As you create a Shopify store, you likely understand that SEO (search engine optimization) is a huge part of the process. However, you also need to realize that SEO for e-commerce websites (like Shopify) is unique compared to non-retail sites. You must remember these differences when working to optimize a Shopify store (or any e-commerce website). 

Here, you can learn more about technical SEO for a Shopify store and how to ensure your store ranks well in search engines. 

1. Pagination 

You may need to implement pagination for your Shopify store to help split the content of your category landing pages into segments that are easier to digest. 

While this is true, the method you use for pagination can impact SEO performance

A common method used to integrate pagination is the infinite scroll. This means more products are loaded automatically when someone reaches the bottom of the page. This is like how social media sites work and load more posts automatically. 

This method is popular and offers benefits for users. 

Unfortunately, if the method is not implemented properly, the infinite scroll method may result in additional products not being indexed in search engines. That is because the “spiders” will not be able to see any products except the ones in the initial load. You can get around this, but you may need help from a company offering affordable SEO for small businesses. The help of professionals can ensure all the products included on a category page are crawlable. 

For search engines to access all the products offered, it is necessary to have some static pages. 

There are two methods you can use to do this:

  1. Add the pagination element to the URL, which provides automatic loading when someone scrolls down. 
  2. Add the patination tags to the heading portion of the page, allowing search engines to access your pages without seeing the URL. 

Each method allows search engines to anchor the products found lower on the scroll. This also ensures that all the products included are indexed. 

2. Payment Options and Social Media

When considering payment options, you must consider preferred methods for different countries. 

For example, selling to China means offering payments through platforms like WeChat and AliPay. Customers prefer bank transfers in India and cash on delivery for selling to Germany. In the West, though, payment options like PayPal are preferred. 

When you add payment options to your Shopify store, be sure they are not hidden at the bottom. Instead, lead with the most popular option for the country, which encourages conversions. 

If you plan to internationalize your website, it is important to consider how customers want to interact with the store. You should localize social media preferences to ensure optimum engagement. 

The preferred social media platforms change from one country to another. For example, popular western platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, are banned in other countries. Be sure you consider this when creating social media content. 

3. Faceted Navigation 

Faceted navigation allows customers to use filters to find the products they are searching for. Some popular options to include are style, color, or size. 

Unfortunately, this method can also result in long URLs with duplicates of other pages. These things will not benefit SEO. 

It is necessary to ensure that the page’s master version is indexable. This is the one that does not use the filter facets. You can use a combination of robots.txt rules, no index tags, and canonical tags on the filter pages to ensure you eliminate duplicate content problems. 

4. Product Options 

Something you should be cautious about is creating unique pages for each available option of a product. For example, if you are selling shoes that are available in multiple colors, you may be tempted to set up a unique page for each color. However, this may cause cannibalization. This means that the search engines will not know what page to rank for the targeted keyword. As a result, your pages will compete against one another in search results. 

These product options should be displayed on one page to avoid duplicates and focus on product rankings. 

5. Products That Are Out of Stock

How you handle out-of-stock products may have a negative impact on overall website performance. 

Regarding SEO, it is best to keep products live but noted as being “out of stock.” This lets visitors know they cannot purchase them. 

However, if you cannot keep the out-of-stock products live, then users should be redirected to the category landing page. If a product is never offered again, it is best to use a 301 redirect. If you are unsure if the product will return to stock, but it is a possibility, use the 302 redirects, which will be removed when the item is made available again. 

If you have a product category with no products available, you should keep it linked and live. This helps you avoid orphaned pages on your site. You can remove the pages from your main menu and add them to the HTML sitemap files that are linked in the footer. 

6. Seasonal Product Refreshes 

If you have a seasonal Shopify store that changes products for spring/summer and fall/winter, you may have fluctuations in visibility. 

From the perspective of search engines, if you remove all of one season’s products and replace them with new ones, you are migrating the website every six months. This is because the pages that the search engines have previously ranked your site for are gone. 

Keeping your category landing pages live is smart when you refresh your products for each season. This will ensure that people trying to reach your site can find it based on core keywords. This also lets you have a page to maintain rankings for your out-of-season keywords. By doing this, you will not experience a huge drop in visibility or have to start the visibility work all over the next season. This is because you keep your ranked pages in place, even if they are not relevant to the current season. 

The naming convention for your product and category pages should also focus on keywords and eliminate any year delimiters. If you add years, these will have to be changed all the time, impacting traffic and visibility. 

7. Optimize Options and Recommendations 

Optimization can take time if you have thousands of product pages on your Shopify site. This is another time that looking into affordable SEO services for small businesses can be beneficial. 

While this is true, there are a few ways to ensure your pages are properly optimized and have unique meta descriptions and title tags. 

The first step is keyword research. Be sure you have a strong base to start optimizing from. This requires you to use both short- and long-tail keywords. Do not just focus on the short-tail words or terms – you want to have as many unique keywords as possible across multiple pages that are being optimized. When working to optimize your Shopify store, you will likely wind-up banking multiple keywords, which will be split into various categories based on the product groups being sold. 

If you have paginated category pages (described above), it is possible to optimize these by adding the pagination element to the end of the meta description and title tag. By doing this, you are adding unique elements to every page. 

With product pages, large numbers of these can be handled by using boilerplate or taxonomy-based optimization rules, which are unloadable to your website. The specific rules are based on user interest, which you can find through keyword research. 

8. Orphaned Pages and Internal Navigation 

Some retail Shopify stores have big menus with all types of product categories listed on them. This is an approach that is essential for the indexation of products. 

It is especially important if you have a seasonal business for selling products, like flip-flops or coats that go in and out of season. While you can remove it during the offseason, this can result in the page being orphaned on your site, which can impact overall visibility. 

A better approach is to use a combination of footer links and HTML sitemaps and keep some off-season pages linked from your main menu since you may have some customers who are still interested in purchasing them. 

Getting Technical SEO for Your Shopify Website Right

If you have a Shopify retail store, you must ensure you get the technical SEO options right. For some unfamiliar with SEO, this can be challenging and almost impossible. However, you can hire professionals to offer affordable SEO for small businesses to help you get the desired results. 

If you want to ensure that your store is found and that people convert, you must focus on SEO. This is something you cannot afford to ignore. Being informed and knowing what to expect from the technical SEO side of things will pay off in the long run. Contact us today for an initial consultation and to discuss your needs for optimizing your Shopify website.