53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic searches, thus it's crucial to position your online business as high as possible. And even a brand-new online business has a chance to appear on Google's first page, even though it could be challenging and take some time. Follow along with our SEO checklist to learn more.
1. Basic SEO checklist: Set up your website
Let's start with the fundamentals: acquiring your website and an online store and putting them up. Obtaining your site ready for SEO involves much more than just purchasing a domain and getting a website design.
Buy a custom domain
For your store to be found in searches, it requires its domain. When users navigate through search engines, it also increases consumer confidence. It's also enduring. You may rank higher for related keywords by Choosing a domain name that is connected to your industry. Through Shopify, setup and configuration are entirely automated.
Confused about a domain name? Use the domain name generator on Shopify. Enter your brand name or ideal domain name to get suggestions that you may purchase.
Create an account with Google Analytics. Click “Start for free” on the Google Analytics page. To enable Google to gather information from your website, follow the instructions for setting up a property and a tracking code.
Create a Universal Analytics property. After that, you should link Google Analytics to your Shopify store. Make a Universal Analytics property first. In your Google Analytics account, activate ecommerce tracking after that. You may activate simple ecommerce monitoring, which merely keeps track of sales and income information. Additionally, you may turn on advanced e-commerce monitoring, which offers more details about visitor behavior.
Read Setting Up Google Analytics in Shopify Help to learn how to do this.
Set up Google Search Console
Submit your sitemap to Google through the Webmaster Tools account you just created. Every Shopify store creates a sitemap automatically, which is a list of all the pages on your website. A sitemap provides information about how your website is organized to Google and other search engines. Shopify store owners may see their sitemaps by visiting [www.yourstore.com/sitemap.xml] if you're interested.
Use Google Webmaster Tools to check for any crawling errors. By “crawling” a website and its pages, bots used by search engines index websites. A crawling error occurs when a bot tries to access a certain page (or site) but is unsuccessful. Work to correct any problems as soon as you are made aware of them.
Verify your Shopify domain. You must validate your domain to use third-party services like Google Webmaster. To deliver services to you verifies that you are the legitimate owner of your Shopify business. For Google services, become familiar with domain verification.
Set up Bing Webmaster tools
Create a Bing Webmaster Tools account. The second-largest search engine in the US is called Bing. A free Microsoft service called Bing Webmaster Tools enables you to add your store to the Bing crawler. You'll appear in the search results after you've been added. Go to the sign-up page to create a free Bing Webmaster account, then add and authenticate your website.
Read the Bing Webmaster Tools Getting Started Checklist to learn more.
Be on a paid plan
Crawled and indexed stores offering free trials. The effort you put in, however, will vanish after your trial period is complete if you are not on a paid subscription. Even if you're still working on some of your sites, it's crucial to remove password protection. So that Google may begin crawling and indexing your website, and unlock the completed pages.
Consider SEO tools
Note: Online stores powered by Shopify offer built-in SEO tools to assist with content optimization. Some tasks are handled automatically, such as the addition of canonical tags to pages to prevent duplicate content from appearing in search engine results pages (SERPS), the creation of robots.txt, and sitemap.xml files for your website, and the creation of title tags for themes that contain your store name. Additionally, social media sharing and linking features are available in themes to make it simpler to sell your business.
Although tough, keeping up with rivals, rankings, and algorithm updates is essential for internet companies. You may utilize effective paid and free SEO tools to achieve your search objectives. By setting up Google Search Console and Analytics, you've taken the first step.
- Ahrefs, is a complete SEO tool suite for audits, research, tracking, and more.
- Keywords Everywhere, for simple keyword research.
- Surfer SEO Chrome plug-in, for free search data and content guidelines.
- Keyword.io, for free keyword suggestions.
- Screaming Frog, to find crawl errors on your site.
- Moz, for a full SEO marketing suite.
- MozBar, for on-the-go SEO research.
Additionally, we advise you to download an app for your Shopify store like the Plug-in SEO Optimizer. It is comparable to WordPress's Yoast SEO plugin. You may use it to do SEO audits, update broken links, create redirects, improve HTML titles and meta tags, and more.
2. On-page SEO checklist: Product, Blog, and Collections pages
It takes time and works to get each of your pages ready to rank. After all, you'll be up against some established names in this market. Use our on-page SEO checklist to ensure that your product pages are as optimized as possible.
Conduct keyword research
Use Moz’s Keyword Explorer to determine the search volume of keywords and get keyword ideas. It's a good idea to become familiar with a keyword research tool. The “volume” of a search refers to the approximate monthly search volume for a given keyword.
Although there are hundreds of other keyword tools, like Ahrefs, which I also use and suggest, it's more crucial that you completely examine each one and keep learning the fundamentals.
Map keywords to content types. Keep in mind that every page on your website, including the homepage, blog articles, categories, and product pages, might rank for a separate set of keywords. What pages you should build can be determined by keyword research. As an illustration, some of your sites may be targeted towards informational searches (“what is aromatherapy”) while others might be targeted at lower traffic but purchase-indicative keywords (“buy aromatherapy bottles”).
Optimize your webpages
Ensure you are using one, and only one, H1 tag on your pages. H1 (header 1) tags are frequently used as a page's primary headline and typically contain the page's primary keywords. Avoid manually inserting an H1 tag anywhere else on the page; Shopify page titles are the default H1 tag for pages generated using Shopify.
Keep your page titles under 60 characters such that the findings do not truncate them. At the moment, Google always shows the first 50–60 characters of the majority of web pages. Always place your page title's primary keywords close to the start. Last but not least, keep in mind that you may arrange your page title to appear more like a listing than an editorial title or full sentence by inserting suitable characters or callouts to highlight important details.
Keep your meta descriptions punchy and under 155 characters. There is no precise character limit for revealing or truncating meta descriptions, according to Google. According to research by Moz, many meta descriptions are trimmed down between 155 and 160 characters. To adapt, start your meta description with your goal keywords and the strongest text possible, and attempt to stay under 155 characters.
Remember that a meta description is a text that appears beneath a page's title in a search result; the language you provide here should succinctly summarise the information on the page and convince readers to click.
Write compelling page titles that are human-readable. You should include relevant keywords in your page titles and meta descriptions as well as a clear explanation of the content on the page to entice readers to click. Don't overlook the readers of your copy: Being visible in search results is only one aspect of your work; you also need to persuade visitors to visit your website instead of all the others.
Include a keyword in your page URL. Owners of Shopify stores should be aware that a page title becomes the URL by default. I advise adding your aim while eliminating unnecessary filler terms in URLs (notice the URL we're utilizing for this particular blog article).
Ensure your images have descriptive alt text and filenames. Nearly 23% of all web searches now include Google Images. You should give each picture file a meaningful file name (don't call an image “298343798.jpg”) and descriptive ALT tags that describe each image to make sure your photographs show up in image results.
Add schema markup to get rich snippets. Google is better able to grasp your website content because of schema markup. It enhances how your page appears on search engine results pages, which may increase click-through rates and increase visitors to your website.
For example, this as-educate article that ranks as “How to Create a Twitter Marketing Strategy for Your Store” uses schema markup.
Setting up schema isn’t too hard. Just follow this Getting Started guide by schema.org.
Create a content marketing strategy
Start planning a basic content marketing strategy. Even while creating and implementing a comprehensive content marketing plan might take months, there are still easy tasks you can perform to get started:
- Brainstorm customer questions. Think about the inquiries clients would make if they are familiar with your product category but not fully knowledgeable. For instance, at Weave Got It, we guide consumers in understanding the many hair extension grades offered and the factors to take into account while choosing between each grade.
- Help customers get more value out of products. Have you ever noticed how many food-related retail establishments also provide basic recipe cards? This is a wise strategy for many items because customers frequently lack expert user knowledge and may not be aware of the hacks and techniques you are aware of to help them get the most out of their purchase.
- Use keyword research to match questions with search terms. The actual phrases individuals are using should, of course, be coupled with content ideas.
Making sure clients are getting the most out of your product will attract more visitors to your website. Kettle & Fire is ranked for “bone broth soup recipes” above.
Informational pages and blog posts should aim for ~500 words. Although material that is clear and brief is beneficial, it often takes a certain amount of time to thoroughly address a query and increase the likelihood that it will show up in search results. The majority of inquiries need at least a few hundred words, although the quality is considerably more crucial than a number.
Write original product descriptions. Your website's content should all be unique and written just for your business. Use manufacturer-provided product descriptions as an illustration. You have the opportunity to market the qualities and advantages of your items when you write your descriptions.
Consider adding product reviews to your product pages. Reviews are crucial for establishing trust because 95% of consumers read them before making a purchase. Product reviews, however, also contribute more pertinent information to your product pages, which can improve their ranking for long-tail keywords. To add SEO-friendly review ratings to your product pages, you may use the free Product Reviews app from Shopify. It appears on all of my product pages.
Set up your business on other platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Registering your name on social media sites while you're still building your brand can secure your identity in the future and provide people with a location to discover you right now. Keep to the channels where you intend to contact and sell to potential clients when linking to your social media accounts from your business.
3. Link-building SEO checklist: Improve your domain authority
When another website connects to yours, Google is informed that the linked website must regard yours as trustworthy. This in turn begins to increase your domain authority, which is a crucial indicator of how difficult it is for your website to rank for a certain term.
Create a link-building strategy. Ranking criteria for search engines like Google is the quantity, quality, and relevance of links pointing to a certain page or website. Links serve as “citations” that build credibility in the eyes of search engines.
Focusing on relationships or figuring out who you can give and share value with (publishers, other websites in your field, etc.) is, in my opinion, the best way to go about developing backlinks. A straightforward introduction might be the beginning of a productive connection if you know a beauty blogger who frequently evaluates the skin care products you offer.
Understanding the context—why these websites choose to connect to your rivals—is very helpful. Why was the page deserving of a link?
Finding these patterns may help you decide which partners to engage with and how you can add enough value to obtain a high-quality connection. For example, you may see that rival businesses frequently appear on gift lists.
Look for opportunities for press mentions. To acquire ideas on how to get a notice on other websites, start by reading our guide to acquiring press coverage. Consider employing a brand monitoring tool to uncover “unlinked” mentions of your business or items on other websites if you've already gained some momentum. After getting a notification, you can ask the author or publisher nicely to include a link.
4. Technical SEO checklist: Ensure your site is user-friendly
Check if your store is mobile-friendly
One of the most challenging—yet equally crucial—aspects of getting your website to rank is technical SEO. Making certain that consumers have a positive experience on your website is mostly dependent on the technical aspects of SEO.
Google notices this and is less likely to suggest your website in their search engine results if pages load slowly or if it isn't mobile-responsive.
Review your site on mobile.
Although every theme available in the Shopify theme shop is responsive to mobile devices, if you don't utilize Shopify, use this tool to view how the theme appears on a mobile device. Every page ought to be as viewable on a mobile device as on a desktop.
Use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to double-check your mobile optimization. Check your website page to determine whether it has been optimized.
Ensure your store is fast
Use redirects where necessary
You can reroute a page on your website to another pertinent existing page when it becomes inactive, providing users with a new location rather than a broken link. This can happen when you remove a product that was for sale on the page. Read our guide to learn how to effortlessly set up a redirect in Shopify.
Create an internal link strategy
One of the key strategies in SEO marketing is internal linking. It entails creating internal links inside your website that connect various pages. You can raise your search engine rankings if you do things correctly.
Linking certain topic pages to other sites with pertinent material is the aim. This aids search engines in identifying your subject-matter expertise, classifying your material, and ranking your pages.
Ecommerce store owners can create internal links through:
- Related items. You may display related items to visitors who are on your product page. Google will recognize that these two things are connected and will index them appropriately.
- Feature items. On your homepage or category pages that lead to product pages, display highlighted goods. Try to add the most well-liked items here. When connecting to products, use anchor text that contains keyword phrases.
- Blogging. Write articles focusing on particular items and themes associated with your brand. From the post, you can link to merchandise or other web pages.
Learn more about links by reading the Internal Linking [SEO 2021] guide by Moz.
Build a global navigation menu
The most crucial connections in your online store are located in the global navigation of a website. These links let visitors know which pages you value highly. It provides users with a simple way to access particular pages, such as product, collection, or sale pages. Your site's global navigation links serve as a signal to crawlers about which pages are the most crucial for SEO.
Common types of navigation links include:
- Single-bar navigation. All links live in one bar and are limited.
- Double-bar navigation. Primary and secondary links live in the navigation bar. They are stacked above each other.
- Dropdown navigation. Designed so that when a user hovers over the navigation link, a list of links dropdown.
Your store's navigation also includes footer menus. Your footer menu will likely be seen by customers to obtain contact and policy information.
Optimize your URLs
Although URLs appear to be a minor component of the puzzle, they are crucial for SEO. Search engines may learn about the content of your website from your URLs. Since both users and search engines view your URL, you should adhere to a few best practices:
Make URLs readable:
Use hyphens not underscore:
Include target keywords:
Your objective is to keep your URL structures basic. Make sure your material is laid out in a way that human beings can grasp the URLs. To understand more, see Google's guide to URL structure.
Fix duplicate content
Similar material that appears on two separate URLs is referred to as duplicate content. Because of this, it is challenging for search engines to choose which of the two pages to rank. The most typical duplicate material in a shop is found on product pages and collections pages.
Use a canonical URL if any of your dynamic pages contain duplicate material. When you want Google to favor a certain page, use this tag. Any page containing duplicate content must have a rel=”canonical” link added to the head section.
5. Local SEO checklist: Find local customers
Local SEO must play a significant role in your optimization approach if you have a physical presence for your organization. Local SEO optimization of your website aids in local customer discovery and the location of your retail store.
Set up Google My Business
A great free SEO tool for small businesses is Google My Business. Your company listing may be created in a few minutes. It aids clients in finding you on Google Maps and Search. First, visit the sign-up page. Then, adhere to the instructions to construct your listing.
You'll need the fundamental facts about your company, like its name, category, location, and contact information. After that, optimize your Google My Business Page to engage with consumers and appear in search results.
List your store on major directories and platforms
You've likely heard the advice to put your company in online directories at some time. Although there are many directories, very few will affect your results.
The top 10 directories that you have to look into are:
- Angies List
- Apple Maps
- Yellow Pages
- Google My Business
- LinkedIn Company Directory
- Better Business Bureau
Browse further web directory lists at your leisure. You could discover specialty directories that you think are perfect for your company. Add a suitable entry to your company listing.
Fill out your Contact Us page thoroughly
Your homepage and landing pages are carefully designed. Your Contact Us page is crucial for local companies to establish credibility and draw in local clients. Customers may get your name, address, and phone number using a contact form. Because Google prioritizes consistent, reliable information for searchers, this is essential for local SEO.
Consider city-specific landing pages
Consider designing a special landing page for each of your physical sites if you have them spread across many cities. Without having to create a unique website for every location, this makes it simpler to rank for each market region.
For each landing page, be sure to write a copy that is specific to the place. If you have several locations, creating this strategy could take some time and money. Avert publishing flimsy, useless pages. Google could punish your website.
What to do if you get stuck?
Keep up with the latest developments in search by keeping a reading list. There is a lot more to learn about SEO, and as search technology advances, this field experiences numerous tiny, regular changes. By reading the Think With Google articles and the Google Search Center Blog, you may start by obtaining updates directly from Google.
Consult Google’s official recommended practices if you're unsure. I always remind our merchants that the customer experience comes first and that not all of Google's recommendations align with current SEO best practices. Google's recommendations, however, might assist you in avoiding the dubious activities that can cause your site to be punished. Review Google's suggestions if you ever have any reservations.
Giving searchers what they want
The reason we use search engines in the first place—to find things we want or remember things we've seen—will not change, even though the way people use them will continue to change.
Given this, the one SEO tactic that will always be effective may be to just give searchers what they want. Websites that do this well are rewarded by search engines, especially Google. Fast-loading websites, engaging writing and content, and precise page and picture descriptions are just a few of the topics we mentioned above that make searchers' jobs simpler.
Always bear in mind the link between search engine optimization and user experience while you create your website. These two factors appear to advance together as search technology advances, therefore the simplest approach to delight a search engine is to please its users.
SEO Checklist FAQ
A list of things that must be done or factors to take into account is known as an SEO checklist. It makes sure that your SEO chores are completed consistently.
Understanding your target audience's search patterns, continuously optimizing your website, and maximizing visitor conversions are the first three phases of a good SEO strategy.
You may learn SEO by reading articles from reliable sources and using the aforementioned SEO checklist. You'll get more adept at it as you increase your website's SEO via practice.