Marketing tips

Shopify SEO - Optimize Your Store for Free Search Engine Traffic

Lyndon Scott
Lyndon Scott
Sep 15, 2022
min read

If you're running a Shopify store, then you’re probably running paid ads on Facebook or Google in an attempt to make sales.

Paid ads are a great way to drive traffic to your store but for most print-on-demand entrepreneurs, costs can start mounting up rather quickly. 

That’s why it's important to maximize your store’s search engine presence and get as much organic traffic as possible.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best ways to optimize your Shopify store for SEO. We'll cover everything from title tags and meta descriptions to product pages and category structures. 

So if you're looking to take your Shopify store to the next level with organic search engine traffic, keep reading!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of optimizing a website for Google search with the goal of earning higher web traffic levels and improving conversion rates.

Of course Google isn't the only search engine on earth, with the rise of Microsoft-owned Bing and privacy conscious search engine Duck Duck Go, but it's certainly going to be the main driver of your organic search engine traffic.

Good SEO practices can help your Shopify store rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), which can lead to more website visitors, customers, and sales.

Why is SEO Important?

There’s a lot of reasons why SEO is important when it comes to running a print-on-demand store on Shopify, but here’s just a couple of great reasons why it’s essential for any long-term ecommerce business.

Search Engine Traffic is Free

There’s no doubt that paid ads on Facebook, Tiktok or Google are a great way to drive large volumes of traffic in a short period of time, but ad costs rise every year and it only gets more and more competitive.

You do have to put in some time and effort to start getting SEO traffic, and you may even pay for certain aspects of it like article writing, but in the long run it's still free traffic to your site that only gets better over time if you keep optimizing and creating content on your store.

Understanding Search Intent is Powerful

If you’re ranking for search terms like “best high waisted pink yoga leggings” and you’re getting search traffic to your product that matches this exact description, your chances of making a sale are high.

This is because there was “purchase/transactional intent”, meaning your customer was searching for those particular leggings with the intent to make a purchase and your product showed up in the Google search.

Customers that visit your store from a Facebook Ad for example are not always as "strong" because you've captured their attention while they've been scrolling on Facebook. This is often referred to as interruption marketing.

Is Shopify Good for SEO?

Shopify is generally a great platform for SEO because it is built with search engine optimization in mind. When you set up your Shopify store, you will be given a list of recommended settings to help you get started with optimizing your site.

Of course the SEO gurus out there might claim that Shopify is not as good as Wordpress or a custom built website when it comes to SEO, and they might be right to a certain extent, but Shopify is definitely well-equipped to attract organic search engine traffic.

Shopify has a number of features and integrations that can help you further optimize your website for increased traffic and conversions. 

For example, Shopify's built-in blog lets you easily create content that is optimized for Google search.

Another great SEO friendly feature of Shopify is the fact that it's mobile friendly. Responsiveness is a crucial factor when building any website nowadays and Shopify has nailed this aspect.

How to Optimize Your Shopify Store for SEO

Now that we've covered some of the basics, let's get into how you can actually optimize your Shopify store for SEO.

Here are a few tips to improve your Shopify SEO:

Use Keyword-Rich Titles and Meta Descriptions

Further along in this article we’ll dive into keyword research, but when we say “keywords” we mean search terms that potential customers are typing into the search engines. 

A great example in this case might be something like “black camouflage capri leggings”. This is what we call a “long-tail” keyword because it is longer than 2 words and if people are searching for this, you should consider making sure you have a matching product on your store! (if you’re selling leggings, that is)  

Your title tags and meta descriptions are two very important elements on your site when it comes to SEO. You can access and edit this information at the bottom of your product listings in your Shopify dashboard.

Edit Product SEO Shopify
Make sure to include relevant keywords in both of these areas so that Google knows what your product page is about and can rank it accordingly.

Optimize Your Product Pages and Images

In addition to your meta description and page title on your product pages, you should also include relevant keywords in your product descriptions, as well as optimizing your images with “ALT text” that include keywords.

Add Image ALT Text in Shopify

To edit your image ALT text, click the image on the product page in your dashboard and then you’ll see the option on the right hand side.

Submit Your XML Sitemap to Google Search Console

A sitemap is a file that contains all of the important pages on your website. By submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console, you're essentially telling Google about all of the content on your site and giving them a map to find it.

You can actually get away without doing this, because Google will still crawl/find your website, but it's good practice to do so. Search console will also tell you if your site has any errors that might impact negatively on it's search appearance.

Compress Your Images

Images are an important part of any website, but they can also be huge files that take forever to load. By compressing your images, you can make sure that your pages load quickly and improve your site's overall speed.

There are a number of ways to do this, but we recommend using an app from the Shopify App store like SEO Image Optimizer.

Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that lets you track all sorts of data about your website visitors. This information can be extremely valuable when trying to improve your SEO as it can help you understand what people are actually looking for on your site.

Google Analytics

To get started with Google analytics you will need to go through a few steps, but it’snot too difficult. Take a look at this Google support doc to set up analytics. 

Utilize Shopify's SEO Apps

You can do a lot of the basic SEO optimizations yourself, but if you’d prefer to make it a little easier then there’s a number of great apps available that can help you further optimize your Shopify store for SEO. 

Some of the most popular SEO apps in the Shopify App store include:

Booster SEO & Image Optimizer

Plug In SEO

They both have free plans to help you get started so you can try them out before upgrading to their monthly plans.

What About Backlinks?

Backlinks are one of the most powerful forms of SEO. They are actually what we call “off-page” SEO meaning that they occur externally, not on your actual website like all of the previous optimizations we spoke about.

Backlinks are simply links from other websites to your website. It is important to note that they are not all the same though. Just an old backlinks will not do and they could in fact harm your site.

Good quality backlinks should be relevant and should come from high authority websites. The more good quality backlinks you have pointing to your store, the more authority your website will have in Google’s eyes which in turn helps you rank higher for more competitive keywords.

How Do I Get Quality Backlinks for my Shopify Store?

If you’ve chosen a specific niche for your print-on-demand store, which is always highly recommended, you should research other blogs and websites in your niche and simply reach out asking if you can be featured. You could even offer to write a “guest post” for their website, which would then allow you to place a link back to your store.

There’s also a lot of home and garden type websites that publish “gift guides”. These are a great opportunity to have a product of yours included in one of their guides.

There’s a lot of ways to obtain good quality backlinks, you just need to put in some effort to reach out to other niche websites and build a relationship with them.

Keyword Research

As we mentioned before, keywords are extremely important when it comes to SEO. In order to find the best keywords for your website, you'll need to do some research.

The easiest way to do this is by using Google's Keyword Planner tool, which is free, or by using a paid tool like SEMRush or AHREFS. 

Using your keyword research tool of choice, just enter in some relevant search terms and it will give you a list of related keywords along with their search volume.

From there, you can start incorporating these keywords into your titles, descriptions, product pages, blog posts, etc. 

Google Keyword Planner

I used the Google Keyword Planner and started just by typing in the word “leggings”. Now this is not a search term you should ever truly attempt to rank before because it is very broad and competitive. 

As we sift through all of the keywords, you’ll start to find those “long-tail” keywords that are more unique. Whilst these keywords have a lot less search volume, they will also be less competitive.

More Competitive Keywords

  • Yellow Legging
  • Black Leggings
  • White Leggings
  • Camouflage Leggings
  • Hot Pink Leggings

Less Competitive Keywords

  • White Camo Leggings
  • Tie Dye Leggings
  • Black Leggings With Pockets
  • Funky Gym Leggings

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and rank for those more competitive keywords, it just means that you are unlikely to get any search traffic for them until your website authority increases, which happens over time as you create more content and get more quality backlinks.

Blogging on Your Shopify Store

One of the best ways to improve your SEO is by creating high-quality content on your blog. By including relevant keywords in your blog posts, you can help Google understand what your site is about and rank you accordingly.

Not only that, but blogging also gives you a great opportunity to share helpful information with your customers and build relationships with them. You can post your articles on your social media channels and send them out to your email list.

During my keyword research, I noticed a couple of keywords that would be perfect to write blog articles about.

  • Best High Waisted Leggings
  • Women's Walking Leggings

You could write some helpful and informative articles about these topics and then link to relevant products on your store.

Remember that being helpful and providing the answers people seek is the most important factor here. 

You don’t have to be too “salesly”. The more helpful you are, the more people will trust you as an authority and this will naturally boost your sales.

The Final Word on Shopify SEO

It won’t happen overnight, but it will definitely happen. The more you work at optimizing your Shopify store for SEO, writing useful content on your site and getting high quality backlinks, the more organic traffic you’ll start getting from search engines.

Many store owners neglect SEO because there isn’t that instant gratification that you get with paid ads, but your future self will thank you when you start getting predictable, organic sales.

Start slowly and don’t attempt to do everything at once but no matter what you do, don’t sleep on SEO!

Thanks again for reading, feel free to join our Facebook community to continue the conversation.

Lyndon Scott
Lyndon Scott

Lyndon is a print-on-demand seller and ecommerce entrepreneur who enjoys discovering new marketing trends and sharing his knowledge with aspiring new online store owners.

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