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Shopify SEO Checklist: 22 Steps to Ranking Your Store #1 on Google

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is gold in today’s e-commerce landscape. Shopify stores that don’t focus on SEO might fail to reach their targets and grow their business. That is why implementing a Shopify SEO checklist is a must.

But how can you develop such a checklist?

In this article, we are going to build a Shopify SEO checklist you can use to take your e-commerce site’s SEO ranking to the top of search results. Implementing the tips in this SEO checklist Shopify users have come to depend on can help improve your search engine rankings considerably. 

What is Shopify SEO?

SEO helps search engines such as Google find your e-commerce site amid an ocean of websites. In particular, SEO refers to a series of practices that help Google find your Shopify store. Shopify stores that don’t utilize Shopify SEO tactics may become invisible to search engines. 

Boosting SEO rankings allows your e-commerce site to appear on the first page of search results. Appearing on the first page of search results is crucial. Most users don’t look past the first page. Consequently, sites not on the first page might as well not exist.

Please note that SEO doesn’t automatically happen. Your Shopify store must follow specific rules and practices to ensure that it matches what Google’s algorithm looks for when conducting searches. Doing so helps your Shopify store’s visibility allowing users to find your e-commerce site easily.

What are the Most Common SEO Issues?

SEO requires specific strategies and techniques to land sites on the first page of search results. Nevertheless, some common SEO issues might be affecting your Shopify store’s SEO ranking as we speak. These issues include:

Solving SEO issues as soon as possible will help drive traffic to your e-commerce site. As organic traffic grows, your sales will, too. 

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Shopify SEO Checklist: 22 Tips to Take your Shopify Store to the Top

In this section, we’ll look at a Shopify e-commerce SEO checklist that will take your Shopify store to the top of search results. 

Don’t forget: the goal is to land on the first page of search results. Once there, the next step is to stay there.

Here we go!

#1: Get the tools of the trade

SEO success largely depends on having the right tools to boost our Shopify store’s search ranking. Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console help provide detailed information on your Shopify store’s performance.

Specifically, Google Search Console allows you to track and monitor your Shopify store’s performance so you can adjust suboptimal settings. For example, your content can be adjusted to specific trending keywords related to your products and industry. 

e-commerce store seo checklist
Source: search.google.com

Google Analytics allows you to view your site’s overall performance related to sales conversions, number of visitors, and pages that generate the most value. Take advantage of these metrics to gain valuable insights into your e-commerce site’s overall performance.

Google Search Console is free. So, you risk nothing in getting this valuable tool.

#2: Keyword optimization

Keywords are SEO’s wheelhouse. Keywords help Google’s algorithm find your Shopify store. The challenge is finding the right keywords. There are three things to consider when optimizing for keywords:

Volume. Volume refers to how popular a keyword is in queries. In short, using the most common keywords related to your brand and products is the best way to help boost your search rankings.

Difficulty. Some keywords may be popular but difficult to rank. You must assess if a specific keyword is worth the effort to rank. Otherwise, moving on to easier keywords can be just as effective.

Intent. Intent refers to what specific information users are searching for. This situation is subjective, as you must interpret the intention behind specific keywords and phrases. 

Keyword research tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush can provide detailed insights into specific keywords and phrases. They can get pricey but are totally worth the investment.

Shopify e-commerce seo checklist
Source: semrush.com

#3: Optimize Metadata

Metadata refers to the information that describes your files, images, and page titles. This data is not generally available to users, but it is visible to search engines. Ensuring your metadata is relevant to your Shopify store through relevant keywords and phrases.

For example, a shoe store ought to include keywords such as “casual,” “dress,” and “athletic” to complement phrases such as “athletic shoes near me.” These keywords help search engines “crawl” through websites to find the most relevant matches.

Optimizing metadata for images is crucial. Images allow you to include a description of what it is. For instance, images on product pages should contain a short description of what it is, including relevant keywords. 

Optimizing metadata is a key factor on our Shopify e-commerce SEO checklist you don’t want to miss.

#4: Leverage meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are part of metadata. However, meta descriptions are unique since they are snippets users see when searching for specific information. Optimizing meta descriptions is essential to any successful SEO strategy.

Typically, meta descriptions should be around 160 characters and should contain as many relevant keywords as possible. Going over 160 characters does not look good since search results will most likely truncate it, leaving out key information. Additionally, Google punishes sites with meta descriptions over the 160-character threshold.

how to check Shopify seo issues

#5: Focus on tags and titles

Page titles are what users see atop pages when they first enter. Page titles are also useful in helping search engines read what a page is about. Like all metadata, page titles must contain relevant keywords. Don’t forget that titles should be under 60 characters (not words). These keywords help search engines match content leading users to the content they seek.

Additionally, tags function as headers within text displayed on-screen. Tags allow your e-commerce site to organize its overall structure. This structure creates the sitemap Google, and other search engines can use to “read” your Shopify store. Please ensure that your tags contain as many relevant keywords as possible. In doing so, you can significantly boost your SEO ranking on Google and others.

#6: Include keywords in page URLs

Page URLs are the actual addresses where your pages are located. These URLs are derived from your domain, categories, and subcategories. When you add pages to your site, please ensure to include relevant keywords. Doing so adds another layer that Google and other search engines can use to read your site.

checklist for Shopify seo issues

In contrast, URLs lacking relevant keywords will not display when users type in specific queries. If anything, they may appear in unrelated searches. Users may dismiss your content when this occurs since it’s not what they are looking for.

#7: Optimize Images

In addition to optimizing metadata on images such as Alt text and filenames, optimizing image size is crucial.

Image Alt text provides key information regarding each image. Leaving Alt text doesn’t do your Shopify store any good. That is why any good SEO checklist Shopify recommends should include a nice description using keywords in the Alt text fields for images.

Shopify seo checklist

Similarly, image file names should reflect relevant keywords. Filenames such as “pic1.jpg” does little to help your SEO strategy. Instead, try something like “brown leather jacket.jpg” to boost your Shopify store’s visibility.

The other key ingredient is to ensure that your pictures follow specific Shopify image guidelines. These include dimensions and file size. Files over specific dimensions are scaled down to a lower resolution. Files exceeding 20MB will get formatted back down to a smaller size. This situation can negatively impact your image quality and affect your SEO ranking.

Please remember that heavy images affect loading times. Loading time is one of the most important metrics Google and other search engines use to rank sites.

#8: Optimize content

Optimizing content is about ensuring it’s relevant, contains keywords, and it’s updated regularly. Optimized content is based on including relevant keywords as much as possible. For example, product pages should contain keywords users are likely to use when searching for your products. 

what is Shopify seo

However, there are two key considerations. First, it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing consists of inserting keywords even if they don’t make sense in the text. Google punishes this practice. So, it’s best to write good, clear copy containing keywords.

The second consideration is regularly updating content. When content gets old, Google shoves it down search results in favor of more recent and relevant content. Updates don’t need to be substantial. Sprucing up content to ensure it’s current and modifying text is often enough to ensure your content remains relevant.

#9: Make content engaging

Engaging content isn’t just about delivering useful information. This item on our Shopify SEO checklist is about making content easy to consume and enjoyable for visitors. Please bear in mind that engaging content keeps users coming back.

Here are four key ideas to consider:

#10: Use internal links whenever possible

SEO checklist Shopify practices include using internal links whenever possible. Internal links take users to other pages within your own Shopify store. As a result, users stay on your site as long as possible. This approach boosts your SEO ranking and provides a positive user experience.

When using internal links, be sure the pages are updated and contain relevant content. Adding unrelated internal links for the sake of doing it does not help your SEO strategy. Please remember you’re building a web that will lead users where you need them to go.

#11: Use high-quality backlinks

Backlinks are highly effective in boosting your e-commerce site’s SEO ranking. When going through your Shopify SEO checklist, ensure you include high-quality backlinks. Backlinks are connections to other sites containing relevant content.

Here are some ideas for quality backlinks:

Above all, avoid broken links and obscure sites. Linking to the most popular and highest-ranking sites is a surefire way to boost your SEO strategy.

seo checklist Shopify
Source: Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

#12: Link other channels

A good rule of thumb is to link other channels, such as social media. Social media mentions using relevant keywords can provide your e-commerce site with solid backlinks. For example, linking product posts on Facebook helps search engine algorithms boost your Shopify store’s ranking.

Additionally, linking your Shopify store to your YouTube channel, Instagram, Twitter, and any other relevant channel can go a long way toward helping boost your SEO ranking.

#13: Conduct an SEO audit

A Shopify SEO audit consists of checking for the most common errors on your Shopify store. For example, broken links, blank Alt text fields, large images, and suboptimal keyword usage are all common mistakes that must be addressed immediately. 

You can use a third-party app to help review your Shopify store’s SEO parameters. From there, you can take your Shopify SEO checklist to double-check you have the right parameters in place.

#14: Leverage content marketing

Content marketing uses blogs, eBooks, newsletters, social media posts, and video content to help boost your brand and products. So, no SEO checklist Shopify stores use would be complete without leveraging content marketing.

For example, a series of informative articles can be loaded with keywords, internal links, and backlinks. Plus, providing useful content helps improve your brand’s position with customers. It’s a win-win any way you look at it!

#15: Keep an eye on page loading times

Our Shopify SEO checklist focuses heavily on page loading times. Specifically, measuring actual loading times is critical. Using third-party apps can provide a diagnostic on overall page loading times. These apps can also help determine if your loading times are within industry standards. 

Here are three key things you can do to improve page loading times once you’ve assessed your Shopify store:

#16: Conduct keyword research

Keywords are an ever-evolving proposition. Therefore, you must keep tabs on what keywords and phrases are trending. Doing so helps optimize content to fit users’ specific needs. Tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush are highly valuable tools. If you’re looking for a free alternative, Google’s Keyword Planner can set you on the right track.

Once you have identified trending keywords, be sure to adjust your content to match these words. Small variations in existing content can often help you update it and keep it relevant. 

#17: Use a responsive Shopify theme

Most Shopify SEO checklists overlook the importance of a responsive theme. Responsive themes work well on desktop and mobile environments.

search engine optimization for Shopify
Source: themes.shopify.com

Why is that important?

Responsive themes help decrease loading times and boost positive user engagement. Responsive themes provide all-around value. They help keep your store fresh, boost sales, and keep customers coming back.

#18: Make sure everything is running on your Shopify store

The next time on our Shopify e-commerce SEO checklist is about ensuring everything is working on your Shopify store. For instance, checking for blank pages, broken links, missing content, and suboptimal images is essential. 

Search engine algorithms frown upon broken links and missing pages. For instance, your site may have an assigned URL but no content on that URL. Blank pages often trigger a 404 error. When that occurs, Google can push your Shopify store down the trough.

#19: Get customer reviews

Customer reviews are a great source of information, backlinks, mentions, and keyword use. Your SEO jumps when customers review your brand and products. In particular, mentioning your brand name, relevant keywords, and location helps search engine algorithms link your Shopify store and content to query terms. 

common Shopify seo issues
Source: Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Giveaways and promotions are great ways to encourage customers to leave reviews. Please remember that the more mentions you get, the better.

#20: Get users to share your content on social media

Getting users to share your content on social media works like customer reviews. The catch is to ensure that users tag you, mention your brand name, or share content. Using promotions truly helps encourage customers to share your content.

#21: Regularly check your SEO ranking

The last item on our Shopify SEO checklist involves keeping tabs on your Shopify store’s ranking. While you don’t need to check your ranking every day, regular checks ensure you stay on the first page of search results. 

Periodic checks and audits are the most important thing you can do to keep your SEO up to par. The first and last thing on your Shopify SEO checklist should be to review your search result ranking.

#22: Review competitor content

Checking competitor content works great to assess your Shopify store’s content. In particular, focus on what the competition is doing right so you can assess what you’re not doing well. You can then adjust your content to ensure your hitting the mark. 

This item on our Shopify e-commerce SEO checklist focuses on distilling best practices. Please remember that being unique is a highly valuable strategy. But taking a page out of your competitors’ playbooks doesn’t hurt.

Use this Shopify SEO Checklist to Optimize Your Store

Getting SEO right involves science and art. On the one hand, you must ensure you get the metrics right. On the other, you must get the content right. With this handy Shopify SEO checklist, you have a chance to get both right.

Now that you have this useful Shopify SEO checklist take the time to go through each item. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when your Shopify store’s performance hits new highs.

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