seo guide for shopify product descriptions

The ULTIMATE SEO Guide for Shopify Product Descriptions

Umm excuse me, S-E-What?

SEO is arguably the single most important thing you can do for your website. While SEO can change and evolve, in many cases, it's a "set it and forget it" kind of deal. But how do you stop "forgetting it" and start "setting it?" That, my friend, is where I come in!
First of all, what IS SEO? Let's say a search engine, and it can be any of them but typically we think of Google, is a library and every website is a book within that library. SEO would be the catalog number of your "book." In short, it's a way for search engines to file your website so that when a phrase is searched, you can be found.
So the question remains... How?

6 Opportunities for SEO on Product Pages

On every Shopify product page, you'll have 6 opportunities to strengthen your SEO for that product. Now, a word here. I don't approach this as an "all or nothing" kind of deal. While updating all 6 is ideal, hitting a couple of these spots is better than none. So if you're feeling overwhelmed by all of this, hopefully that thought helps a little. :)

The Human Element

Now before I get into the 6 SEO places, I want to add this piece, and this is really important so if you don't remember anything else, remember this: Your end user is and will always be HUMANS! Do NOT only write your SEO for "the algorithm." It's people, actual human beings, that will be purchasing your products and therefore, everything you write needs to be written for THEM!  
And without further ado, here are all the SEO opportunities on a Shopify product page. 
Shopify Title SEO

1. Title

It probably seems pretty obvious that the title is your first opportunity for SEO but it's also one of your first opportunities to talk to your customer! Write your title so that your customer will know exactly what they are clicking on and be specific! In the picture above, I don't just list the items as "sublimation transfers" and I don't just call them by their design "drunk presidents" I put both phrases together to really describe the product. 
Honestly, I could have taken this a step further by adding who or what it's for i.e. "Drunk Presidents Sublimation Transfers for Women" or instead of "for Women" add "for Shirts." Since this one is for a holiday, I could have included "for Fourth of July" or "for Summer." Whatever you decide to call your product, be specific. 
SEO Guide

2. Alt Text

After you create your awesome title, your next SEO opportunity is within the pictures and is called alt text. Alt Text serves 2 functions: First, obviously, it's read by search engines and helps your overall SEO. Second, alt text improves accessibility for people who can't see images on web pages, including users who use screen readers or have low-bandwidth connections.
Here's how to update alt text. Find your first photo and click on it. Then find the link that says "Add Alt Text." Your screen will look very similar to my screen below.
Shopify Alt Text SEO
Type in what you'd like. My best advice here is just keep it simple and describe your photo. I like to describe my product exactly, without repeating the same exact phrase that was in the title.
Now this is important!! When you're done updating, be sure to hit "Save Alt Text." I can't tell you how many times I've updated the alt text only to forget to hit save (facepalm!)
Side note: Even as I add these photos to this post, I'm still adding alt text because I don't want to miss any opportunity to strengthen my SEO! 
After you hit save, your screen will show the updated alt text like this. You can change this at any time but I wouldn't recommend that. Do it right the first time, then just leave it. 
Enter Alt Text for SEO
file name for Shopify SEO

3. File Names

Believe it or not, search engines read the file name of your picture and apply it towards SEO. This can be a good or bad thing. If you're already in the habit of naming your photos what they are, awesome! Don't change.
As you see in the photo above, this file is called "AbeDrinkin." When I originally made this photo, that's what I called my file. However, if you aren't in the habit of doing this or if your current workflow doesn't allow for this to happen, it's OK! This might be an area that you skip. I just don't think it's worth going back and renaming all your files, then re-uploading. Your time will probably be better spent elsewhere. 
The last 3 places for SEO are all together and can be found on the very bottom of your product page in the link that says "Edit Website SEO."  This is the section that previews what your potential customer will see on their search engine results. Said another way, if you Google something, this is what is shown on the Google results page. 
Let me warn you, make sure that everything in this section sets a clear expectation of where this link leads. The absolute last thing you want is somebody to click this link thinking it's leading to somewhere it's not. They will leave your website faster than my kids can find a way to talk about Minecraft. I'll talk more about this as we get into the individual sections. 
seo for shopify product pages

4. Search Results Page Title

This search results page title holds yet another opportunity to strengthen your SEO. Notice in the example above, this title is NOT the same as the main title. Again, describe your product exactly but I also like to add a little more info. In this case, I included the keywords "funny" and "July 4th" and the rest I just rearranged so that it made sense. 
meta description and shopify seo

5. Meta Description

The Meta Description, or the description that appears within the search results, is a fantastic place to win your customer's click while adding more keywords! This description should be a blurb about where this link is going. 
Here's an example of what NOT to do. When I first started my website, I wrote 4-5 little blurbs for the meta description and just kind of rotated through them. They were very general, like: 
"Great transfers, quick turnaround. Offering one and 2 color designs for every occasion. Click to shop now!"
I thought this was great! It talked about what my website offered and had a call to action. Perfection! Orrr maybe not. 
One thing I failed to talk about was the actual product that this was linked to! People were clicking on my links, being like "what the heck is this?" then leaving. I know this because my bounce rate was through the roof on certain products! 
Side note: The bounce rate is when a person leaves your site after visiting only one page. 
Here's my new description:
"These sublimation transfers are perfect for July 4th or any other time! Choose from 6 presidents or choose from hundreds of other sublimation transfers. Click to shop now!"
Notice this time I am stating the product exactly while still using lots of other keywords. I still talk about what the rest of my website offers and have a call to action. 
The lesson? Use the meta description to describe where your link will go. 
url shopify seo

6. URL

The sixth and final place to update your SEO on your Shopify product page is within the actual URL. When you're creating a listing, the URL replicates what you put in the main title but when you duplicate a listing it shows as "copy of (insert original listing title)." 
You don't HAVE to change this. If you're happy with how it's listed, that's totally fine. But if you've copied a listing, you want to make sure it doesn't say "copy of blah blah blah." If it does, you'd want to highlight the black lettering and change it to the correct wording. 
If you already have products listed and the URL isn't something crazy different OR if you get a lot of organic traffic from another source (i.e. Pinterest) I would recommend keeping whatever you have. If you change it, the original link is broken and while it will auto forward, that is not ideal. 
When you're creating a new listing this is the perfect time to update the URL to strengthen that SEO just a little more. 
website seo

Some Extras

Time, Time, Time,

Search engines, and Google in particular, is a marathon to page one not a sprint. Google crawls your site about every 30 days so whatever you implement today might not even be reflected in search results for a month. 

It also takes time to build credibility with Google. You can't just open a website and Google immediately trust you enough to put you on page 1. You have to show them you are a legit website with items that people want. You do this by building back links, sharing your URLs onto other sites (i.e. Pinterest) and by simply being open for a longer amount of time. 

You may not see thousands of visits immediately but keep working at building SEO and that number will grow. Whether you have 100 Google visits or 100,000, each and ever one of those visitors is a potential buyer that did not cost you a single penny to get there. 

Feeling Overwhelmed?

If you've read this article and are feeling very overwhelmed right now, that's completely normal! You might feel like there's no way to possibly get this all done but i promise you, you can do this!

First, I found it helpful to start adding SEO ONLY to my new items. This gave me time to get the feel for adding SEO, allowed me to practice my skills with keyword phrases and it kept the overwhelm to a minimum. 

Once I got the hang of all the SEO places, I moved onto my existing listings. Honestly, I'm still working through these to this day. I have other tasks that are more important so I save this when I have nothing more to do. Also, since I have the Shopify app, I like to update these while I'm at my kids sports practices or I'm at appointments. 

I also find it helpful to have a system for what I've updated and what needs to be updated. One technique I like to use is tagging. Basically I tag every product that needs to be updated with a specific tag i.e. SEO. Then I create a "saved search" on the Products page. 

As I'm updating my listings, I delete the SEO tag and remove it from my saved search. There's no more wasted time figuring out where I left off because if it comes up in the saved search, I know it's not done!

I hope you've found this post helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below with them. 



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Hi! I'm Laura, wife, mom, dog owner, entrepreneur. I've been making shirts since 2015 and now I sell shirt transfers! If you're curious, these are ready to press transfers that you apply to your own shirt in as little as 7 second. Like this product!

coffee shirt transfer


ultimate guide for shopify product descriptions

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