The Complete Guide to Shopify SEO

For small business merchants, and especially those in the homemade/handmade space, SEO is quite often overlooked. It's easy to get customers via Etsy/Instagram/Facebook, so why bother?  Well...

1.  It's free (and we all love free right?)
2.  Done right, it will send you targeted, purchase-ready customers

If you're still reading this, you already have the upper hand because surprisingly not many mom and pop shops even know what SEO is all about, much less work at it.  

So, if you're ready to take your shop to the top of Google, read on!

Understanding the SEO Process & Ecosystem

To give you a bit of a 'birds eye view' this is what the typical SEO process looks like for me:

  1. Set up
  2. Implementation
  3. Analysis (do more of what's working, less of what's not...repeat)

Setup

Step #1: Google Analytics

First of all you will want to sign up for Google Analytics (and while you're there, also sign up for Google Webmasters/Search Console).

Once you have your analytics code, from your Shopify dashboard, go to Online Store -> Preferencesand paste your code in the Google Analytics account textbox.

 
shopify-google-analytics
 

Step #2:  Keyword Analysis

This is a tough one to tackle as it could be a couple posts in and of itself.  To sum it up the best I can:

For example, if you sell jewelry, keywords like 'jewelry' won't get you very far without a significant amount of time and effort.

Keywords that are more descriptive, such as 'jewelry designer', 'homemade jewelry', 'custom jewelry design' will be far easier to gain traction and conversions with.

Implementation

Implementing SEO generally comes in two forms: 

On-Page SEO Off-Page SEO
Page Titles Content Marketing
Meta Descriptions Social Media
URLs Backlinks
Image File Names/Alt tag Connecting with Influencers
Page Headers Product Reviews/UGC
Internal Linking

On-Page Shopify SEO  

Go ahead and open up your Shopify dashboard and I will guide you through all the nooks and crannies within Shopify to boost your SEO!

(Don't worry, at the end of this article I will be linking to all my favorite resources for Off-Page SEO!

Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, URLs

You can edit the Page Title, Meta Description, and URL on every Product, Page, Collection, and Blog Post.  

If you go to any one of these pages in your Shopify admin, you will see a "Search engine listing preview" box near the bottom.  Click on the "Edit Website SEO" link and you will get the below options.  Edit accordingly. :)

shopify-seo

* To edit your homepage Page Title and Meta Description, go to Online Store ->Preferences

Editing the Alt Text

What is alt text?  If you add an image to your website (with the exception of background images), you have the option of adding alt text to it.  This typically has no visual impact on your website, but search bots will crawl this info - so it's best to add it!  

There are a few ways to add images within Shopify, so I'll go over each one below:

To change the alt tag for product images, hover over the thumbnail on the product page and click "ALT":

shopify-product-image-alt-seo

To change the alt tag for images within a rich-text editor (blog posts, product descriptions), you will see the option in the 'Insert Image' pop up:

shopify-alt-text

And, finally, to change the alt tag for images in the theme editor, you upload the image, then Edit:

 
shopify-alt-theme-editor
 

Image Naming

For SEO purposes, you will always want to name your images with something relevant to your keywords.  Now, be forewarned, you cannot change file names within Shopify!  So, rename your image before uploading and you should be good.  

Page Headers 

This is all about your content.  Write good, detailed product descriptions and blog posts.  And organize/break up content into scannable chunks.  Instead of just bolding headers, use H1, h2,h3's.  Use bulleted and numbered lists to help readers scan your copy.

Internal Linking  

When people come to your website, you really want them to explore. Google loves this.  If your bounce rate isn't looking so great, it may be time to address whether your content is just not reaching the right audience or whether they don't see anything else on your site that interests them. 

So be sure to add related items and posts and simply link to other pages within your site!

Analysis

SEO does not happen overnight.  But do check in with your analytics frequently - see what channels are driving the most traffic. Part of my whole 'do more of what is working, less of what's not' masterplan. :)

Also, use Search Console (within Google Analytics) to see what search terms you are coming up for and use that information to help plan out your blog/products.