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8 Problems in Shopify SEO Services (and Ways to Fix Them)

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Shopify is popular. Shopify SEO is growing fast. According to MacroTrends, its revenues rose by 36% year on year in the quarter to September 2023. It’s a platform heavily optimized for sales and e-commerce. However, a platform of this kind will have restrictions. One of Shopify SEO’s main weaknesses is usually agreed to be its SEO, or search engine optimization.

➥ Why Does Shopify SEO Matter?

More than any other type of website, e-commerce relies on traffic to be considered a success. While pay-per-click and other advertising will drive potential customers to your online store, Shopify SEO experts are essential to drive organic (unpaid) traffic and keep ahead of the competition.

So What Are the Problems?

➥ Fixed URL Structures

Google considers a page’s URL an important metric when ranking a page. For a long time, search.com ranked higher than Google for the search term “search”. In the past, it was considered good SEO practice to include product taxonomy in the URL, thus:

  • https://store.com/clothes/men/tee-shirts.html

But Shopify permits none of that. All products, categories (collections), pages, and the like are stored under the following patterns:

  • https://store.com/products/
  • https://store.com/collections/
  • https://store.com/pages/

Other than the URL identifier (called the ‘slug’) for the page, collection, or page, Shopify permits no further subcategorization. Site hierarchy and URL customization are important for SEO.

➥ How to Counter URL Limitations

Slugs need to be longer and more descriptive. If possible, include keywords e.g.

  • https://store.com/products/mens-comfy-cap-sleeve-tee-shirts

In this instance, the slug is “mens-comfy-cap-sleeve-tee-shirts”.

It’s not perfect – slugs can end up being very long. But it does work. We often include part numbers or SKUs in the slug.

➥ Content Duplication Issues

Because Shopify creates a URL endpoint for every product variant (red tee shirt or yellow) and every category option (e.g. https://store.com/products/ or https://store.com/products/?instock=true) a great number of pages have duplicate or near-duplicate content. Duplicate content ‘dilutes’ search engine rankings.

How to Counter Content Duplication

  • Use Canonical Tags to identify the most desired authoritative page for each set of duplicates.
  • Wherever possible, provide unique content for every page.
  • Some applications (such as SiteMap NoIndex Pro) can prevent search engines from indexing and listing duplicate content.

➥ Limited Blogging Capabilities

Shopify boasts a blogging capability, but it is extremely limited. Compared with dedicated systems (CMS) like WordPress, the SEO opportunities related to content marketing and on-site SEO are very limited. Shopify offers fewer options for customization and optimization of content.

  • Enhance blog posts with SEO apps that allow for more in-depth optimization, such as adding meta tags, customizing headings, and improving social sharing capabilities.
  • If your content marketing strategy demands more robust features, consider integrating an external blog platform (like WordPress) through a subdomain.

➥ Canonical Tag Limitations

While Shopify automatically generates some canonical tags to help prevent duplicate content issues, the platform does not allow for much customization of these tags. This can lead to challenges in managing and optimizing canonical tags for certain complex scenarios.

  • While Shopify sets canonical tags automatically, you can use SEO apps that offer more control over canonical URLs to correct any issues with duplicate content.
  • Applications like Canonical Tag URL Wizard can help a great deal. But, as with many apps, it’s not free.

➥ Forced SSL/HTTPS

Shopify automatically uses SSL/HTTPS for all sites, which is generally positive for SEO and site security. However, if not properly managed during a migration from a non-SSL site, it can lead to mixed content issues or improper redirects, affecting SEO.

  • Ensure all your content is served over HTTPS to avoid mixed content issues. This includes checking that all images, scripts, and CSS files are loaded securely.
  • After migrating to Shopify, carefully set up 301 redirects from the HTTP versions of your URLs to the HTTPS versions to preserve SEO value.

The best solution for this is to manage your migration so that all calls to HTTP:// pattern URLs are replaced with their HTTPS:// equivalents before the data is uploaded to Shopify.

➥ Limited Access to Robots.txt File

Complete access to change the robots.txt file is not allowed by Shopify, which is vital for regulating search engine crawling and indexing of a website. This can limit the ability to optimize crawl efficiency and manage the visibility of certain pages.

  • Shopify has announced customizable robots.txt files will be made available soon. This will allow merchants to edit this file directly from the Shopify admin. This change will enable more control over how search engines crawl and index the site.
  • Use the available customization options wisely to prevent search engines from indexing duplicate or irrelevant pages.

➥ Themes and Customisations

Some Shopify themes may not be optimized for speed or mobile use, both of which are important ranking factors. Customizing themes for better SEO performance can sometimes require advanced technical skills.

  • Choose themes that are optimized for speed and mobile devices. Before deciding on a theme, test its performance using Google PageSpeed Insights.
  • Review and enhance the pictures, scripts, and CSS files on your website often to help loading speeds be better.

➥ Redirect Limitations

Shopify limits the ability to create certain types of redirects, such as wildcard redirects, which can be problematic for large-scale websites undergoing rebranding or major structural changes.

  • For managing redirects, consider using SEO or redirection apps from the Shopify App Store that offer enhanced functionality over Shopify’s built-in redirect tool.
  • Plan major site changes carefully to minimize the need for complex redirects. When necessary, custom scripts or apps can help manage bulk redirects more efficiently.

By addressing the above limitations proactively, you can significantly improve your Shopify Product Tags SEO, performance, driving more organic traffic and sales.

 

 

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