Shopify SEO: Ultimate Guide for 2021

Arthur Fabik

Ever since its launch over 15 years ago, Shopify has become the most popular eCommerce platform in the world.According to BuiltWith, over 3.6 million online stores are running on Shopify. With features like web hosting, custom themes, payment gateways, analytics and more, Shopify gives you everything you need to get started selling physical or digital products online.But building your store is only half the battle. You still need to draw potential customers to it, and convince them that you’re the store they should be spending their hard-earned money at.

Nowadays shoppers use Google to research their options before they make a purchase. This right here is a golden opportunity for you to win them over. The quickest way for potential customers to find you online is to rank high in their searches. There are two ways to do that:

  1. PPC: Pay for your page to appear at the top of the search engine results page.
  2. SEO: Organically appear in the search results by optimising your website and content.

Who doesn’t like free traffic right?But unlike ads, SEO doesn’t instantly make your site visible. Once you start ranking though, each page builds upon the authority of the last, leading to a flywheel effect. So you should see SEO as an investment that will pay off in the long-term.Many SEO practices remain the same across websites, like the use of keyword research. But in any case, there are still Shopify-specific tweaks & optimisations that you need to be applying to get great results.In this article, I’ll show you how to give your Shopify store a fighting chance of ranking on Google by adjusting your technical, on-page and off-page SEO.Let’s dive in.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO consists of all the ways you optimise your website performance and user experience to improve SEO.


No other optimisation will matter if search engines can’t find your site, to begin with. So let’s make sure that your Shopify store can be crawled, indexed and ranked. First, you need to structure your site, and then submit your sitemap to Google Search Console.SetupNo matter what kind of store you’re building, the site itself needs to be organized. There are two benefits to doing this.The first is that search engines can make sense of your site. The second is that users will appreciate a website where everything is easy to find and flows well together. Meaning, they will spend more time browsing the site. And the Average Session Duration is one way that search engines determine how relevant a webpage is to users.The best way to organize your website is to strip it down to the bare essentials. Here’s what that looks like in practice.

Even if you have a big inventory, it’s better to keep things simple. The more subpages your sitemap has, the harder it is for search engines to properly crawl and index it. It’s best practice to use one of these site structures for your store:Homepage > Category Pages > Product PagesHomepage > Category Pages > Sub-Category Page > Product PagesThis means that Shopify sitemaps should ideally be three levels deep, but four levels deep at the most. And don’t forget to add an About and Contact page to your sitemap, both of which will go a long way in building trust with visitors.Google Search ConsoleGoogle Search Console is a service that lets you monitor your website’s ability to rank in Google search results.Google is the biggest search engine in the world, but other search engines also have this service, i.e. Bing Webmaster Tools. So it’s worth figuring out which search engines your audience prefers, to know which ones you should submit your sitemap to.First things first, you need to verify ownership of your Shopify site. Here’s how you do that.After you’re verified, you can follow these steps to submit your XML sitemap to Google Search Console. An XML sitemap is simply a list of all the URLs that are on your website. It’s formatted in a way that makes it easy for search engines to crawl and index. Google doesn’t recommend that people manually create XML sitemaps.Lucky for us, Shopify automatically creates one for you. You can find it at the root directory of your Shopify store domain, e.g. You can learn more about that here.

User Experience

While your site’s structure determines whether it gets ranked at all, the user experience determines how high it ranks on the search engine results page. The two major ranking factors we’re going to go over are site speed and mobile-friendliness.Site SpeedWhen a web page is loaded, 100s or even 1000s of requests are being made at the same time. These requests are for files that include source code, images, text and more. The fewer requests your site makes, and the smaller its file sizes are, then the faster your site will load.Your site should ideally take two seconds or less to load. If your site takes much longer than that, visitors will bounce out of frustration. And people expect websites to load even faster on their phones than on desktop. And like I mentioned above, the shorter the session duration on your site, the lower you’ll be ranked.

I cannot stress this enough, site speed can make or break your Shopify store.Let me connect the dots for you: A slow website leads to a high Bounce Rate, which leads to a low Average Session Duration, which leads to a low search ranking, which leads to less traffic, which all translates to fewer sales.So, how do you measure your site speed and pinpoint the issues with it? Google developed a tool for this called Page Speed Insights.Once you punch in your URL, Google will score your website from 1-100 on site speed and mobile optimisation. It’ll also create a detailed report of the elements slowing your website down and give suggestions on how to make your site faster.Here are some tips to improve your page load times:

  • Reduce image file sizes: Find the balance between images that are large enough to be high quality, and small enough so that they don’t slow your site down. Shopify recommends that square product photos be no smaller than 800 x 800 pixels, but no larger than 2048 x 2048 pixels. Shopify even has a free tool for resizing your images.
  • Delete inactive Shopify apps on your site: Throughout the course of building your Shopify store, you’ll test out a bunch of apps that you never end up using. And even though those apps may be disabled, they still take up space. And the website requests to load these inactive apps slow your website down.
  • Only use mobile-friendly themes: Shopify claims that all themes in the Theme Store are like this, but you’ll have to try them out for yourself and see whether they negatively impact your page speeds.

Mobile-FriendlinessWhile your Shopify store should look great on all devices, the majority of all online searches these days are done from mobile devices. This is why Google has also made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor.To make sure that your Shopify store renders beautifully on mobile devices, install a responsive theme for your site. Google Search Console can also help you determine how mobile-friendly your website is.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is all about making your content as relevant and informative as possible, and making sure that search engines can detect this. As long as the content is giving the user what they are looking for, then Google will rank it higher.


Keywords are the bread and butter of SEO. Google has even said that “the most basic signal that information is relevant is when a web page contains the same keywords as your search”.So, what keywords should you use for your Shopify store? Here’s where keyword research comes in. It’s tempting to believe that you already know what keywords to use, but remember that you, as a business owner, see the product in an entirely different way than a customer does. There are two main reasons why you need to do keyword research:

  • Discover keywords that your potential customers are using.
  • Identify keywords with high search volume but low competition.

The first step to keyword research is to brainstorm a list of keywords related to your Shopify store and products. There are many ways for you to come up with that list:

  • Use keyword research tools like Keyword Planner, Ahrefs or SEMrush.
  • Enter your product type into Google and look at search engine suggestions and related searches.
  • Look at the keywords that your competitors use. One easy way to do this is to punch your competitor’s website into SEMrush.
  • Find hashtags related to your product on social media.
  • Dig through forums like Reddit to see how your customers talk about your product category. You can also use this tool to extract keywords and their search volumes from subreddits.
  • Imagine what your ideal customer would type into Google to come across your products.
  • Use Google Trends to see how much interest a keyword has at a particular point in time.

There are two broad categories that keywords are grouped by length and user intent.Keyword lengths:

  • Short-tail keywords: These are one or two keywords that describe the product. For example: hats, luxury handbags, electric razor, candles. The advantage of short-tail keywords is that they get a lot of traffic, but the disadvantage is that they are incredibly hard to rank for due to competition.
  • Long-tail keywords: These are three or more keywords where the user gets very specific about what they want. For example: “best electric razor for manscaping” or “hats for dogs”. Long-tail keywords get less traffic overall since they are so specific, but they also convert better, because they are typically used when the shopper is getting ready to buy something.

User intent keywords:

  • Informational: The user is searching for information, like the answer to a question. For example: “What type of snowboard does Shawn White use?”
  • Navigational: The user knows where they want to go, they might just be unsure what the URL is. An example would be them typing your Shopify store’s name into Google.
  • Transactional: Here the user is looking to buy something. For example: “buy headphones”, or “second-hand iPad”.

Don’t forget to note down each keyword’s search volume and difficulty score (if available). After you generate a list of keywords, you need to prioritize them. Rank your keywords in order of highest to lowest search volume.Now if you haven’t already, get a difficulty score for your top ten keywords. Rank these keywords in terms of difficulty and discard the bottom half. Finally, choose the top three keywords that are the best fit for your brand. Repeat this process for any additional products that you have on your site.By the end of this, you should have a small list of the best keywords for your Shopify store. Now we’re going to use those keywords to optimise all the content on your site.

Product Pages

Your homepage is the natural place to start. In addition to that, you should optimise your most popular product pages. These are either your best-selling products, or the products that you’re heavily promoting on a given month.The first thing to keep in mind is that the title of your product pages should match the keywords that people are searching for.Don’t try to get creative with this, otherwise shoppers will never find you organically.Say you’re running a Shopify Store for men’s workout clothes. It would be a better bet to simply go with “Men’s Workout Clothes” or “Men’s Athleisure” than “Swag for Gym Bros”.

After you’re done on the page level, we need to zoom in on the product level and optimise their titles and descriptions. These two are just about the most important on-page optimisations you can make. They tell both search engines and people exactly what’s on the page. Describe your product well enough, and people will click on it. Get your click-through rate high enough, and Google will move it up the rankings.Meta TitlesKeep your meta titles short and descriptive. Short so that the whole title is shown in the search engine results, and descriptive in a way that naturally incorporates your target keywords.Meta DescriptionsYour meta descriptions can be about twice as long as your meta titles, so use that to your advantage. Aside from including your target keyword, the meta description should persuade the user to click on the page. You’ll also need to write a unique meta description for every product to make your listings as relevant as possible in the search results.Image optimisationThere are three aspects of your images that you should optimise. The first two have to do with search engines, and the last one has to do with the user experience.Some shoppers prefer to search for products in Google Images, and click on the most eye-catching ones. Make sure that Google can read your product photos so that they get shown in the image results. To that end, edit your image:

  • File names: Replace your image’s auto-generated file name with a descriptive one. For example, black-office-chair.jpg.

Alt texts: Describe the image so that search engines can understand it. Keep this description brief and naturally mention the keyword if possible.As mentioned above, your image sizes directly affect your site speed. So if you haven’t done so already, reduce your images sizes.URLsAs an extra step in showing your relevance to Google, add your keywords to their corresponding product URLs. For example,

Product Descriptions

We’ve finally arrived at an element most Shopify store owners are already familiar with. So no need to go too deep here. A product description serves two goals that feed into each other. One is to provide in-depth product information that signals its relevance to Google.The other is to increase session durations by making that product information easy and delightful for shoppers to read. Explain what the product is, how it was made and why someone should buy it. The increased session durations will then result in higher rankings for the product page.Avoid using the same product description that you get from suppliers and manufacturers for these reasons:

  1. They’re not keyword optimised.
  2. Duplicate content doesn’t rank in search engines.
  3. Your potential customers won’t enjoy reading these copy-paste descriptions.

Product Reviews

People like to buy from people.And reviews are the best way to prove how great your product really is. A side benefit of reviews is that they can help you rank for long-tail keywords.When your customers describe all the things they love about your product, they’re effectively telling Google why your page is the answer to what other people are looking for.Shopify already made this process much easier for shop owners with their Product Reviews app. You can learn more about it here.You can use incentives like freebies to encourage customers to leave reviews on your products, and then add those reviews on your product page.Boom! Instantly trustworthy.

Content Marketing

Aside from transactional searches (e.g. “buy sweater”), informational searches are what get potential customers to your site. This is where keyword research comes in handy again. Remember that list of keywords we brainstormed earlier? Revisit it and circle all the informational and transactional keywords in that list.Go ahead and brainstorm some extras if you need to. This new list represents all the questions your potential customers have before they buy one of your products. The purpose of your content is to be the answer to their questions. Checkout Answer the Public to see what questions people are asking, and BuzzSumo to see what kind of content your competitors are having the most success with.Keep in mind that adding a blog to your site affects your sitemap. So don’t forget to update your site structure and run it through Google Search Console again, just to be sure that all your posts are being crawled and indexed.After your content draws people to your site, you can take things one step further and offer them a lead magnet. This is a tried-and-true way of building your email list, which you can engage directly with and promote new product launches to.Once you have a customer base, you should definitely get their direct input on the kind of content they want to see. You can use tools like Google Forms and SurveyMonkey to ask them questions and record their answers for analysis.Some popular content types include

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Contests
  • Podcasts
  • Ebooks
  • Infographics
  • Courses
  • Social Media Posts
  • FAQs

Browse through this list of content types for more ideas.

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO is about increasing your Shopify store’s rankings through activities that happen outside of your website. This is all about backlinks.


A backlink is when a web page links back to your website. This signals to search engines that your website is viewed as a kind of authority by other web pages. This works even better when the web pages pointing to you are somehow related to your products or niche.People will naturally link to your site when you’re producing content that they engage with and feel the need to share. But a more active way to get backlinks is through linkbuilding outreach. A few people you can reach out to are:

  • Suppliers and manufacturers: Since you’re a loyal customer, they probably won’t mind adding a link to your store. After all, more business for you will mean more business for them.
  • Influencers: Aside from increased sales, running an influencer campaign is a great way to get backlinks.
  • Mentions: You can use any variety of social listening tools, (e.g. Awario, Brandwatch) to find web pages where your brand has been mentioned without being linked to, and turn these into links.

Ranking Your Shopify Store

That’s it for our Shopify SEO deep-dive.Don’t feel obligated to make these changes all at once, but work through them over time.Just know that each optimisation will set your Shopify store on an upward trajectory on the search engine results page.

Next: How to learn webflow within 30days

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

Static and dynamic content editing

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Arthur Fabik
Arthur is the Head of SEO at Local Digital. He's been working in the space for most of the last decade at some of the biggest agencies in Australia. Now, he's responsible for the Local Digital SEO team with one goal - smashing SEO results out of the park for our clients.

You've made it this far

may as well get yourself a free proposal?