Home / Blog / Shopify /

SEO limitations of Shopify

Nicole from NovosNicole in Shopify

15th April, 2020

SEO limitations of Shopify

Shopify can be a great solution for small businesses and its simplistic user interface makes it a great option for users that may not have much experience as little-to-none development skills are needed to set up an initial website. 

However, just like every CMS platform out there, Shopify isn’t without its limitations. In this blog, we will look at the limitations that you will need to be aware of if you are thinking of starting or migrating over to a Shopify site.

URL structure

One of the biggest complaints our clients have with Shopify is its rigid URL structure. On other platforms such as Magento, URLs are customizable for example the URL for a return page would be www.example.com/returns/. But because of Shopify’s forced structure, this would be  www.example.com/pages/returns/

Shopify also automatically generates two product URLs,  one within the category path, for example, https://uk.gymshark.com/collections/bottoms/products/gymshark-origin-seamless-leggings-black-marl. This is then canonicalised to a clean top-level version of this page, as the URL above it would be: https://uk.gymshark.com/products/gymshark-origin-seamless-leggings-black-marl

There’s no real benefit to creating so many conflicting URLs with the same content and can put a lot of people off from migrating to Shopify. However, there are ways around Shopify URL structure which you can read about here. 

Robots.txt

Unlike many platforms, Shopify automatically creates a robots.txt file. 

Like a number of platforms targeting SMEs, Shopify limits access to users being able to edit robots.txt files, and automatically creates the below file:

This means that users are not allowed to edit their robots.txt file 

While this may be a benefit for some users, and it is possible to add a no index no-follow tag to pages to stop search engines from crawling certain pages. You can exclude a specific page from the index by adding the following code to your theme.liquid file.

{% if template contains ‘search’ %}

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>

{% endif %}

Sitemap

Just like it’s robots.txt, Shopify automatically generates a sitemap. This may be seen as a benefit to some users, especially if they have a small site. However, for many people on Shopify, this is not the case, and may not want some URLs that are in their sitemap being found and crawled by Google. 

However, being the Shopify experts that we are, we have found a great solution around this! You can read our step by step process on how to create a customisable sitemap for Shopify here

Metadata 

Shopify has a 70 character limit for title tags, many users see this as misleading considering that Google uses pixels to measure the size of the title tag rather than the number of characters. The correct amount of pixels is normally around 600 pixels which are roughly equivalent to 60 characters. 

 

This means that many Shopify users end up with longer unoptimised title tags that get cut off in the search results which can affect click-through rates. To see if you have any long title tags you can crawl your site using tools such as Screaming Frog or Deepcrawl which will pull all long title tags on your site. Alternatively you can perform a site check, for example, “site:https://cms.thisisnovos.com/”, to see how all your title tags appear in the searches. 

Shopify isn’t without its flaws however it also offers great SEO opportunities and benefits that you might not find on other CMS. To get a better understanding of Shopify and a deep understanding of its limitations and benefits then check out our ultimate guide to Shopify. 

If you are on Shopify or are thinking of migrating over and would like more help and advice on the platform then get in touch with us today

 

Nicole from Novos
Article by Nicole

Get in touch for more Shopify advice

We're eCommerce specialists for a reason, get in touch with us today and find out more.

This is Novos

Get the latest blog posts and eCommerce tips in your inbox