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Migrating to Shopify Ecommerce: SEO Uncomplicated

 In eCommerce, SEO

Moving is stressful! But this move can be smooth if you plan correctly. Shopify is one of the most reliable and robust eCommerce platforms. And as such, Shopify offers businesses the resources they need to transfer and build their online presence.

With careful attention to SEO, the shift to Shopify can happen without losing customers, traffic, or rankings.

Below are general guidelines to follow for your Shopify migration. These factors will help avoid common mistakes in migrating to Shopify and eCommerce platforms in general.

Shopify Migration Fundamental Steps:

With a series of 3 overarching steps, Shopify migration can be seamless.

  1. Manage Administrative Content
    • Ensuring that your current business information remains intact during the switch is the number one step. This includes contact information, staff details, product information, brand graphics, past customer transactions, blogs, reviews, and all content pages.
    • Learning Shopify’s tax format and arranging shipping methods are the final administrative tasks to accomplish before moving to design functions.
  2. Organizing Store Composition
    • Know how Shopify URLs are structured and displayed:
      • Homepage or domain root:
      • Pages (About, contact, etc.):
      • Collection / category pages:
      • Product pages:
      • Three-Click Rule: all pages accessible within three clicks from the start page.
    • Consider all the available navigation features:
      • Top-level categories or mega menu within the website header.
      • Faceted filtering on collections.
      • Internal Search.
      • Sorting on collection and search results pages.
      • Breadcrumbs.
      • Product variations for colors, sizes, shapes, etc.
    • Mirror the structure of the current site.
    • Assure that all pages, product collections, and product page elements are up to date and consistent. Consider SEO-friendly URLs, metadata, page content, and images,
  3. Final Business Touches
    • Once your new Shopify platform is set up and working correctly, make sure the old site is shut down. This way, there will be no confusion for users or search engines, and all revenue will be generated through the proper place.
    • Testing for bugs, errors, and usability is essential as well.
      • Optimize and test on a staging site without any impact on your business.
      • Also, be sure to try essential interactions such as purchasing, canceling, refunding, archiving, or completing orders.
    • After testing is done, opening to actual customers will give a true account of the nature and success of the move.

Crucial Considerations in Migration to Shopify with SEO Awareness

The information below should enable a smooth migration for online businesses looking to keep and generate organic search traffic and conversions.

  1. Implement complete and accurate URL redirection
    • Create a clean sitemap spreadsheet for redirections, especially product and product collections. Double and triple check before implementing these redirects, reducing the many headaches that come with trying to resolve post-launch.
    • Implement 301 permanent redirects, using a one-to-one redirection where possible. A one-to-many redirection may be more convenient but will send terrible signals to Google and will be less visitor friendly.
    • Avoid redirect chains and loops.
    • Update all internal links to point directly to the new URLs.
    • Note that Shopify limits redirects to 100,000.
    • You can add manual redirects within Shopify by going to Online Store > Navigation > URL Redirects.
    • Popular Shopify Apps for redirection include: Easy Redirects by ESC and Traffic Control-Bulk Redirects.
  1. Ensure that metadata, such as Title Tags and Description Tags, get transferred over. You should dynamically generate unique Title and Description Tags for every page without custom created tags.
  2. Consider using an image alt text app to implement alt attributes. This all-in-one Shopify SEO app is recommended for this: Smart SEO
  3. As mentioned, minimizing on-page changes initially will decrease the chances of ranking and traffic drops.
  4. Ensure that robots.txt file and XML sitemap are correct following migration.
    • Shopify does not allow adjustments to robots.txt file, so you must use meta noindex and canonical tags where needed. That’s an SEO best practice in general.
    • Shopify will disallow crawling of these sections by default: admin area, checkout, orders, shopping cart, internal search, policies page.
  1. Add Structured Data: “Product,” “Article,” & “BreadcrumbList.” Consider JSON-LD for SEO.
  2. Resolve 404 error pages during migration and before the official launch, if possible.
  3. Avoid and Monitor Duplicate Content
    • Domain should continue using SSL with http version redirecting to https
    • Auto-implement or add custom Canonical Tags on every page.
    • You may want to set custom canonical tags for paginated and dynamically generated pages. These can reference the parent or main page in the series. Or find another suitable SEO strategy for pagination.
    • Use product variations (e.g., ‘color swatches’), rather than separate pages for each product style. If not using product swatches, this is an excellent opportunity to review product-level URLs and ensure the URL slugs are style descriptive and keyword optimized.
    • Duplicate product pages and conflicting signals from Shopify:
      • By default, Shopify stores allow their products pages to render at two different URL paths:

Canonical URL: /products/product-name and Non-canonical URL: /collections/collectionname/product/

    • Shopify, however, creates entire site architecture around the non-canonical links creating conflicting signals.
    • The solution to this is to adjust code in the product.grid-item.liquid file to link to the canonical URL path instead.
  1. Also, use this opportunity to adjust the Heading tag structure, though a lower priority.
    • H1 and H2s are relevant to SEO.
    • Ideally, set one H1 heading for every page and H2 tags for subheadings. You can adjust the font styles inline as needed after that.
  2. Don’t forget about your third-party analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics and Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking. You’ll want to keep your GA tags off the new site until you are ready to launch – do not forget to add this back when you do launch!

Shopify is a Leader; Some Would Say Superior

A lot of businesses are switching to Shopify because of the number of features it brings to the table. Shopify’s easy interface allows extensive customization. It offers efficient inventory management, a vast choice of themes, and over 100 payment methods. This not only gives you control over your site, business, and appearance but also helps with the efficient advancement of SEO.

Shopify is known to be very straightforward for the customer, as well as manageable for the owner. It seems to have a great connection between usability and complexity without over-extending in either area. The platform offers built-in SEO optimization opportunities out-of-the-box. And, to further help with SEO integration and optimization, Shopify offers an extensive range of apps and extensions.

Remember that migrating is more than just a replacement for your existing site. It is a fresh chance, a time to reinvigorate your business, ideals, and operation.

Start with a clean and well-kept checklist of all content and careful organization of the recommendations above. This allows for an error-free and relatively quick transition of data. This will improve your SEO faster and offer visitors and prospects a better experience out of the gate.

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