SEO For Shopify Plus
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Shopify Plus is a major ecommerce platform across many industries, providing an easy way to construct an online store from scratch. However, even on such a fantastic platform, web developers still have to develop an SEO strategy if they want to see success.
While it is not hard to understand the basics of Shopify SEO, having a clear SEO perspective on running your ecommerce platform can be difficult. SEO can be one of the biggest factors in the success of your Shopify store – using SEO correctly can make a huge difference.
What Is Shopify Plus SEO?
Shopify Plus SEO is exactly what it sounds like – search engine optimisation for Shopify Plus sites. If you are not that familiar with SEO, then understanding Shopify’s SEO capabilities can seem daunting.
However, in most cases, all Shopify SEO is focused on a single goal – usually to drive more organic traffic to the site as a way of securing more customers.
Optimizing your Ecommerce Platform for Search Engines
In short, Shopify SEO is about increasing your ranking on search engines like Google, as well as driving more organic traffic to your site. Both of these lead to online stores receiving more interested customers, which generally means greater success overall.
Like all ecommerce businesses, Shopify stores need a constant supply of customers to succeed. Good SEO services and techniques are the easiest way to ensure that your ecommerce site is getting the traffic it deserves and that you are actually obtaining more visitors over time.
Technical Shopify SEO For Shopify Plus
Technical SEO is the baseline of most SEO work, and for a good reason.
Search engines are very aware of the state of your site, and the website behind ecommerce businesses can have a direct impact on their search performance.
For example, if a web developer creates a new store with large images that are not compressed or optimised, then pages will load slower, and traffic will suffer as a result. This reflects badly on the site, so search engines like Google will make it rank lower.
1. Duplicate Product Pages
Duplicate content can significantly damage your SEO. While potential customers might not notice a difference, search engines do.
Google penalises any site that copies content between pages and gives even harsher penalties to any website that steals content from other websites.
As an e-commerce platform, it is best to write original, unique content. Even copying product descriptions from other websites can be enough to tank the rankings of those pages.
3. Faceted Navigation
Faceted navigation is a feature that allows users to filter products based on a range of criteria, such as price or material type. While convenient for users, it can also lead to websites hosting what looks like a lot of duplicate content.
This can cause serious SEO problems and produces a lot of extra URLs across your site’s URL structure. This leads to unnecessary waste of the crawl budget, unclear Google Analytics results, and huge accidental penalties due to repeated content.
This can get even worse if the meta titles of these pages are all the same or if the same content is used across multiple sites owned by the same company. This can seriously damage your website SEO and often happens without the business owner even realising it.
Fashion brand websites tend to suffer with this the most due to the way that their Shopify stores are set up. Most traffic will be hunting for specific products, so a lot of filters are useful, which can lead to the website being flooded with extra URLs that Google interprets as new pages.
4. Internal Site Search
Internal site search is a surprisingly important part of Shopify Plus. Like most other platforms, users want to navigate around quickly and find the parts of the Shopify site that they want.
Without internal site search, new traffic might struggle to find the website pages they want. However, implementing internal website search features incorrectly can also lead to a huge number of potential site problems.
Allowing each search page to be crawled is similar to the faceted navigation issue – you are not just having product pages crawled, but every search URL, which can clog the site crawl with unneeded URLs that can impact your ecommerce store rankings on search engines.
Using the Robots .txt file to stop these URLs from being crawled is the best way to get the right platform crawling option, allowing your site to use this page search system without the search page itself creating duplicate content.
5. Structured Data
Structured data is code that allows search engines to understand what a page is. Many Shopify Plus sites do not use reliable structured data, meaning that the page is not as streamlined as it could be.
While structured data might be confusing at first, the basic idea is the same: you are trying to mark each page as a specific thing so that search engines know what that part of the site is.
Doing this can make the site rank a little bit higher by telling search crawlers what the page is about instead of forcing them to interpret the site page on their own.
6. Site Speed
Site performance is a major metric in SEO. While it does not impact digital marketing directly, good performance can boost SEO, while platforms like Google can penalise sites that load slowly.
Most Shopify experts also know that slow load times make users less likely to stay on that site platform. If a site takes too long to load – especially internal site links – then they will usually back out and move on to a different site.
Optimising images and code to speed up site load times can secure more traffic and allow your Shopify website to rank higher overall.
On Page SEO For Shopify Plus
On-page SEO can be a simple but important detail for store owners, providing some direct benefits to your SEO.
URLs: Use Short, Keyword-Rich URLs
Short URLs that include relevant keywords can be great for your URL structure and provide some core SEO benefits.
They can also aid navigation and make it much easier to avoid accidentally broken links due to misspellings or automated URL changes.
In the title tag (H)
Each title tag on your site should be relevant and carefully chosen.
Not only do title tags influence search rankings, but they change the titles that users see in search results, which can help to draw in more customers who are in the market for your products.
In body copy
Improve your on-page copy by adding more keywords, providing more unique content, and eliminating any duplicate content on those pages.
Regular content is the backbone of SEO, and your business needs to handle it well to see success. Shopify Plus makes it easy to keep adding more content as needed without disrupting your Shopify storefront.
In image alt text
While Shopify Plus offers a lot of great features, alt text is an easy one to forget.
Improving your Shopify Plus site with image alt text can help bolster your SEO and gives you a place to add some extra keywords to a page.
Image File Name
Like alt text, image file names can boost your Shopify Plus SEO in a very small way.
It is always worth choosing relevant image file names over generic ones, both for SEO reasons and for clarity when constructing the site.
In the metadata
Metadata, like meta descriptions and meta titles, are easy to overlook.
Search engines take metadata into account, and many Shopify Plus owners do not even remember to add metadata to their Shopify Plus site at first.
Shopify Plus SEO issues
There can be a range of different SEO problems that Shopify Plus site owners may run into.
If you run a Shopify Plus storefront, then simply using SEO plugins and digital marketing strategies is not always enough.
Having actionable insights from places like Google Search Console data is useful, but you need your Shopify Plus store to function properly too.
Here are some of the issues that a Shopify Plus business may run into, especially if Shopify Plus is a brand-new platform for you.
A poorly-handled directory or navigation structure can impact your Shopify Plus SEO very poorly.
Look at your XML sitemap to get an idea of which pages Google may be crawling. A canonical tag can help with category pages that are part of other category pages.
It is important to keep your Shopify site clear and usable on both a customer and technical level. The fewer category pages and other technical pages you have to rely on, the better.
Filter pages should get a canonical URL and canonical tags (or robots.txt exceptions) to prevent them from being treated as a new page.
This includes collection pages with alternate variants that use the same content, too.
If your business has multiple stores on the enterprise platform, then avoiding duplicate content is important.
This can apply to things like metadata in images, or product marketing copy and example text, too.
Lack of htaccess
Not having an htaccess file makes it harder to modify the directories of your web server. While it is hard to give an example of how this works if you are not already familiar with it, it is an important file in general.
Not having one can damage your Shopify Plus SEO in a range of small ways, often leading to worse performance that can slowball into even worse rankings.
Keeping default text on any page – including those created as part of apps – can often be a bad idea.
While images are not as much of a concern, default content is usually picked up as duplicated content, especially if it is the same exact content used on a huge range of other sites and platforms.
Internal Linking Issues
If your site is having issues with internal navigation links, it can impact the user experience. Broken internal links can even lead to damaged rankings in some cases.
Remember to check that all sections of the site still work, especially if you have been using a URL adjustment app or strategy to change URLs. It only takes one character difference to break a URL and point a link towards a completely different (often non-existent) page.
Whether you list product variants manually or use a specialised app to automatically do so, it is easy to use duplicate content and similar URLs when managing product variants.
Making sure that each page is truly unique is important since having repeated information or text can often lead to major SEO damage.
Lack of tools like Google Analytics
Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console are invaluable for handling SEO properly.
Do not hesitate to use a range of apps and tools when trying to promote or overhaul a particular part of the site.
SEO is complex, requiring a lot of different decisions and elements to maintain even once you find success.
However, for a lot of Shopify Plus users, a huge part of the process can be simplified by understanding what will actually benefit your site.
Taking some time to explore your storefront’s strengths and weaknesses can give you a huge range of options for improving your store’s SEO, attracting more users, and generally improving your site’s performance online.
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