Avoid the most common mistakes we see with Shopify SEO

Little tips to help you make good SEO content

A cost-effective marketing strategy means avoiding some common mistakes.

SEO isn't difficult to implement, however, some common mistakes could be setting you back. Shopify is a great platform for managing your e-commerce store but you have to know how to work with it to get great results in terms of SEO.

Pick the right keywords for your products and content

Choosing the right keywords can be a challenge. It is one of the most common mistakes people make with their e-commerce store. You need to take into consideration what people are searching for on Google. Identify the keywords and phrases that your target customers are using to search for your brand, products, inspiration, etc. 

The search intent behind each search query will dictate what keywords belong to what type of page on your website. Keywords with a transactional intent should be used in product pages and collection pages. Keywords that are more top-of-the-funnel, inspirational or informational should belong to blog articles. Here is a tutorial on how to download your keywords from Google Search Console

If you want to know more about picking the right longtail keywords for ecommerce businesses, you can read this detailed guide I published on the Wix Learning Hub.  

Optimize your product descriptions for humans & bots

You need to create unique product descriptions. Original content is a must. You will not rank with a description from the manufacturer. Here are some basic SEO best practices you shoud know about: make sure that your product pages are well-structured, with clear and descriptive titles, descriptions, and images. Use your keywords in your product titles and descriptions, and include meta tags (meta titles and meta descriptions) and alt text for your images.

Here is some solid advice: 

  • For online store owners that have a limited time: if you can optimize only one element of the content structure, we recommend optimizing H1 title tags. Avoid using generic keywords in favor of specific product titles with relevant keywords. 
  • Not every product should be optimized for SEO. You should prioritize products that have high demand and a lower competition (whenever possible) first. 
  • You need to decide if variant (for example products coming in different colors) should have its own product page because it can drive traffic on its own. An example would be a pink Murph vest for workouts. There is demand for this type of product in that specific color, so it should have its dedicated product page. 
  • If you can add social proof to your product description, go right ahead. Did your product get an award? Did it make a list or does it show up in Instagram posts? Let potential customers know.

Want to know more about optimizing product detail pages? Check out this Clearscope video:

Your blog needs to support collection and product pages

Your marketing efforts should aim to satisfy user intent all every touchpoint of the customer journey. From a search engine optimization standpoint, blog articles are meant to support your collection pages and product pages. 

Here is some basic advice to ensure your blog posts are optimized for SEO. Use your keywords in your blog post titles and throughout the content, and include internal links to other relevant pages on your site. Ideally, your article should include keyword-rich text links pointing to your products.

Want to go further? Check out the Clearscope webinar on ecommerce content types:


Optimize your Shopify store for local search:

Optimizing your Shopify store for local search is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase your store’s traffic. If you have a physical location or serve customers in a specific geographic area, make sure to include your location and contact information on your site, and optimize your pages for local search keywords. One of the biggest mistakes we see is that folks tend to remain very generic. However, for Canadian online stores, it is often key to specify that their products are sold in the country. Location matters: if you are a Montreal-based jewelry brand, you must say so! If you sell Canadian flannel shirts, this should be reflected in your collection page. 

Handle discontinued or out-of-stock products

This is an item that should be on your to-do list: make sure you redirect important pages and products. A 404 page is shown to customers when the page no longer exists. The most common reasons for this is a broken link on your own shop or on another website out there. You can redirect pages within the Shopify backend to ensure that customers are taken to the new URL where the product page now resides. It's a user-friendly way to handle expectations and a great way to preserve SEO assets. If you want to know more about how to handle redirects in your store, check out the official Shopify documentation

Be careful about the canonicalization on Shopify

One of the major mistakes we see very often is canonicalization. By default, search engine bots have issues because Shopify because of this. Canonical tags enable to signal duplicate content to Google. Shopify create 2 URLs for every product which counts as duplicate content: there is a product path and a collection path.

  • /products/pdp
  • /collections/.*/products/pdp

The canonical tag references the correct page you want to show in Google. The implication: every single page on the category pages is a duplicate page at the end of the day. Internal linking is problematic. All the links to product pages are the duplicate ones, not the canonical ones. This sends conflicting signals between the indexing signals and the internal linking signals. If you want to fix this issue, find the products grid file to fix the internal links on the category pages.

Make sure you pick a good theme

Many online businesses choose to pick a theme that is beautiful and functional for them without considering loading speed. Learn about the importance of loading speed and the importance of testing the theme before you purchase a Shopify theme. A slower website can mean decreased sales and a subpar user experience. We recommend testing the theme you want to purchase in Google PageSpeed Insights. 

Stay up-to-date with the latest SEO best practices:

Organic search is an ever-evolving field, so it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest best practices and strategies. Follow industry blogs and forums, and attend conferences and workshops to learn about the latest trends and techniques in SEO.

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