Explore The Latest New Edge SEO Capabilities At Shopify
Shopify is groundbreaking and is arguably the best ecommerce platform out there. However, when it comes to SEO, there has always been a debate among professionals about its capabilities.
The main question has been whether this ecommerce platform creates an environment where SEO best practices can be carried out to a satisfactory degree. Of course, the stickiest point has been the lack of configuration and customization options in the sphere of technical SEO when catering to clients, but this seems to be changing.
A new development from earlier this year indicated that Shopify has teamed up with Cloudflare in order to provide new performance and security benefits to its stores. Cloudflare is one of the world’s largest networks, providing leading CDN-type services for websites to create faster and more secure websites.
This budding relationship is delivering a tighter and more “whole” integration between them, potentially delivering a major change in the variety of SEO capabilities available for ecommerce stores hosted on the platform.
The new option of modifying the codebase while enjoying the speed and security benefits that Cloudflare is so well known for creates the foundation for the benefits to come.
This shift from “grey cloud” to “orange cloud” (terminology which refers to becoming a “whole” integration), indicates the move from a partial integration to a full integration will bring about a whole new host of benefits in the realm of edge SEO.
Using this method, developers will be able to enhance or create applications, without having to worry about infrastructure.
Edge SEO practices will now also be able to solve security issues thanks to this new integration, with all the benefits that come along with stores being entirely on the Cloudflare network.
There are two ways to make the transition:
- Request from Cloudflare to enable “orange cloud” for the integration.
- Soon, you will be able to enjoy open documentation and access to the Cloudflare Workers dashboard itself, allowing you to enable the integration.
The New SEO Benefits For Shopify Websites
Here are some of the top new benefits that edge SEO has now enabled for ecommerce stores, seeing as the codebase can be modified using Cloudflare CDN and Cloudflare Workers.
There is no question that the SEO horizon for Shopify has broadened dramatically following this change.
Modifying The Robots.txt File
Now that the gray cloud is becoming orange, SEO experts will be able to control the .txt file which was previously impossible. Of course, while not directly having an impact on ranking, access to the .txt content can be useful when directing Google’s crawling path.
Using edge SEO, we can now modify the Shopify robot.txt ourselves. We would not recommend removing the basic elements, but certainly adding lines using edge tools such as Sloth.
Changing The URL Structure
The orange cloud setting enables us to change the Shopify URL structure. From an SEO perspective, the neater the URL the better. John Mueller even confirmed this point at the VirtuaCon Convention in April this year, stating that keywords in the structure of the URL do not have an impact on rankings, so there may be no justification for changing the URL structure at all. Having a set URL structure with no flexibility might not be neat, and this impacts searchability and speed, while not lending to ranking.
Log File Analysis
Shopify, which is based on shared hosting, does not make it possible to pull logs and conduct proper log file analysis that an SEO expert would need. Using Cloudflare Workers, this is now possible through the use of filter chains and integrating with third-party applications like Loggly.
Seeing as the filtering of requests is being made by the search engine itself, the shared hosting remains unaffected, and the risk of breaches in data security goes down.
Hreflang is an HTML attribute which specifies the language and geographical aspects of a webpage. For example, if you have website pages translated into multiple languages, you can use hreflang to indicate the variations to Google, or another search engine.
In the field of ecommerce, hreflang tagging can be tricky due to the differences in shopping configurations among the different countries, as well as other dynamic situations like product availability.
Third-party apps in the app store such as Helium can help with the implementation of hreflang, and using the edge tool Sloth, you will be able to map hreflang in CSV, translate it to Cloudflare Worker code, and then deploy it via the CDN.
This is a smooth and easy way of managing hreflang, without complications or having to get tangled up with a third-party application.
While Shopify is not SEO-friendly, it has seen a great leap in terms of SEO best practices due to the full integration with Cloudflare, with the speed, security and flexibility it offers for technical SEO best practices.
As Shopify develops and evolves, we should be seeing more developments coming in the sphere, opening up even more options for configuration and customization for advanced edge SEO purposes.