Why is Shopify bad for SEO?
Shopify is great for out of the box E-commerce start-up websites but presents a wide array of SEO challenges. It is popular for the easy usability and range of template themes (although limited), with self-starters with a low budget. Although this is great for entrepreneurs and start-ups, looking to rank in Google can be difficult as there are limits with the amount of control over the SEO for your website.
The Shopify app store offers some great solutions and functionality options to start your Shopify SEO campaign. While adding these apps can be beneficial to the development of your website, they can be restrictive. If you’re looking to rank for competitive keywords and not just low hanging fruit, then you will need to consult with the pros before starting your marketing strategy.
So let’s jump into some of the base issues we often run into when optimising a Shopify website.
“Using Shopify, you can become 80% competitive in Google. No better. You’ll rank on less-competitive searches if you put in the effort and you know what you’re doing.”
The 8 most common SEO issues with using Shopify
- Limited on page titles and meta descriptions
- Forced URL Structure
- Duplicate page titles
- Duplicate content
- No customisation of pages
- Limited initial template selection
- Locked robots.txt file
- Inability to edit page tags
Limited on page titles and meta descriptions
Unlike some platforms, Shopify bases the page title and meta descriptions length by character limit rather than pixel width. Although this is not such a big issue and can stop you from having that perfect heading. It can be rectified easily by shortening the text you are trying to implement.
If you still can’t find the solution you need, let us help you out. Contact us for a free, SEO estimate. The eCommerce experts at Mustang will review our SEO packages and what will work best for you.
Forced URL Structure
If your like to have full control over your website, then you may have a problem with the forced URL structure of this platform. You may not be concerned with this issue, as it’s not often looked upon as a Shopify SEO issue. But if you want your site, 100% optimised then this will be a problem. Having the ability to create your bespoke URLs can be crucial when targeting specific keywords/categories. When you create a page on your website, they will have a folder that cannot be changed, for example:
Duplicate page titles
Besides, the duplicate content which can get your site penalised, duplicate page titles are also standard on Shopify.
Just like with duplicate content, these get created by tag pages. And is done by default, as Shopify does not always include the tag name as part of the dynamic page titles. You can resolve this by downloading available apps and manually optimised the content. But it is much easier to add coding to the website.
You can follow our steps below to add content to your tag pages. You may want to consider this as the best approach to getting the full value of SEO without having to create new collections. However, this can be more complicated.
Remember, duplicate content when you have one product associated with multiple collections, but a simple canonical tag can fix that issue.
As mentioned below the easiest way to fully optimise tag pages for SEO value, would be creating collections of the tags. So you’d be able to customise page titles, meta descriptions, URLs, content, and more.
If you do not want Google to crawl the tag pages, you can edit the liquid.theme file. Try Inserting this code before the closing head tag.
Customisation of pages
Next on the list of common SEO problems you find with Shopify is the inability to add custom fields. Unlike open-source platforms that let you customise individual pages, category, or products. Shopify does not give you the luxury of adding custom fields to pages. Just like mentioned earlier with forced URL structures, this isn’t the end of the world, and there are workarounds.
If you are looking to full customise pages and features of a Shopify page, be prepared to spend money. You will need to build a custom theme, that allows for modifications or has the specific fields and features you need. In this instance, we would always recommend a WordPress website, so you have full control of design and SEO.
Locked robots.text File
One of the more significant issues for search engine optimisation when considering a Shopify website is not having any control over the robots.txt. Shopify claims that they have optimised them to work in the best way possible and that they work with Google to ensure their page extensions are appropriately indexed. While that may be the case for most scenarios, there are times when you may want or need to add or remove something from the file. Because Shopify keeps a lock on it, you’ll need to add meta robots to the page.
We hope you found this blog informative, and helps you decide if Shopify or Wix platforms are right for your business. Additionally if you already use these for e-commerce then the tips help you with your SEO journey. If you would like some further advise, get a quote or like to pop in our office for a chat. Then please contact us or pick up the phone.
Steve – Mustang SEO Analyst