Between March 2020 and January 2022, the world saw a 201.53% increase in the number of Shopify stores.
Australia experienced growth of 165.79%, placing it third behind the U.S. and Canada. The COVID pandemic spurred a lot of this growth as brands and consumers moved online. And now, with so many market entrants, competition for store owners is stiffer than ever.
One of the best ways to get ahead is to ensure your website ranks high on Google.
Being on Google’s first page puts your offer in front of your prospects when they use Google to browse and shop. It gives you free traffic. When used right, it can become a 5, 6, or 7-figure sales channel for you.
In this article, we show you 8 of the best tips for doing SEO on Shopify. We’ll also talk about Google’s ranking factors, Shopify SEO apps, and more.
Let’s start with…
What Factors Does Google Use to Rank Pages?
Years ago, all you needed to do to rank high on Google was stuff as many keywords as possible into your content. It didn’t matter whether they were related to your topic – as long as they were popular, they would get you visibility.
This is similar to a common practice in social media: adding irrelevant trending hashtags to get traction on their content.
This kind of keyword stuffing prioritised quantity over quality, exposing users to poorly written content. It was eventually phased out by Google and other search engines to provide users with better-quality results.
One of the major changes was the Google Panda update in 2011. This update prioritised content quality and user experience over things like keyword stuffing. And to rank your Shopify store today, you want to understand the factors that Google uses to rank web pages.
Google doesn’t exactly list its ranking factors, but SEO experts have discovered some over the years. Here are six of the most important ranking factors Google uses today:
1. Time on Site and Pages Per Session
A site’s usefulness and value can be determined by how long users stay on its pages. If they stay a long while and visit many pages during a session, it’s a sign that it’s helping users meet their needs or wants.
But if a site has a high bounce rate where users leave as soon as they click on a page? That suggests a lack of value, poor user experience, and other user-unfriendly traits. Google will want to keep their users from a site like that by lowering its visibility.
Time spent on a site, pages visited per session, and bounce rate are metrics that Google uses to rank sites. You should monitor these closely in your store.
Source: white room beauty
For many years, most of the web’s traffic came from desktops. That’s until 2016 when mobile traffic accounted for 51.3% of traffic against 48.7% for desktops (The Guardian). Mobile’s share of website traffic has kept rising since then and reached 58.9% in 2022.
The rise of mobile traffic has created a need for responsive websites that are easy to access, use, and navigate on mobile devices. Unresponsive sites present many problems for mobile users, from slow loading times to trouble clicking on links and viewing page content.
Google prioritises mobile-friendliness in its rankings because it largely impacts user experience. The search engine provides free tools to check site mobile readiness, so it’s easy to check whether your Shopify store fits the bill.
3. Number and Quality of Backlinks
Backlinks are links leading to your site from other websites on the internet. Pages with more backlinks rank higher on Google, and it’s easy to see why.
Google takes backlinks as a sign of quality and authority since sites normally link back to authoritative and trustworthy sources. Such sites often have well-researched and informative content, and that’s the results Google wants to show users.
But having a bunch of backlinks leading to your store isn’t enough – they must ooze quality. Factors determining backlink quality include anchor text relevance to the link, relevance of the linking page’s niche to yours, and referring domain’s authority.
Focusing on both quality and quantity enables Google to distinguish reputable sites from spammy ones. The latter spam backlinks on unrelated or low-quality pages to try and cheat the algorithm. This isn’t what Google wants – so you can get penalised for poor backlinks.
4. Content Length
Source: inika organic
Longer content often ranks higher on search results compared to shorter content. Longer pieces also perform better in other aspects. For example, long-form blog posts generate 9x more leads than short form ones.
One of the reasons longer content ranks better is because it has more dwell time. A long blog post provides a user with lots of information on a topic, meaning they’ll spend more time on a page. As we’ve already mentioned, Google rewards this.
Another reason is that long form content has more opportunities to provide valuable information. This increases the number of sites that link back to it. Also, site visitors are more likely to share long posts.
All these are factors that are important for Google rankings.
Top-ranking blog post lengths may vary with niches, so check top results in your niche to determine what you should aim for.
Google often changes its algorithm because it wants to keep providing the most relevant, useful, and high-quality results to users. If your content lacks relevance, adhering to all the other factors we have highlighted will be for naught.
Maintaining relevance means providing what users are looking for. If you make a lot of content but no one looks for it, your site is irrelevant to users and hence Google.
Proper keyword research and use is one of the ways to build a store that satisfies user intent and, in extension, Google rankings.
8 SEO Tips to Use on Shopify to Rank Higher on Search Engine Results
Here are 8 SEO tips to use to rank higher on search engine result pages (SERPs) and increase your site’s visibility to your target audience:
1. Use The Right Keywords
Keywords are the terms and phrases consumers use to find information and products online. Examples include “pharmacy near me” and “black socks bought online”.
Search engines use keywords to match users to the content they are looking for. This is why it’s important to use the right keywords on your Shopify site.
How do you find the right keywords? Read the blurb below to find out! But first, let’s talk about where you should put your keywords.
There are many places you can integrate keywords into your content. You can add them to a page’s headline, the text content, image descriptions, and more. To help you do this right, you can use a Shopify SEO app – a few of which we recommend below.
How to Find Proper Keywords
So, how do you find the right keywords to use on Shopify? One option is to use Google and Amazon auto-suggest features to discover popular keywords.
For example, if you type ‘warm socks’ in Google’s search bar, a dropdown list appears with terms like ‘‘warm socks for women’’ and ‘’warm socks for winter’’. These are the popular terms being used in searches related to warm socks.
There are many other keyword research tools you can use to discover trending phrases. Examples are Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and Semrush. These tools give insight into search volume, difficulty, and competition by keyword.
Search volume shows how many times a keyword gets searched for in a particular location. Low volume suggests limited interest in the keyword. A high volume indicates many people are searching for the phrase online.
Keyword difficulty shows how hard it is to rank a term in search results. Some keywords are easier to rank than others. Going for keywords with low to moderate difficulty increases your chances of ranking high.
Through keyword research, you can also find out which terms your competitors are using in their content and what results they are getting. This is as important as figuring out the terms your target customers are using.
By figuring out your competitor’s strong and weak points, you can create a keyword strategy that gives you an advantage over them.
2. Improve User Experience
If a user has a bad experience on your site, they will not stay long. This leaves you with a high bounce rate, short dwell time, low conversion rates, and poor sales…
All of which tells Google users don’t like what they find on your site. This leads to poor rankings, visibility, and traffic
This works both ways. Making it easy for visitors to use your online store is a priority if you want a good ranking on Google. Begin by improving navigation, which helps visitors move around your site.
Create a navigation menu directing them to all the important pages, including product categories, contact pages, and blogs. If they can find their way around, they’ll stay longer and are more likely to buy.
Next, ensure that your pages load fast. According to Google, you should aim to keep the loading time below three seconds. That might seem short, but for many users, anything beyond that is too long.
Think about it: 53% of visitors on mobile leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Every second your page takes to load heightens your bounce rate.
Also, 70% of consumers claim page loading speed affects their willingness to buy. So, not only will faster pages improve your ranking, but they’ll also positively impact your sales.
Factors affecting page load speed include site themes, plugins, videos, and images. You can use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to make your pages as light and fast as possible.
3. Get More Backlinks
We’ve established that backlinks are important for Google rankings, so how do you get more for your store?
One of the best ways to get backlinks to your store is by publishing guest posts on other sites and leaving behind links to yours.
When guest blogging, look for websites that have a relation to your niche. This puts you in front of a relevant audience more likely to follow the link to your site.
Besides niche relevance, consider the domain authority of the site. Leaving your links on authoritative sites with high traffic and good rankings is good for your store.
Another way to source backlinks is by asking bloggers to review your products. Look for review sites in your niche, and then contact the owners about reviewing your products.
You can also contact generalist bloggers who recommend products from various niches. The key is partnering with bloggers whose audience is bound to take an interest in your product.
Alternatively, post high-quality content on your Shopify blog to build your domain authority so that others can link back to it as an informative source.
4. Create High-Quality Content
Source: pool spa life
Shopify has a blog feature that allows store owners to create and share content with their audience. Make use of this feature as much as possible.
A blog provides ample opportunity to use crucial keywords on your site. For example, if you sell socks, you can write a blog post about ‘best socks for summer’. The article will contain popular search phrases and important information addressing a common pain point.
To create high-quality content, ensure it provides value to the visitor. For instance, an article outlining the best socks for summer is valuable to someone having trouble finding comfortable socks for hot weather.
High-quality content should be well-written and presented. Avoid large blocks of text with no headlines or images. This makes content uninteresting, and most visitors will leave the page without reading your blog.
Make sure your content is well-researched, original, and shareable. Well-researched content is more informative and trustworthy, making it likely that your visitors will share it on their social media accounts. Content with more shares ranks higher on Google.
High quality is not only limited to your blog posts. It also extends to your site’s page titles, product descriptions, product images, video ads and visual content.
5. Use Unique Product Titles and Descriptions
Avoid using the same descriptions for multiple products, no matter how similar they might be. When there is duplicate content on a site, Google ranks just one, leaving the rest out. This significantly affects your store’s visibility online.
Places to avoid duplicity include your product titles, descriptions, and image alt texts. Focus on small distinguishing details to provide variety when describing items in your inventory.
For instance, if you sell t-shirts, focusing on colour, gender, fabric, and design allows you to create unique content.
6. Use Internal Linking
When it comes to linking, backlinking is not the only way to increase traffic to your store and achieve higher rankings. Internal linking, which involves inserting links into content to connect the pages on your website, works too.
In one case study, an internal linking SEO campaign increased organic traffic by 40%.
Internal linking is useful in leading traffic to low-authority pages, especially new ones. Use main keywords as anchor text to let Google know what the linked-to page is about.
With a proper linking strategy, your visitors will visit more of your pages, increasing the time spent on your store. This improves your rankings and also boosts your chance of making a sale.
When adding internal links, make sure the content on the destination page is related to the topic on the referring page.
For example, you can link to an article about ‘best lightweight sweaters for summer’ on your ‘best socks for summer’ post. A visitor who came looking for socks might just leave with a sweater too.
7. Track Your Results
Tracking your results to find out whether your SEO tactics are working is crucial when optimising your site for Google. This ensures you’re not spending your time on techniques that don’t bring the best results for your store.
Google Search Console is a tool you can use to check multiple SEO-related metrics for your Shopify store. One important feature is the search performance report, with which you can monitor and maintain your site’s presence in search results.
It shows you where your search traffic comes from, how it evolves over time and the search queries that are likely to lead to your site. These insights can help you create more targeted content that improves your pages’ rankings and click-through rates on SERPs.
Other than showing you how your site is performing on search results, the report also shows where you are falling short and how to fix it.
Another feature on the console is the mobile usability report. With this, you can check how your site fairs in matters of mobile responsiveness and how to improve if necessary.
The index coverage report is also available, and it allows you to find out which of your pages have been indexed by Google. Unindexed pages don’t show up on SERPs, which decreases your online visibility.
This report will tell you why you have unindexed pages and how to change that.
Basically, Google Search Console allows you to check whether most of the tactics we have mentioned in this article are working on your site. And the best part? It’s all free.
8. Use Shopify SEO Apps
SEO can be time-consuming and frustrating if you’re inexperienced or unskilled. The constant research, content creation, monitoring, and improvement can also get too much when all you want is to focus on your business.
Fortunately, Shopify SEO apps make it easy to optimise your store without spending too much time.
Shopify SEO apps are built to carry out most of the activities listed above automatically, check SEO metrics, and make recommendations. Find these apps on the Shopify App Store.
Here are six of the best Shopify SEO apps you can use to help with your ranking:
1. Smart SEO
Smart SEO automates Shopify on-page SEO by generating meta titles, descriptions, and image alt tags. It also detects and fixes broken links, which would otherwise be bad for your SEO strategy.
2. SEO Booster – SEO Marketing
This app scans your store and monitors multiple SEO elements to check for issues and recommend solutions. It helps with keyword suggestions, page load speed, image alt texts, and provides competitor analysis.
With a few clicks, you can get your site’s SEO score and recommendations on this app. As its name suggests, this app generates optimised page titles, product names, tags, and more. It also supports bulk image editing to crop and resize multiple photos to fit your store design without losing quality.
4. SEO Manager
SEO Manager scans the site for any issues and provides keyword suggestions and reports. This app can integrate with many Google SEO tools including PageSpeed, Trends, and Search Console. You can also use it to create custom meta tags, titles, and descriptions.
5. Plug In SEO
With this app, you can quickly get a list of high-ranking keywords and analytics to help you choose the best phrases for your SEO strategy. It provides SEO performance reports, so you can check how your efforts are panning out.
6. SEO Doctor – Image Optimizer
Using this app, you can compress, rename, and add alt text to your images. Besides optimising images, it can also detect and fix other SEO issues. It’s compatible with Google Search Console and PageSpeed and can be used for mobile optimisation.
So What Did We Learn?
SEO helps websites gain a high organic ranking on Google.This leads to sustained site traffic over a long time. As long as you maintain best SEO practices, your Shopify store will keep attracting customers through search results.
Want to have a team of marketing experts accelerate you to the top of Google for you?
Then talk to an expert at Megaphone: Australia’s #1-rated marketing agency. We’ll take a look at your Shopify website and give you a free strategy call. On it, we’ll discuss how you can grow your ecommerce business using SEO.
We’ve already helped 20+ brands grow beyond 2 million in annual revenue. Let’s see if we can do yours next!