There's no shortage of apps available to help you make the most of your SEO using Shopify. But if you don’t have a clear SEO strategy, it’s easy to think that your SEO app is doing the work of search engine optimization for you.
The Limitations of Shopify SEO Apps
If you scan the Shopify App Store, you’ll find SEO apps that claim to boost your search rankings. But let’s be clear about something: no app is capable of boosting your rankings unless you, the business owner, are putting a clear strategy behind its use. Apps provide on-page analysis and optimization, not strategy. Only strategy can boost your rankings, because strategy covers not just what’s on the page, but what you’re doing off the page to boost your rankings. This includes keyword research, competitive research, paid ads, link building, social media, etc.
Which SEO Apps Help Implement Your Strategy?
But how do you know which Shopify SEO apps make sense to invest in and which ones aren’t worth the cost?
Today I want to share 4 Shopify apps that I think are essential in handling your e-commerce search engine optimization that will help you make the most of managing your SEO for e-commerce.
I boiled down what you need to apps that handle these things:
- Checking for complete meta data and keyword placement on all pages
- Gathering and displaying customer reviews
- Optimizing images for the web
- Tracking broken links (404 errors) and managing link redirects, including redirect on out-of-stock
- Generating and editing your sitemap
So let’s get to my recommendations for 3 apps to use!
SEO Meta Manager — $20/month
SEO Meta Manager is your powerhouse SEO app. I recommend it because it’s the most frequently downloaded and highly reviewed SEO app for Shopify AND it covers most of the SEO functions you need to perform on your e-commerce website. However at $20/month, you want to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the features.
If you know what keywords you want your pages to rank for, you can use SEO Meta Manager to:
- Check that your focus keyword appears in your page title and meta description
- Edit your image alt text to contain keywords
- Bulk edit your page titles
- Edit the meta fields of tag-filtered collections
That isn’t all that SEO Meta Manager can do, however. The features I think are super useful are:
- Sitemap generation and editing
- Integration with Google Page Speed and Mobile Friendly tests (so you can optimize content to decrease page load times)
- Control over indexing (telling Google which pages to crawl)
- NEW! > 404 error logging and management (so you can find and redirect dead pages, including automatically redirecting pages with out-of-stock products)
You can see a full list of features here.
SEO Meta Manager also scans for SEO errors and makes suggestions for how to fix them, which is a great functionality if you understand how to fix the issues it uncovers. (Otherwise it’s just like driving around with a check engine light on in your car — frustrating and eventually you learn to ignore it.)
Judge.me — forever free or $15/month
Customer reviews are an important part of SEO. They not only help generate new content on your website frequently (which Google likes), but they supply important rich snippets that make your appearance in the search results more robust (and clickable). Judge.me does all the work of integrating reviews into the site, including automating customer follow-up and review requests via email.
Minifier — no monthly cost, 1¢-2¢ per image ($0.50 minimum per optimization)
Large image file sizes lead to slow page load times, which can hurt your search visibility because Google doesn’t like slow page load times. Using an image optimizer tool is an easy way to ensure your images aren’t bogging down your e-commerce website. Minifier reduces the file size of all the design elements on your website without reducing the quality.
Combining Good SEO Apps with Good Strategy
No app alone can game the search rankings for you. You have to know what keywords you're trying to rank for, and why. This means understanding the competitive landscape you're operating within so you're not using an app to optimize content for the wrong keywords. Similarly, you don't want to scan for SEO issues you don't understand or know how to fix.
Doing good SEO for your e-commerce site is a bit like going to the grocery store before making dinner: it helps to go in with a list so you don't get overwhelmed. Consider these recommendations a good start to your list of tools that, if used effectively, can help you boost your search rankings.