Search engine optimization is the science - some say art - of convincing Google to show your web page or online store at the top of its results.  If you can master SEO, your store will get lots of traffic and you’ll be flooded with sales.  Best of all, SEO costs you nothing and is automatically built into Shopify.

Today we’re proud to announce several features that will make it easier to improve the SEO of your shop without modifying your store’s template files. With a few clicks, you can now change page title tags, the homepage’s meta description and your image alt tags.

Title Tags:

The title tag is one of the most important elements of your store’s SEO. The title tag appears as the clickable link on the search engine results page:

The words used in the title are used by search engines to determine what a web page is about. Here are a few things you need to consider when writing your title tags: 

  • The closer the most important keywords are to the front of the title, the more helpful they will be for ranking.
  • The first keyword spot in a title tag is very important, so if your brand doesn't have any weight, it may be best to place it at the end. However, if people recognize your brand, having the brand name at the beginning can help with getting you more clicks.
  • 70 characters is the maximum number most search engines will display on their search results page.
  • Make sure your title tag is actually readable! You don’t want it appearing as a just a bunch of search engine optimized keywords; your search results will just end up looking spammy.

Here are some good examples of title tags for products:

When editing the content of a product, collection, or page in Shopify, you can click ‘Edit title tag and URL’ in order to see the following options:

Meta Descriptions:

While meta descriptions won’t directly help move your online store up in the search results, they are an important factor that will affect whether people click it in the search results. Which of the following would you be more likely to click?



When composing your descriptions, aim to create great ad copy that will draw the user into your site.  To set your store’s meta description, click Preferences → General Settings.  The content in the ‘Shop Description’ box will populate the meta description for your homepage. Note that Search engines will list up to 140 characters of your meta description below your title tag.

On pages other than the store homepage, most themes automatically set the meta description to the product description.  If that is not the case with your store, please refer to the guide on Shopify SEO for Theme Designers.

Alt Tags:

Alt tags are text that describes a pictures contents.  Having descriptive alt tags can help your product images show up in Google’s Image Search. As well, alt tags are an important accessibility factor: they describe your products images to visually impaired people.

To set the alt tag for a product image, click the ALT link shown below a product photo, as shown on the right.

Along with the launch of these new features, we are going to ensure all default Shopify themes have on-page best practices implemented, which include the recommendations made in Shopify's SEO 101. If you'd like some more information of the technical details of implementing these changes to your site, Julie has written a great post over on the technology blog covering what you need to know.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: I change an SEO setting and nothing happens on my website.  Why?
A: Your theme may not support the SEO features described above. You or your designer/coder may need to implement the necessary liquid code into your theme to allow certain functionality. Primarily the shop_title tag to allow title editing ability, the shop.descrption tag to allow homepage meta descriptions and image.alt for alt tags.

Q: Where can I find Liquid information and best practices on SEO?
A: We’ve created a dedicated wiki page for information on implementing SEO best practices into your liquid code.

Q:
Where can I find out more about SEO?
A: If you’d like to learn more about SEO, you can refer to our wiki guide to SEO. However if you are looking for more in-depth knowledge, our friends over at SEOmoz have created the fantastic beginner’s guide to SEO.