We’ve recently been asked by a member of Shopify Facebook Group if we could explain how someone could perform an SEO audit or review of their theme to see how well it can perform organically in the search engines. A previous article I wrote about how a theme is such a big part of the SEO process explains how so many themes are being penalized by Google without store owners even knowing about it.
Take these few quick steps steps to see if your EXISTING theme is being penalized by Google if you are using product filters:
> Go to a collection page on your Shopify store.
> Hover over the browser tab at the top of your screen to see the metadata of said collection page:
> You’ll see they are targeting the search term: Ladies Dresses, | Womens Dresses [incorrectly I might add with the pipe symbol! These are known as STOP characters].
> Click on any of their SIZE or COLOUR filters at the bottom of the page. Hover over the browser tab again - I clicked on GREY. Notice 2 things:
1 - Unoptimised and Non-indexable URL - the url is now:
Everything after the ? is ignored. The ideal URL should be /collections/grey-ladies dresses with appropriate metadata and content etc. This url just doesn’t make any sense and causes a duplicate of the root collection page.
Google has recently announced that if even if a page is blocked in the robots .txt file, it may still be rendered in the search engines if it deems the page answers a query better than others on the site, so the need for unique filter pages has never been so great.
2 - Duplicate Metadata - hover over the meta again and it’s still the same causing duplication and this is just 1 collection page and 1 filter.
3 - Canonical To Root - the page canonicals back to the root collection page which means that Google has been told to ignore the filter page. As mentioned above - this is very dangerous with Google’s recent announcement.
Multiply the number of collections x no. of filters x no. of filters and you have how many duplications there are sitewide!
If you’re just looking at themes before you buy, it’s more difficult to assess - you’ll find theme developers stay away from displaying product filters as they typically ignore the problem, or they install one of the best selling product filter apps and block filter pages from the search engines altogether!
The solution - a theme by Integrity Commerce which eliminates the problem. See our unique filtering technology in action here: http://bit.ly/2MNHagi
If you repeat the process above you’ll see our filters have unique: URL’s, Meta titles, Meta Data, H1’s, Content & Alt= tags. It really is a world’s first technology.