect with relevant sites. For example, linking your product pages to manufacturer websites helps search engines figure out how your Shopify site fits within its environment.
Avoid broken and low-quality links. Broken links are those that do not work when clicking on them. These significantly impact your SEO. Similarly, low-quality links, such as those that appear quite low on search results, can adversely affect your SEO strategy.
Google is the largest search engine in the world. The vast majority of users go to Google to find the information they need. Therefore, meeting the Google algorithm’s requirements is essential. There are various tools you can use to ensure your data is structured to meet Google’s requirements.
Above all, keeping your Shopify store’s data simple is the best thing you can do. Creating a main page, several categories and a few subcategories help Google read your Shopify store.
In essence, indexing means search engines can see your Shopify store. If your e-commerce site is not indexed, it means that search engines cannot find it. In some instances, your overall Shopify store may be indexed, but individual product pages are not.
That’s bad news for your products and sales!
Here’s what you can do to help your Shopify store’s indexing right away:
– Avoid duplicate content
– Submit a sitemap to Google’s search console
– Use the “noindex” function to remove low-value pages such as “contact us” or “about us”
A good rule of thumb is to emphasize creating unique product pages for your products. Doing so helps reduce duplicate content. Additionally, remember to include relevant keywords to facilitate finding your product pages.
SEO can make or break your e-commerce site’s performance. That is why conducting a periodic Shopify SEO audit is a good practice. You can save time and effort by using automated tools to check for things such as page loading times, duplicate content, and site structure.
But don’t forget: optimizing images, using relevant keywords, and regularly updating content can all help take your Shopify store to the next level. Avoid neglecting your Shopify SEO audit. It takes time, but it’s worth the traffic a top-notch site can deliver.
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