The Ultimate Shopify Ecommerce SEO Checklist You Need

by Jeremy Tang

Covering everything from technical nuances to content optimization, this article introduces a detailed Shopify ecommerce SEO checklist, including conducting thorough keyword research, creating engaging content, addressing duplicate content, and refining technical SEO.

Table Of Contents:

The Many Challenges for Shopify Store Owners

Struggling to juggle every aspect of SEO for your Shopify store? Worried you might be missing crucial steps? Shopify SEO is indeed a far cry from regular SEO, with much more complexities and nuances specific to your platform.


A Shopify ecommerce SEO checklist can help you navigate through these, but with the many SEO checklists out there, where can you find one that addresses everything? You don’t have to look further.

Is the Bare Minimum SEO Enough?


Shopify does provide foundational SEO features, such as automated sitemaps and auto-generated canonical tags. There are also built-in tools for customizing your page titles and descriptions and editing alt text for images.


While they can be helpful, they only cover the basics of what your store needs to truly excel. 


Moreover, the convenience of automatic generation of some aspects like sitemaps and robots.txt files comes with a drawback—it restricts your control, limiting the full potential of your SEO strategy.


So, if your current strategy relies solely on Shopify’s built-in tools, you might find your store struggling to grow, lacking in engagement, or not attracting sufficient traffic. That’s because you need to explore strategies that extend beyond the platform’s default offerings. 


This is precisely why we’ve developed a comprehensive Shopify ecommerce SEO checklist. As you read along, you’ll find all the boxes you need to tick to propel your Shopify store to the forefront of your market.

A Complete Shopify Ecommerce SEO Checklist

Establishing Your Online Presence


If you’re new to Shopify or looking to enhance your store’s presence, it’s crucial to let search engines know you’re there, loud and clear. Here’s how:


  • Submit Your Sitemap: A sitemap is your website’s blueprint for search engines. It lists all your pages, facilitating easier crawling and indexing. Shopify automatically generates this crucial file, but you need to submit it to search engines like Google. You can utilize Google Search Console to submit your sitemap and start your SEO journey on the right foot.
  • Structured Data and Schema Markup: Use structured data to enhance your product listings in search results. While Shopify themes generally include basic schema markups, you may need to customize or add additional markup for better visibility and more detailed search result entries. This can improve how search engines understand and display your products, potentially leading to higher click-through rates
  • Inspect Canonical Tags: Canonical tags are like signposts for search engines, directing them to your primary page among duplicates. In Shopify, they help manage multiple URLs for a single product page. While Shopify can help you with tagging, you still need to regularly check your canonical tags to ensure they are correctly implemented, guiding search engines efficiently.


Keyword Research


Keywords are the lighthouse guiding potential customers directly to your store’s doorstep. Here’s how to do effective keyword research:


  • Understand Keyword Basics: For ecommerce, keywords should generally be product-specific and transactional. Consider terms that reflect urgency and convenience, such as “buy online” or “fast delivery,” to connect with customers ready to make a purchase. Once you’ve identified these terms, you can start analyzing their search volume and difficulty.
  • Analyze Competitor Keywords: Understanding what your competitors are targeting can provide valuable insights into opportunities they might have missed. This can give you an edge in the SEO race, placing you a step ahead in the search engine results.
  • Target Long-Tail Keywords: Head terms are important for brand amplification and diversification, but long tail is how you scale. These specific, often multi-word queries may have lower search volumes, but they reflect a stronger buying intent and typically yield higher conversion rates.


Content Creation


Content is the voice of your brand, the bridge between your products and your customers. Here are three things to consider:


  • Keyword Integration: Seamlessly weave keywords into your content to ensure that it resonates with the language and intent of your target audience. Each product and category page should naturally integrate relevant keywords without compromising the quality of the content.
  • Create Relevant Content: The core of your content should be quality, relevance, and user engagement. Your content must be conversion-driven—every sentence should contribute to guiding the visitor towards making a purchase.
  • Internal Linking: Implement strategic internal linking within your site. This helps create a seamless journey for your customers, guiding them through related products and informative content, enhancing their shopping experience, and boosting your SEO.


This list indeed sounds simple, but the challenge with Shopify that other checklists may not tell you is that there’s a sheer volume of product pages you need to create content and optimize for. Now, you may think, “Is it really possible for me to tick all these boxes for each of the thousands of product pages I have?”


At Area Ten, we transcend traditional content creation methods. Our Programmatic SEO Strategy is powered by CMAX™, our proprietary technology. It leverages AI to generate vast quantities of relevant, brand-aligned content that meets industry standards and legal compliance.


Furthermore, CMAX dynamically creates topic clusters by smartly interlinking content. This SEO best practice not only boosts rankings but also aids search engines and users in discovering information, ensuring that your store stands out in the crowded digital marketplace.


Handling Duplicate Content


In Shopify, duplicate content is a prevalent challenge that can significantly impact your store’s SEO performance. Here are some steps you can take:


  • Identify Duplicate Content: Shopify’s automatic URL generation can inadvertently create duplicate content. For example, a single product available in different sizes and colors might end up with multiple URLs, each leading to what is essentially the same item. This can confuse search engines and dilute your site’s SEO performance, which makes regular monitoring of duplicate content essential. 
  • Manage Canonical URLs: Setting up canonical tags is a critical step, but it’s equally important to get it right. Incorrectly managed canonical tags can lead to more duplicate content issues, harming your SEO efforts. Shopify requires ongoing vigilance and potentially the use of third-party tools to ensure proper canonicalization.
  • Handle Trailing Slash Issues: By default, Shopify generates URLs without a trailing slash (“/”). However, both versions (with and without the slash) are accessible, potentially leading to even more duplicate content issues. Since Shopify does not automatically redirect from one version to another, manual corrections or additional tools might be needed to prevent this from affecting your SEO.


To help you complete this checklist efficiently, we have created an in-depth post about third-party tools like Copyscape, Siteliner, and Ahrefs which you can check out.


Other On-Page Optimization Elements


On-page optimization in Shopify doesn’t end with keyword research and content marketing. Here’s a breakdown of these additional on-page factors:


  • Optimize Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Your title tags and meta descriptions are like the front window displays of your digital store. They need to be not only keyword-rich but also compelling enough to entice users to click through. 
  • Enhance Other Elements: Product and category filters should be optimized to improve user navigation and search efficiency. Images, on the other hand, should have descriptive alt tags and filenames that are not just SEO-friendly but also informative to the user.


Refining Technical SEO


Technical SEO may account for a smaller portion of your store’s performance, but it’s the foundation upon which your Shopify store’s discoverability is built. Here are four key areas you need to check:


  • Fix Crawl Errors: Shopify simplifies sitemap generation, but there may be instances where it doesn’t include all your pages or includes ones you’d prefer to keep off search engines. Additionally, Shopify’s limitations on editing the robots.txt file can restrict how you manage crawler access to your site. Regularly review your sitemap and consider manual interventions or specialized tools like Google Search Console to ensure your entire site is properly indexed.
  • Manage Breadcrumb Issues: Breadcrumbs are crucial SEO navigation elements. They outline the structure of your website, enhancing user experience and aiding search engines in understanding your site’s hierarchy. Regular management and implementing breadcrumb markup in your site’s body can significantly improve how your store appears in search results.
  • Repair Broken Links: Broken links are like dead ends in your store—they lead nowhere and frustrate users. These can occur due to various reasons like typos, changed URL structures, or deleted content. Regularly scanning for and fixing broken links not only improves user experience but also bolsters your site’s SEO integrity.
  • Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly: Optimizing your store for mobile users is imperative. This means not just responsive design but also ensuring fast load times. An unoptimized mobile site can alienate a vast portion of your audience who shop using their smartphones and tablets.


Regular Monitoring


In the fast-paced world of ecommerce, staying ahead means continuously monitoring the heartbeat of your Shopify store’s SEO. Here are some things you need to do:


  • Focus on Sales and Conversion Metrics: Check key performance indicators like cart abandonment rate and average order value as they offer crucial insights into the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. These metrics help you understand not just how users are finding your store but also their behavior once they arrive.
  • Monitor SEO Performance: Continuously track how your store is performing in search results. This involves monitoring search engine traffic, keyword rankings, and engagement metrics like time on site, bounce rate, scroll depth, and click-through rate (CTR). Using Google Analytics can help you understand which SEO strategies are driving traffic, engaging visitors, and converting leads into sales.

Why Trust Area Ten for Your Shopify SEO

Most of our clients, before partnering with us at Area Ten, express a common concern: “There’s just so much I need to do. How am I able to tick all the boxes on my Shopify ecommerce checklist without sacrificing all of my time to manage my store?”


This is where choosing the right Shopify SEO agency becomes crucial. 


Area Ten stands apart in a landscape cluttered with agencies making lofty promises but delivering little in terms of tangible business growth. We’ve honed our skills across diverse ecommerce platforms, mastering the intricacies of each, including Shopify. Our journey spans from helping niche players to empowering larger ecommerce enterprises. 


With a combined annual revenue of over $1.1 billion from our ecommerce clients, you can rest assured we know how to check all the boxes of your Shopify ecommerce SEO checklist but also go beyond by tailoring a strategy for your unique needs.


Our approach is deeply rooted in our technology-first strategy. Our Full Body SEO technique doesn’t just skim the surface with head terms; we delve deeper, targeting a wide spectrum of keywords, including long tail keywords. Our CMAX technology enables us to generate thousands of relevant, fully compliant content pieces at scale. 


And as search engine algorithms shift and the competitive landscape evolves, your content will adjust accordingly. CMAX self-learns and self-optimizes to keep your content resilient against these pressures.


This adaptive, dynamic approach explains how we can start delivering impactful results in just six weeks, not months. 

Case Studies

These SEO case studies exemplify how we were able to deliver impactful SEO solutions for two leading Shopify stores:

Revitalizing a Car Accessories Shopify Store

A prominent Shopify car accessories store, based in the United States, approached us in their quest for a competent ecommerce SEO agency. They were trapped in a common SEO pitfall— investing heavily in targeting head terms yet seeing very little results. 

We initiated our Full Body SEO approach, a stark contrast to their previous strategy. We didn’t stop at targeting highly competitive head terms but also focused on long tail keywords. Leveraging CMAX, we were able to churn out thousands of pieces of content for each of these terms.

Moreover, our technology’s self-learning and self-optimizing capabilities identified specific levers for improvement and implemented these insights in real-time, enabling us to fully maximize the store’s marketing budget.

Within just eight weeks, the store witnessed a 27.4% increase in organic traffic and a 12.1% uptick in organic revenue.

Overcoming Duplicate Content in a Children’s Clothing Store

In the competitive sphere of children’s clothing, our client, a Shopify store based in the United Kingdom, faced a daunting challenge—managing duplicate content. A prime example was their best-selling denim jumper for toddlers, which had numerous URLs and duplicate content all leading to the same product.

Our approach at Area Ten was methodical and technology-driven. We employed CMAX’s capability to intelligently churn out content across the myriad of product URLs, ensuring each variation was unique yet consistent in quality and brand relevance. This strategy not only resolved the duplicate content issue but also enhanced the overall SEO performance and user experience.

The store saw a significant decrease in duplicate content issues, which translated to a 24.1% increase in organic traffic.

Here’s what their marketing manager has to say about the results we’ve delivered:

“We were drowning in duplicate content for our children’s clothing store, and the cost of Google Ads was becoming unsustainable. Then Area Ten stepped in. Within weeks, they sorted out our duplicate content issues and created unique, engaging content for each of our items. 

It’s been amazing—we’ve seen a real uptick in organic traffic and a drop in our advertising spend. Honestly, it’s been such a relief and a huge boost for our business.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I Use This Shopify Ecommerce SEO Checklist Every Time I Change My Store’s Theme?


Absolutely. Changing your Shopify store’s theme can significantly impact your SEO. Themes control crucial elements like site structure, heading tags, and mobile responsiveness. Revisiting this checklist each time you change your theme will help maintain and potentially improve your store’s SEO performance.


Why Is Link Building Not Part of Your SEO Checklist?


Link building, an offsite optimization strategy, is a conventional method to build a site’s authority and trust. However, at Area Ten, we focus on smarter alternatives that offer faster and larger-scale results. Our approach leverages advanced AI technology to optimize your Shopify store’s onsite content and structure.


How Can CMAX Help My Shopify Content Rank?


CMAX, our programmatic SEO platform, utilizes a blend of machine learning models, reinforced learning algorithms, and swarm intelligence techniques. 


If certain pages underperform, CMAX’s swarm intelligence algorithms adapt by redistributing resources and adjusting link structures. This collective intelligence ensures that high-performing pages bolster the underperforming ones, creating a robust, self-improving system.

What You’ve Learned: Key Takeaways from the Article

Here are the key takeaways to ensure your store not only competes but excels:


  • Go Beyond Shopify’s Basic Tools: Leverage advanced strategies that go beyond Shopify’s built-in features for maximum visibility and engagement.
  • Effective Keyword Strategy: Incorporate both head terms and long tail keywords for a more impactful SEO approach.
  • Dynamic Content Creation: Utilize AI technology for scalable and relevant content creation for each of your product pages.
  • Address Duplicate Content Proactively: Regularly monitor and resolve duplicate content issues.
  • On-Page Optimization Is Crucial: Pay attention to title tags, meta descriptions, and images.
  • Technical SEO Matters: Ensure mobile-friendliness, fix crawl errors, and manage breadcrumb issues to solidify your technical SEO foundation.


Actionable Advice

To transform these insights into tangible results, here’s some actionable advice:

  • Invest in AI-Powered SEO Tools: Embrace technologies like CMAX to automate content generation and optimize site performance, ensuring your SEO strategy is both efficient and effective.
  • Focus on User Experience: Ensure your store is not only SEO-friendly but also offers a seamless and engaging shopping experience for your customers.
  • Partner with an Adept Agency: Consider collaborating with a skilled agency, like Area Ten, that understands how to comprehensively address each element of your Shopify ecommerce checklist.

Charting Your Course to SEO Success for Shopify

From submitting your sitemap to Google and conducting in-depth keyword research to crafting compelling content and tackling technical SEO, we’ve laid out all the things you need to include in your Shopify ecommerce SEO checklist.

Before we end this post, keep in mind that this checklist is just the starting point for your SEO journey. To fully uncover these aspects and craft an effective plan, don’t hesitate to partner with an agency that specializes in addressing your store’s specific needs.

Propel your Shopify store to unprecedented growth with Area Ten. Our proprietary CMAX technology is the cornerstone of our promise to deliver bigger SEO results, faster. By targeting an extensive array of keywords, including both head and long tail search terms, we can achieve maximum coverage for your target audience. 

With a global reach extending across all continents except Antarctica, our expertise in executing successful SEO campaigns is unparalleled. At Area Ten, we commit to delivering 100% solutions with 0% excuses, ensuring every strategy is tailored to your unique business needs.

As your partner in growth, we offer more than just SEO solutions; our comprehensive digital marketing services include paid media management, all designed to elevate your business to new heights.

Join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs who’ve transformed their businesses with us.

Contact us today for a FREE SEO Fast Track.

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