Negative Keywords: An Entire Summary

Negative Keywords are one of the most powerful tools you have when running a Google Ads campaign. Used correctly and they can save you thousands of dollars. Used incorrectly however, and they can destroy your campaign performance. This article will help to clarify what negative keywords are and how you can use them to improve the results of your ads.

What are Negative Keywords?

Put simply, negative keywords determine which search terms you don’t want your ads to appear for. There can be a whole range of reasons why you don’t want to appear for some search terms, but in the example below you will be able to see a basic reason.

  • You are advertising a new notebook that people actually write in
  • Your ad shows whenever someone searches for the term “notebook”
  • After a couple of days you realise that your campaign has been showing for irrelevant search terms like
    • Asus Notebook
    • HP Notebook
    • The Notebook Movie Cast

These are search terms that aren’t relevant to your products, but share similar keywords. That’s where this form of campaign optimisation comes into play. We can negative out these specific terms or for any search term that contains “Asus”, “HP”, “Movie” or “Cast”. Not only will this help improve the quality of your traffic, but it will actually lower your overall cost.

How Can They Enhance Campaign Relevancy?

As you have seen in the example above, you can have similar search terms that mean completely different things. To avoid paying for irrelevant clicks, you need to review which search terms are coming through your campaigns and exclude all of ones that aren’t providing any value to your account.

The great thing about optimising your account this way is that it is permanent. Every time you review your search terms & implement them it improves the campaigns relevancy for as long as it is active. So there is a compounding effect when it comes to negative keywords. The more you input the better your campaign is going to work.

How Do Negative Keywords Influence PPC?

You can have a huge impact on the performance of your campaigns by implementing negative keywords. You campaign will permanently be more relevant. This means that you won’t be spending big on irrelevant clicks to your website, you won’t even show for search terms that aren’t relevant to your products and it also helps to improve how much you pay per click.

With Google Ads the amount you pay per click  is based on 2 factors

  1. Your Quality Score
  2. How much your competitors are willing to pay.

These two factors combine to give you your Ad Rank. The higher your Ad Rank, the higher your ad shows. So you have 2 options to get your ad consistently in the best position, you can either pay more for every click you get, or you can improve your Quality Score (of which Ad Relevancy & Historical Relevancy plays a big part). Check out the graph below to see the impact that negative keywords can have on your campaigns click through rate %. In this case it almost doubled in a matter of weeks.

Chart Showing CTR% Improvement From Negative Keywords in Google Ads
Impact of Negative Keywords on campaign Click Through Rate%

You can now see that negative keywords stop you spending on low quality clicks & actually make the high quality & highly relevant clicks cheaper. You can use them in your Google Search & Standard Shopping Campaigns to help improve your return.

Not sure how to set-up a Google Shopping campaign? Check out our how to set up Google Shopping Article, taking you step by step from start to finish!

How To Find Them In Google Ads?

You can find your negative keywords by going into each individual campaign. You can then click on Keywords & you will have options in the top menu. You can review your search terms by clicking on that menu item & then you can apply negative keywords by clicking on the ‘Negative Keyword’ Menu. Negative keywords can be applied at the campaign or at the ad group level.

Where To Find Negative Keywords In Google Ads
How To Find Negative Keywords In Google Ads

What Match Type To Use In Google Ads?

If used incorrectly, negative keywords can have a negative impact on the campaign performance. This can happen either through limiting potential relevant search terms or by excluding high quality search terms all together.

For this reason it’s best to be more specific with negative keywords. Start with exact match negative keywords by using the square brackets [ ]. If you see some repeated words that you know will never be relevant then you can use phrase match on that specific search term or word by using the quotation marks “ “.

Negative Keyword Match Type Examples In Google Ads
Negative Keyword Match Type Examples In Google Ads

There shouldn’t be any reason you need to use broad match modified or straight broad negative keywords. You will find that a combination of exact and phrase match is all you will need to see positive impacts across your account.

If you’re still not sure about how to run your Google Ads campaigns. Reach out and speak to a specialist about our Google Ads Management Services.

Optimise Your Product Page With Vector Icons

We often get asked questions about what websites can do to optimise their product page. For Shopify stores, the product page template is one of the most important templates you have. This is where you customers will be making their decision whether they add you product to cart & purchase, or whether they look elsewhere.

One of the best ways that to help turn your potential customers into actual customers is by providing as much information as you can to them. But you can’t just bombard your customers with text, photos, videos, pop-ups, reviews & who knows whatever else. You need to do it in a way that doesn’t overload the customer and distract the customer from your sole focus, getting the sale. This is where product page icons can be extremely handy.

What Are Product Page Icons?

Product Page Icons, also known as vector icons are a great way to transfer lots of information to your customers in a very easy and quick way to understand. You’ve probably seen them before and haven’t even realised what they are or how beneficial they can be. You can use vector icons to demonstrate the value you can provide to your customers. 

When you’re thinking of which value propositions to use, focus on the ones that are common over your entire product range. We’ll provide some examples shortly. But there’s no point having a ‘Free Shipping’ icon over all of your products if you only have free shipping for a quarter or half of products. That’s just going to lead to a poor checkout experience for your customers.

Some of the best icons to use include:

  • Same Day Dispatch
  • Free Shipping
  • Express Shipping
  • Great Customer Service
  • 30 Day Free Returns
  • 100% Secure Checkout
  • Great Payment Options

How To Make Product Page Icons?

You can make your own icons through Canva or any other image creation platform. However there are some things that you should keep in mind. First of all, make sure that your image dimensions are the right size to match the product pages. The best thing to do is to check the actual dimensions of your product page. As a general rule of thumb you can use a height between 70px – 90px and your width is between 450px – 500px.

The next area you’ll need to consider is which file format to use. The file format that you use can have a big impact on the clarity of the icons and also the file size. Because these icons appear on every product page, you need to make sure not to use a large image. You can read about how important website load time is in our previous article.

Our file format recommendation is to use SVG files. While you can get away with PNG or other formats, the biggest benefit of SVG icons is that they retain their clarify up to 1000px (well beyond what we are using them for).

We’ve included an example below so you can see the direct difference between a PNG file and a SVG file. Both are considered vector formats, but the benefit of SVG becomes clear.

png product page icons
.png product page icons
svg product page icons
.svg product page icons

How To Install Product Page Icons

You’re probably thinking, great I know that I want or need product page icons. But how do I actually get them on my site. Well, never fear, below we’ve put together a step by step guide to implementing vector icons on your product page. Not only that, but we’ll show you how you can customise the code so that it fits in perfectly with your current product page layout.

The first thing that you need to do is to duplicate your Shopify theme. It’s always best practise to work on your website in a draft or staging area. That way you can adjust it as much as you need and it’s not going to impact the customers on your website at that time. We also recommend renaming the duplicate theme, so that it’s easy to understand for future reference.

To duplicate your theme, go to ‘Online Store’ and click on ‘Actions’ from your live theme. A drop down menu will appear, and select ‘edit code’. Shopify website are created through using a range of templates. You have a template for every style of page on your website, your homepage, collection pages, product pages and so many more. This ‘Edit Code’ option is where you can adjust your Shopify templates.

Duplicating Shopify Theme
Duplicate, Rename & Edit Code Of Test Shopify Theme

Once you have opened up your ‘Edit Code’ page, on the left menu scroll down to ‘Sections” and click on the ‘product-template.liquid’ file. Now get prepared for the hardest part in implementing product page icons. You will need to copy and paste the code below and make sure it’s in the correct area on this page. Where you paste this code on the page will control where the vector icons appear on the product page.


We normally suggest to include the icons below the add to cart button, but you can place them anywhere that seems relevant to your website. To include the icons below the add to cart button, search for </button> in the code. Normally there is only 1 button on the product page, so you should be able to see some code above this that mentioned ‘Add To Cart’ or something similar.

product icons div

Once you have found the </button> code, look for the next </div> code (this should be a couple of lines below the </button> code). Hit return/enter button after the </div> code to create 3 new lines. In the middle line paste the following code & click save up the top right.

<div class="product-page__icons"></div>

Shortly, you’ll be able to check whether this is in the right location. Don’t stress though, because it’s in a staging environment, you can keep trying until you get it in the right location.

Now you’ll need to move to the ‘theme.scss.liquid’ file. This is where we can control how the icons look and fit in with the other elements of your product page. Once you’ve opened up the ‘theme.scss.liquid’ file, scroll down to the very bottom and add the following code:

/*================ Product Icons ================*/

.product-page__icons { 
display: inline-block;
margin-top: 20px;
margin-bottom: 0px;
width: 100%;
height: 80px;
background: url('') 0% 50% no-repeat;
background-size: 90%; 
theme.scss.liquid code

Click ‘Save’ up the top right and then click ‘Preview’. You’ll now be able to see what the product page looks like with the vector icons. Hopefully, the icons show in the right space on the product page. If not, then you’ll have to go back to the ‘product-template.liquid’ file and move the <div class=”product-page__icons”></div> to a different line.

product page icons scss
product page scss

Adjusting Product Page Icons

If the icons are in the right area, but they don’t fit with the styling of the page, then don’t worry, that’s what we are about to cover. In the ‘theme.scss.liquid’ code, you can adjust the following lines to make it fit your page better.

If you would like the icons bigger or smaller, then you can adjust the ‘background-size’. We’ve set it at 90%, but you can change it to whatever you like.

As default we’ve set the icons to align to the left and be in the middle vertically. However you can adjust this to suit your product page by adjusting the following.

After the background: url(‘’) 0% 50% no-repeat;.

The ‘0%’ controls with the icons appear horizontally. 0% is fully left, 50% is in the centre & 100% is fully right. The second % controls the icons vertically. 0% is at the top, 50% is in the middle & 100% is the bottom.

If you can’t adjust the vertical alignment enough, then you can adjust the ‘margin-top’ or ‘margin-bottom’ to make up the difference.

To make it as easy as possible, we’ve created a range of icons you can include on your product page. But if you’re creating your own, then you will need to upload the icon in the files section (under settings). You can then copy the icon URL & replace the background: url(‘’).

Once you’re happy with how it’s fitting in with your product page template, click save for the final time. Go back to the ‘Online Store’ menu and publish your test theme. You can do this by clicking ‘Actions’ on your test theme & publish. It’s also best to rename your theme, so that you can quickly understand what modifications have been made to the theme.

There you have it, an easy way to install vector icons on your product page. Let us know what icons you are using or would like to use. If you’d like other great tips on how to get more traffic to your Shopify Site, then check out are regular articles. Checkout below different examples of product page icons that you can freely use, simply use the relevant SCSS code.

Product Page Icons
/*================ Product Icons ================*/

.product-page__icons { 
display: inline-block;
margin-top: 20px;
margin-bottom: 0px;
width: 100%;
height: 80px;
background: url('') 0% 50% no-repeat;
background-size: 90%; 
/*================ Product Icons ================*/

.product-page__icons { 
display: inline-block;
margin-top: 20px;
margin-bottom: 0px;
width: 100%;
height: 80px;
background: url('') 0% 50% no-repeat;
background-size: 90%; 
Shopify Product Page Icons
/*================ Product Icons ================*/

.product-page__icons { 
display: inline-block;
margin-top: 20px;
margin-bottom: 0px;
width: 100%;
height: 80px;
background: url('') 0% 50% no-repeat;
background-size: 90%; 

Everything You Need To Know About Meta Tags

Today’s article is all about Meta Tags, what are they, why you should care about them, how they can affect your rankings and our process for creating amazing meta tags.

What Are Meta Tags

At a fundamental level, Meta Tags are pieces of information that describes the content of a web page to Google or any other search engines. This is information is included within the source code of each page on your Shopify Site. The reason why SEO Agencies care about meta tags is that, it’s through this information that determines what your listing looks like on the Google Search Engine Results Page.

Meta Tags are a form of Technical SEO. Check out our 10 point Technical SEO checklist to find other techniques to improve your websites performance.

There are two types of Meta Tags that we primarily focus on. First of all we have the Meta Title Tag or Page Title. As it sounds, this should encompass the title of the webpage. When you are searching in Google, the blue titles for each listing show that pages Title Tag.

The second tag is the Meta Description Tag. This is where you get some more characters to play with. Description Tags do exactly that, they describe what content is on your page. When you’re searching in Google, this is the black text below the Blue Title Tag.

The most common issues we see is that Shopify sites often don’t use Meta Tags to their capacity. Not using the full character limits in their title and description tags, or even leaving the description tag completely blank.

We need to think of meta tags like any other form of ad that we might run. If we were running an ad in a newspaper, we wouldn’t just use a half of the allotted space with no thought about the content. Meta Tags are effectively the same, we want to think of them as our ad content, using all of the space that we have available and writing content that is as engaging as possible. We want users who are scrolling through Google to stop once they have seen our listing and click through because it shows exactly what they are searching for and provides a great value.

Meta Tags are a core component of Technical SEO. In fact it’s actually included within our 10 point SEO Checklist. Once you’ve finished updating your meta tags, check out how else you can improve your Shopify site.

How do I know if I have Meta Tags already?

The chances are that you will have some form of meta tags on your website. Both Shopify & Google do their best to provide useful content. Shopify will use the title of your page that you’ve created, i.e. your product title, name of your collection etc. & if you’ve left your description empty, then Google will use any other written content from that page. This is often where the problem lies. Our websites are competing against hundreds or thousands of others. If we are only using 1 or 2 word headings and a selection of random words as our description, then it’s going to be hard to compete and get a decent click through rate.

How to check your meta tags on Shopify:

  1. The first is by manually going through each page on your Shopify site. We’ll go through how you can review and edit these shortly. But this method can be quite time consuming.
  2. If you’re using chrome, you can use an SEO extension. This will show your meta tags and more. There are a huge range of extensions available, a couple that we like looking at are SEO META in 1 CLICK & SEO Analysis & Website Review by WooRank.
  3. The best method for checking pages quickly and seeing what our listing looks like in Google is by actually searching in Google. Type in ‘site:’ before your website url in Google and it will show you all of the pages that Google has indexed on your website. Example –

Why Do I Need To Care About Meta Tags?

Meta Tags are one of the first aspects that first aspects that we look at when reviewing a website. It is often one of the quickest ways to see an improvement in traffic. When we adjust meta tags (either for the first time or to improve what is currently there), we are trying to improve our click through rate (CTR%). The CTR% is the total number of clicks divided by the total number of impressions.

With our meta tags, we have to remember that we are competing in the search results page with hundreds of other websites. Because the Meta Tags control what was shown in the search results page, we need to be captivating in what we write. The best meta tags provide enough information to a user who may have never been on their website before. We also need to demonstrate some form of value as well. We’ll talk about how to write compelling meta tags later.

How Do Meta Tags Affect My Site?

Meta Tags won’t change anything on a website from a user experience point of view. But mentioned, updating meta tags can have a huge impact on the results from Google and the website overall.

Meta Tags won’t expand the total amount of searches a website shows for. But it can help to maximise the clicks that a website can receive from what it is already showing for. For example, if a websites listing is currently averages 10,000 impressions every day in the search results page, and they have a CTR% of 2%. Then the website gets an average of 200 clicks per day. By improving their meta tags, the websites CTR% goes to 3%, then the average clicks increases by 100 per day to 300. For a lot of websites that could be an extra sale or 2 per day!

This is the reason we love Meta Tags. It’s something that anyone can do, particularly on Shopify. The other benefit is that results are often seen quicker. It’s like updating an ad to use a more compelling message. We should see the results in days or weeks rather than months.

Do Meta Tags Affect My Rankings?

There’s a grey area around whether Meta tags impact your rankings in search engines. From our research and experience, updating meta tags don’t have a direct impact on a websites Google rankings. Nor do they expand what search terms a website shows for in Google. The role that they accomplish is to get as many clicks as you possibly can for the search results you are already showing for. The more clicks you receive the more likely you are to see increased sales.

The grey area lies in that there are many factors that go into how a website ranks in Google. We are fairly certain that one of these ranking metrics from Google is CTR%. Imagine the search results for a leather wrist watch. Rather than clicking the first result, the fourth website listing is getting a higher percentage of clicks than normal. This is because it has a beautifully crafted message, offering free shipping & returns etc. It would make sense for Google to start ranking that website higher. We have to remember that Google wants to give the user the best experience possible. If there is one website that is giving a better experience, then you can be sure that Google is going to prefer it over the others.

So to summarise, Meta tags don’t immediately improve your rankings in Google. They help you get more traffic from your current search results. Over time it is absolutely possible that your website will be seeing some positive impact from meta tags. The best thing to do is to track your CTR% on your key search terms & see what impact changing your meta tag has over time. Think of meta tags as ads for your website and continue adjusting, aiming to improve your CTR%.

How Do I Change My Meta Tags?

On Shopify, depending on which page you are trying to change the meta tags for, you will have to go to different areas. Below we’ve broken down how you can change your meta tags for each page style along with some tips you can use to speed up the process.


When you’ve logged into Shopify, click on the Online store tab on the left menu. Then click into Preferences. At the top of the page, the first thing you will see is the homepage title & meta description. This is where you can adjust you meta tags for you homepage. Shopify shows how many characters you’ve used, which is a benefit. Be sure to check out the next section which outlines our process for creating amazing meta tags.

Collection Pages, Pages & Blogs:

We have two options for updating your meta tags on these pages. For both of them you will need to go to the relevant section in Shopify. The description below will be for changing a collection page, but the same process works for your Pages & Blogs.

Through the left menu in Shopify, open up Products and then into the Collections section. If you are only changing an individual meta tag or a small amount, then open up each individual collection you are changing. Once the relevant collection is open, scroll right down to the bottom. You will find ‘Edit Website SEO’. This is where you can adjust your meta title, meta description & collection URL. Changing the meta tags this way will again show you your character limits, so you can make sure not to be too brief or too detailed.

If you are in the process of changing plenty of tags, then our second option is for you. Open up the collections page and select the relevant collections you would like to change by ticking the box on their left. Up the top of the page you will find edit collections. A pop-up should appear and you may need to change what you would like to edit. Include Page Title & Meta Description. This method will allow you to change multiple collections at the same time, however, you don’t get the character limits. If you are adjusting through this method, we recommend typing out in a document of google sheet first and then copying and pasting directly.

Product Pages:

When changing product page meta tags, you have the previous 2 options in the collections pages, but you also have the option of changing through a CSV. This is a perfect solution to change your meta tags in bulk and is designed for websites with large inventories. While spreadsheets can seem confusing for some, this is by far the best method if you are looking to make changes to your meta tags at scale.

To download your product CSV, open up the products tab on the left hand menu. Under the products heading you will find the export button. Click on exports and make sure you have selected the right inventory. If you haven’t set any meta tags, then select ‘entire inventory’. Otherwise there are plenty of other options to choose from like ‘Current page’, ‘Selected Products’ or ‘Current Search’. As a default Shopify will have ‘export as CSV for Excel’ selected, if not make sure this is selected before clicking the export products button. Depending on how many products you have selected a .zip file may download straight or may be sent to the email address you used to log into Shopify.

Once you’ve opened the .zip file and the .csv file has downloaded, you will be able to open as spreadsheet. Look for columns AB & AC, this is where you will find SEO Title & SEO Description. In column A you will find the relevant product URL handle. When working with this spreadsheet, be sure not to make any changes to this column. If you do make a change, when you import the spreadsheet it will upload as a brand new product or come back with an error rather than changing. So we recommend just right clicking on Column A and hiding the column from the get go.

In column AB & AC change your meta titles & descriptions. Once you’ve finished, we recommend that you ‘Save As’ and rename the spreadsheet. That way you have a backup just in case something strange happens. Make sure that you have saved as a .csv file as well.

Uploading is quite a simple process. Click into the product section and click import (next to the export button you used before). Select the updated .csv file that you’ve renamed. Make sure you have also selected ‘replace any current products that have the same handle’. This will update those products and make sure you don’t create any duplicate products.

Once you’ve uploaded it can take a while for all of the changes to be implemented. Often you’ll receive a notification saying that it has finished, but generally we still see it completed 10 minutes or so after this notification.

How To Create Amazing Meta Tags

Creating amazing meta tags is a process. Whenever we are creating or updating tags, we always think of these as ad copy for the website. We need to demonstrate value to the customer and provide as much context as possible in the character limit that we have.

The first place we look is at the actual search queries that the page is currently showing for. Depending on how you have your website set-up, you can find this is in your Google Search Console or Google Analytics accounts. We always try to capture the most searched term within our Meta Title and/or Description.

Once we know what search terms are page is showing for, we also do some searches in Google to see what competitors have mentioned. We pay close attention to see what content is included within the text ads (if they show for the specific term) and the first 3 listings. This research can give an indication of what the user might be looking for or to see how you can better their offering. 

When we start to put our messaging together, there are a couple of things we have to keep in mind. Firstly, we always write our messaging for someone who has never heard of the website before. Including text like ‘20 years industry experience’ or ‘Specialists in xyz’ can see some great results and build trust with a new user for their first experience. We also make sure to include a ‘call to action’ or ‘value proposition’. This should aim to build some urgency or inform the user what to do. Messaging like ‘10% off your first purchase’ or ‘express shipping available’ can help to create some urgency for the sale.

Messaging doesn’t always have to be related to having the lowest price. Be creative and find areas of your business that you can provide value without sacrificing your product margin. When you are brainstorming, the following questions can help to get the ball rolling:

  • What does your business do better than your competitors
  • Why do customers choose to purchase through you
  • What makes you different from your competitors
  • What makes this product better than others in the market
  • When speaking to a customer what are the key points you emphasise about this product.
  • What questions do your customers ask about this product

We also have to be very mindful of our character limit restrictions. We often see people using the limits provided when they are changing the titles in Shopify. Unfortunately, these often get truncated in Google. We can write a lot more in our meta tags, but Google will it cut off. So we use the following guidelines to make sure that our full message is conveyed in the search results. Meta Titles should be no longer than 60 characters & Meta descriptions should be no longer than 155 Characters. This will make sure that our entire message is being shown no matter what device a user is searching on.

Once we have created some options, it’s best then to show them to some colleagues, family or friends. Often it’s people who come from an outside perspective that best represent the users who are searching in Google. Make sure you get feedback and adjust accordingly. Alternatively you can survey your customers after they purchased to see why the did so. This is likely to be your best source of information, but can be time consuming or costly depending on how you choose to do so.

There you have it, everything you need to know about meta tags and how to create amazing tags for your website. Be sure to check out our checklist below when you are writing your own tags.

Finished updating your meta tags? Well make sure you turn those extra clicks into sales. Check out our guide to improving your website load time, so you don’t just see an increase in bounces from your site.

Meta Tag Checklist

  • Include Search Term
  • 60 Characters Max for Title
  • 155 Characters Max for Description
  • Include Value proposition
  • Focus on how your website can help the user, rather than looking directly for the sale.
  • Write for someone who has never heard of your website before

How To Review & Improve Shopify Site Speed

Today’s article is all around website load time and why it is something that you should be analysing for your Shopify store regularly. Whenever we look at a website for the first time, one of the initial checks that we look at is the site speed It is one of the most fundamental issues that websites can have which directly impacts the overall performance and amount of revenue that your store.

We briefly mentioned on Site Speed on our 10 Point Technical SEO Checklist, today’s article goes into this in more detail, outlining why site speed is important, why it’s also getting more important, what you should be your site speed benchmark, how to check your site speed & how to improve your Shopify stores site speed. So without further adieu, let’s get started.

Why Website Speed Is So Important?

Some of the side effects of having a slow website include, high bounce rate %, low avg. session duration, low pages / session and low repeat users. The end result of this is poor experience for a user who is far less likely to make a purchase, meaning less revenue and profit.

So, you can now see why site speed is so important for users who are already on your website. But how does it impact users who aren’t… Well, having a slow website actually makes it less likely for a user to find you than one of your competitors with a faster site. Why you might be asking? Well, Google likes websites that provide value for users in a way that they can enjoy. If your website is providing a frustrating user experience, then Google is less likely to show your listing in the first place.

This is multiplied when you are running Google Ads. You might have a great CTR%, but websites that are slow loaders will be negatively impacted with lower Quality Scores, charging you more for every click you’re currently getting. If you have a bounce rate of 85%, then for every 20 clicks you receive you only have 3 that actually start to scroll down their landing page. 

Why Site Speed Is Getting More Important

Firstly, the level of competition in the online market is dramatically increasing each year in Australia. No longer can ecommerce website take their users for granted, there is simply too much competition out there that every day your website is lagging behind is a day that you’re giving competitors your valuable customers.

Secondly how we are interacting with websites has been changing over the last 5 years. The primary form of searching online has shifted from sitting at a computer, to being on the go and searching whenever and wherever we like on our mobiles. For most Shopify websites, the percentage of users coming from mobile phones is now above 55%. That means that the other devices, being Desktop, Tablet & Voice (i.e. through a Google home), makes up the remaining 45%.

This reliance on mobile phones has some great benefits but also some major side effects. First of all, when we are searching on mobiles we want information right then and there, we don’t want to scroll through pages of content, or impatiently waiting for websites to load. We’re in the middle of 100 other things, so we just want to know the answer to whatever it is we’re searching for. If we can’t get that information, we much more impatient and likely to bounce off to the next website.

The other major side effect is that when we are searching on desktop we are generally locked in to the home or office wifi, but when we’re on mobile we are prone to poor quality reception. This means that even if your website doesn’t normally load slowly, it can still be susceptible to a long load time.

What Should You Be Aiming For?

The great news is that generally most Shopify stores have been set-up in a way that means you can have a fast loading site. Australian websites are notoriously slow loading, for most Australian Shopify stores it takes on average between 7 & 10 seconds to load. The issue is, Google research shows that after 3 seconds, each additional second a website takes to load the probability of the user bouncing off increases dramatically.

So ideally, you should be aiming for an average load time below 3 seconds. It isn’t always achievable to get every page on your website to load faster than three seconds, but to get an overall average between 3-5 seconds is.

How To Check Your Website Speed

Different page layouts will have different average load times. Your home page & product pages should be the fastest loading, but collection pages will generally take a little longer due to loading all the images of the products.

The best way to check your website load time is to look through Google Analytics. Under the behaviour tab on the left, there is a secondary tab labelled site speed. There are 3 primary options each will give you slightly different information.

  1. Overview: This is where you will find the average load time for your entire shopify store. For the Avg. Page Load time, this is where you want to see that magical 3 second figure.
  2. Page Timings: This breaks down each page on your shopify store, showing how each page compares with the site average.
  3. Speed Suggestions: This tab also gives you a breakdown of how long each page takes on average to load. Instead of comparing to your site average however, it gives you a pagespeed score out of 100 & a link to Google Pagespeed Insights (which we will cover next)

When analysing these tabs, we recommend to look at data for at least the last 2 or 3 weeks so that you are seeing a representative average. Alternatively, if you have made changes to your website, compare the data before vs after and you can see what impact those changes have made.

The area to check your page speed is by using a Google tool called PageSpeed Insights. This tool will give you a score out of 100 like the speed suggestions page in Analytics, however it breaks down your website by mobile vs desktop. We’ve touched on how important mobile is to a store, so seeing this level of detail along with suggested improvements is a goldmine of information.

Start by testing the most frequently visited pages on your website as well as the most important pages. For example if you are running Google Shopping campaigns, then your product pages are extremely important.

Not running Google Shopping… Check out our latest article on how to setup a google shopping campaign from start to finish.

The great thing about PageSpeed Insights is that you can do a direct comparison to see how your website performs against your competitors. Why wouldn’t you want to get one up on them, and give a better user experience for your customers.

How to improve your website speed

There are three main components that you can control which will help with your Shopify Stores website speed.

Shopify Theme

If you are looking at starting your first Shopify store, or if you are thinking of upgrading your theme, then make sure that you are choosing a theme that is mobile responsive and fast loading. This investment of time choosing your theme is going to pay dividends in the long run, so spend a bit of time going through all the options. Make sure you understand what functionality you want from your store, write it down and find the theme that covers the majority of them. Once you are using your theme, there’s only a limited amount of improvement you can make, so unless you want to fork out some hard earned money on a new theme, choose wisely.

High Resolution Images

We regularly come across websites that look stunning, have a great product, detailed information and service but can’t get the sales they were looking for. We open up the site for the first time and wait… by this stage we already know what a key issue is. Using high resolution images on your website looks amazing, but sacrifices load time far too much. An easy solution is to use an online image compressor and re-upload all of the images, or alternatively there are some great Shopify Apps that do the work for you at a cost. Choose whichever works best for you, but please fix your images.  

Page Layout

Once you have chosen your theme, and made sure that any images you are using or want to use are compressed, then the next area to look at is the page layout. Including every element you can on your homepage is a great way to slow down your site. The best performing website provide enough information on the homepage and then give the opportunity for users to find more information through other pages on the site. Keep your homepage simple, including a featured collection, links to other important collections, sale or promo banners, written information about the business and links to contact us, shipping & returns pages etc.

When & How Often To Review Site Speed

Site speed is something that is always going to be important to monitor. Checking is quite quick and easy to do, so our recommendation is to check your site speed every couple of weeks at a minimum. If you’re a website that makes lots of changes, then it’s worthwhile creating a checklist to follow and reviewing the speed more often.

We love hearing feedback or your thoughts on website speed.

Let us know in the comments below.

10 Point Technical SEO Checklist

Some say that link building and content is the most important component of SEO, and while in the vast majority of cases most websites don’t focus enough on these areas, at Digital Choice we think that Technical SEO is your foundation to success. If your not sure what Technical SEO is, let’s break it down and what you can do to help improve your Shopify stores SEO traffic.

SEO Background:

Technical SEO is one of the three components of SEO. Below is a brief summary of each, before we get into the checklist.

On-Page SEO

improving the content of your website so that users & search engines like Google can digest the information easier. This can be done through creating more detailed content, creating and/or updating the title tags of your webpages, Linking to internal and external pages etc. All of these components help to improve the information that users can get access to, while helping Google to understand that you know what your talking about.

Off-Page SEO

majority of off-page SEO is around getting links to the website. Google looks at how many other websites are linking to your products, categories or content. The basis of this is that websites with more links are considered more trustworthy than websites with fewer links. This is one of the reasons why brand new websites don’t rank highly. Link building is a time consuming process which happens over months & years.

Technical SEO

The components of Technical SEO really is the base for all marketing activity to build off. Through Technical SEO your website should become more functional, easier to use, load faster and give users an overall better experience. Imagine a situation where you write an amazing piece of content, or your a market leading in developing a new product. You have gone to all this effort to provide significant value to your potential customers, have spent thousands of dollars on advertising and your website takes 10 – 15 seconds to load and isn’t responsive to users on mobile. You’re probably not going to have the best bounce rate, annoy some people at the same time and not run a profitable ad campaign.

This is why Technical SEO is so important. It doesn’t just provide better organic results, but also can set your website up for success when users come from any source.

So what should you do to improve your Shopify stores technical SEO. Well you can use our 10 point checklist as a guide. This will help identify areas which can improve your website and is exactly what we look at as one of our component of our Website Audit.

Technical SEO Checklist:

1. Site Speed

Google is a very competitive market. In each industry there are thousands of websites that can compete with you from all over the world. One of the biggest improvements that you can make to your website is improving the website load time. Which is why we’ve written an article outlining how you can review and improve your Shopify Stores site speed. Google themselves mentioned that the longer a website takes to load, the higher the chance that the user will bounce off and go to a competitor. The ideal that you would like to reach is a load time of under 3 seconds. Most Australian websites aren’t even close to this, sitting closer to the 10 second mark. If your store is on the slower side of things, then working towards 5-6 seconds is a manageable goal.

2. Mobile Responsive

Looking at the trends over the last 5 years, one of the biggest changes that has changed is how readily we use Mobiles to search for information. From most websites 55% or more traffic comes from mobile and this is still increasing. The great thing about being on Shopify is that majority of Shopify Themes and websites are mobile friendly or responsive. Responsive web design, basically means that no matter what device is being used, your website still looks great and maintains its usability and functionality.

3. Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools

For people new to websites, this is often missed. Search Engines like Google & Bing actually help you by providing a tool which can be used to find errors, improve website performance and seeing which search queries you are already showing for. This is our first point of reference when reviewing a website, as you can often identify and find some quick wins just by looking through these tools.

4. Error Pages

Nothing is worse for users than a poor experience on your website. Not only will you likely miss out on a sale, but you could turn the potential customer off for life. Most error pages come over time, where you may have updated collections, migrated the website from another CMS platform or a whole range of other reasons. However it came about, we know that this needs to be fixed asap. Seeing a 404 Error page means that the page doesn’t exist and the link is broken, leaving the user feeling frustrated. Having searched in Google or clicked on a link from another page on the website, and it goes to the dreaded 404 Error page. The best way to fix this is by using a 301 permanent redirect & then updating the URL link to the correct one (if it was from another page on your site).

5. Consolidate Thin & Duplicate Content

The idea behind writing content isn’t so that you will rank higher in Google, it’s so that you can help solve a problem or provide information that others will find useful. Some of the metrics that Google looks at to determine your search results is how long users spend on your website, how far they scroll down and how many other pages they go to on your website. So if you have 3 or 4 related content pieces that are all 300 words, it’s better combining them into a 1,200 word piece. The other thing that Google doesn’t like is duplicate content. If you have content covers off exactly the same information as another website or another page on your website, then you’re not going to be seeing great results from Google. Content should be original or at the very least have your own opinions / ideas on how you see the situation. If you are in a competitive industry, then you always need to be brainstorming how you can improve your content.

6. XML Sitemap

The quickest way to get your pages indexed is an XML sitemap. A sitemap is basically a list of all of your pages, it should automatically update whenever you create a new page, product, collection or blog post. You can upload a sitemap into Google Search Console to let Google know that you pages exist and you want them to be indexed. On other CMS platforms, you would have to use a plugin or an app to create a sitemap. The great thing about shopify is that it is already created for you. To find yours, simply type in your website and then /sitemap.xml (i.e. Copy & Paste this URL into your Google Search Console under the sitemaps section let Google know about your pages.

7. Structured Data Markup

This is basically some additional code on the website which helps Google to understand the content of the page. If Google knows this, then they can display this information in your organic results. For Shopify stores an example of this can be showing the pricing, whether products are available, reviews etc. Not only can it help to improve your click-through rate on your listing, but this intern can help get you moved higher in the search results page. Some Shopify stores come with this built into the theme, while the easiest way for others is by using an App from the Shopify App store.

8. Website Structure

All too often we see websites that have a poor structure. This is generally more apparent on Shopify stores than through other CMS’ because Shopify doesn’t work through a hierarchy system. Meaning you can have the same product in multiple categories on the website. Poor categorisation (which you can see through the menu), not only makes it harder to be ranked by Google, but also gives a bad experience for the user. If a user is searching for a specific product and it could be in 7 different places on your website, chances are they will just bounce off and go to a competitors site. The general rule for categories is be as specific as possible. Don’t just place all products under ‘Shop All’ or ‘Accessories’, spend some time and effort placing products under logical categories. It will help Google rank your website, and help the users find what they are searching for easier.

9. Canonicalization & Pagination

Canonicalization essentially tells Google which is your preferred URL when there are a couple of options available. For example, there are many different URLs that you can choose for your home page,,, etc. Canonicalization tells Google which of these options you want, so that it remains consistent. Canonicalization ties into the duplicate content we discussed earlier and also helps when you are building links, as other websites will use your preferred URL rather than the others.

Pagination is most often used for Shopify stores on the collections pages. If you have hundreds of products in one category, some Shopify themes will use a continuous load feature. This puts all the products on one page which is then loaded in sections depending on how far you scroll down. It can be acceptable from a user experience point of view, however it can actually cause some issues with Google’s crawlers. Generally we find it better to have a set number of products per page, users can click to the next page if they choose.

10. Secure Site

Recently Google has become more invested in website security. More of our lives are becoming part of a digital world, so it is in our best interest to make sure that they information that we provide isn’t easily accessible. Another benefit of being with Shopify is that your website is automatically secured by an SSL certificate. This means that all information is encrypted, which is particularly important as customers will be putting in their credit card details and personal information. It is in your best interest to make sure that this is emphasised on the website, so that customers feel safe to provide their information. Including a privacy policy and other relevant pages can help to communicate this information to those who need some extra reassurance.

So there you have it, our 10 point checklist for Technical SEO. Comment below and let us know your thoughts on SEO for Shopify stores. We’ll be going into each of these in more detail in the articles to come, so stay tuned.

Bonus Checklist Item

Meta Title & Meta Description Tags

Meta Titles (AKA Page Titles) & Meta Descriptions are small pieces of code that are written in the source code of a webpage. They outline the content of a specific page to search engines. The vast majority of Shopify sites don’t edit or adjust there Meta Tags. This means that they aren’t getting the traffic that they should be through Google.

Meta Tags don’t directly improve your rankings or help you show for new search terms. They help to get you the maximum amount of traffic for the search terms that you are already showing for. Here at Digital Choice, we think of meta tags like free ads for your website. Without editing, websites aren’t making the most of their free advertising & free traffic. You can read up more about meta tags in our article.

Setting Up Google Shopping Ads On Shopify

Google shopping is a great way to advertise your products on Google to potential customers. This style of campaign is one of the first that we will run campaigns for, and generally is where they will get the best results. In this article, we are going to go through what you will need to do to set up your website, create the right accounts and create your first Google Shopping Campaign for a Shopify Website. So basically everything you need to do to get products on google shopping. We are assuming that you already have a live website, with products and the relevant information stored in Shopify.

Before you run any form of advertising (particularly through google), we strongly recommend that you have a solid and well working SEO base. SEO isn’t just about ranking for keywords, it’s about improving websites for your potential customers. If you’re interested in getting this set-up first, you can reach out and look through our SEO services before running your first Google Shopping campaigns.

What Accounts Are Needed

The steps involved in running a shopping campaign are a bit more intricate than those required to run a Google Search or Google Display Campaign. These campaigns use keywords or other targeting methods, whereas Google Shopping uses a data feed (basically a summary of all of your product information) to control where your ad appears. As such advertisers will need to have or create two Google Accounts.

Google Ads Account

First of all you will need a Google Ads Account. This is where you will create the campaign, make adjustments to the budgets, set relevant bidding strategies and basically review and adjust anything performance based. Google Ads is where you would also be able to create Google Search, Google Display & YouTube Campaigns.

Google Merchant Centre

The second account you will need is a Google Merchant Centre Account. As we previously mentioned, Google Shopping uses a data feed to generate the content of your shopping ads, determine where to show your ads, provide context over who the product is designed for and many other things that we will discuss shortly. Websites can only have one Merchant Centre Account associated with them, and to control this Google requires advertisers to verify that they manage the website. The most foolproof way that we have found to verify a website is by copying the meta-tag and placing on the homepage of your Shopify Store in the <Head> section. Other methods to verify your website include using Google Analytics or through Google Tag Manager, but we have found issues through these methods.

Linking Your Accounts

The Merchant Centre is where you will provide your product information and Google Ads is where you will actually control the advertising, so naturally you will need to link the two accounts together. This process is quite simple. First you will need to find your Google Ads ID, this is a 10 digit number which you can find on the top right when you log in to Google Ads, this number will look something like 123-456-7890. Once you have this number, write it down or highlight and copy on your computer, you will need to input this number in your Merchant Centre. Don’t close this yet, as you will have to accept linking the accounts here shortly.

Once you’ve got a copy of your Google Ads ID, open up and login to your Merchant Centre Account. Again, up the top right you will see three dots in a vertical line like this , click and open up the Account Linking tab. Lower down on the page you will see the option to input your Google Ads ID. Once you have submitted the ID, it should show as ‘pending invitation’. To complete the process you will need to open up your Google Ads Account. In the top menu, click on ‘Tools & Settings’ on the right, and open up ‘Linked Accounts’, near the bottom of the page there will be a section for Google Merchant Centre, once you have clicked on ‘Details’ you should be able to see the pending invitation to accept.

What Is A Data Feed

Put simply, a data feed is a file which contains all of the relevant information that you will need to send to Google in order to list products on google shopping. In order to get the best results from your Shopping Campaigns, it is important to include as much information as you can in this feed and more importantly you’ll need to make sure that this stays up to date whenever you make changes to the website. Some of the most important product attributes that you need to have include:

  • Product ID, Title, Description, URL & Image URL
  • Product Price
  • Product Availability
  • Google Product Category
  • Product Type
  • Manufacturer / Brand
  • GTIN / Barcode
  • Product Condition
  • Size
  • Colour

How To Create A Data Feed

Google accepts feeds in multiple formats, including .txt, .xml, manually through a Google Sheet & through Content API. The most common is an XML feed, however recently Content API is a relatively new release and has become a lot more popular, offering a far better experience for everyone involved. The great news is that through Shopify you get access to some really easy ways of creating a Data Feed.

Google Sheets

This is only recommended for websites with a small inventory (from 0 – 50), where pricing and availability doesn’t change very often. The easiest way to create a Google Sheets feed is by logging into your merchant centre and create a new feed, this is found under Products, Feeds and clicking the blue button with the +. Once you have clarified which language and moved to the next stage you will be able to select Google Sheets and use the template provided. just to make life a bit easier, we’ve created a spreadsheet shopping feed which you can copy and use for your own products.

The best part about a Google sheet feed is that whenever you update the spreadsheet your ads will almost instantly update. The downside is that you have to manually input and update the information whenever anything changes on the website. Think about how many times your products go in or out of stock, pricing changes or new season stock comes, it would be a very time consuming task, which is why we only recommend for websites with small inventories.

TXT & XML Feeds

This feed type is the most common and will generate and update the information as your website updates. The best way to create these feeds is by using one of the various Google Shopping Apps in the Shopify App Store. These will generally update on a daily basis, meaning you make changes to the websites or regularly having products go in and out of stock, then you will need to manually go into the merchant centre and get Google to re-process the feed. For most websites, using an XML feed will give decent results and once set-up won’t require too much maintenance.

Content API

This is the latest feed format released by Google and is the best by far. Content API basically sends your website information to Google in realtime. Meaning that whenever there are product changes on the website, this information is sent to Google within 20-30 minutes and your ads have been updated. It’s by far the easiest to set-up, simply link your Shopify website with your Merchant centre (each app will do this slightly differently) and wait for your products to be reviewed. We always recommend using Content API for customers, as there are now plenty of options available and where we see customers getting the best results.

Why Is A Feed Important

You can think of the data feed as the foundation of your shopping campaigns success. Behind website functionality, your data feed is what sets the campaigns performance. The data feed is what we send to Google for review. It contains product information that tells Google and anyone that searches on Google what your product is all about. This is why it is so important to include as much information as you can in your feed. It is your feed that controls what search terms your ads appear for and what information users can see before clicking on your ad.

The easiest way for advertisers to waste a lot of time and money is by creating shopping feeds using a poor quality data feed. Not only will you be unlikely to get many sales from your campaigns, but you’re also like to frustrate the user at the same time. There is nothing worse than for a user to click on an add that has one price, but then when they get to the website or worse halfway through checking out to realise that it is $20 more expensive. Your data feed needs to be correct, with us much information as possible and needs to update as you update your website.

It’s worthwhile doing some checks once in a while to make sure your data feed stays up to date. Not only are you likely to annoy potential customers, which is the opposite of what you are trying to do and what Google wants, but you can actually have your Merchant Centre Account suspended. If you have inaccurate data, meaning if there is a difference between what you are submitting to Google and what they can find on your website, then you entire account can be paused until the issues are 100% fixed. Google is generally generous giving advertisers some leniency, but if issues are resolved over time then they will give you a certain date to have all issues fixed before putting a holt to your advertising and sales. It’s fair to say, that we place a high importance on your feed quality and make sure that you never have to experience an outage like this, as it can debilitate an account & websites performance for quite a while until the issue is resolved.

Feed Verification

So, once you have submitted your feed in the Merchant Centre, now you have to wait… Yes, unfortunately as keen as you are to get advertising and see those sales rolling in, you have to wait until Google has reviewed your feed, made sure that it matches what is labelled on the website and you have all of the requirements on your website to be allowed to advertise on Google Shopping. This process can vary on a website by website basis, normally we see up to 3 business days, but I’ve heard of some taking 10 business days. Either way, good things come to those who wait, so just be patient, check each day and you will be rewarded eventually.

If your website doesn’t stand up against Google’s policies, or if you have issues with your data feed, it will be at this stage that you will find out. Normally we see most products getting approved, with some requiring some minor adjustments or improvements. Ideally we would like 100% of products approved, due to a range of reasons this can’t always be achieved (at least straight away). Again, Google is quite generous by providing a list of issue products and what policy they are violating, however in most cases fixes to products need to be done on an individual basis and need to be worked at over time.

If you have seen 100% of products disapproved, then chances are your website hasn’t complied to one of Google’s policies. Google has much harder restrictions for Shopping than they do for Search campaigns, so don’t be too disheartened as you will still be able to do some form of advertising while fixing the issue. We’ve included a list of some of the common issues that we see, most of these are just part of a website best practice and are becoming less of an issue.

  • Contact Us information – Including a phone number or email address
  • Clear Returns & Refund policy found on the website
  • Clear billing – No added pricing at checkout etc or hidden costs
  • Invalid Images – Make sure
  • No GTINs or Incorrect GTINs – GTINs are you products barcodes

Creating A Google Shopping Campaign

Now that your products have been reviewed by Google and you have fixed up any issues with GTINs or put in a returns policy, you can now create your campaign in Google Ads. This process is quite easy as you have already done most of the work! Once you have logged in to Google Ads simply, open up the ‘Campaigns’ tab on the left, click on the blue & white + button and select new campaign. Choose sales as your goal and underneath will appear an option to select a Shopping campaign.

This will give you an opportunity to make sure that your initial settings are correct, so make sure you have the right Merchant Centre selected along with the correct country. If you are wanting to advertise in multiple countries don’t worry, you will be able to adjust this later. You will now have two different shopping campaign types to choose from. If you website is more established then you can start straight with a ‘Smart Shopping’ campaign. If your website is on the newer side or you aren’t getting many sales, then we recommend starting with a Standard Shopping campaign and transitioning at a later stage. Depending on which shopping campaign type you will be given slightly different options from here.

Smart Shopping Final Set-Up

Once you have selected your campaign type as ‘Smart Shopping’, you will be given a chance to name your campaign, choose your daily budget & set a ROAS target. This is a topic for another time, but our recommendation to start is not to set a target, this will let Google work towards maximising the overall revenue.

In the next stage you will be able to choose your product groups. This is where you can determine what you would like to advertise and what you want to exclude. You can basically segment your products by the main attributes in your data feed.

Smart Shopping campaigns opens up new areas for your shopping campaigns to run ads, this includes on Youtube, throughout the Google Display Network & on the ‘Promotions’ tab in Gmail. As such you will need to include some text elements, including headlines, descriptions & a URL, as well as a ‘Marketing Image’ which can also be used. So make sure you have these handy, as you can’t proceed without them.

Congratulations, once you have input this information and clicked save you have launched your Smart Shopping campaign. Unfortunately, the work isn’t over yet though, skip below to see the next steps.

Standard Shopping Final Set-Up

Once you have selected your campaign type as ‘Standard Shopping’, you will be asked to choose between ‘Product Shopping’ & ‘Showcase Shopping’. Essentially ‘Product Shopping’ will for ads that are run for product specific searches i.e. ‘Apple iPhone XS’, while ‘Showcase Shopping’ is more at the category level, i.e. ‘Smart Phones’. To start with, we recommend Product Shopping, but the choice is yours.

Once you have selected your Ad Group Type, you can give this ad group a relevant name and choose your maximum bid (this is the maximum amount you are willing to pay per click). Click ‘Save’ and your done. Congratulations you’ve completed creating a shopping campaign. But the job isn’t over yet, as at the moment you are advertising all of your products. If you only want to select a certain amount, you will need to go into the relevant Ad Group and adjust the product group (by clicking the + next to ‘all products’). You are able to segment your products by the main fields in your data feed.

Reviewing Your Shopping Campaign Performance

In the initial stages of your campaign, the best thing that you can do is to leave it alone. Don’t touch a single thing, for at least the first 6 weeks. Google looks at campaign history to predict future campaign performance and quality score. As you have just launched a campaign, you don’t have this history, but you are starting to accumulate it. Generally, Google can look at anything up to the last 12 weeks worth of data for campaign history, so you should be seeing weekly improvements in your CPC or sales for the first period.

The ongoing optimisation on your campaign will vary depending on the goals you have outlined for the campaign, the campaign type you have selected and a whole range of other factors. The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to give the ads and campaigns time to build momentum, most often customers will go to your website multiple times before making a purchase, so you need to give them that time before analysing your campaign success.

Google Shopping Summary

There you have it, our complete guide to setting up a Google Shopping campaign from start to finish. We have extensive knowledge over running these campaigns, and putting in strategies to make sure that you are getting the most out of your campaigns. If you’d rather not go through that entire process, then reach out via our google ads packages page.

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