Is Shopify Good For SEO?
You have built your store, imported your products, and are ready to start selling. You have ensured that your products are priced competitively and have even started to promote your store on social media. But one of your concerns is whether the right people will find your store through organic search. Therefore, an overarching question that keeps crossing your mind is: Is Shopify good for SEO?
In this article, we are going to provide a comprehensive answer to this question. We will explore the different features that make Shopify advantageous for SEO and also touch on a few areas where Shopify falls short. By the end of this article, you should have a clear understanding of whether Shopify is right for your store from an SEO perspective.
Is Shopify Good For SEO?
For the most part, Shopify is good for SEO. This is because Shopify is designed with SEO best practices in mind. It has many built-in features and tools that can help you to optimize your store for organic search. Also, it is one of the few easy-to-SEO eCommerce platforms on the market.
However, as Shopify SEO experts, we can tell you that Shopify has limitations that can impact your SEO. As a closed platform, this means that you do not have as much control over your store’s code and structure as you would with open-source platforms.
With this in mind, is Shopify good for SEO? Let’s take a more in-depth look.
Shopify Features That Drive SEO: Pros
There are several features of Shopify that make it a great platform for SEO. These features are:
Generate XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is a file that contains all of the URLs on your website. This sitemap helps search engines to crawl and index your site more efficiently.
Shopify automatically generates an XML sitemap for you, making it easy for search engines to find and index all of your pages.
The sitemap is updated automatically whenever you add or remove a page from your store. You can find your sitemap at yoursite.com/sitemap.xml.
Once you verify your site with Google Search Console, you can submit your sitemap to Google. This will help them to crawl and index your site more effectively.
At GoldenWeb, we also submit your Shopify XML sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools. Even though this search engine accounts for 10% of global searches, it is often overlooked. It has the highest Revenue Per Visitor (RPV) of any search engine. This means a single click on Bing is worth a lot more than a click from any other search engine, including Google.
Easy SSL Setup
SSL is short for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a protocol that encrypts data transferred between your server and the person visiting your site. This encryption makes it difficult for hackers to intercept and read this data.
An SSL certificate also adds trust and credibility for your customers. When they see that your site is secure, they are more likely to make a purchase.
Google also gives a ranking boost to sites that have an SSL certificate. They view this as a sign that the site is credible and trustworthy.
Shopify makes it easy to set up SSL on your store. Shopify provides free TLS (Transport Layer Security) certificates for all stores. These certificates are automatically renewed and installed for you. You can also buy an SSL certificate from a third-party provider and install it on your Shopify store.
SSL plays a role in SEO in the following ways:
- Boost in search engine rankings: Google has stated that they give preference to websites that have an SSL certificate installed.
- Increased click-through rates: Users are more likely to click on a website that has a green padlock in the address bar.
Customer trust: When visitors see that your site is secure, they are more likely to stay on your site and convert into customers.
Enable 301 redirects
301 redirects are permanent redirects from one URL to another. They are often used when you change the structure of your website or move to a new domain.
301 redirects preserve your SEO and link equity. This is because they pass on between 90-99% of link juice (ranking power) to the redirected page.
Shopify makes it easy to set up 301 redirects. You can do this by following these steps:
- From your Shopify admin, go to Online Store > Navigation.
- In the URL Redirects section, click Add URL redirect.
- Enter the old URL path in the From field and the new URL path in the To field.
- Click Save.
Once you have set up your 301 redirects, any traffic that goes to the old URL will be automatically redirected to the new URL. This ensures that you don’t lose any traffic or SEO value when you change the structure of your website.
Canonical tags are HTML tags that tell search engines which URL is the authoritative version of a page. This is important because there can be multiple versions of a single page on your website.
For example, if you have a product that comes in different sizes and colors, there will be a separate URL for each size and color.
If you don’t use canonical tags, search engines will have to guess which version of the page they should index. This can lead to duplicate content issues.
Shopify automatically adds canonical tags to all pages on your store. This ensures that search engines always know which URL is the authoritative version of a page.
This is important for SEO because it prevents duplicate content issues. It also ensures that all your traffic and link equity are funneled to a single page.
There are many ways Shopify helps you speed up your store. They include:
- CDN: Shopify uses a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver your store’s assets from servers located around the world. This speeds up the delivery of your pages for visitors who are located far from your server.
- Lazy loading: Shopify loads images on your pages as they become visible to the visitor. This means that the initial load time of your pages is shorter.
- Automatic conversion of images to WebP: WebP is an image format that provides lossless compression (meaning no quality is lost when the image is compressed). This results in smaller file sizes and faster page loading times. WebP images are 30% smaller than JPEG images of the same quality.
At GoldenWeb, we take site speed very seriously. We know that it’s important for SEO and for the user experience. Therefore, apart from these inbuilt features, we also do the following to ensure your store stands out from the competition:
- Leverage browser caching: We leverage browser caching to improve the loading speed of your pages. This means that visitors who have been to your site before will see faster loading times on subsequent visits.
- Remove render-blocking resources: We optimize your CSS delivery so that your pages can start rendering without waiting for all the CSS to be downloaded.
When combined, these optimization techniques result in faster page loading times and a better user experience. This, in turn, can lead to higher rankings in the search results.
Google Analytics Integration
Google Analytics is a free service offered by Google that allows you to track the number of visitors to your website, the pages they visit, the length of time they spend on each page, and much more. It allows you to submit sitemaps to Google, track your keywords, and see how your pages are performing in the search results.
The integration between Shopify and Google Analytics is seamless and easy to set up. Once you have your Google Analytics account set up, all you need to do is add your Google Analytics tracking code to your Shopify store.
Shopify will then automatically send data about your store’s traffic and conversions to your Google Analytics account. This data can be very useful for understanding how visitors interact with your store and deciding where to focus your marketing efforts.
Built-in SEO Plugin and Redirects Option
Shopify comes with a built-in SEO plugin that allows you to easily edit your store’s title and meta tags. This plugin also generates an XML sitemap for your store, which you can submit to Google.
The redirects feature in Shopify allows you to redirect traffic from one URL to another. This is useful if you want to redirect traffic from an old URL to a new one or if you want to redirect traffic from a non-existent page to an existing one.
The SEO plugin is a comprehensive tool that goes beyond editing titles and meta tags. It also allows you to control the URL structure of your store, add alt text to images, and more.
The redirects feature is a valuable tool for SEO. Broken links can hurt your website’s ranking in the search results, so it’s important to redirect traffic from these broken links to existing pages on your store.
Mobile-Friendly and Responsive Themes
Most Shopify themes are mobile-friendly and responsive. This means that they will automatically adjust to fit the screen size of any device, whether it’s a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone.
Mobile-friendliness is important for SEO because Google now uses a mobile-first index. This means that Google will primarily use the content from your mobile version of your website to determine your website’s ranking in the search results.
Responsive themes are also important for the user experience. Visitors using a mobile device should have a positive experience when visiting your store. This theme will ensure they can easily navigate your store and find the information they’re looking for.
But does changing a Shopify theme affect SEO? You need to remember not all themes are created with SEO in mind. If you want to change your theme and maintain your SEO, choosing a theme optimized for SEO is important. A theme optimized for SEO is lightweight, meaning it doesn’t use excessive code that can slow down your pages.
It also uses clean code that adheres to web standards. This allows search engine crawlers to easily index your content. It should have a rich snippet option that allows you to control how your products appear in the search results.
Basic Structured Data
Structured data is a code you can add to your website to help search engines understand your content. It can be used to mark up items such as products, reviews, and events.
Adding structured data to your website can improve your click-through rate from the search results because it allows you to control how your website appears in the search results.
Shopify allows you to easily add basic structured data to your website without having to edit your theme’s code. This ensures search engines can find your product descriptions, reviews, price, and other important information.
Shopify also allows you to add more advanced structured data such as product variants and customer testimonials. This can give your store a significant advantage over other stores that don’t have this information.
A Wide Range of SEO Apps
Shopify has a wide range of apps that can help you with your SEO. These apps can help you with tasks such as:
- Creating Google rich snippets for your products
- Adding alt text to your product images
- Fixing broken links
- Meta tags checker
- Keywords research
- Generating an XML sitemap
- Redirecting traffic from old URLs
- And more!
Some of these apps are free, while others are paid. However, paid apps usually offer a free trial, so you can try them before you buy them.
Problems to Expect: Cons
Now that we have looked at the good side of Shopify, it’s time to take a look at some of the problems you might face in terms of SEO.
No Option to Edit Sitemaps
Even though the autogenerated sitemap is good, it would be better if you could edit it. This would give you more control over which pages are included in the sitemap and how often they’re updated.
Being able to edit your sitemap would also be useful if you wanted to exclude certain pages from being indexed, such as your shopping cart or checkout page.
Shopify doesn’t currently allow you to edit your sitemap, so this is something to keep in mind if you’re considering using Shopify for your store. This means you have to rely on the autogenerated sitemap, which might not be ideal for your store. To remove a page from your sitemap, you have to edit the code in your robots.txt file.
Not Easy to Noindex Pages
If you want to noindex a page, you have to edit the code in your theme.liquid file. This can be tricky for people who are not comfortable editing code.
It would be much easier if you could noindex a page from within the Shopify admin area. This would allow you to quickly and easily noindex pages without having to edit code.
Shopify doesn’t make it easy to noindex pages, so this is something to keep in mind if you’re considering using Shopify for your store. This means you have to be comfortable editing code or hire someone who can do it for you.
Default Pagination, Filters, and Tags Are Indexed
Pagination is when you break up your content into multiple pages. For example, if you have a blog post with 50 comments, you might paginate it so that there are five comments per page.
Filters are used to help people find what they’re looking for on your website. For example, if you have a clothing store, you might have filters for size, color, and style.
Tags are keywords that you can add to your products or blog posts. They help people find related content on your website.
Shopify doesn’t currently noindex pagination, filters, and tags by default. This can cause problems because it means that these pages can be indexed by search engines even though they don’t have much content.
This can result in low-quality pages appearing in the search results. Additionally, it can cause problems with duplicate content.
To fix this, we like to first analyze the pages using Google Search Console. This allows us to see all the low-quality pages that have been indexed. Additionally, it helps us identify specific pages with a significant amount of traffic so we can take appropriate action.
Once we have a list of the pages that need to be noindexed, we add a noindex tag to the code of those pages. This tells search engines not to index those pages.
We also add a canonical tag to those pages. This tells search engines which page is the original and should be indexed.
Default URL Structure Is Not Optimized
The URL structure is the way that your URLs are organized. For example, the URL structure of your website might look like this:
The problem with this URL structure is that it’s not optimized for SEO. A better URL structure would be:
This URL structure is more optimized because it includes the keyword you’re trying to rank for. Additionally, it’s shorter and easier to remember.
Shopify doesn’t currently have an optimized URL structure. This can cause problems because your URLs are not as effective as they could be.
The URL structure is one of the potential growth opportunities we identify when we do an SEO audit for a Shopify store. We take a look at the current URL structure and make recommendations for how it can be improved. Then we work with you to implement those changes.
Duplicate Content Is Unavoidable
When using Shopify, it can be difficult to avoid duplicate content. This is because Shopify creates multiple versions of the same page.
For example, if you have a product that comes in multiple sizes, there will be a separate page for each size. This can create problems because it means there is duplicate content on your website.
Duplicate content can hurt your SEO because it confuses search engines. They don’t know which version of the page to index. As a result, your pages are less likely to rank.
Google also penalizes websites with duplicate content. This means that the store you have worked so hard to build could be at risk of being banned from Google.
At GoldenWeb, we take duplicate content seriously. We use an array of tools, such as Screaming Frog, to help us identify duplicate content on your website. Once we have a list of the pages that need to be fixed, we add canonical tags (rel=“canonical”) to those pages. We also add no index tags to any pages that don’t need to be indexed.
Canonical tags tell search engines which page is the original and should be indexed. Noindex tags tell search engines not to index any of the duplicates. By doing this, we ensure your website complies with Google’s guidelines and that your pages are more likely to rank.
Partner With an Experienced Shopify SEO Agency
While the basic Shopify platform is good, it’s not perfect. There are a number of areas where it can be improved. At GoldenWeb, we perform a comprehensive SEO audit that identifies over 285 technical SEO and CRO issues. We then provide you with a prioritized list of recommendations so you can take your Shopify store to the next level.
We have a proven track record of helping Shopify stores achieve their full potential. For instance, this french pet store approached us because they struggled to rank on Google. They wanted us to identify and fix all technical issues holding them back.
We did a full audit of their website and identified a number of areas that needed to be fixed. Within 2-3 weeks, we completed the audit and identified a wide range of issues, including page speed optimization, sitemap, robots.txt optimization, and orphaned page fixes. We implemented all of our recommendations, and the store started to see results within 45 days.
The store’s traffic increased by over 70%, and they were able to significantly increase their conversion rate. This resulted in a significant increase in sales for the store.
We have helped numerous other Shopify stores achieve similar results. We offer a free mini-audit that you can use to get an idea of the potential your Shopify store has. Click here to claim your free mini-audit now!
"GoldenWeb’s work has been amazing for us.
We already had a decent base with content and structure, but their work has positioned us to continue to make gains in very competitive areas."
"Benjamin and his team have been great to work with, have proven themselves with a ton of results.
Benjamin goes out of his way to provide value in all areas of the business as he's an operator himself."