Technical SEO Issues With Shopify & How To Fix Them


According to the latest figures in 2023, Shopify has over 1.75 million subscribers using its ecommerce platform, and yet it still has a number of common technical SEO issues that remain unresolved and most retailers are blissfully unaware of.

seo issues Shopify

They say they make commerce better for everyone and I agree they certainly do but they make SEO harder for everyone too.

Fixing technical SEO issues on your Shopify store can have an enormously positive impact on your performance in the search search engines and is overlooked by many start-up retailers, let alone more established brands.

With rising ad costs and diminishing ROAS, there has never been a better time to get your Shopify SEO in order starting with ‘technical’ which along with Design/UX, accounts for about 50% of the SEO process.

Organic has, and probably always will be your highest converting channel. I bet if you check your Google Analytics account right now, you’ll see I’m right.

Based on nearly twenty years of experience in ecommerce SEO and marketing, typical conversion rates for ecommerce are as follows:

  • Organic = 5-10% (if your SEO is done correctly)
  • Paid = 2 – 3%
  • Paid Social = 0.5 – 1.5%
  • Email = 5 – 30%

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Shopify platform and highly recommend it, you can get a…

FREE Trial and then just for $1 Per Month for 3 Months

I’ve been personally using it and re-engineering it for many years, but put quite simply it’s not perfect for SEO. Thankfully it isn’t, because it’s kept me and my expert SEO & development team extremely busy for the last few years!

Shopify is perfect for the ‘omnichannel’ retailer with its integrated POS System & API and as well as the countless number of apps from the Shopify App Store which allows you to sell across multi-channel marketplaces, but…

Unless you have an organic-centric marketing model which protects your SEO, your organic channel becomes pretty obsolete.

This updated article will identify the common technical SEO issues EVERY Shopify retailer should be aware of if you want your organic channel to perform well for your business.

Is Shopify Good For SEO?

Shopify is OK for SEO, it’s far from perfect but thankfully it’s not as it has kept me living since 2010. Shopify is no different from any other ecommerce platform – if you know its SEO issues and you understand its limitations and know the solutions on how to overcome them, then Shopify can be good for SEO.

SEO issues Shopify

It’s well documented from some of the world’s leading authorities on SEO that Shopify has high-level technical SEO issues that hinder its performance in the search engines.

I’ve been re-engineering Shopify stores to get them to perform better in the search engines since 2010 so I have a deep understanding and knowledge of its core technical issues.

Many of the world’s authorities on SEO agree with me that Shopify has high-level technical SEO issues that hinder its performance in the search engines. and I’m going to point out the biggest culprits to you next…

Shopify Themes

I’m sorry to say this but themes are one of Shopify’s biggest SEO issues. Why? Because 99.9% of theme designers and developers are NOT SEO experts and they fail to technically align their designs with Google’s algorithms, quality guidelines and 200+ known ranking factors.

SOLUTION: Buy one that is, it’s as simple as that.

A Dictated Hierarchical Structure

Unlike many other platforms, Shopify dictates your hierarchical structure and you can’t change or control it which isn’t ideal for ‘link equity’ or ‘page authority’ distribution.

What you have to remember is that Shopify is a ‘cloud-based’ platform so you can never access the full code base to be able to develop it to get it to do what you need to do for perfect SEO.

Following a logical hierarchical structure for SEO is essential. An ecommerce store’s hierarchy should be like a champagne fountain at a wedding which easily lets the champagne or ‘link-equity’ pass from one page to another.

This is what it should look like…


But with Shopify, you’re stuck with their hierarchical structure and it can’t be changed. Shopify’s URL structure is like this:


Without the ability to create a sub-category of the root collection which is not ideal SEO as you cannot easily pass ‘link-equity’ or ‘champagne’ from one page or ‘glass’ to another.

Product pages have two duplicate URLs although the longer URL [B] does canonical back to the parent product avoiding keyword, metadata, and content cannibalization or duplication issues.

This does give you the ability to have products in multiple ‘collections’ such as new in, sale, and standard collections without duplication.

  • A – /products/product-name/
  • B – /collections/collection-name/products/product-name

Content pages on the site also have a /pages/page-name URL and blog post pages inherit a similar structure with /blogs/blog-tag/blog-post-title again, not ideal, but certainly not unmanageable.

You have to structure your e-commerce store’s hierarchy differently from how you typically would.

SOLUTION: Use a comprehensive internal linking strategy to direct link equity to the necessary pages.

Image Optimization

Image optimization isn’t perfect with Shopify as images are delivered through their own content delivery network [CDN].

SEO issues Shopify: image optimization

This means you can’t fully optimize image URLs and filenames for the search engines to perfection, but you can control the alt=tags which gives you some ability to optimize images for the search results, not perfect but at least they can be optimized to some extent.

SOLUTION: Name your images on a page the same as the main keyword that you are targeting on that page and do the same for the alt = tags.

Metadata & Content Duplication [Filters] – the biggest culprit.

The ability to ‘filter’ products on a collection page is standard functionality expected on any e-commerce store and is essential for user experience [UX] and conversion rate.

You would never expect to land on a large fashion store’s page for shoes and not be able to filter them down by size, color, brand, and type.

This is by far the biggest SEO factor that hinders a Shopify store’s ability to perform in the search engines.

A single collection page with no filters has the ability to be optimized to perfection via the Shopify content management system [CMS] with no problem at all.

But here’s the problem; Major duplication issues arise when product filters are added to collection pages with product tags.

Standard ‘sort’ filters such as A-Z, Price High to Low are not the issue here as these ‘sort’ query string URLs are dealt with by canonicalization back to the root collection page to avoid duplication issues and penalties.

Shopify uses a built-in product ‘tagging’ system to arrange collections of products in filterable results in the sidebar such as size, product type, color, etc.

These ‘filter link’ URLs are dynamically generated by the platform and aren’t accessible or editable via the Shopify CMS so 1000’s and 1000’s duplication issues occur instantaneously as soon as you start adding filters to your theme, causing major keyword, metadata, and content duplication issues.

The good Shopify product filter apps in the App Store simply canonical the filter page URL back to the collection page parent. This method BLOCKS your filter pages from the search engines altogether.

Yes, this solves the issue of duplication, but themes using these types of Sy product filter apps are missing out on thousands and thousands of additional URLs that could be indexed in the search engines driving more traffic and revenue. 

The BAD product filter apps don’t even know the SEO problem exists and their filter pages cause mass duplications of the store root collection pages which seriously harms SEO.

Most if not all Shopify theme designers and theme developers build filter systems without understanding the implications they have on the store’s ability to perform in the search engines.

I recently audited a furniture store using a well-known Shopify theme from the store and they sold around 2,500 products.

They were shocked to find out that they had over 300,000 URLs indexed in the search engines, most of them ‘filter page’ duplicates, massively hindering their site’s ability to rank in the search engines.

SOLUTION: Use the only theme and filter tech in the world which has fully optimizable product filters.

3rd Party Shopify App Installations

There are thousands of apps in the Shopify App Store that allow you to add almost any kind of functionality to your store that you need to run your business.

Shopify app store

This is great for store functionality but can be disastrous for your performance in the search engines if you start adding all kinds of functionality without fully understanding what implications these Apps have on your store’s SEO.

Testing and analyzing before installing any kind of app is essential. 3rd party app developers don’t care about your site’s performance in the search engines, they’re interested in selling you their App.

One of our clients recently added an EPOS integration App to their store and it erased 6 months of work of on-site optimization as it stripped meta titles and descriptions from the whole store.

You have to be so careful when adding apps to your store.

SOLUTION: Duplicate your theme and test ‘before and after’ each time you install an app to see what impact it has had on your technical SEO.


Shopify is not perfect for SEO but it can be managed well if you know what you’re doing. Make sure that you use an OS 2.0 theme like RankHigherTheme® with AAP® SEO product filters.

It has over 90 advanced Shopify SEO and conversion-boosting features that will save you over $3,000 a year on SEO apps. Oh yes, and it has a page load speed of 491ms. You can take a deeper dive here:

Blog Post: The Fastest OS 2.0 Shopify Theme

Blog Post: Benefits of Shopify OS 2.0

Blog Post: Does Changing The Theme Affect SEO

It is the only theme in the world with built-in, optimized product filter pages that unleash thousands of additional, high-converting landing pages that will get crawled and indexed in the search engines.

It’s unique canonical programming completely eliminates duplications of any kind and has been designed and engineered by our award-winning team of SEO and Shopify experts.

I genuinely believe it is the best Shopify Theme for SEO. Built for maximum performance in the search engines, there is no other Shopify theme on the market with its unique technology.

Make sure you optimize your images, internal linking is essential and make sure you test every app and its impact on your SEO before installing!

If you have any questions – please leave a comment below! Thanks.