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Shopify SEO App: Yoast SEO Practical Tutorial

SEO optimization for Shopify e-commerce websites has finally found a solution! With the release of the Yoast SEO Shopify app, the limitations of Shopify's built-in SEO settings have been addressed. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the backend features and learning resources available for Yoast SEO on Shopify. (Last updated: February 3, 2023)

When building an e-commerce website using Shopify, we found that the SEO customization options were quite limited. Even though Shopify provides a built-in blogging feature, it is rather basic. For example, the ability to customize the social sharing image is not available in the Shopify backend. This results in inconsistent preview images when sharing website pages, especially for well-designed sales pages and landing pages. This inconsistency can lead to discrepancies between the image, content, and expected appearance, impacting the overall aesthetic and user experience. There are other issues as well, which I will address later. Therefore, I do not recommend relying solely on Shopify as the primary platform for SEO optimization. For long-term SEO management, it is still advisable to use the reigning champion of blogging platforms, WordPress.


Another common issue we often encounter is that even though we have a good understanding of keyword strategies and content layout, we get stuck when it comes to implementing the technical aspects of SEO on our website. This means that even with great content, we are unable to fully optimize our site. However, just when things seem discouraging, a glimmer of hope appears! In the world of WordPress, the renowned plugin, Yoast SEO, has launched a version specifically for Shopify (it seems they have also recognized the business opportunity). For over two years, I have searched the entire Shopify App Store, but I couldn’t find an SEO-related app that met my expectations in terms of usability, functionality, and value for money. That is, until Yoast SEO for Shopify SEO was released around the end of 2021. This was a ray of light amidst the darkness!

Start a free trial and enjoy 3 months of Shopify for $1/month on select plans. Register Today!
This is an ongoing promotion by Shopify, and it’s uncertain when it will end. Take a look around the backend after registering and feel free to message me if you have any questions.

The features and settings of Yoast SEO for Shopify are actually quite similar to its WordPress plugin version. Now, let’s explore the exciting features of this Shopify app:

Yoast SEO – SEO for everyone

Shopify App:https://apps.shopify.com/yoast-seo


It offers a free version (although Yoast officially announced the discontinuation of the free plan on December 20, 2022), which can be a great starting point for learning as it comes with free learning resources provided by Yoast. For those looking for more advanced features, there is a paid version available at USD $19/month. You can take advantage of a 14-day free trial to test out all the features. Additionally, with the paid version, you gain access to all the paid SEO courses available on Yoast’s official website, allowing you to dive deeper into SEO education.

Shopify App-Yoast SEO-SEO for everyone

One of the features that I find particularly important is the social sharing image configuration. This feature allows you to customize the content presentation for Google search results and provides fields for Facebook title, description, and more. This is a fundamental and essential functionality when building a website, and it goes beyond what Shopify itself offers. In addition to that, Yoast SEO provides many other useful features. For example, you can insert variables in SEO titles and meta descriptions, which can save time and effort, especially when dealing with a large number of pages. The schema feature automatically applies structured data based on the page type, and for pages and blog posts, you can manually set the page type for structured content. There are many more features to explore and discover with Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO provides the ability to set up social sharing images.

I have recorded a video providing a quick overview of the backend features of Yoast SEO for Shopify. You can watch the video along with reading this article. Please note that the video does not have subtitles, so you will need to enable sound.


The official website also has an article that provides a detailed explanation of what this app can achieve. It’s worth reading the “Guide for Yoast SEO for Shopify” which includes a video tutorial on How to use Yoast SEO for Shopify. Additionally, they offer free online SEO courses that you can access by registering an account. Once logged in, you can watch the “Yoast SEO for Shopify course” course, which covers SEO concepts and basic app operations. What’s even better is that purchasing a paid plan for this Shopify app unlocks access to all SEO courses, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of implementing SEO strategies.

Yoast SEO academy-Yoast SEO for Shopify

If you’re still undecided, the official website also suggests reaching out to them via email at support@yoast.com. They are more than happy to schedule a call and guide you through all the features of their app.

當然,另一個選擇是也可以問講中文的我啦 ^^ 有任何 Shopify SEO 或 Shopify 網站設計相關的問題需要諮詢,歡迎從以下挑一個你比較方便的管道聯繫我

On weekdays, I read curated SEO resources and tools from both domestic and international sources. I constantly update myself with the latest information, concepts, in-depth keyword strategy planning, and useful online SEO tools. The content I explore ranges from beginner-friendly to advanced, suitable for individuals at different stages of their SEO journey, whether they are beginners or experienced professionals. If you’re interested, you can visit the SEO Learning Resources page. Google itself provides an excellent resource called the Google Search Central documentation, which explains everything very clearly. It’s highly recommended to go through it at least once, although it may seem technical. You can also use it as a reference guide when needed.

Why do I recommend Yoast SEO?

Apart from being a well-established WordPress plugin for over a decade, Yoast SEO is highly reliable due to its extensive experience, long-term operation, and regular updates. Additionally, it provides abundant SEO learning resources, such as the comprehensive “All-around SEO training,” which covers conceptual explanations and practical implementations. I genuinely believe that their articles are well-structured, progressively detailed, and written in an easily understandable manner. I’ve read several of them and was truly convinced by their content. Another noteworthy aspect is the availability of online customer support in the backend after installing the app, which is something I appreciate.

In conclusion, Yoast SEO for Shopify completely addresses the SEO limitations of the Shopify platform, which is truly remarkable. Not only does it offer enhanced SEO functionality, but it also provides comprehensive online SEO courses as part of the paid plan. It’s like getting two for the price of one!

太棒了!往後打造 Shopify 品牌電商網站的最佳組合可以是:客製化頁面設計 PageFly Pager Builder + SEO 搜尋引擎優化 Yoast SEO,有關打造客製化網站設計可以參考如何客製化 Shopify 網頁設計排版
That's fantastic! The optimal combination for building a Shopify branded e-commerce website could be using the PageFly Pager Builder for customized page design along with Yoast SEO for search engine optimization. For creating customized website designs, you can refer to resources on how to customize Shopify web page design and layout.
Yoast SEO for everyone-All around SEO training

Points to note

This app modifies your theme, and there have been some user complaints in the comments section during the first half of 2022 regarding website issues and decreased speed. However, recent reviews in July and August have been positive, indicating that the company has addressed many bugs. You can refer to the official documentation for more information: Yoast SEO for Shopify changelog – https://yoast.com/shopify/apps/yoast-seo/changelog/

While I have had successful tests, I haven’t tested the app with all Shopify themes to ensure there are no issues after installation. Therefore, it is recommended that you backup your original theme or test it on a staging site for added security when testing this app.

Whenever installing any Shopify app, I always make sure to review the proper steps for uninstallation. The official documentation for removing this app can be found here: How to uninstall Yoast SEO for Shopify – https://yoast.com/help/remove-yoast-code-from-theme-in-shopify/

You can start by setting up the Facebook preview, and once configured, you can use the Facebook debugger (Sharing Debugger) to immediately see the results. You can access the debugging tool at this URL: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/

Please note that it’s essential to follow the instructions provided by the app’s official documentation for installation, troubleshooting, and removal to ensure a smooth experience and avoid any potential issues.


Next, log in to your Shopify account and navigate to the Shopify App Store. Search for “Yoast SEO” and proceed with installing the Shopify app called “Yoast SEO – SEO for everyone”. Once installed, explore the app’s backend and take the time to read the provided instructions and additional information to gain a better understanding of its capabilities and limitations.

Yoast SEO Backend Dashboard Tour

Explanation: The backend is divided into two main sections: Settings and Optimize. During the initial installation, you should start by accessing the Settings section and configuring all the fields to their default values. The Optimize section lists all the pages on your website that can be edited for SEO, organized by page type. The following text and images will provide you with a quick understanding before installation.

Settings

About
  • Importnat information
    • Explanation: Yoast SEO will override the default page settings in Shopify. If you prefer to prioritize Shopify’s settings, you can leave the fields in Yoast SEO blank.
  • Changelog
    • Check out what’s new!
    • Explanation: Check the progress of app updates. It can be seen that the company has continuously addressed many issues with this app over the past year, which is great!
Shopify App: Yoast SEO Settings-About

Site representation

說明:Google Search Console Help 說明文件提到,只要為網頁加入結構化資料,即可啟用 Google 搜尋結果的特殊功能,前往複合式搜尋結果測試。這些欄位設定希望能增加知識圖譜(Knowledge graph)的機率,可參考 What is Google’s Knowledge Graph

Explanation: The Google Search Console Help documentation states that by adding structured data to web pages, you can enable special features in Google search results. You can go to the Rich Results Test to check the appearance of your page in a rich search result. These field settings are intended to increase the likelihood of appearing in the Knowledge Graph. You can refer to “What is Google’s Knowledge Graph” for more information.

Shopify App: Yoast SEO Settings-Site representation

Schema output

Explanation: Automatically setting Schema.org structured data types on the website is recommended. It is advised to enable them all.

Shopify App: Yoast SEO-Schema output

Site defaults
  • Site titleSeparators – You can use Site title and Separator as variables when configuring the search appearance of your content.
  • Site image – This image is used as a fallback for posts/pages that don’t have a featured image set.
Shopify App: Yoast SEO-Site defaults

Webmaster tools

Explanation: Set up website verification for various browsers. Below each field, there is a link to the respective official documentation on how to find the verification code.

Shopify App: Yoast SEO-Webmaster tools

Content settings

Explanation: Here you can set the SEO title, description, and default state of Schema for various website page types. The available page types for customization include Homepage, Products, Product tags, Collections, Blog posts, Blog post tags, Blogs, Pages, and more.

Shopify App: Yoast SEO-Content settings

Advanced settings

Explanation: Similarly, you can set the default state of SEO pages, including Search pages and 404 pages.

Shopify App: Yoast SEO-Advanced settings-Search pages

Theme modifications

Explanation: Remove or reapply our modifications to your theme.

  • Reapply theme modifications
  • Uninstall theme modifications
Shopify App: Yoast SEO-Advanced settings-Theme modifications

Uninstall

Explanation: Please read the following instructions carefully for the steps to remove this app.

  • How to uninstall Yoast SEO
    • Yoast SEO has made theme modifications to your site. To fully delete Yoast SEO you must go through these steps. Read more about how to uninstall Yoast SEO.
    • Step 1 – Deactivate Yoast SEO:This will remove our changes to your theme and prepare Yoast SEO for deleting.
    • Step 2 – Delete Yoast SEO:Please first complete step 1 by pressing the ‘Deactivate Yoast SEO’ button. Then it is safe to delete the Yoast SEO app in Shopify.
Shopify App: Yoast SEO-How to uninstall Yoast SEO

Optimize Settings

Explanation: This section lists all the pages on your website categorized by type. You can access each page individually to set the specific SEO details. Yoast SEO automatically includes all the pages on your website, whether they are currently active or not. This includes Products, Collections, Pages, Blogs, Blog posts, and more.

Shopify App: Yoast SEO-Optimize pages

After going through the navigation, you now have a basic understanding of the Shopify SEO settings that can be implemented. The next crucial step is to plan and create SEO content that aligns with your brand and products, based on your business goals.


How to enable Yoast SEO settings for pages?

  • First, go to the editing area of the page > Upper right corner: More actions > Optimize in Yoast SEO.
  • Directly access Yoast SEO in the Shopify App > Select page type > Find the page title.

How to optimize Shopify website content using Yoast SEO? (Continuously updated)

Explanation: The following items can be configured in Yoast SEO for Shopify pages. Each item serves a specific purpose, and there is a wealth of content to cover. I will continue to write and explain these topics within the next month. In addition to text, I am also considering creating video tutorials in Chinese. If you can’t wait, you can watch the official introductory video on YouTube: How to use Yoast SEO for Shopify

  • Focus keyphrase
  • Readability analysis
  • SEO analysis
    • Keyphrase synonyms
    • Additional relates keyphrase
  • Google preview: Direct configuration in Yoast SEO will overwrite the original content in Shopify.
    • SEO title
    • Slug
    • Meta description
  • Facebook preview
    • Facebook image
    • Facebook title
    • Facebook description
  • Twitter preview
    • Twitter image
    • Twitter title
    • Twitter description
  • Schema
    • Page Type
      • Explanation: According to Yoast’s official statement, the default options are the best choice unless you are certain that the page content complies with Google’s guidelines. For example, the FAQ Page option should only be used when the webpage contains a question-and-answer format. If the webpage allows users to add additional answers to a single question, the QAPage option should be used instead. You can refer to Google’s official documentation on using structured data markup for frequently asked questions for more information.
      • Other page types
        • Web Page
        • Item Page
        • About Page
        • FAQ Page
        • QA Page
        • Profile Page
        • Contact Page
        • Medical Web Page
        • Collection Page
        • Checkout Page
        • Real Estate Listing
        • Search Results Page
        • Schema 是什麼?
      • Yoast SEO automatically describes your pages to search engines, using Schema.org structure data, that increases the chances you’ll get rich results like these.
      • Feature the product in Google shopping or display the page as rich results. Refer to Structured data for beginners
    • For Shopify’s Pages and Blog posts, you can manually set the Page Type for structured content.
  • Advanced
    • Allow search engines to show this Page in search results? Yes or No
    • Should search engines follow links on this Page? Yes or No
    • Meta robots advanced
      • No image index
        • Prevent search engines from crawling and indexing images that you have on the page.
      • No archive
        • Prevents the search engines from showing a cached copy of the page.
      • No snippet
        • Prevents the search engines from showing a snippet of this page in the search results and prevents theme from cashing the page.
    • Canonical URL
      • Help you prevent duplicates.
  • Cornerstone content
    • Cornerstone pages are your most important pages.
    • Cornerstone products can be…
      • products that are iconic for your brand
      • products that don’t run out of stock

Reference


When it comes to SEO for managing a blog, is it better to use WordPress or Shopify Blog?

My preferred combination is WordPress for blog content management and SEO, and Shopify for e-commerce.

In terms of executing technical SEO functions, WordPress surpasses Shopify by a significant margin, making it the superior choice.

If we were to use an analogy, when it comes to reaching from Taipei to Kaohsiung, I would choose to take the high-speed rail rather than ride a bicycle. WordPress Blog is like taking the high-speed rail, making it effortless, while Shopify Blog is like riding a bicycle, requiring more effort. However, it’s important to note that terms like “effortless” and “more effort” are relative. Regardless of the platform chosen, executing a successful strategy still requires significant time for planning, analysis, and adjustments.

While WordPress may require some maintenance, it is still a viable option if you are primarily focused on managing blog content. Shopify, on the other hand, has several areas that need improvement and is continuously making progress. However, when it comes to blogging, it is relatively basic compared to WordPress. As an example, Shopify’s URL structure can be frustrating, as all pages must be located under “/pages/”, and all blog posts must be under “/blogs/blog-name/”, making the URL paths complex and unnecessary. Overall, when it comes to executing SEO, Shopify does have its share of shortcomings, and its flexibility for custom configuration is limited, if not nonexistent.

Many clients evaluate whether to “use or learn basic WordPress operations” based on limitations in manpower, budget, or time. It ultimately depends on the client’s current plans, resources, and requirements. Perhaps it may not be feasible to implement at present, but it can be considered for future planning.

First, seek to have it, then seek to improve it.


However, if there are limitations due to certain factors, it’s still better to prioritize having it first and then striving to improve it. In other words, start with Shopify Blog and switch to WordPress Blog in the future when resources are more abundant. Just remember that when transitioning, set up 301 redirects, canonical URLs, and ensure the transfer of rankings. However, when dealing with a large number of articles, it can indeed be challenging to configure everything.

I previously transferred my Medium blog to my own WordPress website gradually, and it was fortunate that Medium itself allows setting up canonical URLs.

Summary

Therefore, the conclusion can be that as long as we can meet the current needs and find the best combination, the website is in a dynamic state of adjustment and updates. It’s not a one-time task, and future plans should be executed in stages with continuous optimization.

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    If you have any questions, please feel free to fill out the form and leave a message or email me at irving@irvinglab.com. You can also reach out to me through the Facebook or have a direct online chat. Let’s communicate and grow together! You can check out my web design portfolio to see my work. Join the Shopify website design and development learning community on the Line group to exchange ideas and learn together! However, please note that users in the United States cannot join the Taiwan Line group. Therefore, I have also created a Telegram community where valuable experiences from both platforms will be shared and organized. To further understand our services, you can add Irvinglab’s Line@ official account and leave a message for us.

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