Search engine optimization (SEO)

Whether you’re launching a new product, building a web presence for your retail location, or starting a dropshipping business, when you’re trying to sell online you have an important problem to solve: how do you get customers to find your store? People who find your online store in a search engine are probably looking for products like yours, so they are more likely to buy something. You can use search engine optimization (SEO) to improve the search engine ranking for your store and help customers find your products.

What is SEO?

Many people searching for something on the internet begin with a search engine like Google or Bing. These search engines are designed to use a variety of information from websites to create a ranked list of results for a particular search query. Search engines determine which websites are most likely to be relevant to the search query, and then display the results in order of their relevance.

There are many factors that can make your online store appear higher in search results:

  • the number of natural (not paid or social media) links pointing to your store from other websites
  • the authority of the website based on engagement and other factors
  • the age of your domain name
  • website structure and content that is optimized for search engines

When you are new to selling online, it can be difficult to do much about the first three factors. It takes time to build a reputation for your brand and get other sites to link to yours. You can plan for the long term in your content strategy.

In the short term, the easiest way to get more traffic to your online store is to optimize your content so that a search engine will recognize it as relevant to queries related to your products. This is what we mean by SEO.

Basic steps

To optimize your online store for search engines, you can follow a few basic steps:

  1. Find keywords that are relevant to your products and your brand. What search terms will customers use to find your store?
  2. Add the keywords into your content, including page titles, descriptions, and image alt text.
  3. Make sure that your URLs and filenames match the content.
  4. Add your sitemap.xml to Google Search Console, so that your online store website can be easily crawled and indexed.
  5. Create content that's relevant to your products and encourage other websites to link back to your online store.

You can find more information about each of these steps in the other articles within this section.

Built-in SEO features in Shopify

Shopify online stores have SEO built in and features to help you optimize your content. Some SEO is taken care of automatically: auto-generated canonical tags are added to pages to prevent duplicate content from appearing in search results, your website’s sitemap.xml and robots.txt files are automatically generated, and themes automatically generate title tags that include your store name. Also, themes are required to have social media linking and sharing options to make it easier for you to market your store.

You can optimize your content using features built in to Shopify:

  • You can edit the title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs for blog posts, webpages, products, and collections.
  • You can edit the alt text for images.

More resources

To learn more about SEO, you can watch Shopify's free Ecommerce SEO 101 video series.

Shopify's forums include an Ecommerce Marketing category where you can ask SEO questions, swap links, and discuss other marketing topics.

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