Do Shopify SEO Hacks Exist?

nest shopify seo hacks

Below is a video I recorded on the topic above. Below that is a transcription of the video. It's probably just easier to watch the video....


Hi guys. Jono here from EcomXSEO. What is the best at Shopify SEO hack? Now, if you haven't subscribed to our channel before, make sure you hit the subscribe button and hit the link, and you can also go and check out our free private Facebook group where we have plenty of good discussion on Shopify SEO.

Now, this is a question that I get asked quite regularly. What's the best hack for SEO in general, but in particular for Shopify and Shopify stores? Now, essentially I hate the word hack and especially to do with SEO because SEO is a process and it can be part art, part scientific and part feel and you do need a little bit of experience to sort of get the most out of your SEO campaigns and the processes that you use and you need to understand how SEO works inherently and how you then can apply it to your site in the right way.

Now, if you've been following some of our videos, you'll know that Shopify has some issues when it comes to SEO and search engine optimization. It has structural issues that can cause problems, has speed issues which are not ideal. So there's many things that need to be worked on with Shopify to get the best out of it from an organic search point of view.

But when you do, Shopify stores rank no problem at all. So instead of pointing out a hack, what I will do is just point out something that we like to do on most of our stores and it's essentially just adding more content in the right way and on the right pages.

So I've just got an example here. This is actually not a Shopify store, but it just shows that the concept is sound and it works. So this is quite a large store in Australia here. It's an outdoor and camping store called Anaconda Stores and just looking at their organic growth from when they started their site or when at least this data started coming in for this site in 2016. And you can see they've had a nice, steady growth, a few ups and downs, and they're now sort of getting up to around half a million searches per month.

Now, if we just come and look at their top pages, so the pages that are providing the most traffic to their store. So obviously, their homepage is bringing the majority of the traffic, but then you can see that the next pages are not products. Actually, they're category pages so camping, hiking, tents, gazebos clothing, sleeping bags, swags. So it's their category pages that are bringing in the bulk of the traffic to their store and then users can browse to the particular products.

Now, what we find certainly with new store owners, new Shopify store owners, they try and focus on ranking or at least bringing users directly to their product pages. And while that can help if your products convert quite well, bringing them to a category, or in Shopify's case, a collection page can really help define what your store is selling in terms of a category and it gives us the... obviously, the user to browse through different products.

And if they're coming with their credit card in hand, they're going to purchase anyway so you can give them that little more information and options with a category page and a collection page and they can browse through the different products that you have.

Now, this is not a mistake or it's not by accident that Anaconda are ranking there and getting the most traffic from their category pages, because I do something that we like to do on our Shopify stores and I've used this example before. So let's just go to their store.

As I mentioned, this is not a Shopify store, but it doesn't matter because the concept is the same. So they're setting up their category pages and you've got a category page with a bit of a description here, and then their products. Now, most stores, most online stores, that's all they do for their category page. They have the H1 header, they have a bit of a description and then they've got their product grid, which is... it's a pretty common way of setting up.

They've got some filters on the left hand side here, but on all the collection page or category pages of Anaconda, they've got this content at the bottom of their category pages and it's just answering questions and providing more content, providing more relevance for that particular category page.

We did this for Shopify with a free app we use. It's actually our app that allows you to add content below the product grid and while it can answer questions and it helps the customer, which it's meant to do, also, you just have that opportunity to add in more content to your page so you just build the strength and the relevance of your page for that particular topic.

And now you can use this in your SEO efforts. You can internally link from this and to this. You can create blog posts that link to this content. When you're doing your off page and your external SEO campaigns, you can use these pages as targets where you can actually link to them and you've got nice relevant content that's going to help that process.

Now, these guys do it on all the category pages. So here we've got bike stands and they've done the same here. They've got content below the product grid. And the issue with Shopify is this, you can't do this natively so you either need to do it on an app, or you need to create a custom template to do this, but you can do it.

You just need to yeah, use the app or create a custom template. It'd be nice if Shopify allowed us to do it natively because it certainly does help.

This is a really good example of the sort of search volume you can bring in and how you can rank your category pages and bring in traffic purely by setting up the structure in the best way. And then when you go and look at some of the keywords are ranking for so not their brand and keywords, but hiking boots, for example, their positioned to in their ranking, their category page.

North Face, so that's a brand, but they're ranking the brand page, which is also a category page. Camping chairs, ranking the category page and not looking at ranking the products individually. And it's a much easier process when you look at your SEO campaigns as well, because you're not trying to target thousands and thousands of different pages, which can be overwhelming.

You're just being ultra targeted and ultra specific in looking at your category pages in a certain way. So while it's not a hack, it's just a sound process for search engine optimization. It works really well. We do it with a lot of our stores. It takes a little more work because you've got to create that content upfront.

But as you can see here, this is a good example, and we're seeing more and more stores starting to do this. So the big stores are starting to catch on that a strategy like this can work. Okay. Hope that all makes sense. Thanks for watching. We'll see you next video.

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301 Redirects For Shopify

url redirects in shopify

Below is a video I recorded on the topic above. Below that is a transcription of the video. It's probably just easier to watch the video....

Hey guys, Jono from EcomX SEO here, hope everyone's going well this week with all the craziness around the world.

Just had a question in the Facebook group about how to deal with ... or the question was particularly about changing a theme and consolidating pages and products, and how to deal with that without losing any existing traffic. There's many different reasons you might want to remove products or change products or consolidate different pieces of a site or a store into other areas. So for example, let's say you've got a very well selling brand of a particular product, and that brand stops manufacturing that particular product, but you find another brand that does the same product, but you want to make sure you don't lose all that existing traffic you had to that product page.

So there's we can deal with that, and you could just change the content on the particular product page and maintain the existing product page. So you essentially swap out the brands. The problem with that is most times in the URL, which is a little more permanent in a Shopify store. And then on any site that you probably more than likely will have the brand name in the URL. So then you wouldn't be able to just change out the content on the page because the old brand will still be in the URL. So that's one reason you might want to do it possibly.

There's a new version of a product has come out and you just want to consolidate into a new product and make sure you get some more of the new product features into the URL. Because as we know, the URL is extremely important for our optimization. So there's many, many different reasons. So I'm just going to start at the basic level in this group, there's a lot of people who are just starting. So some of this stuff is new, and some of you are all over this stuff and are very experienced, so I'm just going to go through the basics of it, just for those who don't know much about it and they're just learning.

So, let's say in example where you're going to create a brand new product page because the old brand has stopped making that product. And that product page is indexed in Google with that particular URL. If you just deleted that product, so stop selling it all together and created a new product, then what happens is that URL will stay in Google's index for a period of time. It can be up to, I've seen them stay in the index up to three months, but generally a few weeks they'll stay in the index. If they click on that URL from a browser, it will go to what's called a 404 page and that's essentially telling the user and also Google, as the Google bots come in, that this page does not exist anymore.

And then what will essentially happen more than likely the user will click away and go to another site, because what they were looking for is not there. They may navigate to other areas of your site, but it's just not a great user experience in any sense. And because Google comes in and sees a 404 it's not a good signal for Google either. So there's a number of different ways we can deal with that, and they're called redirects. Now, what a redirect is, is a protocol for browsers. And then it's universal with Google as well. If you set up a redirect, physically what happens is when someone clicks on that link in the search engines and that link you may have dispersed elsewhere around the net.

So for example, in your social media profiles, it might be on another blog post. If someone wrote about your product, and they're not going to know that the URL has changed. So what happens is, someone clicks on it and it will re physically redirect them to the new page. Now there's a number of different redirects, but the most common one to use is called a 301 redirect, which is a permanent redirect. And what this basically does physically, it will redirect the user, but then also for Google and any other bots that are coming in, it tells the algorithm that it's a permanent 301 redirect and this is where the new page is.

But not only does it redirect the user, it redirects all the elements and the metrics of the old page to your new page. So if you have a heap of external links pointing to the old product page, internal links pointing to your product page, if you're getting 100 visitors today to that product, you'll be able to redirect those visitors through. So you maintain all the benefits you have of that product page to the new product page. So it's really important. We still get a lot of clients come in and they change products and they just delete them, which is number one, it's a missed opportunity, but you also can create problems because you end up with a heap of 404 pages.

And even though they drop out of the index over a period of time, Google still sees those 404 pages, and it's just not a great signal for them. So, you don't really want any URLs anywhere that that are not live. So you want to have that redirect set up. Luckily, it's really easy to do. Shopify, they didn't have it initially, but Shopify has a native 301 redirect set up and I'll go through that in a second. You can redirect more than one page to another page, and you can do this externally as well. So you can redirect essentially any page from any website, if you own that.

So if you have access to to the site, you can redirect that page to another site. So you can even redirect to someone else's page or URL if you need to. So it's very flexible. You just need access to basically the editing side of a particular site or of a store. There's a couple of things you just need to keep in mind though. You want to try and keep the relevancy of what you're redirecting from, to what you're redirecting to. So, let's say you've got a collection, you've got a general store, and you've got one collection that you want to re that you're not selling anymore, you don't want to redirect all that non-relevant traffic and non-relevant metrics to a completely new collection that's got nothing to do with that category.

So you just need to be a little bit careful about that. What would make more sense in that case is to create, for example a blog post about the old category, redirect that collection page or the category page to the blog post so you still maintain that traffic coming to the store, and you're still providing relevant information, but you're not necessarily selling that product. So, you just need to be a little bit careful how you deal with them. And the same with products, don't redirect from a product that's completely irrelevant to a new product.

Then if you're consolidating content or creating new products there's also that opportunity to re optimize that new page. So you can go away and do and be strategic about how you're going to create that. If you're setting up a new page to tweak the optimization, or if you're redirecting to an existing page, you can look at the optimization of that as well. So it has a number of different benefits. Now, any time you're doing a large number of 301 redirects or changing and the structure of your store significantly, or your site significantly, more than likely there's going to be some fluctuations in traffic and changes, and some traffic will drop off.

You'll pick up traffic elsewhere, but if you do it correctly, with all the things I've spoken about, generally you can maintain that traffic, and if you do it well, you can generally increase the exposure you get within Google. So now we'll go over to Shopify and really simple to do. So if you're say on a WordPress site you'd use a plugin, or you can even do it in what's called the HT access file on the server. With Shopify, the only way we've got access to do it is through the [inaudible 00:08:40] or there's actually two ways. You can use apps, but there's no need really to use apps unless you're doing them in bulk, because Shopify has a native way of doing it.

So down here in the search engine listing preview, this is where the URL is and this is what is going to be a changed. So let's say if you change the URL here, you'll see this dialog box pop up, and there's a checkbox. So, when you change URL, if you change URL of an existing collection, existing product, you can select this checkbox here. And then, so what we'll do just to show you at work. So that's our existing URL. So I'm just going to just going to copy the whole URL, put it in a notepad file. And then I'm just going to change the URL, select the redirect and then click save.

And then we'll grab that URL. Now, if we go back to the old URL, what should happen, and it sometimes doesn't happen in Shopify. And I'll explain that in a second, we put the old URL in the browser, and then redirect, and then you can see it redirects to the new URL. So now that 301 redirect is set up correctly. Now sometimes, depending on what theme you're using it, this doesn't work with Shopify. So what you need to do is go to ... and this is what I always check, go to Online Store, then go to Navigation, and you can see up here, the second code URL redirects. I click on that, and here you can actually see the URL redirects.

And if it doesn't work, more than likely it won't be in here, so you can create it manually. And then I've never had these not work if you do them manually. So, you can add in. So in this case, we would just add in. You don't need to add the first part or your core domain, you just need to add from where you're redirecting from survey collection, [inaudible 00:11:00] dog-joint-supplement, to collections. It's dog-joint-supplement-online. But you could set that up manually if it wasn't done using the dialog box. So in the case where you were possibly creating a brand new product page collection page, or you can do this with blog pages as well, this is where you would actually set your redirect.

So, in the example, if you were discontinuing a certain brand and you created the product under a brand new brand, this is where you would set up your new product page or collection page, and then you'd come and set the redirect from the old brand product or collection page, to the new brand product or collection page. And use this here. Now going deeper. For example if you were completely looking at restructuring the site or the store, so a brand new theme, or you're just really trying to optimize the entire setup and the content, it makes sense to then go away and essentially go through your optimization from scratch again.

So you'd come to something like Ahrefs or keywords everywhere, or whatever tools you're going to use. Google Keyword Planner, if you want a free option, is to come and actually look at your keyword research volume or do your keyword research. So you've got your volumes and your clicks that are coming through to your particular keyword you're looking at, and then make the decisions on how you're going to set up your URLs. So, I can't emphasize enough how important that is to take the time to do this to make sure you get your URLs correct. And then you can also look ... and this is what's good about Ahrefs, you get the keyword difficulty score as well.

So for example, instead of just, if you're looking to create a new collection with this keyword where you've got a volume of 6,000, but the keyword difficulty is 64, you might get a better return by creating one of these other keywords as your collection URL, and be able to benefit more quickly than if you went for this larger keyword. This is a broad example, but my point is just make sure you go and do that keyword research, if you're going to be making those major structural changes, you're going to have changes and fluctuations anyway, if you do that, so it makes sense just to go deeper into your research and make sure you're covering as much as the market as possible.

So to summarize the main thing with your consolidation, if you're going to go through this process, make sure you set up your 301 redirects properly. So you're not missing anything, and be rational about it. Don't redirect irrelevant traffic to a new page or a new product page, a new collection page. Yes you'll get the immediate benefit, if you're getting a lot of traffic to the old page, you'll get the immediate benefit of that traffic flowing through, but because it's irrelevant traffic you'll end up with high bounce rates, lower time on page and medium to long term, there's also the risk of reducing or having suppressions come in for those particular pages.

So, much better off to make sure you're doing it correctly and have that relevance organized and set up. So there's a lot more you can do with redirects. And there's a lot of technical stuff you can get into and use them for all sorts of reasons and strategies, but this is just a broad, basic overview of how it works and how you can use them. Thanks, I hope this was helpful.


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Checking If Your Shopify Theme Has the Correct H1 Tags

shopify h1 tags

Below is a video I recorded on the topic above. Below that is a transcription of the video. It's probably just easier to watch the video....

Hey guys, Jono here from EcomXSEO.

Just want to go through a quick tip today. Just finding with... Obviously, Shopify now is quite mature and there's a lot of new themes coming onto the market all the time. Just one thing you want to check is with your theme, most of the top themes are fine, but you just want to check your H tags.

This is a theme... I'm not going to say what name it is because I don't want to talk about and bag the theme too much because it's actually a really good thing, but there is a little bit of an issue with the H tags. So generally on a page, whether it's your home page, your collection page, and also a blog page or your product pages, you only want one H1 and you generally want that as your page title.

Now, sometimes this theme, what it's doing, it's actually showing the page or the collection title here as a H2. So we're going to go and need to get our developer to go and fix that for us and make this D H1. And then we're seeing that this is a H2 and then the actual product titles on the collection page are shown as H1. So Google comes in... And you've got three, what have we got here? How many products have we got in the collection page? We have five products in the collection page, so Google sees all these H1 tags and gets confused about what the page is about.

So you want to make sure that's sorted, both on your collection pages and your product pages, and then also your home page as well. If the home page doesn't have a H1 and it's only got, say one H2 two, and then underneath it, the rest are H3 and H4s, you can make the argument that Google's going to come in and see the first primary H tag as the H2, so it's not going to matter too much. But generally, we want to have a H1 tag on every page and only one of them, and then the less important elements as H2, H3 or H4 tags.

So very quickly, the easy way you can do it... A lot of you already know how to do it, but just right-click and go to Page Source, and then you can just Control F and add in your H tag, and you can see here, here's our first H1 and it's actually the first product in the collection. So if we go back here, we can see it's actually this title here. Then we can keep going through and we can see that they keep showing different products for H1. And then if we look at the H2, which is what we want as the H1, it's actually the page title here, that's the H2. So it's sort of backwards to what we want. It's been missed by the developers in this theme. It's not a good thing. I'll be talking to them to see whether we can have that changed on the theme updates because it doesn't help with SEO at all.

So just a quick tip. Just check your H tags. If you've set up your site properly, you're probably already organized anyway, but just double check because it was something that we didn't even think of. We just assume that theme developers set them up correctly, but you just want to make sure you go through that and ensure your H tags are set up the best they can. Thanks. Hope that helped.


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Does SEO Work With Shopify?

seo and shopify

One of the questions we regularly get asked is do Shopify stores rank? Our response is always a resounding yes, but we qualify it with “as long as you do X, Y & Z.

Where platforms like WordPress (WooCommerce) and Magento have evolved over time to be well equipped to to handle the ever changing environment of algorithm changes and updates. Even these platforms however require a basic knowledge of search engine optimization to really gain that success they desire.

Shopify however is another beast all together and while it does have some amazing benefits for e-commerce, it also has some glaringly obvious issues, which we still find strange that they haven’t been dealt with yet. We believe their user base could be double what is is now (close to 600K stores around the world in mid 2018).

ranking your shopify store

The Shopify Conundrum

Shopify has exploded over the last couple of year to become one of the market leaders in the e-commerce space. One of the main reasons for this is the exceptional effort that has gone into the intuitive design, and laymans setup that allows almost anyone to get a store up and running, very, very quickly. The integrations with payment gateways and 1000’s of other apps via the app store, really set them on a path to success early on.

This has also lead a plethora of wiley gurus to teach and train a hungry bunch of wannabe entrepreneurs with online courses ranging from drop shipping to running traffic with Facebook and social media advertising. This has certainly skewed the use of traffic generation strategies toward paid methods, and they certainly can work incredibly well when executed well. But these strategies can also suck capital fast, leaving many startup ecom stores blowing in the wind.

Maybe because of this, the creators and developers at Shopify have forgotten that organic traffic is one of the core foundation strategies to generate long term success with e-commerce. The platform has dropped the ball somewhat on this front, but luckily with some careful planning and restructuring it’s not all that hard to build a shopify store ready to rank.

Structural Problems

One of the main issues with the platform is simply that some basic structural elements are missing. It is improving, with canonical URLs now a core part of the structure. But why didn’t they go further and allows options to noindex or allow canonicals for paginated and tag pages. This can be easily executed with some of the good seo apps in the apps store, or by some simple coding, but it really should be default for any serious e-commerce platform.

With All These Issues, How Do The Rank?

As I mentioned earlier, many of these structural issues can be dealt with quite easily, as long as you know what you’re doing. Another core reason once set up correctly, that stores rank well, is that all stores are setup on a subdomain of Shopify.com, and then 301 redirected to the domain of the store.

This essentially ensures some massive authority is pushed to a store immediately on launch, that you don’t get with Magento or WooCommerce. This fact alone, I think has been massively overlooked by large parts of the SEO community. But as we know, this wont help if the on site setup has problems.

Liquid Code

Google and the other search engines have also seemed to fall in love with the liquid code, which the platform is built with. The code, plus the subdomain setup in the products servers, also makes is reasonably fast, although still not fast enough IMO.

So to clarify, the stores rank gangbusters, but you certainly need to take the time to learn the process, and understand how the pieces of the puzzle can be put together from an SEO perspective. There are a few differences in ranking a Shopify store, and quirks that are not needed, or not known on other platforms.