Shopify SEO: Expert Advice for Improving Your Website

What you should know about Shopify SEO

One of the most well-liked eCommerce platforms available is Shopify, and for good reason. The robust set of eCommerce tools from Shopify makes running a profitable online business simple for practically anyone. Because Shopify automates the time- and labor-intensive eCommerce operations, technically challenged shop owners can spend more time managing their business and less time troubleshooting technical issues.

Shopify’s built-in automations and other standard features are nothing short of a miracle for store owners and brand managers. Replatforming to Shopify instead of demandware like Magento can save online retailers thousands of dollars in maintenance costs in the first few months alone. The time and money-saving benefits of Shopify do, however, come at a cost.

Reducing manual control while increasing automation

With Shopify, less manual control is exchanged for more automation. Increased automation results in greater time and financial savings, but the loss of manual control can be upsetting for SEOs and other professionals who are new to Shopify. Although Shopify does hide some of our favourite SEO tools (goodbye, robots.txt modifications), it also eliminates a lot of the uncertainty and annoyance (goodbye, permalinks difficulties).

We’ll show you how to maximise Shopify’s potent SEO skills in this article. You’ll discover how to outrank the competition with your Shopify or Shopify Plus website as well as the rationale behind some of Shopify’s default settings.


Professional Shopify SEO advice

1.  The robots.txt file for Shopify [probably] doesn’t need to be changed.

It’s customary to include sitemap links and crawl directives in a robots.txt file to entice search engines to index (or not index) specific pages or regions of your website. On systems like WordPress, the robots.txt file is manually maintained, however on Shopify sites, the robots.txt file is generated and kept automatically by Shopify’s backend.

Shopify only allows a small number of user-created robots.txt updates for the purpose of preventing operator mistakes that can affect search visibility. That last phrase may seem heretical to SEO purists, but Shopify forbids making significant changes to their robots.txt file for excellent reasons.

  •       The checkout, payment, and other account-related pages of your business are kept hidden from both search engines and malicious users thanks to Shopify’s default robots.txt setting. 

Thankfully, Shopify has the option for customers to update the robots.txt file through the theme editor menu. However, users should be aware that while they can add additional directives to the file, any modifications made to Shopify’s default directives will be undone. The default robots.txt file can be altered as follows, per the Shopify help centre.

  allow or forbid crawling of specific URLs
>    impose crawl-delay restrictions on specific crawlers
  include more sitemap URLs
>    obstruct specific crawlers


2.  Don’t worry about Shopify’s standard URL structure.


To keep product and collection URLs organised in your online store, the Shopify URL structure was created. Shopify only allows store owners to alter the slug (also known as the handle), which is the distinctive page address that is normally at the end of a URL. Other platforms, like WordPress, provide users complete control over every component of a URL path. Similar restrictions apply to canonical links in Shopify.

Shopify’s canonical links follow a /product/ base canonical, meaning the canonical URL of every Shopify product has the same base path: Open source platforms like WordPress allow site owners to select any URL path or “version” of a page as the canonical (or “main” version) of the page.

Critics claim that Shopify is disadvantage their consumers to websites with shorter, more direct canonical URLs by enforcing users to follow their guidelines for URL format. Fortunately for us, the evidence refutes the detractors’ claims. URL route length is not covered in Google’s rules for canonical URLs. In fact, the Google document says nothing at all concerning URL path structure.

Using the most pertinent terms and phrases to represent that page, develop handles for your goods and collections to use as Shopify URLs. To both crawlers and potential users, the URLs should “explain” the pages on your site. Nondescriptive handles, such as /product-1/ or /april-blog-post/, represent missed opportunities to boost visibility.

  • Although Google provides several suggestions for categorising canonical pages, Shopify’s default settings for product URLs are completely compliant with their recommendations.


  3.  Non-indexed pages and banned resources in Google Search Console are entirely typical.

Any site that wishes to boost organic traffic by improving its search engine exposure should use Google Search Console (GSC). But occasionally, particularly for shop owners who are new to the Shopify platform, Search Console’s warnings might be more detrimental than helpful.

Shopify automatically applies a ‘noindex’ tag to pages that should be omitted from search results in order to prevent system and account pages from clogging search results. Shopify automatically excludes a wide range of subdirectories:

 >   payment pages

 >   page accounts

 >   pages with a password

 >   results pages for site searches

 >   product variations’ URLs

 >   blogs with paginated listing pages

 >   blog subject URL filters

 >   links to product filters   

4.  What exactly does Google Search Console imply when it says “alternate page with proper canonical tag”?

  • According to the Shopify blog, canonical URLs prevent search engines from being confused when two URLs lead to the same piece of content or website.

Shopify’s canonical tag configuration allows customers to arrive at a single product page from any collection or category it’s included in. The more collections a product is in, the more URLs that lead to it. This allows Shopify sites to have a single product appear in dozens (or even hundreds) of URL paths without duplicating the product page itself. In order to keep search results from getting clogged with duplicate pages/paths, Shopify automatically designates a single page—using the /product/ base URL— as the canonical or ‘main’ version of the page. Still confused? Let’s look at an example. 






The aforementioned pages/paths are examples of URLs that lead to the same hypothetical product. Customers can access the product by any of those routes, but only the canonical URL for the item (shown above in bold) will show up in search results. The Google Search Console report for these URLs would display 1 indexed page and 4 non-indexed pages, or 4 “alternate pages with proper canonical tag.”


5.  Don’t be hesitant to use large product photos on Shopify.

Because SEO is a game of inches, even minor adjustments can have a big impact. Large picture files can degrade UX and slow down a website on traditional website platforms, which can have an influence on search engine rankings. Therefore, the prevailing belief when it comes to picture optimisation for SEO is that smaller images (and image files) indicate faster page loads, which means better ranks.

Large photos, however, provide a better user experience in eCommerce, and Google itself even advises utilising very large images for ecommerce products in its Merchant Centre documentation: Send in the largest, most detailed full-size image of the product you have, with a maximum resolution of 64 megapixels and a file size of 16 MB. A minimum resolution of 1500 × 1500 pixels is advised.

Google encourages us to utilise large, high-quality photos in order to rank in search and shopping results, but we also need our pages to load as quickly as possible. How can we accomplish both at once?

  • By default, Shopify uses a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to circumvent the paradox between picture size and page load time.

A geographically dispersed group of servers known as a content delivery network (CDN) collaborates to deliver Internet material quickly.

In plain English, CDNs speed up the performance of websites by distributing huge files via a network of specialised servers that are specifically designed for static content, such as image files. The image is automatically put to the Shopify CDN as you upload it to your Shopify store, where it is compressed and optimised for the ideal ratio of quality and size. When a visitor accesses the website, the site is first delivered by the main server, and the pictures are subsequently supplied by the closest node in the CDN, substantially improving page load times.

  • The Shopify CDN enables store owners to upload large product photos without hindering their website’s performance or harming search engine results.

Through the Shopify Imagery website, you can even use Shopify’s CDN as a stand-alone offering. Users of Shopify Imagery can upload any image, crop, resize, and alter it however they like. They can also select a free stock photo from Shopify’s library. There are three ways to incorporate photos with Shopify Imagery: via URL, Liquid code, or Hydrogen code.


6.  In order to save you time, Shopify automatically adds dynamic JSON-schema markup to items.

Structured data, commonly referred to as JSON or Schema markup, is a human-readable format that aides web crawlers and search engine robots in “understanding” the goal of a web page or website. Because it offers a productive means of communication with search engines, structured data is a crucial part of SEO. Rich snippets and other rich results, which are known to get more clicks than their schema-free equivalents, are also made possible by schema, which aids search engines in delivering them. 

It’s crucial to employ schema markup that follows the guidelines set forth by because structured data is such a potent SEO weapon. Although most CMS platforms output schema markup through plugins or apps, schema can also be created directly. By automatically creating extremely effective product schema for each business on its platform, Shopify advances the use of structured data.

The most crucial product details, including item title, price, availability, description, and more, are transformed into structured data markup when you create a product listing in Shopify. This makes it simpler for search engines to find and index your products. Shopify automatically changes the schema and alerts search engine crawlers whenever a product is modified in any way. Another means by which Shopify saves time and money is through 

The most crucial product details are already covered by Shopify’s default schema markup, however more markup can be manually added or added with an SEO programme like Smart SEO. Additionally, Shopify’s default structured data is fully aligned with Google’s Merchant Centre rules, and its Google Shopping functionality enables store owners to upload their own custom structured data.


7.  The standard functions of Shopify Give the vital things more time

The best thing about performing SEO on Shopify sites is how many of the most time-consuming, laborious, manual SEO processes are automated by Shopify, which is a significant time saver. In comparison to demandware platforms like Magento, Shopify’s default features are optimised for Google’s terms of service, which implies that ranking Shopify websites requires less effort, less time, and less money.

Simply put, optimising the content, strategy, and on-page elements of Shopify websites for search engines requires less time spent on manual labour and more time spent on the important tasks.

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