If you are running an online store, then you probably know already that SEO is crucial for the success of your business. But e-commerce platforms work with templates, apps, and add-ons, making customising a bit tricky for the store owner who needs extra features. And, if you notice that your Shopify store has some technical SEO issues, it’s not always simple to find out why you’re not getting any visitors, or don’t show up in the results.
Know that you are not alone. A lot of marketers have encountered at some point a few technical SEO issues with Shopify. The good news is that solutions do exist and preventive measures are even easier to keep in mind.
Throughout our years of experience with various businesses that chose the Shopify platform for their stores, we have noticed some resident technical SEO problems.
The way you handle the challenges Shopify raises for its users depends a lot on how big your store is, how complicated the site structure needs to be, what budget you have for SEO and code development, and how well you handle technical SEO in general. Being aware of such limitations is important even if you are not yet mastering SEO technicalities. If you are unsure of your store’s SEO performance, it’s best to contact a Shopify expert marketer who can guide you through the process.
With these observations in mind, let’s get to the point and go through the most common Shopify SEO issues and see how you can fix them.
Lack of Control Over Robots.txt
No matter what Shopify theme you are using, the Shopify platform won’t allow you to edit the Robots.txt file. Controlling this file allows you to decide exactly what pages of your website to be crawled and indexed by Google. Shopify provides a basic structure for this file, locking its content from the users.
What you could do is install a Shopify app that can help you add nofollow or noindex tags to certain pages, but they can affect your performance.
Inability to Change the Site’s Structure
SEO optimised web sites have to have a logical, clear site structure. This is another thing that Shopify locks for its users, making it frustrating for the SEO-aware ones. Shopify creates its own hierarchical structure, which you can’t go around, and it’s not exactly ideal for SEO.
Products have duplicate URLs, although one of the links goes back to the first one through a canonical tag. So you won’t get duplicate content, but it’s not as neat as it could be on other platforms. Also, your non-product pages like your blog posts will submit to the same Shopify site structure.
Lacking Image Optimisation
Image optimisation is very helpful in e-commerce. Shopify limits your ability to take your optimisation up a notch, by not letting you edit the image URLs or the filenames. You can still edit the alt tags for every image on your website, which will contribute to your SEO.
Alt tags must be edited each time an image appears on the website, even though you can have the same image in different instances. Be consistent with the descriptions – keep them concise and don’t forget to include keywords too.
Content Duplication When Filters Are Added
One of the most common technical SEO issues on Shopify is that content gets duplicated when applying filters, as multiple URLs are created for the products. URLs for filters by tag names are dynamically generated by the Shopify platform, and this will not allow you to create a more effective way of excluding duplicates.
There are apps that can help with the duplicate content issue, but there is a downside that will be described on the next point.
Apps Interfering With Your SEO Performance
If you are trying to go around Shopify’s SEO issues, then you may think that a Shopify app could be the answer. While they do the job they are intended for, apps will take up space, adding files to your store’s code structure. That can affect the overall performance of your website.
This can lead to slow speeds and even create incompatibilities between the app code and the Shopify theme code, creating more problems on the way. This will translate into your conversion rate plummeting, so it’s important to be cautious when adding apps to your Shopify theme.
Character Limit Instead of Pixel Limit in Meta Descriptions
When editing your meta descriptions and page titles, you do your best to attract your customers by good ad copy and relevant information, which are the building blocks of content marketing. Squeezing this in a limited space is challenging, but doable.
The problem with Shopify is that it limits the number of characters you can put in, instead of calculating the pixel width of your text, as Google does. Therefore, if your text is too long pixel-wise, it will be cut off in Google’s result page, which can impact your traffic.
To go around this issue, make sure to test your metas and titles with a crawl emulator, or to perform a site:page command on Google.
Poor Page Speeds
SEO is affected by a lot of variables, making optimisation a challenging and continuous task for online store owners. One of these variables is page speed, as Google and other search engines will prioritise fast-performing web sites on the search results page.
On Shopify, you will be caught in between using the limited features of the Shopify default structure and adding apps that could help with these problems, but take some of your resources to do so. Slow speed will definitely affect the user experience, so always be aware of this variable.
Limited Control Over the URLs
If you are used to customising your web site to the smallest details in order to improve SEO, you won’t like the fact that Shopify doesn’t let you create your own URL structure. Shopify creates URLs based on the category pages, product pages, and collection pages, sometimes duplicating content by adding different URLs for the same products/product.
Do You Need Help With Your Shopify SEO?
Shopify Website Development and Planning Shopify SEO strategies has been part of our portfolio for years. Australian Internet Advertising experts will audit your Shopify store and implement the technical SEO improvements you need so much. Contact us and get your proposal today!
We will help you optimise your Shopify store for search engines, tailoring the SEO strategy for your own business needs. We will discuss every decision with you and give advice on how to modify your budget accordingly.
Learning more about how to make your Shopify store more navigable will give you a better view on the future of your business, and maybe set the foundation of other businesses that might arise in the future.
Get in touch with our experts today and let’s have a chat about your Shopify SEO needs!