You’re beyond excited! Your brand new, beautifully designed Shopify site is in the works. It’s almost time to launch it, share your products with the world, and start watching sales pour in. Wait a second, though! If you don’t have SEO best practices for Shopify in place on your site, your business won’t reach half the audience it could… And, it definitely won’t be showing up in nearly the number of search results you want it to.
“SEO” can be a scary term for some, I know. But I promise: Making sure your eCommerce business has a fully optimized Shopify site isn’t as tricky as you might think. Follow these SEO best practices for Shopify and help your business get the attention (and traffic) it deserves.
The Most Basic SEO Best Practices for Shopify
Fundamental SEO elements are at the heart of SEO best practices for Shopify. Your first step to optimizing your website for search engines is to have these SEO elements covered.
The keywords you choose for your site are the words (sometimes phrases) that tell search engines exactly what they’ll find on your website. When it comes to your eCommerce business, your keywords should address the need or want your ideal customers to have that your products provide the solution to.
Your keywords should be found throughout your site in places search engines (and site visitors) crawl, like your site title, headlines, image titles, meta descriptions, etc. That way, they can gather an idea of what you have to offer. Then they can point to your website when relevant searches are seeking something your business does or sells. It makes sense, right??
Page titles (or title tags) are an essential step in your best SEO practices for Shopify. That’s because they’re often the first thing someone sees when your site shows up in search results. They’re also a key factor Google search engines look at when figuring out what your page is about and how to rank it.
Page titles should make what someone will find on that page very clear, and they should be catchy. You want people to see the site and be compelled to click on it over the other search options that pop up (no pressure, right?). It’s also essential to use your primary keyword in your page title, since it helps search engines paint a picture of what your site contains and who it can help with what.
Meta descriptions are one of those intimidating SEO terms that aren’t nearly as scary as they sound. Trust me! All meta descriptions are short paragraphs that summarize a web page’s content. They’re that little blurb you see right beneath a page title on a search results page. And, of course, search engines scan them as they crawl and learn more about your website.
Good meta descriptions are no more than 155 characters long, include your primary keyword, mention your business name, and communicate why someone should check out that page on your website.
Image Alt Text
Some of the SEO info you add to your website is readily visible to searchers and search engines alike, like your page titles and meta descriptions. But some of it isn’t quite as visible, but just as important!
Adding alt text to every image on your website should be one of your “must” SEO best practices for Shopify. Even though the average visitor might not see an image’s alt text on your site, search engines always do. Plus, if for some reason your image isn’t visible (like if it doesn’t load), the alt text might pop up in its place.
Image alt text also plays a big role in your site being accessible for all visitors. For individuals with visual impairments, alt text is read by screen readers and communicates what the image is/its context.
Alt text should always describe an image’s content and context, and include a keyword or two.
Optimizing Each Product
Here’s where SEO gets very important for Shopify websites and is a bit different than the average site. SEO best practices for Shopify call for optimizing every single product with a proper title, description, and alt tags. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you how to do it!
You might have a fun or abstract name dreamed up for a product, but when it comes to SEO for your eCommerce store, you have to consider what people are searching for. You’ll want to give your product title a name that makes sense to search engines. For example, “Ocean Drops” might artfully describe a pair of handcrafted earrings. But a better product title for SEO would be “blue dangle earrings.”
Product descriptions are another important place for keywords to do their magic. Yes, you should describe a product’s features and why someone should buy it. But you should also include keywords so search engines can do their thing. You can avoid using keywords repetitively or in an unnatural-sounding way by using enough text that you can weave a few keywords into your text smoothly.
Your product imagery isn’t just critical to showing off your products and enticing customers to purchase them. Product images offer you prime SEO opportunities with alt text. Like the image alt text I talked about before, each product image should have accompanying alt text for search engine & accessibility purposes.
Don’t Forget About Site Speed!
How successful will that gorgeous new Shopify site of yours be if it takes too long to load? Here’s a big reality check. 53% of mobile website visitors bail on your website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Ouch. Even worse, a two-second loading delay can result in abandonment rates of up to 87%. Think of all those potential customers!
Beyond losing shoppers with a slow-loading website, you also lose search engines. Search engines, like Google, aren’t fans of pages that take forever to load. If search engines can’t efficiently crawl your site, or are only able to crawl a small number of its pages in their budgeted time, it can affect your ability to rank.
So, how can you make sure your site is speedy enough for readers and search engines? Follow these SEO best practices for Shopify site speed:
- Compress photos before you upload them. Compressing images reduces how much storage they need on your website. It also cuts down on an image’s size and the complexity of its data, making it much easier (and yes, faster) to load when your page opens.
- Clean Up Your Code: Website visitors might not see your HTML code. However, if you’re making frequent coding changes and updates to your website, things can get cluttered on the backend. That can slow down your page loading time. Make sure your site is cleared of any unnecessary code to help speed things up.
- Delete Unnecessary Apps and App Code: Everyone adds a brand-spankin’ new ad that promises to make your website better at some point. If you’ve done that a few times, though, and aren’t actually using apps on your site, get rid of them. Not only are they taking up space on your backend dashboard, but their code is taking up coding space (and contributing to that clutter mentioned above!).
- Embed Your Videos: I repeat, embed them. It might be tempting to upload your videos directly to your website and call it a day. It’s one of the quickest ways to slow down your website, though! Instead, embed your videos, so visitors and search engines don’t lose time getting video data directly from your website server.
Looking for more Shopify resources? You can find all of our Shopify blog posts here.
Get a Beautifully Optimized Site for Your ECommerce Business
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