Shopify Product SEO

Cara Bowles    By under Shopify SEO.

In our last post, we covered how to work with Collections in Shopify, and how to do so with SEO in mind. We now turn our attention to the core element of any ecommerce site: the product. We will discuss how to create and edit products in Shopify, addressing SEO concerns as we go.

Let's take a look.

What Products Will Sell Best In Your Shopify Store?

While what's working well for other stores shouldn't be your brand's primary guiding factor, having an awareness of emerging markets and product popularity is undeniably useful. Shopify claims that these products are trending in their stores in 2019:

  • Shapewear: A growing market for undergarments that slim and shape women's bodies is emerging
  • Plaid: Men are embracing plaid shirts like never before
  • Athleisure: Athletic wear for everyday use is growing in popularity with millennial women, especially yoga leggings
  • Travel accessories: Shopify notes that scratch-off world maps are selling well and travel-related searches are trending
  • Automotive accessories: Digital car accessories like car projectors are a growing market
  • Smartwatches: This is a growing market and Bluetooth smartwatches are trending right now
  • Minimalist jewelry: The jewelry industry is growing at an annual rate of 2% and searches for minimalist jewelry are trending
  • Heated vests: These did very well this winter and will likely do so again in the next
  • Ankle boots: Footwear has an annual growth rate of 8.1 percent and ankle boots are trending in search
  • Posture corrector: These are designed to help correct posture for an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and they are spiking in Google Trends

For some additional suggestions, take a look at Shopify's site map and look at the "Ecommerce by Industry" section for market segments you might not have considered.

As for determining what products to sell in your own store, the Google Ads Keyword Planner can offer suggestions on keywords related to products you are interested in selling. Start by choosing the Find new keywords option:

keyword planner find new keywords

Then enter in a keyword related to products you sell and click the GET STARTED button:

keyword planner get started

You will see a list of keyword ideas based on searches related to the keyword (or keywords) you entered. You will also see estimates of how many searches occur each month for the keyword, how high the competition is in Google Ads, and what advertisers are bidding for the keyword:

keyword planner keyword ideas

This will allow you to determine what is in demand, and will assist you in finding keywords that have relatively high demand and relatively low competition.

To learn more about what users are searching for related to any given keyword, you can simply take the keyword to Google itself, then take a look at the "People also ask" section:

google people also ask

This section will expand to include even more related queries when you click on these "also asked" questions.

You can also take a look at the "Searches related to" section at the bottom of the search results:

google searches related to

And, of course, clicking on any of these will also generally lead to even more "People also ask" sections in the search results, for even more recommendations.

You can work the answers to these questions and address these queries on your product pages, and in blog posts that link to them, in order to increase your chances of ranking well for long tail queries related to those products.

Can You Sell Anything With Shopify?

The restrictions on what you can sell with Shopify are very limited. You can sell physical products, whether or not they are drop ship, as well as digital products and services.

Generally, if it isn't illegal, you can sell it. Your payment gateway may add additional constraints. You can see Shopify's payment terms of service here. You will need to review the terms and conditions for any other payment gateways you are using.

How Do You Add a Product To Shopify?

To add a product, navigate to Products > All products in the left navigation and then click the Add product button in the top right corner of the screen:

Product Title, Description, and Website SEO

At the top of the Add product screen you can enter in a Title and Description:

shopify title and description

The situation here is very much the same as the one we discussed in our post about SEO for Shopify Collections. The Title field always sets the headline for the product page, which is also the H1 tag.

By default, the Title field also sets the title tag for the page, which is the headline that appears in search results. You can set a different one by scrolling down to the Search engine listing preview section and clicking Edit website SEO:

shopify product page edit website seo

You can then add a custom page title. A recommended character counter is included so that your title doesn't get cut off in search results.

shopify product page title tag

Since Google actually cuts title tag length based on pixel count, you can more accurately gauge where the title will get cut off using the Moz title tag keyword tool.

It may not always make sense for your title tag and headline to be exactly the same, since the title tag is a call to action in search results, while the headline is a greeting when a user lands on your product page, and there may be more room in one location or the other depending on your site's theme.

Regardless, primary keywords should be included in both, including the product name, possibly the brand name, and related general keywords (the "t-shirt" part of "gucci t-shirt").

The Description field always sets the remaining descriptive text on the page used to discuss the topic, address any user objections, provide context for search engines to turn up the page in relevant search queries, and capture long tail search engine traffic.

By default, it also sets the product page meta description, which generates the snippet of text that turns up below your title tag in search results. If your product descriptions regularly exceed 155 characters, this is usually a bad idea, since they will get cut off, and it would be better if Google automatically generated the snippet based on the user's query.

You can set the meta description manually, also within the Edit Website SEO section:

shopify product page meta description

Make sure that you always use a unique meta description that acts as an enticing summary of the product that will encourage users to visit the page, and do so any time the product description is too long to fit within the Google search results (about 155 characters).

Product Image

Make sure to add a product image under the Images section of the Add product page.

shopify add product image

You can either drag an image into the section from your computer's operating system, or click the Add image from URL or Add images option to either user an image link from the web or browse your computer's folders for the image respectively.

After uploading the image, click the ALT setting that overlays the image when you hover your cursor over it:

shopify product image alt

Enter your image alt text in the pop up and click the Done button. The alt text should include keywords that describe the image to help search engines understand the image, and the alt text should functionally act as a replacement of the image for use by visually impaired users and in browsers that can't display the image for one reason or another.

shopify product image alt tag pop up

How Do You Add A Product To A Collection In Shopify?

One you've filled out all relevant fields for your product, make sure to click the Save button in the bottom right corner, or in the hovering menu in the top right.

Assuming you are using Shopify Collections, you will almost certainly want to add your product to a collection.  You can do this from the product creation page in the right sidebar by clicking on the Search for collections field, typing the first few letters from the desired category if necessary, then selecting the correct category from the drop down menu:

shopify add product to collection

Remember to save the change after adding a collection.

Generally, we recommend using only one collection, even though Shopify allows you to add multiple collections. This creates a more consistent link architecture and URL structure (assuming you are using categories in your product URLs, more on this in a later post).

How To Add Products To A Drop Down Menu In Shopify

Unless you have a very limited number of products, you generally will not want to include every one of them in your site's main navigation, since the end result would be very cluttered for users, and the flat architecture would create no semantic hierarchy for search engines to evaluate.

However, your highest priority products should turn up in the main navigation. The links and anchor text from every page on your site will boost the authority of the page, allowing it to rank better for relevant search queries than would otherwise be typical.

To add a product to a drop down menu, start by navigating to Online Store > Navigation in the left sidebar, then select the menu that you want to edit:

shopify menu access

Next, under the Menu items section, click the Add menu item option:

shopify add menu item

The Add menu item pop up will appear:

shopify add menu item pop up

Click the Link field and either browse through the options or start typing the name of your product until it appears. Click on the name of the product, then click the Add button:

shopify select a product from add menu item pop up

Your product will appear as one of the menu items. You can now drag and drop the product to place it underneath the collection or menu item of choice. Click and hold the handle next to the product name:

shopify grab product menu item

Now drag and drop the product underneath the collection or menu item of your choice. Make sure to drop it to the right side underneath the item of choice to make it a drop down menu item. Dropping it to the left side underneath will instead adjust the order of your menu items, leaving the product as a top level menu item.

shopify product added to a menu item

Once you've added your product to the drop down menu, click the Save menu button:

shopify save menu item changes

How To Import Products Into Shopify

To import a large number of products into Shopify at once, navigate to Products > All products then click the Import link up top:

shopify import products

Click the Choose File option and browse your computer to locate the spreadsheet, select it, then click Upload file. 

shopify import products choose file

Your CSV will need to be in this format provided by Shopify.

Make sure that your spreadsheet follows our recommendations on titles, descriptions, and images discussed above in order to maximize SEO impact before uploading.

Adding Inventory to Shopify

There is an inventory section on the product creation or editing page for every product in your store. Simply go to Product > All Products and click on your product, then scroll down to the Inventory section:

shopify product inventory section

If your Inventory policy field is set to Shopify tracks this product's inventory, you can set an SKU, Barcode, and Quantity for the product. Shopify will automatically reduce the Quantity by 1 (or more if the customer buys more) every time a sale is made through the Shopify cart system. Just set the known Quantity at the beginning, click Save, and Shopify will handle the rest.

How To Edit A Product In Shopify

To edit a product in Shopify, simply navigate to Products > All products and then click the product that you want to edit.

shopify select a product

You will be taken to a screen that looks exactly like the product creation screen, with all of the same fields. Make any edits necessary, then click Save.

How Do You Duplicate Items In Shopify?

You can create a duplicate of a product in Shopify if many of the details are the same, but you will need to be careful when you do this. Do NOT do it if you intend to use the same title or description for the product. This creates duplicate content which will dilute your site's authority in search results and hurt your rankings.

Instead, you should duplicate a product if most of the other properties, such as price, vendor, and shipping details, are the same.

To duplicate a product, navigate to Product > All products in the left sidebar and click the product that you want to duplicate:

shopify select a product

Now click the Duplicate link at the top of the page:

shopify duplicate product

From the pop up, add a new product name. The product name will be the title of the product page, so fill it out the same way we discussed above when setting a title for your product pages. We recommend deselecting the Duplicate product images box, since it is best for your SEO if every product has an original image associated with it. Click Duplicate when you are read.

shopify duplicate product pop up

You will be taken to a product creation screen for the duplicated product. Here you can revise the product title if you aren't satisfied with your previous decision. Make sure to change the description so that it is entirely unique from the previous product. Set a new image and image alt for the product as discussed above, and change any other relevant fields on the page, then click Save.

shopify duplicated product page settings

How To Add Product Options, AKA Variants, In Shopify

Variants allow users to customize their products with alternative colors or making other small changes to an otherwise identical product.

To see how to set up variants for your products, see Shopify's guidelines here.

From an SEO perspective, the important thing is that your product variants do not create duplicate content. If different variants of the product show up as different URLs, this can dramatically dilute your SEO authority and hurt your rankings.

For this reason, have a developer verify that your Shopify theme is correctly implementing rel=canonical on your product pages. Shopify has a {{ canonical_url }} object built specifically for this purpose. This tells the search engines that your product variants are the same as the non-variant version of the product, so that all the SEO authority for each variant goes to the same place.


That concludes the basics of setup, editing, and SEO for products in Shopify. For more, be sure to check out our guide to technical SEO for Shopify, learn how to handle SEO for Collections, and read our thoughts on why Shopify is a less than ideal, but still workable, SEO platform. If you need help with SEO on your Shopify store, our agency can help.