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Blog

Susie Hood

Shopify SEO Experts

Tips & Advice to Improve Retail Sales

Shopify is one of the most popular platform choices for retail brands because it has much of the necessary functionality already baked in for effective ecommerce. However, it also presents a unique SEO challenge, as not every element of the Shopify site setup is automatically geared towards search engine-friendliness. This means that retail brands wanting to get the most out of their online presence and maximise their sales will also need to take some steps to ensure their website is a help rather than a hindrance to their marketing efforts.

On the plus side, Shopify store websites generally come with a built-in blog that is ready to go and plenty of functionality for maintenance that won’t need a developer’s input, such as straightforward URL redirecting. There are many of the key technical elements already there and the CMS enables marketers to add a variety of different types of content.

However, on the other hand, some SEO necessities are not present from the start and the platform has a tendency to produce troublesome issues like duplicate content. None of these issues are insurmountable! They just require a little specialist knowledge about Shopify in relation to SEO. We’ve overviewed some of the main issues that we’ve come across in our extensive experience as an ecommerce marketing agency working regularly on Shopify retail websites, and how they can be dealt with to help improve organic visibility and increase online sales.

1.   Deal with duplicate content issues

As things stand currently with Shopify, each product page has two URLs by default when the site is set up. This means that any content you add to one of these pages will be duplicated on the other automatically, which is not something that follows SEO best practice. These two URL types are:

  1. /products/ (this is the canonical URL path)
  2. /collections/.*/products/ (this is the non-canonical URL path)

Shopify does handle this itself to some degree by including a canonical tag, but then by default will link internally to the non-canonical version of the product page, which is essentially the wrong way around. This sends very conflicting signals to search engines because the site architecture tells Google that the non-canonical pages are the most important, but they are not the pages that you want to rank in the search results.

This issue can be address by modifying the architecture of the website to instead point to the canonical product URLs instead, which resolves that issue. This can be done by a Shopify developer and is not a complex fix.

There can also be duplicate content created if you have several pages of products within the same category, as the category (called ‘collections’ in Shopify) content will be automatically duplicated on all of the paginated URLs i.e. page 2,3,4 of products etc.

Again, the solution to this can be found by the developer making an adjustment to the internal linking structure, which can make the paginated result point to the canonical page instead.

2.   Using additional schema mark-up for maximum SEO impact

Shopify doesn’t do a terrible job with structured data, especially for products, which is usually the most important consideration for ecommerce websites. However, this structured data for products isn’t automatically added to the collections pages, so this can also be done to provide search engines with clear information about the products on these pages.

In addition to product structured data, other types of schema markup for retailers using Shopify to consider can include:

  1. Breadcrumb structured data
  2. Navigational elements structured data
  3. Article structured data
  4. FAQ structured data
  5. Local business structured data (if you have physical stores)
  6. Organisation structured data

Implementing all of these additional elements as part of your Shopify marketing strategy enables your retail website to cater for the main aspects of typical user journeys. It can help your site to become more visible in search results for brand searches, for relevant question searches and location-based searches when people look for products ‘near me’.

3.   Utilise Shopify Apps Carefully

Shopify apps can be really useful for retailers, enabling them to add enhancements and additional functionality to the basic platform that can really help their website stand out and complement the user journey. However, on the flip side, each app you add to a Shopify site adds more code and therefore more complexity, which can have an impact on things like site load speed. Not only does a slow-loading website put shoppers off making purchases, it can also have a negative impact on SEO.

It’s important to be picky with the Shopify apps that you add to your website (especially as most of them are paid, usually on a subscription basis) and make sure that you understand the potential impact on load time. Apps which add JavaScript and CSS files can often be culprits here.

That said, some Shopify apps can actually help with SEO, such as those which enable you to automatically compress images (as image file size can a real issue on many ecommerce sites where every product has several images), add technical SEO elements like meta information and structured data without needing a developer, or add customer reviews to your site.

We recommend reading up on each app before you make a purchase, including independent reviews from people who mention the SEO impact, to help you find the right balance between site functionality and load time.

4.   Use remarketing as an essential complement to Shopify SEO

Customers very rarely make a purchase on their first visit to your website, but that doesn’t mean they never will. Ensuring that your Shopify site is set up with remarketing tags as early as possible can mean that visitors attracted by your SEO activity can be remarketed to if they don’t buy. This gives you a way to reconnect with potential customers, remind them of what they looked at when they visited your site and can even include incentives to buy now e.g. a discount.

Remarketing is a relatively low-cost way to reach already qualified previous visitors and can help you get maximum return on your Shopify SEO investment.

5.   Get the right partner – an expert in Shopify SEO

Getting your Shopify SEO right, and aligning it with your wider retail digital marketing strategy, takes specialist knowledge in multiple disciplines in order to maximise your return. This includes:

  1. Solid technical expertise with Shopify sites, ecommerce businesses and SEO to provide an approach that balances user experience and SEO best practice to maximise results
  2. Great content, which can include copy, video, graphics and other visual content
  3. Experience across the board with paid media, including Google’s paid advertising
  4. Constant performance analysis and strategy evolution when required

You don’t need a large in-house team to achieve all of this and more; you simply need a great Shopify partner, whether for fashion digital marketing or any other type of retail strategy. At Hitsearch, we’re a digital marketing agency that have been helping businesses in this sector for 15 years. Take a look at our case studies to see some of our recent projects.

Over the years, we’ve developed a highly effective blend of technical excellence, marketing expertise and creative ideas to assist your business and drive more sales, along with lots of Shopify tips and tricks that can make a big difference. Get in touch today for a free 15-minute consultation with one of our experts to see how we can help you. Call 0800 011 9715.


 

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If you have a business in the financial sector and would like to up your marketing game or receive some expert information about digital marketing for financial services, then get in touch with a member of our team!

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