Shopify is one of the most popular platforms for an e-commerce business, and with its robust sales tools, it can do wonders for your online shop. But Shopify doesn’t do all the work for you, and in order to boost your store’s visibility and revenue, it’s important to perform essential SEO tasks.
First and foremost is optimizing the title and description tags for every page in your Shopify Store. In this article, we’ll explore why these tags are so important, how they can help your business, and exactly what to do immediately to boost your organic search rankings and site visibility in search.
Your site’s page title is the HTML <title> tag in the <head> of your page. Note: this isn’t just a title on the actual “homepage” of your website, it’s actually not particularly visible to visitors to your website (it’s displayed on the top “tab” of your web browser). Here’s an example:
Even though your customers likely won’t notice it, it’s absolutely crucial for your SEO. Search engines will use your meta title for the link text for your search result. If you’re the owner of RicksKites.com but you don’t have your meta title set up correctly, not only will your customer likely be confused if they find your website via search, Google and other search engines will penalize you tremendously and your organic rankings when someone is searching for kite stores will suffer.
Here’s what a page title and description (we’ll get to that next) look like in Google search results:
The keywords you use in your page titles – yes, you need to do this for every page on your site – are paramount here, as search engines will use them for organic rankings. If you have awesome page titles, you may rank well for multiple keywords to lead your ideal customers to you.
Here are the things you need to keep in mind to optimize your Shopify meta title for SERP. Your title must:
That’s right, you can’t copy and paste the same exact page title for multiple pages in your store. If pages with different content have the exact same meta title, they may be viewed by search engines as duplicates of one another… and therefore only one of them may be listed.
Be Descriptive of Your Page
Search engines are smart. They want your meta title to accurately describe the page the user will see after clicking on the link. That means you can’t just stuff your title with random keywords in the hopes that search engines will pick up your site in as many searches as possible. So craft a title that will specifically describe what the user is going to get when visiting your site.
Contain Numerous Valuable Keywords
“Keywords” is simply the terminology used to describe the words or phrases that people use in the search engine bar to find various things they’re looking for. Understanding what keywords your ideal customers are entering into search is the bedrock of building a great SEO strategy.
So put yourself in your target consumer’s shoes. Outside of searching for your actual brand name, what keywords would they use when searching for the kind of products you provide? Try to avoid using overly broad keywords, and make sure the words you’re using are ones people are actually typing into search engines. This is both an art and a science and might take some trial and error.
If you’re looking for some guidance on keyword ideas, there are a number of free online tools that can help you, including the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Google Trends, KeywordIn, which are all great places to start. These are great if you are doing this in-house and not using a marketing agency for your SEO.
Be the Right Length
The right length for your page title somewhat depends on a number of factors, but as a general rule, it’s best to keep your title under 70 characters. That way you’ll avoid getting cut off by search engines with the dreaded ellipses (…), as they only display a snippet of your title. That being said, search engines do consider much more than 70 characters for ranking purposes, so this is by no means a hard and fast rule. If you’re able to thread the needle and avoid getting a word cut off while also utilizing more keywords via a longer title, it may pay off significantly.
Have One Per Page
Although you might be tempted, make sure there’s only one title in the head of each web page. Using multiple titles will either put you at risk of being ignored or of the search engine arbitrarily selecting one for you.
How to Set Up and Edit The Page Title in Shopify
Editing your page title is quite simple. Here’s how to do it.
When looking at SERP for your store online, a paragraph will show up after the title. This is the meta description. In more technical terms, if you’re looking at the <head> of your webpage HTML, the description is the <meta name=”description” content=””/> HTML tag in the <head> of a webpage. These descriptions will also show up when sharing your website on social platforms. For reference again, here’s what a meta description – also called a meta tag – looks like:
There are a number of things to think about when optimizing your description, but most of all, you want to make it compelling. After all, you want potential clients to really want to click on your link if they stumble across your site in search results! This is your “elevator pitch” to users. If it’s just a jumbled description over-stuffed with keywords, you may end up driving people away rather than reeling them in.
In addition to that, there are several other on-page SEO factors to keep in mind with regards to your page descriptions. Your descriptions must:
Again, just like meta titles, you cannot use the same meta descriptions for multiple pages.
Describe the Page
Make sure your description accurately portrays the content on that SPECIFIC page, not the entire site.
Contain Good Keywords
While not one of the top-ranking factors, including good keywords in your description, is important, mainly for the reason that the keywords and phrases will turn bold if they match what the user is looking for. This will very likely increase your click-through rate and get more shoppers onto your Shopify site.
As a general rule, keep your descriptions within 160 characters, because that is when most search engines will cut off your text.
No More Than One Per Page
Yes, the same rules apply as per your page title. You may be tempted to stuff multiple descriptions in your page <head>, but it will likely backfire on you.
Editing Your Meta Descriptions in Shopify
You can edit your meta description in Shopify in the same place you go to edit your page title.
Beyond the basics of on-page SEO title and description best practices, there are some additional things you can try that may really boost your Shopify sites’ SEO and click-through rate.
Use Numbers in Your Titles
Just think about it, if you’re looking through search results and you see one with numbers in the title description (in addition to keywords of course), it kind of jumps out at you, doesn’t it? Because our brains are trained to home in on things that stand out and are specific, meta titles with numbers tend to get a slightly higher click-through rate.
Use Years in Titles
Another way to strategically use numbers in your titles is to use the year that you’re looking to rank for, whether it’s the current year or a specific year in the past. This will keep your page rankings in the SERPs for people who are using custom date ranges if they’re searching on a desktop.
Use Emoji in Description
Whether you like them or not, emoji are extremely popular and here to stay. In fact, one study showed that 92% of online consumers use emoji. And just as numbers stand out to people in SERP, so do emoji. Emoji have been shown to increase click-through rate, improve relevance in search, and improve user experience on mobile in particular.
Use Prices in Your Description
When users are searching for similar products to yours, price and value are always going to be key factors in their buying decisions. So especially if you have competitive prices, including these for your key products in your meta description can do a number of helpful things, including increase click-through rate (for the same reasons we mentioned about using numbers above), improve user experience, and increase trust and transparency of your brand.
Your title and descriptions for your Shopify store are one of the foundational aspects of SEO. Master them, and you’ll likely see a major boost in your SERP rankings. But even beyond that, you can really use your title and descriptions to your advantage when trying to attract new, interested customers. It’s always important to remember that on-page SEO is also important and relevant to the actual user experience, beyond what the search engine bots see. So use these titles and descriptions as an opportunity to advertise the unique features of your eCommerce business, and enjoy the increase in traffic and revenue that they will likely bring. Check our Shopify SEO checklist to explore new progressive tips for your SEO strategy.
If you have any questions about SEO, how titles and description tags work, or anything else related to your eCommerce store, reach out to us today. We’ll gladly walk you through the ins and outs of SEO for your eCommerce store.
Tiffany Gabbay serves as Catapult Revenue’s editor-in-chief, spearheading the agency’s editorial efforts both internally and for all Catapult clients.
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