You can use search engine optimization — SEO, to improve the search engine ranking for your store and help customers find your products. This means taking steps in your Shopify admin to help search engines understand your store and trust your content and increase the chances that your store populates when potential customers search the web.
For now, a quick overview outlining multiple ways to optimize your store’s SEO.
Consider adding keywords to your Shopify store. Keywords should match typical search queries that people enter in search engines. For example, a person might search for blue shoes in Canada. The keywords in this search would be blue shoes and Canada.
To make your store appear higher in search results, you should try to find out which keywords your customers might use to find your products, and then make sure to use those keywords when you’re writing the best product descriptions and other content for your store.
Find ways to use keywords in the following four places:
- Page titles
- Image ALT Text
- Meta descriptions
- Page content
Now, a little more about how to add keywords in those places.
Page titles: Search engines compare the title tag with your page content to determine whether the page title matches what the page is about.
Meta descriptions: a meta description is the text that is shown in search engine results after the title tag. You can set the meta description for webpages, product pages, collection pages, and blogposts in Shopify.
ALT text: Search engines can read the text in your content, but ‘can’t read the images. You can use alternative descriptive text to help search engines find your content. Alt-text is also an important accessibility feature for people who have visual impairments.
A page’s body content: When you write content for a product or collection description, webpage, or blog post, use readable, unique phrases that include some of your keywords.
2. Optimize Site Structure
Another SEO strategy is optimizing the site structure for your online store. In general, when ‘you’re selling with a Shopify online store, you don’t need to worry about your site structure, because Shopify has SEO features built-in. However, you can do a few things yourself to optimize your site structure for search engines.
Use descriptive filenames for your images: Before you upload your images to Shopify, rename the files to something describing the image. Search engines won’t understand what the image is unless you tell it. Be sure to edit the image’s file name before you upload it to Shopify.
Use descriptive link text for internal links: You can link to different parts of your site when you write body content for a page. The text in the link should describe the page that you’re linking to because search engines try to match the link with the page.
For example, this blog post links to a yoga mat product. Instead of highlighting the entire sentence to link, highlight “yoga mat” because that text describes the content on the product page.
3. Submit Your Store’s Sitemap to Google
Another SEO strategy is submitting your store’s sitemap to Google. A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website that a customer could navigate to starting from your homepage.
Submitting your store’s sitemap to Google Search Console helps Google find and index valuable pages on your site. This means that your store populates in Google search results, potentially bringing in more customers. Before you submit your sitemap, you must first verify your site with Google to ensure you are the correct owner.
4. Hide a Page
Search engines like Google constantly crawl the internet in search of new data. A file called robots.txt is a text file that tells search engines what pages of your site to index. The text file also blocks page content that might otherwise reduce the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Although you can’t edit the content of your store’s robots.txt file, you can still hide pages that aren’t included in the file.
How To Verify Your Site With Google
If ‘you’re looking to expand the reach of your online store, consider submitting a sitemap. Submitting your store’s sitemap to Google Search Console helps Google find and index valuable pages on your site. This means your store populates in Google search results, potentially bringing in more customers.
Before you submit your sitemap, you must first verify your site. This makes sure that you are the correct owner of your Shopify store before Google provides its services to you.
To begin, you must disable the password on your online store. Having a password enabled means that the online store is not available to the public, and a password is needed to enter the site. By disabling password protection, the online store is visible to the public.
If you’re not ready for your website to be live, be sure to turn the password back on after your site is verified.
From the Shopify admin, click Online Store. Click Disable password on the banner.
Or, click Preferences, in the Password Protection section, uncheck the box titled Enable Password. Click Save to finish.
Next, open Google Webmasters, and click Search Console.Here you choose between two property types.
Use the Domain option if you are verifying with DNS records. This option may be used if you have a third party domain that has not been transferred to Shopify.
This article demonstrates the URL prefix option.
You can use a custom domain you purchased or your .myshopify.com domain with this option. If you use your .myshopify.com domain to verify and replace it with a custom domain in the future, you will need to re-verify your site again using the steps in this article.
When you enter the web address for your domain, enter the full URL including the SSL certificate, which is https. This example shows the custom domain alyalthetics.com. Click Continue.
After checking verification, you see several methods for verifying your site.
While Google Search Console recommends the HTML file, this article demonstrates the HTML tag method instead. Click the arrow to open the HTML tag method. Here you see a line of code that shows the “meta tag”. Highlight and copy that entire code.
Back on your Shopify admin, you need to paste the meta tag into the theme’s code. Start by clicking Online store. Find the theme you want to edit, and click Actions.
There are two things to remember when pasting your meta tag.
1 – Google only indexes the current theme. This means you need to paste the meta tag in a theme you plan on publishing in the near future, or on your current theme.
2 – Google only indexes a live theme. This means indexing only starts once you have pasted the meta tag in the current theme’s code, and the password protection is removed from your site.
When ‘you’re ready, click Edit Code.
In the Layout section, click theme.liquid to open the file in the online code editor.
Find the tag, head, near the top of the page.
Click return on your keyboard to create a new line, and paste the meta tag you copied directly beneath the head tag.
Click Save to finish.
Back on Google Search Console, click Verify underneath the HTML tag method.
If successful, you see a pop-up stating the ownership has been verified.
Click Go to the property to see an overview of your Google Search Console dashboard.
With your site verified, it’s important to remember not to remove the meta tag or delete the theme you pasted it in. If you ever lose site verification, repeat the steps outlined in this article.
You can also add additional verification methods to ensure you never lose site verification. From the Google Search Console, click the domain name in the top-left hand corner. Click Add property and follow the steps to verify your domain using another method.
When site verification is complete, you can either enable password protection on your site again, or you can submit your sitemap now.
How To Submit A Sitemap To Google Search Console
If you’re looking to expand the reach of your online store then consider submitting a sitemap. A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website that a customer could navigate to starting from your homepage. Submitting your store’s sitemap to Google Search Console helps Google find and index valuable pages on your site. This means that your store populates in Google search results, potentially bringing in more customers.
All Shopify stores automatically generate a sitemap.xml file that contains links to all your products, product images, pages, collections, and blog posts.
After your site is verified, open Google Webmasters, and click Search Console. From the dashboard, click Sitemaps. Under the section Add a new sitemap enter sitemap.xml.
It’s important that you do not enter any other variation of the XML filename. Anything other than sitemap.xml causes Google to return an error. Click Submit. Next, you see a pop-up stating your sitemap was submitted successfully.
If you see any errors under Status, then click to find more details on the error. This example shows that the sitemap was read, but has a General HTTP error.
Click the arrow to see more details about this error. This particular error occurred because the sitemap was submitted while the online store was password protected.
After you fix the error, you can either resubmit the sitemap by taking the same steps outlined already or delete the sitemap and start again.
To delete a sitemap, click the three dots in the top-right hand corner, and click Removesitemap.
Submit your sitemap again by taking the same steps as outlined before.
If the status of your sitemap displays Success in green, then it was submitted without errors. After you submit your sitemap, Google uses it to crawl and index your site. Keep in mind, Google only indexes sites that are live. This means that the indexing process begins after the password protection is removed from your site.
Do not be concerned if every page of your online store is not crawled or indexed. As Google states “It’s perfectly normal for not all the pages on a site to be indexed.” Also, any hidden pages on your store are not indexed and don’t show up in search results. The indexing process takes time, and Google does not guarantee how long it takes for your site to be crawled.