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Technical seo for shopify

Written by

James Dooley

James Dooley

Most ecommerce businesses these days operate through Shopify. This means by running an online store; you need to understand how Shopify works and how you can leverage this platform for ongoing success.

As an online business, one of the most important aspects of marketing is SEO, and Shopify has its own SEO checklist built in that you can leverage.

We are a leading SEO agency that has worked with many ecommerce businesses over the years and continue to provide SEO services nationwide.

Our company can help you improve your online business and reach more people through SEO practices, including those specifically tailored to your Shopify store.

Various examples of SEO can be used to increase traffic to your site and ensure you get noticed on search engines.

Technical SEO for Shopify is just one aspect of the SEO checklist that you will want to work through to ensure the success of your brand. This is the part of SEO that goes on behind the scenes to ensure your website is primed for search engines and will get noticed.

There is a lot of work that goes into SEO, and as a leading SEO agency, we can help. For more information or to request a free no obligation quote, contact us today.

What is Technical SEO?

Search engine optimization is focused on getting your website noticed in relevant searches.

Think about it, whenever you have a query or are looking for a business near you, where do you turn first? Your customers are also turning to the internet and search engines like Google to find the goods and services you offer, so you want to be present here.

Being present is not enough, however, as search engine results lead to thousands of links, and your website will fall in line somewhere based on the SEO you have.

Shopify stores come with their own SEO checklist based on the limits of the app and the way their website is administrated. It is also focused on increasing your search engine rankings to ensure you get noticed by your desired audience but focuses on the crawl and index aspects of your site.

To increase your organic search ranking, a lot of businesses start working on keyword research or content creation.

While these are good SEO strategies to start with, they will only get you so far, as all aspects of your Shopify website need to be optimized for search engines. This includes the site architecture along with the site structure, URL structures, titles, and meta descriptions.

Technical SEO issues arise in the crawl and index aspects of your website, where attention may not have been paid to up until now. To draw more organic traffic to your site across mobile devices as well as traditional desktops, then you need to increase your SEO value everywhere.

Your SEO strategy is not complete without technical work, and as a leading SEO agency, we can help.

We have worked with hundreds of clients over the years and continue to provide the best SEO services in the business. We have worked with many Shopify sites, providing us with a good understanding of the Shopify admin checklist and how SEO works on these platforms.

With this experience and the skills our team has in SEO, we can help improve your search engine ranking and ensure your brand gets noticed online. We work on all aspects of SEO and can help your business become more successful.

Contact the team today for your free no obligation quote or to learn more about how we can help.

How does this apply to Shopify?

Search engine optimization can apply to any website. Whether you are running an ecommerce business or have a blog, the aim is to get noticed online, and you have a lot of competition to work with.

Search engines, like Google, have specific things they look for when it comes to ranking their results. They, like all other online businesses, aim to offer the best to their audience, which is why all search results are ranked based on authority and relevancy.

Based on the keywords searched by your customers, your website should appear alongside other relevant sites on the Google search console. Where you rank, and therefore whether you get noticed, is something you can adjust using SEO techniques.

For those working with Shopify, a lot of the things you do for your business come right out of the box. A Shopify store is made to be easy to launch and control, but this does not mean everything will be covered through your Shopify account.

Instead, to optimize your Shopify site and get noticed on search engines where there is a high search volume for what you offer, you need to work on SEO yourself. What sets Shopify apart from any other platform is the fact there is a specific Shopify SEO checklist, and some common issues that everyone using this platform will experience.

Based on the limitations that Shopify can have, as well as the advantages it can provide compared to other platforms, Shopify stores need additional SEO work.

As a leading SEO agency, we understand the Shopify SEO checklist and have a lot of experience working with Shopify SEO specifically to help you rank higher in search results.

If you own a Shopify site and want to get noticed, then you need to be working with the Shopify SEO checklist rather than against it, and our team can help.

To learn more, please contact us.

How to do a technical SEO audit for Shopify stores?

Likely, you have already worked on some aspects of SEO for your business. For example, many companies will perform keyword research before they begin to publish relevant content on their website to ensure it will get noticed by the right people.

Your SEO efforts need to apply to every web page as well as what goes on behind these pages to ensure the highest success. Technical SEO for e-commerce sites is vital, as it ensures you get attention from your customer base and stand out from the competition.

To know where to start, you need to perform an audit on your Shopify account. This will highlight the areas that need additional attention and allow you to determine where your main search volume should be for better results.

To perform a technical audit on Shopify, you can either:

  1. Manually look through your Shopify site
  2. Crawl the website, which requires additional tools like Yoast SEO
  3. Check the Google Search Console

These are the three main steps to any Shopify SEO strategy and should be done to determine what SEO features you need to focus on. We will now break down these features and help you learn how you can edit code and improve the way your site ranks on search engines.

Shopify SEO Basics

To work on the technical SEO of any Shopify website, there are some tools you will need to become familiar with:

Set Up Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free keyword research tool that can be used to assess your current SEO techniques. This tool provides data and assessments of various aspects of your Shopify website, including:

  • What keywords and search terms are getting the most clicks
  • What is the CTR (click-through rate) of web pages
  • How the same keyword has changed over time

This tool not only allows you to map keywords, which can be incredibly useful for Shopify store owners who want to draw customers in constantly, but it can also aid with technical SEO. While the main focus of this tool is keyword research, other elements allow you to work on the SEO of other pages and ensure your whole website is optimized.

Making a Google Search Console account is a great way to keep track of other aspects such as:

  • Crawling and index of web pages
  • The sitemap on Google
  • Check meta descriptions, meta tags, and link equity for errors

Choosing your preferences to make it easier for Google to contact you regarding the SEO of your website, both on-page SEO and technical SEO, so you can continue to improve it as your business grows.

While this tool focuses on Google, other search engines will have similar tools you can try as you become familiar with the aspects of SEO.

Install Google Analytics

Installing Google Analytics is one of the most important things you can do for your Shopify website and should come before you can work on any other aspect of SEO.

Ecommerce tracking is not complete with Google Analytics, and this tool allows you to link the two to ensure your SEO efforts are making you money. With Google Analytics, the site owner can keep track of various things, including:

  • How much revenue your SEO is making
  • The conversion rate of traffic to your site
  • What page titles and web pages are generating the most revenue based on organic traffic

This can then be used to compare your site to other relevant websites, allowing you to learn more about your customers and what they want.

Both on-page SEO and technical SEO can be combined with these two Google tools. Website owners can pair both their Google Search Console with their Google Analytics to learn more about SEO and how their organic search reach is performing.

As a leading SEO agency, our team can help you with all aspects of SEO and frequently use these tools to monitor the work of our clients. To learn more about how we can help or to request a free no obligation quote, please contact us today.

Common Shopify Technical SEO Issues

As we have already mentioned, every Shopify store has an SEO checklist built into the site architecture, and this can be used to improve your ranking.

If you are wanting to improve SEO and focus on this aspect of your business, the best thing you can do is to create a checklist for your Shopify store. This is easily done with a little background information on how Shopify works and what SEO can do for your business, which our agency can help with.

Before we work with any client, we will perform this SEO checklist to determine where the common issues are and what work needs to be done. The same issues usually arise with any Shopify store, which includes:

Directory URL Structure

When it comes to running an ecommerce business, it is usually recommended for URLs to be organised based on category pages. When you build links based on category pages, each page URL will contain a title tag or name of the specific category.

Each category page can be more specific than the last. For example, a general term for women’s clothing can then have internal linking to the specific kinds of clothing offered, with each category having its own page. These are product pages and the easiest way for audiences to find what they want.

This is the way most e-commerce sites are operated and can work on all kinds of devices to make it easier for customers. However, for Shopify users, you cannot build links for product pages without the use of title tags and heavy theme modification to ensure these operate as intended.

Modifications are required to ensure that the title tag of each page operates as a separate link. By default, your product pages will duplicate content and therefore be badly optimized in terms of meta tags, keyword rankings, and so on.

There is no simple solution to this issue with product pages on Shopify, despite the negative impact it can have on overall site SEO. Most site owners simply try their best to work with what they have and make sure their page titles are clear to their audience.

As a leading SEO agency, we can help with the restructuring of product pages and optimize the current URLs to prevent broken links and duplicate content from affecting your ranking.

Internal Product Links

Not only is there a weird setup for pages on Shopify, but this continues when we look at the specific product URLs and the meta description of these on this platform.

Internal links become more complicated and, therefore, less optimized when category pages are linked to collections, which is how a standard store should operate. It is easy to see how complex the internal links of your site become by simply clicking through collections on your website and seeing where the link ends.

When you check the canonical tags for each product page, however, you will see some code that shows where the original page can be found. This means that every single product on your Shopify store has a wrong internal link which can negatively affect the SEO of each page.

While these tags are present, they are not used by search engines in their ranking and, therefore, will be ignored. In many cases, this leads to the same products being indexed in search results multiple times and a waste of crawl volume being spent on the same URLs over and over.

This can make it difficult for your audience to find what they are looking for on your site, as well as being unable to reach this through search engines in the first place.

While there are two claimed benefits to this structure of Shopify stores, in terms of how they can make category pages more accessible and lead to breadcrumb links, they do come with downsides that you need to be aware of. Luckily, they can be modified using your website theme.

Through your website theme, you can link directly to product pages to save your audience (and the site owner) a lot of hassle while also ensuring SEO applies to all pages on the site.


Breadcrumbs will be broken links when you begin to fix the internal product links, as we have just explained.

Breadcrumb links can be useful for online stores, which means you will not want to lose this feature even if you are improving something else. These are the little links that can help website users navigate up (or back) through the pages they have looked at before being where they currently are on the site.

At a minimum, online stores should use these kinds of links on collection pages and product pages, but they can be used elsewhere too.

Working with Shopify means that, by default, your website will insert breadcrumb links based on the collection you accessed the product through.

This is not ideal in most cases and needs adjustment to operate smoothly, but it becomes even more of an issue when you tackle the issue of internal links and therefore lose the breadcrumbs altogether.

Once you have improved the internal links for each product page, you can work on the alternative, which is to manually create breadcrumb links for your site. This means manually creating breadcrumbs for each product or even each category based on the way your website is structured.

This requires you to understand the coding of your website so you can work on creating meta descriptions within this to provide breadcrumb links to each page and fix broken links that have now appeared following your other adjustments.

Our team is experienced in all aspects of SEO and can help you check these tasks off the list for better search engine ranking. Contact us today for more information.

Product Tags

At any Shopify online store, product tags are used for each product as a filter. This is common for any ecommerce navigation and makes it easier for customers to find what they want based on the categories they have been looking through.

However, on Shopify, as the product tags can be created by the site itself, it can result in thin content pages. This occurs when each variation of a product is given its own page, and duplicate content causes more issues within the code of your website.

While individual pages should make it easier for your customers to find what they want from the search engine alone, based on the search volume of each keyword, this could cause issues. Many of these pages will have duplicate content, with the only variation being the title.

Related keywords do not always mean that your website is easy to navigate and could cause issues without you even realising it. You can check whether this is an issue for your site with a search engine listing preview done through Google.

If this leads to results, then your website is dealing with this issue, and it needs to be resolved.

Index coding is required to resolve this issue and ensure that every target keyword leads people to where they want to be.

Blog Tags

Blog tags are similar to product tags in the way they can be used to filter blog posts into categories. However, on Shopify, a similar issue occurs with blog tags, as they can also cause multiple pages to be created with duplicate content simply by trying to categorise what you already have.

Thin content is the name for this and applies to web pages that offer no value, and the site owner has little to no customisation control over it.

Vendor Collections

Vendor pages are another cause for hundreds of thin pages on your online store, leading to poor SEO and organic traffic no matter what keyword research you do.

Vendor collections or pages refer to the way most ecommerce sites organise their products. It makes sense to have separate categories for each vendor in your store, making it easier for ecommerce tracking and allowing your audience to find what they want faster.

However, on Shopify, the default for these collections does not offer any value in terms of SEO. Each vendor has a URL that is not user-friendly by default, as we have explored with other aspects of your store, and will be auto-generated, meaning it is difficult to customise the page as you require.

As the page is auto-generated, they are usually not touched by SEO and, therefore, completely useful for your website.

This is something Shopify does automatically and, therefore, also needs to be amended in the code of your website.

Product Types Collections

Like vendor pages, online stores will also have product type pages. These are a way of categorising the content on your website and have a similar URL structure to collection pages.

However, these are also automatically generated by Shopify on your site and have the same issues as vendor pages in terms of reduced SEO.

For most sites, product pages work the same as the collection pages you have already created and therefore serve no additional purpose other than reducing the SEO of the collections on your site.

Other Default Pages

Shopify makes a lot of pages on your store automatically, and these usually do not allow for additional text or image optimization.

Like any other page that is present on your site without value, it needs to be amended using the code of your website. This can be a complicated process and one that our team can help with.

As leading SEO experts, we have worked in all aspects of optimizing websites, including the technical side, like coding as required on Shopify. If you want to improve your ranking and reach more people, we can help.

Please get in touch today for a free no obligation quote for our services.

Setup a Custom Robots.txt File

While there are a lot of things you cannot control on Shopify, there is now an option for site owners to create custom robots.txt files on their site.

This can provide more control over the issues mentioned in this list as well as greater control on the backend of your site. Whenever we work with Shopify clients, the first thing we do is create a custom robots.txt file that allows us to amend any issues as well as be able to hand the control back over to our clients at the end of the service.

The information you enter into the coding of your website can make these issues easier to deal with and allow for greater customisation of SEO. It will be easier to add or remove controls from the back end, and this is where the majority of our work comes from.

It is important to note that controlling the coding of your site can cause crawling issues with internal links if these have not been optimised properly. This is why it is best left to professionals like those on our team, and we can help with any Shopify site.

Please contact us today for a free no obligation quote.

Canonicalize or Merge Product Variants

As we have mentioned, it is quite easy to create unnecessary pages on your Shopify website when adding products. If you are wanting to offer a lot of product variants, you do not have to duplicate content to do so and can still ensure your audience can see what is available easily.

It is unlikely that your audience is going to be searching for a specific product with any other target keyword involved, so you do not need multiple pages of the same thing that may differ in terms of size or colour. Instead, you can merge these into a single product using the settings already present on Shopify.

If this is not user-friendly, as many of the automated processes on Shopify are not, you can use canonical tags, which show robots where to find the original page for each product. This is something we have already explored and can be done using a custom meta description in the coding of your site.

This can be done on most Shopify sites, but please contact us for more information.

301 Redirect Deleted Products

One of the easier yet still important aspects of SEO is redirecting broken links.

While this is not an urgent task, it is not something you should ignore because it can impact the user’s experience on your site and how long they spend shopping with you which in turn impacts search engine ranking.

Redirects can be easily done using Shopify modifications, and the whole thing can be found through the Navigation tab of your Shopify Admin account. Here you can create URL redirects and prevent broken links from impacting your SEO.

Use Structured Data

Structured data is a way of explaining your content to the internet and ensuring it is categorised as required. Most Shopify sites will have this integrated by default, but you should double-check to ensure things are working as expected.

These are:

Product Structured Data

This will be set up within your theme and applies to each product page.

Article Structured Data

This applies to blog posts and should be automatically generated by Shopify.

BreadcrumbList Structured Data

This is used to explain each breadcrumb and the markup of each URL.

Are There Other Issues?

If you are using the Shopify checklist, you will most likely get a lot of issues resolved – but this will not be the end of your issues.

Additional issues may be found using crawling software like Sitebulb. This is something we provide to all our clients to ensure we are offering the best services possible and getting the results they desire.

Contact us today to work with us and request a free no obligation quote.

Final Thoughts

SEO is a vital aspect of running any online business, including Shopify stores.

As this platform operates uniquely, there are some issues that Shopify users will experience that may not be present anywhere else. As a leading SEO agency, we have worked with all kinds of ecommerce businesses and have a great experience with Shopify.

If you are wanting to increase the ranking of your Shopify site and get the attention you deserve, then you have come to the right place.

Please contact us for more or to request your free no obligation quote.


James Dooley
James Dooley

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