When working with a majority of websites, the idea is that you are able to be found via search (ie. Google). This is even more important with your Shopify store, because you're trying to sell a product or service. Your goal is to bring value to your customers, but you cannot do that if your customers cannot find you. That is where SEO (Search Engine Optimization) comes in.
Your goal is to bring value to your customers, but you cannot do that if your customers cannot find you.
I know about SEO. Skip to the practical stuff.
SEO is a series of strategies and implementations that are designed to improve one's ability to be found via search engines (like Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, and so on). Making sure you have some sort of SEO strategy helps ensure that your customers can find your store organically rather than having to pay for ads/clicks. I often reference this as thinking of it like a faucet. Purchasing ads are only as effective as the amount of money you put into them. As soon as you turn that "faucet" off, aka stop giving Google money for ads, all those clicks go away. But SEO tends to be the golden goose of website optimizations, because it ensures customers find your website without having to pay for their traffic.
Alright, we all get it. SEO is important. I probably did not even need to convince you of that but sometimes it is helpful to define the problem/benefit before the solution. So how do you ensure your Shopify store is set up properly for SEO?
There are a handful of tools that are necessary for you to get started with implementing an SEO strategy. These tools are necessary because without them, there is just no way you can tell if what you are doing is effective.
Google Search Console
Perhaps the single greatest important tool in your tool belt when it comes to focusing on SEO in your Shopify store is making sure your domain is set up in the Google Search Console. This is an incredibly helpful and powerful tool that provides you all sorts of insights related to your website and how your users interact with it. You will even receive reports or notifications when there are errors on your site, like mobile usability issues, core web vitals issues, page errors, and more.
Perhaps the single greatest important tool in your tool belt when it comes to focusing on SEO in your Shopify store is making sure your domain is set up in the Google Search Console.
Analytics tends to be a pretty divisive and hotly debated topic. A standard for most folks is to ensure that Google Analytics is set up on your site. What is not measured cannot be improved right? Google Analytics gives you all sorts of user interactions on your site so that you can make improvements or place focus on specific aspects of your website.
The efficacy of Google Analytics over the years is in question though. With the progression of both technology and privacy concerns many people use ad blockers to block Google Analytics, which can make your data not totally accurate. Not to mention, using these tracking methods often have implications for GDPR, CCPA, and other data privacy regulations depending on your area.
Another consideration is using something like Fathom Analytics. I use Fathom Analytics on my site because it's a good way to get the necessary data I need without the ethical concerns of helping Google track and sell other people's data. For stores who have a customer base that is more concerned with the privacy, I would say they are a great consideration.
Shopify Store Elements
Themes you purchase from the Shopify theme store undergo a pretty rigorous testing process before they are able to be placed in the theme store. That being said, most of them will be set up well for you and your SEO strategy, but there are some items that you are responsible for checking as a store owner to make sure you are best set up for success.
All Shopify themes provide for an opportunity to provide product description information. And this may be a simple thing for most but it is important to note that it is absolutely necessary to have good product descriptions. If you are not great at writing them yourself, you will want to either hire a copywriter or consider using an AI copywriting service like copy.ai.
Reviews are super important for SEO. They help promote your product in a way that is genuine and authentic, provided you are not paying for reviews (pssst do not do that). Make sure you are displaying product reviews and more importantly that your reviews are discoverable on Google, much the same as your product descriptions. How can you ensure that? Schema markup.
Schema Markup for Rich Snippets Results
Schema markup refers to some code that is in the template of your products pages and other high-quality content pages, like blog posts, that is not visible to the customer but rather pulls data from your products, reviews, or blog posts, and puts them in an easy-to-read format for bots that crawl your page for Google and other search engines.
Rich snippets give customers a nice view, including reviews, pricing, and product description information and ensures that the information you want to display on search is presenting.
Shopify Store Quality
It is not surprise that the quality of your store is also a consideration for Google and other search engines when they provide you as a result in a search query. But what are the signals Google uses? There are many, but here are a couple.
Your content should match search results queries from other signals on your website, like the description of what your website is about and other pages. If your site description suggests sell vegan products, you probably should not also be running sales or linking out to websites for meat-based products. Links are an important consideration as well in regard to quality, as both inbound and outbound links, links to your website from other sites and your links away from your site to other sites, can contribute to content quality.Your site being linked by other sites that are not trusted by Google definitely do not help, whereas links to your site from trusted and established websites will really boost the content quality or trust appeal of your site.
Core Web Vitals
I have written about Core Web Vitals (CWVs) several times already and have linked relevant articles below, but suffice it to say that Google has made it clear that considering CWVs is important for your website. While content is king, ignoring your CWVs is sure to drop your website in search ranking results when compared to a competitor with similar quality content who may not have have a CWVs issue. It is most important that you have looked at how your website performs on mobile, as there is growing importance to mobile metrics. This is simply because, most folks' website traffic is overwhelmingly mobile. Making sure your customers have a good mobile experience is crucial to any SEO strategy.
This list is nowhere near comprehensive but it can still feel like a lot. At least start somewhere. I would recommend at a bare minimum getting setup with Google's Online Search Console and start working from there. The Search Console can provide loads of support and insights to where you need to go from there. If this all feels too overwhelming, look at hiring an SEO freelancer or agency to complete an audit and give you at least a starting point. If you prefer to do things yourself, some will even train you on what you need to do. If there's real heavy lifting involved, you can always reach out to a developer to implement specifics within the SEO professional's recommendations.
You are already in good hands with Shopify and have the tools available to you to implement a great SEO strategy. Just start somewhere, make mistakes, and double down on what works.
Core Web Vitals Posts