[38] Shopify SEO Experts Reveal Their #1 Task For Growth

Last updated December 3, 2018

Let’s be clear, being a Shopify SEO expert is hard!

And with competition mounting day by day, it’s not getting any easier.

Shopify alone has surpassed 500k stores.

And according to the US census bureau retail ecommerce sales are up 5% in Q2 of 2017 from Q1 to $111.5 billion.

So if there was ever a time to plant your stake in the ground, and finally get a hold of your niches SEO, it’s now.

With this in mind I went out and asked a ton of top Shopify SEO experts this question:

“What is the number one SEO task a Shopify store should focus on monthly for growth?”

We then categorized the answers and I chose some of my favourite.

I weighed in too.

Task Categories

  1. Link Building
  2. On-page SEO
  3. Technical SEO
  4. Content Marketing
  5. Keyword Research
  6. Site Architecture
  7. Email Outreach

Giles' Favourites

  1. Yes
  2. No

Giles Thomas - Founder of AcquireConvert, RisePro & Whole Design Studios

Link Building On-page SEO Technical SEO Content Marketing Keyword Research Site Architecture Email Outreach Giles Thomas's Favorite

SEO for Shopify is a 6 step process.

1. Keyword Research
2. Site Architecture
3. On-page SEO
4. Technical SEO
5. Content Marketing
6. Link Building

1. Keyword Research

You need to find the keywords that are relevant to your brand, product and niche. I like to use the Keyword Planner from Google and Keywordtool.io. These can be categorised as either 'commercial' or 'informational' intent. This means that people want to buy something or learn something. Try to focus on mid-tail keywords and keep the number of pages your site has to a minimum. That way once you've built enough links you won't dilute your link juice across pages with low page rank. Mid-tail keywords also have high search volumes typically and clear search intent, ie you know what people want when they type it.

2. Site Architecture

This is a fancy way of saying you need to plan your site's structure. Make sure your collections are never more than two levels deep, Google doesn't like this. You then need to map the keywords from your research to your product, collection and blog pages. Commercial intent keyword should be focused on collection and product pages and informational on blog pages.

3. On-page SEO

This just means make sure you make it very clear to Google which keyword that page is focused on. Here are a few things to optimize:

a. Image name
b. Image alt text
c. URL (just the keyword)
d. Front load the keyword in the URL
d. H1
e. H2 (can use longer-tail variations of the keyword here)
f. LSI keywords (searches that are not the same but mean the same thing)
g. Use the keyword in the first paragraph
h. Create external and internal links to relevant resources and to collection and product pages (to pass link juice)

4. Technical SEO

Most Shopify stores can forget this until they are making a fair wack. But you need to make sure you set up Google Webmasters, update your sitemap (done by Shopify) and keep your link profile clean by denying crappy links. Check every month for error messages in Webmasters to tidy up too. There is whole world of technical SEO that most store owners will never get into on Shopify. Unless your making 7 figures, don't worry.

5. Content Marketing

Create content using the Brian Dean Skyscraper technique. Better designed, longer, well-written and well researched. Use content templates to make the format decisions and link building methods attached to them simpler. For example you could blog about the 'Best Summer Sandals 2017'. This is called the awards bait template. As you give people and brands fake awards so they feel compelled to share and link to your content.

6. Link Buiilding

Build links with cold email outreach using Mailshake. The simplest methods are letting people or brands you mention in the content know. Or scraping lists of past sharers or sites that link to similar content and asking them if they want to check your content out.

Stephen Panico

Link Building On-page SEO Technical SEO Content Marketing Keyword Research Site Architecture Giles Thomas's Favorite

This is a great question but hard to generalize an answer! I actually think the focus should be "Picking the Right SEO Strategy Based on Store Type".

The reason I say that is the "number one" strategy will likely change depending on your product or niche.

Are you a totally unique product (maybe one funded on Kickstarter) like Coffee Joulies? You're likely going to want to focus on a marketing strategy targeted at major publications. Something totally fresh can generally get placement in a vertical-specific publication, which will drive a ton of trickle-down backlinks and traffic from product sites like Uncrate.com and ProductHunt.com.

Do you cater a line of products to a specific niche? For example, a line of vegan candles or ethically sourced tea? In that case, a content marketing and outreach strategy will likely bring the best bang for your buck as you create a lifestyle brand that will immediately gain interest from people who are heavily invested in your niche. You can create tangential content not specifically focused on the product itself that will still produce a ton of purchases and cement a community of advocates (and repeat buyers).

Do you have a boutique brand focused on fashion or accessories? In that case social outreach to influencers on Instagram and other image-focused platforms with free product offers can generate a large number of leads, and with the popularity of the platform even a micro-influencer strategy can get regular returns if conducted monthly.

John Credo

Content Marketing Giles Thomas's Favorite

The number one SEO task a Shopify store should focus on monthly for growth is high quality content marketing. When I say high quality, I mean well designed, well written and informative or entertaining (depending on your brand voice) content that no one else is doing. High quality content like this opens up many many doors for SEO because you are able to ask people to spread it socially and they will, you can easily build links to a high quality piece of content, and if you do it right that content can also acquire a lot of organic traffic itself.

James Reynolds

Link Building Giles Thomas's Favorite

There's no getting away from it - unless your e-commerce store is already the size of Amazon, your site will prosper greatly if it wins more links.

The trouble is winning links to e-commerce pages are notoriously hard.

Let's face it...

Few people are inclined to link to your page if they think you'll profit from it.

Of course, you could go down the content marketing route, but that will (mostly) achieve links to your blog, not your product pages.

One great way to build links to straight to your product pages is to use this outdated product link building strategy;

It works great if you are selling a product that improves on a popular older product.

Here's how to go about it;

Step 1 - Search for website pages linking to a similar but outdated product.
Step 2 - Use AHRefs to see all the websites linking to those product pages.
Step 3 - Locate the contact details for those website owners.
Step 4 - Pitch your new better product as a more up to date solution.

And with that, you win more links to your money pages.

Marcus Miller

Link Building On-page SEO Technical SEO Content Marketing Keyword Research Site Architecture Email Outreach Giles Thomas's Favorite

It is always very tough to answer these broad questions with a generic answer. What one store needs to focus on will be very different from another. The current situation, customers and marketplace along with any strengths and weaknesses have to be considered first. So, the cop-out answer here would be to focus on SEO strategy. Determine your strengths and weaknesses and figure out where you need to improve.

With that caveat aside the focus for growth is nearly always content and content promotion. Content broadens the scope of what you can rank and drive organic traffic for. Content engages your audience and helps you to turn browsers into buyers. Valuable content allows you to distinguish your store from the competitors. And content provides the backbone for any safe, sustainable link building strategies. With everything else in place content and the right kind of links are what will allow you to scale organic traffic and drive growth over time. And the right kind of links should also be on highly visible sites that drive referral traffic and brand awareness. Triple win.

Another caveat would be that you really want to get the basics right first. Don't just dive into link building. There is a procedural SEO process you can follow (which I go into lot more detail about here -> https://www.bowlerhat.co.uk/small-business-seo-tips/). Get the basics dialled in and then bed in for the long game of content and link building. This approach built on a strong foundation will help you drive sustainable growth for your Shopify store.

Jeff Couret

Link Building Giles Thomas's Favorite

Ideally I like to use a balanced approach to SEO across UX/Architecture, Content Creation/Outreach, and the Inbound Link Landscape. However, if I was to choose just one, I'd focus on building quality inbound links. Even after all these years, inbound links are still king."

David Farkas

On-page SEO Content Marketing Giles Thomas's Favorite

Shopify has some pretty decent built-in SEO features. It’s easy to make sure your title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, headings, and everything else are all working with one another. With that in mind, there’s really no excuse to not choose a good keyword for each page, and make sure it exists in the page’s URL, its meta description, its title, and in at least one heading.

But, beyond that, I’d say creating quality content is super important for both your product and category pages. It’s sometimes a pain to write good content for these pages (product pages especially), but it’s also very important if you want to see your website traffic and sales grow.

You can place this content “below the fold” so it doesn’t obscure your customer’s ability to look at the product, choose item quantity, or add it to their cart.

As a monthly task, you could focus on writing content for 4-5 product pages and 1-2 category pages, and you could prioritize them according to what sells the best for you. Try to write at least 750-1000 words (if not more) for each product page, and a at least 1000 words for each category page.

This content shouldn’t be duplicated from another page. It should be original content that includes good information for your users. Answer frequently asked questions, talk about the history of the product, and explain its benefits. This can be tedious and somewhat time consuming, but based on my experience, this is the only way you’re going to see web traffic growth month after month.

Creating great content for each product and category page also means it will be much, much easier to build links to those pages in the future.

And, of course, make sure your content includes that keyword you decided upon in your URL, meta descriptions, title, and headings. Don’t overstuff the keyword, but make sure it’s in there 1-3 times.

Nathan Gotch

Content Marketing Keyword Research Giles Thomas's Favorite

The #1 SEO task every Shopify store should focus on is to create incredible keyword-targeted content assets. This is the most effective way to build the authority of your e-commerce website. That's because you are using your content as a vehicle to distribute link equity back up to your most important pages (category and product pages). It's much easier to promote a valuable content asset than it is to promote product or category pages. My recommendation for most e-commerce stores is that 80% of your content should be keyword-targeted and the other 20% should be some type of link bait. Some examples of effective link bait are expert roundups, interviews, tools, controversy, or infographics. If your website is new, you should target micro long-tail keywords that have low competition. Dominate as many as of these as you can, focus on building your website's authority, and then move onto more competitive keywords with higher search volume. The main takeaway is you should invest time and resources into creating link-worthy, keyword-targeted content assets. Your time and capital investment into content creation will pay dividends in the long run.

Aaron Wall

Link Building On-page SEO Technical SEO Content Marketing Keyword Research Site Architecture Email Outreach Giles Thomas's Favorite

In search there is a concept called "discrimination value." A common word like "the" or "went" tells very little about the meaning of the document containing it, because the word is in almost every English-language document.

The same sort of concept applies with obtaining a competitive advantage in marketing.

The stuff that everyone should do is something that should largely be done by the underlying platform. Now sometimes it is not done by the platform, but if enough people ask for something it is cheaper for the platform to fix the problem than to have a higher rate of customer churn from the problem & deal with constant support requests.

That means if you want to break through the noise in the marketplace & succeed in an ecommerce market where state & city governments are falling over themselves to give billions in tax subsidies to Amazon while Amazon runs at about a zero percent profit margin and subsidizes third party seller prices while neglecting to collect sales tax from those sales you have to offer something that is virtually impossible for the broad platforms to copy. In most cases you probably can't compete on price & if you can you should probably sell on the large platforms like Amazon rather than competing against them.

So how do you compete if not on price? By offering something that is hard to duplicate. What's the difference between Tahitian vanilla beans & Madagascar vanilla beans? This topic might make sense to cover on pages selling vanilla beans, but it also might make sense to cover on a site which sells cacao beans & chocolate conching machines.

A page like this:


does not look or feel like an ecommerce shopping cart page.

They have a great name, great web design, custom fonts, great editorial, videos, photos, etc.

If you can't compete on price then winning is going to be more about the whole package. What can you offer that isn't offered elsewhere? What are the pain points in the market that are not well addressed across the leading players?

The above site does so many things well.

To give one example of turning a weakness into a strength I can also use my site as an example because it is a market I know well. Back in 2003 it was presumed that SEO books are almost universally awful because they are all out of date by the time they are in print. So I took the weakness and turned it into a strength by using that narrative to self-publish an ebook which was regularly updated. And I wrote a blog on the topic with regular updates on the industry.

Now a person could say "write a blog" or "write an ebook" but those tips might not have much value in isolation. It depends on the timing & the topic. Being one of 20 writers regularly blogging about SEO is valuable. Being one of 20,000 is probably a waste of your time - unless you focus on a tighter niche you can become synonymous with like local SEO http://blumenthals.com/blog/ or video SEO http://tubularinsights.com/ . You have to understand the underlying narrative in the market, the strengths and weaknesses, the gaps and opportunities. The best of those rely on knowing your market rather well & staying active in your industry. If you know the industry better than others you get to the point where you notice trends before others & in some cases can even get to define part of the vernacular of your industry.

Kena Amoah

On-page SEO

1. Good regular on-page checks and fixes
2. Quality monthly blog post not less than 1200 words per post

David Leonhardt

Email Outreach

Assuming one’s ecommerce pages are already set up for good SEO (keyword rich, high-interest and easy to share), the most important ongoing effort is outreach. You want your store to be talked about. To get that, you need to keep letting new bloggers know about what makes your store different. That might be unique products. That might be a unique personality. That might be a charitable partnership. Get talked about, because Google is paying attention to which businesses are more active in the world.

And when you get traction, amplify it through your own social media accounts so that you also get talked about being talked about.

Janice Wald

Keyword Research

I would advise anyone looking to succeed on the internet to boost their visibility in search engines. This is crucial for people involved in ecommerce.
The way to boost your visibility in search engines is by applying the following techniques:

1. Google your product. Are people already there selling what you are selling? If yes, you are not filling a need and you won't succeed.
2. Are they there but charging more? Charge less?
3. Are they there but not giving a freebie for buying from them? Offer a freebie and/or give a discount.
4. Follow basic SEO strategies. For example, use a keyword tool to find out how great your competition is on search engines that way. Naturally, anyone looking to be found in search engines needs to find focus keywords that are low in competition but high in search volume. If you have a budget, I recommend Ahrefs.
5. The keywords should be long-tail. Especially with the advent of voice search, long-tail keywords are more important than ever.

Dustin Woodard

Link Building

Many Shopify sites would benefit from increased blog activity every month. Whether you use Shopify's blog platform, or use reverse proxies to integrate Wordpress, many Shopify sites have a flurry of activity on launch, then let their blog go stale. By pushing yourself to create new and interesting content, you not only become a deeper expert in your niche, but you learn what resonates with readers and those who might link to your site. Let's face it--not many people feel comfortable linking directly to an eCommerce site if it is just a list of products. A blog post, however, can cover tertiary topics that feel less commercial in nature, warranting a link that will boost your entire site's SEO prowess.

Sean Smith

Content Marketing

In my opinion it’s building content around their products that can help users understand the value of their products, how to use their products, or what to use with their products in order to get the most out of their purchase. This kind of educational content can lure in customers as well as help convert customers who are already interested in the product and can have a massive effect over keyword rankings for individual products.

Steve Wiideman

Content Marketing

The most important SEO task a Shopify store should focus on is building authority through a routine content marketing strategy. Give yourself a full week to put together an answer to a highly-searched question sourced from Storybase.com or AnswerThePublic.com. Make sure the answer is the most helpful and most visually-appearing on any device (particularly on mobile). This strategy enhances remarketing campaigns, increases holistic marketing reach, and attracts links organically.

Simon Penson

Content Marketing

Retailing is hugely competitive now and with the growing reach of Amazon (recent studies suggests it now accounts for 44% of all ecommerce spend) it is one that can become very difficult to maintain and grow market share. To do so requires a strategy to create differentiation and the only true way to achieve that is with content.

I write and talk a lot about the power and importance of Brand as Publisher and it is especially true for twos in ecommerce as few invest heavily in helping their customers become smarter consumers.

That’s a real opportunity and a way of getting at Amazon as they do it poorly. Be an expert in your field and create a content strategy that answers the key questions your customers ask as they move through their various purchase funnels and user journeys. Be front of mind with powerful, and useful brand content and generally make a noise. Do that and you’ll win over the longer term, especially if you combine that approach with a wider, audience focused marketing plan.

Maria Johnsen

Link Building

Your monthly focus must be on building quality back links and cleaning your previous links especially if you have high social media activity on Twitter and Facebook. The reason is that many of these content curators fetch your articles on social media and their websites may have high degree of spam. To disavow these back links check these websites metrics if their spam metric is higher than 3, then disavow them to make sure your website is safe.

Craig Campbell

Link Building

One way of getting a Shopify website some good organic growth would be some link building, links are still one of the main ranking factors and a good mixture of link building techniques, such as guest blog posts, talk to your suppliers, some outreach and make sure you get more than the usual directory listings and low level links. Link Building is key if done properly, building up good relationships with influencers in your niche is also an easy way to get some quick easy links.

Good content is a must, but the only way those articles and content will rank well is if they have the good links behind them, and if you want to make money online then its time to start thinking outside the box and do whatever is required to ensure that you get the links you need. Google is looking for good quality relevant links, links from websites with good traffic and these are not as easy to get. But no matter what it takes you need to make sure you get it, otherwise someone else will.

Tung Tran

Link Building Content Marketing

It's hard to do just one SEO task and expect growth so here are the 3 main tasks that I'd focus on:

1. Creating a few pieces of really good content that their target customers would love to consume.
2. Promoting these pieces of content via email outreach / social media and amplifying them with advertising.
3. Monitoring keyword ranking / organic traffic on a weekly basis to make sure growth is happening.

Chris Makara

Link Building

It's no secret that links heavily influence your organic rankings. So I would put an emphasis on finding ways to generate additional relevant links to your Shopify store. You'll have to do some testing of what works best for you with the assets you have. Potential strategies could be broken link building, guestographics, or reaching out to sites already linking to your competitors. The key is to find links that relate to what you offer, so you can even expand into shoulder niches for additional opportunities.

Nate Shivar

Keyword Research

You should develop & expand content based on the data from your site searches, your paid search campaigns, and your Google Search Console data. Ecommerce is a crowded, competitive space. There are a lot of very important things that you can do. But in a world where you have to prioritize - you have to build off what you are already doing well.

Your site searches, paid search terms, and search console data are data that *only you have* - you can use it to play a different game than all your competitors. You can use it to find "sure-thing" opportunities. And most of all - you can use it to grow with your own audience.

If your site searches reveal that visitors always want a specific product - then you should focus on profiling that product and building out the best possible user experience for that page. If you find a set of terms that you rank fairly well for, then you should revise the relevant pages to rank even higher for those queries. If a paid search term converts really well, then you should build content around that term.

Let the data show you what is the best task for *your* store - rather than blindly applying the same best practice that every other store is doing.

Harris Schachter

On-page SEO

By far the number 1 thing a Shopify store should focus on is their Facebook ads, but that’s not really SEO. So, instead I’ll say focus on content-rich product descriptions, reviews and other things which might rank and lead to a sale. Too often I see product and category pages with little to no text on them, or if they do, the same text is duplicated on other sites.

John Lincoln

On-page SEO

Shopify stores often have issues with their category optimization and their product optimization competing. The main thing I would recommend a Shopify store do is clearly defined their categories, subcategories and their products and make sure they have a specific optimization for each one. In many cases out of the box Shopify is not set up well to do this. Outside of this, any good e-commerce site needs to have a constant Buzz going about it to cut through the clutter in this busy world. Make sure you've got a great base of optimization but you're also doing something to attract links on an ongoing basis and you have a social media buzz going. If possible, take advantage of shopify's third-party social media Integrations.

Venchito Tampon

Keyword Research

One should maximize the use of "where to buy" pages in his site's industry. There are several links pages of manufacturers, distributors or even direct vendors that you can reach out to for link opportunities. Ask if you could be added to their link list. If you are growing your products in your Shopify store, then chances are you'd be able to find a lot of "where to buy" pages. It's a simple outreach tactic but can definitely impact's your site's link profile and search rankings.

Dennis Seymour

Technical SEO

When it comes to Shopify and since I can only pick one that can be done each month, I would go with checking Search Console and fixing everything that’s there. I am a big advocate for basic SEO being perfect so going into Search Console each month will show you things that you can fix such as metas, pages you can redirect such as 404’s, you’ll find new links (which can be a future partner or opportunity to get more links) and you can even see your current rankings that you can boost rather easily in the short term.

Shounak Gupte

Technical SEO

One thing I would recommend to Shopify users to add to their checklist to perform monthly is checking for 404 pages. If you change or remove a category or if you no longer stock a product, double check in Google Analytics and Search Console if those URLs were getting any traffic. If they were, make sure you redirect those URLs to the most relevant pages on the website. A category can be redirected to another category or the homepage. A product can be redirected to the closest product possible or to the main category.

Jeremy Rivera

Link Building

If I had to narrow down to a single task to help your Shopify eCommerce site flourish it would be to work on building links to specific product pages. Oh, is that all? Isn't it actually hard to get links to a specific product page?

Of course it is! That's why it can help you quickly outpace your organic competitors. However, you can make that link building outreach easier by adding a higher level topical infographic that's # hashtag anchor linked on the page, ie. Url.com/category/product#infographic then you can do that email outreach and the value of those # urls go to the product page.

Gabriella Sannino

On-page SEO Site Architecture

The number one thing for a Shopify store is the same thing for any other store. Make sure you get the basics done. It's so easy to forget a title here, meta description there, a little link love, a dash of optimization, but these are the basics that really do make the ranking world go around. The basics are the foundation of every site. If you have a rocky foundation, it'll be that much harder to have a solid standing.

Don't let yourself get lazy on the basics. Quality content, quality images, a well-rounded product description, proper term targeting, marketable search snippets. If you can't get anything else achieved on a monthly basis, do these!

Dave Schneider

Technical SEO

The number one SEO task a Shopify store should focus on monthly is optimizing for site speed. You should make sure your site loads fast for both mobile and desktop, ALWAYS. Customers will quickly move on to another store if your site is laggy. Also, optimizing a Shopify site is a bit more difficult compared to a general WordPress site. So, it's best to do this on the regular to keep piled-up optimization tasks from becoming a major issue down the road.

Roel Manarang

Content Marketing

Investing on evergreen contents still proves to be worth the investment for eCommerce entrepreneurs. You can do it on a very minimal level, like four posts per month and increase it when there are seasonal events or promotions you would like your audience to be “influenced.”

If done correctly, a single article could give you floods of traffic from organic search for a long time.

Now, imagine investing on SEO Optimized Evergreen Content on a monthly basis. As a final piece of advice, don’t forget to optimize your call-to-action.

Michael Cottam

On-page SEO Site Architecture

Far too many people with e-commerce sites with many products focus too much on the UX and product filtering, and not enough on the other information users need to make the purchasing decision. Shopify gives you some great tools for presenting/filtering your product lists, but you shouldn't make your search landing pages JUST about the lists of products.

Think about how a typical product list page looks to Google: it's a series of small to mid-sized images, all linked to other pages (and maybe a tiny bit of text with each image...generally also linked).

That's not CONTENT, that's navigation.

So when Google goes to evaluate the content on the page, what do you have to show Googlebot? Zip. For users as well, it helps to integrate content that helps them with their buying decisions. Consider a tabbed structure on the page, where the product list shows in the first tab, maybe product comparisons or reviews in another, a buyer's guide in another, etc. Show users a better shopping experience, with more helpful information on their buying journey, and Google will reward you as well with better rankings.

Philip Blomsterberg

Link Building On-page SEO Technical SEO Content Marketing Keyword Research Site Architecture Email Outreach Giles Thomas's Favorite

Your ongoing SEO activities wouldn't be any different if you were using Shopify, Magento, Woocommerce or any other platform. Let's assume you are a startup, heavily bootstrapping, and have all your technical onpage SEO in order. What would naturally come next would be links and content creation.

Some of the things you could work on:

- Get the low hanging fruit. Try to get links from suppliers, clients and friends.

- Do your best to create custom content for any and all of your products. Those cookie-cutter product descriptions you get from your suppliers won't make you stand out as they are neither optimized nor unique.

- Allow guest bloggers and invite up and coming influencers to contribute to your blog. Suppress any "I don't want to give a way pagerank by giving guest bloggers outgoing links"-phobia. Links that are contextually relevant and lead to good quality content won't hurt you.

- Linkbait - create a stir or do something awesome. Write something never written about, or by all means, take something that has been written about a hundred times but do it ten times better. Aim to create content that can be referenced, not content which sole purpose is to fill up your site with keyword stuffed mumbo jumbo.

Shane Barker

On-page SEO Site Architecture

A common mistake that many store owners on Shopify make is forgetting to continually optimize their store. Your work is far from over when your store has been launched. In fact, the real battle has just begun. In order to grow your traffic, you need to continually provide value to your users.

This can be accomplished creating great content and working on your SEO. Spend some time each week to check the navigation, and how user-friendly your store is. Are your visitors able to find what they’re looking for easily?

Also refresh your product descriptions and images from time to time. Ensure that you’re using rich images and engaging descriptions. Your images should have the relevant alt text and a description. Also, make sure that your product descriptions and copy are optimized for relevant keywords. Most importantly, include a clear call-to-action.

By making your store easily accessible, engaging, and valuable to your visitors, you can actually improve your search ranking. When a visitor spends more time at your store, or makes a purchase, it directly affects your ranking positively.

Chris Dreyer

On-page SEO Keyword Research Site Architecture

If a Shopify user had to start from scratch on an SEO campaign and was only focusing on one of many important SEO tasks, they should be focused on their content. Google points out that there are three primary ranking factors in its algorithm (links, content, and RankBrain or basically usability signals).

All of those things are arguably just as important but you have to start with a strong foundation of content before you can start promoting a site in search. You can build a ton of links and make the site super-easy to use but if it doesn’t have relevant content, no one will stay for long.

Shopify is an eCommerce platform so the most important thing shop owners can do in terms of content is to make sure each product page is optimized for whatever they are selling. They need to find target keyword phrases that people are using to find those products and then make sure those phrases are in key places of the content architecture.

Here are some quick tips:

Make sure all product descriptions use maximum allowed lengths, contain the target phrase and its variations, are helpful, and unique.
Target keyword phrases should be in the title of the page, headings, meta descriptions, and URLs (if possible).
Name your product images after the target keyword phrase for the page.
Add your target keyword phrases to the alt text of your images.
Add a sitemap so that Google is aware of all your pages (they will eventually find them but this can help expedite the process). This is more of a technical SEO task.

It’s worth noting that the Shopify platform takes care of many technical SEO elements for its users. Things like mobile responsive design, fast page load times, and user experience are all baked right into a store when it’s set up.

Colin Klinkert

Link Building On-page SEO

Having worked with Shopify store owners in the past for almost 18 months, here are the top two (equally important) tasks every Shopify store owner should focus on for growth:

1) Image Optimization

It is one of the most effective 'little' things that most of the Shopify store owners forget.

Store owners need to understand that each product image on the store is their content and like any other thing you need to give them the attention they deserve.

Because you don’t, then you miss out on a huge SEO opportunity.

Optimizing images is super easy.

All you need to do is - Add descriptive ‘Alt Tags’ aka Alternative tags to all your images. ‘Alt tags’ is what search engines (Google, Bing) understand.

One quick tip here is - use long tail keywords in your alt tags.

2) Easy Link building

Links are still one of the top three ranking factors in Google.

When it comes to link building, there are few easy ways for store owners:

If you offer coupons, list them to coupon and deal sites. It will earn you a few free links and brand exposure.
Create your store profile on review sites like Yelp, Epinions, and similar others. It helps you build a few inbound links and credibility in the eyes of your potential customers.

Tad Chef

On-page SEO Content Marketing

Shopify is a great hosted and hassle-free ecommerce platform for small businesses. It already offers plenty of on-page SEO features out of the box many other Content Management Systems needed years to implement.

I'm not a Shopify expert but as noted above you don't need to be. What is the number one thing to focus for growth?

I have at least three. Use the built-in features of Shopify to customize titles, headlines, addresses (URLs), alternative text etc.:

Most online stores fail in search because they lack proper product descriptions and imagery. Would you share your product images on social media like Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram?

Invest in high quality photography. Show people using your products not just the products by itself, especially when selling fashion. Write real helpful content (how to use a washing machine - a guide for the lumbersexual) not just product descriptions.

Consider adding a SEO plugin to your Shopify store to find out about potential issues and to get additional options for optimizing your store:
This is one is quite popular and has overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Andy Crestodina

Link Building

On any ecommerce site, the product category pages are often the best SEO opportunities. That's because these pages are relevant for the type of product, which are often popular keyphrases. For example, search for "accessories for bicycles" and you'll find the PureCycle accessories page, not a specific product page. Product category pages can be SEO gold.

But a lot of website owners miss this opportunity, and fail to add the search-friendly text that would indicate relevance. They often don't have keyword-focussed titles, headers and body text. To make sure you don't miss the chance to create high ranking product category pages, take a look at yours and give them the "Control+F Test." In other words, just use the find feature of your browser to see if you used the phrase on the page.

Remember, you indicate relevance in headers and body text. Links don't count, because they indicate the relevance of the page they link to, not the page their on. Now ask yourself, did I miss the chance to indicate relevance on my product category pages?

Robert Mening

Link Building Giles Thomas's Favorite

While there are many SEO tasks that could help a Shopify store grow, I believe you'll see the biggest bang for your buck with high-quality, targeted link building to sales pages or main landing pages.

Here's why:

Links are multi-faceted.

To start, they're still one of the biggest and most important factors for ranking. So if you want your ecommerce store to be visible in Google's Search Results, you'll need links to get you there. But once you begin building links, you'll see a host of other benefits outside of rankings. You'll get more traffic to your website, you'll foster brand awareness, build authority and provide social proof. Not to mention, when you build links you're building relationships, which can lead to other opportunities for your business as well.

Now, building links to any of your pages will be super helpful. But if you can build links to your main landing pages or sales pages (the pages that earn you the most income) I'd start there. It's not always easy, which is why most ecommerce store turn to content marketing by building links to tangentially related content. However, I suggest you still try building some links to your "money pages." This will provide you with the best chance of growing your store and ultimately increasing revenue.

Now you've heard from the top Shopify SEO experts on how to grow your store, it's time to take action. Which key tasks will you add to your monthly SEO to-do list to increase your ecommerce sales this quarter? Let me know in the comments.
giles thomas


Hi, I’m Giles Thomas. Founder of AcquireConvert, the place where ecommerce entrepreneurs & businesses go to learn how to increase conversions & profits. I’m also the founder of ecommerce growth agency Whole Design Studios. I’m a head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator & Google Marketing Expert. Ps. Check out my new blog RisePro.co


13 Responses or Pingbacks

  1. P V Ariel says:

    Hi Giles,
    What an amazing post!
    Wonderful share.
    Hey, I really missed your invite Giles,
    A great loss.!
    Thanks for the effort you put in to create an informative post for your readers.
    Keep it up.
    Keep sharing.
    Philip Ariel

  2. Janice Wald says:

    The interview is valuable. This is a topic people need help with but not one I often see answered. Congratulations.
    Thanks for including me. I have shared on my social media.

  3. chirag says:

    Very Great written post.

    Thankyou For sharing !

  4. Gary John says:

    Hi – super helpful article Giles. I had previously thought shopify was a pretty closed platform and difficult to work on.


  5. Vijay Rathi says:

    thanks for provide us a very nice insight on shopify seo…its amazing..looking more enhance knowledge on shopify seo

  6. Vikas Virdi says:

    Very knowledge post with impressive strategies. Thank you!

  7. AlbertDavid says:

    This was a great resource, Giles , and great to see the amazing pieces of advices for shopify! It’s always worth spending on it!

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