One of the most neglected pages on Shopify is the collection page.
Some SEO apps add review structured data to the collection page in an attempt to qualify for Review Rich Results. However, adding reviews of a collection is a violation of Google’s guidelines. (e.g T-shirts collection has 5 reviews is not acceptable)
Google’s guidelines say they only want reviews on single products and not a collection of products.
Provide review information about a specific item, not about a category or a list of items.
That’s why JSON-LD for SEO only adds the product and reviews structured data on the individual product pages.
So I want to explore a few ideas on how you can improve collection pages to help you with your SEO and your customers experience.
1. Collection description
Many store owners forget that you can actually add content to your collection pages.
Adding the content helps you to describe what’s in the collection. It sets the stage so that a customer knows what products they should expect to see.
When you skip the description, there’s a risk of a random product title or your filters showing as your description in search results.
A well crafted description will help the page be more relevant both for your customers and for keyword optimization.
2. Collection meta description
The meta description is the ideal place to describe collections for search engines.
In search engine results, this is typically what shows up under the URL and title of the page.
I say typically because this field is a recommendation for search engines and is not guaranteed. If the meta description doesn’t match what’s on the page or Google sees it as keyword stuffing, they will pick content on the page that makes the most sense.
If you’re struggling with what to write about, try adding the common benefits across the products in that particular collection.
The meta description can be the same as the collection description but there is a 320 character limit in Shopify. Keep in mind that this should land around 140-150 characters to ensure it fits in Google’s limit.
3. Clear collection titles
Creating collection names that are clear will add structure to your navigation and filter options. Use collection titles that make sense to the customer. This may or may not be what you think the best titles are, so make sure you know your customers.
You can see what customers search for on your site in Google Search Console. If you have a good number of queries for a set of products that can be in a collection, make them a collection.
For example, Women’s Runners is better than just Shoes.
Only add products to the collection that are relevant to the collection title. Meaning I shouldn’t see a hat in Women’s Runners. You can upsell hats, but that’s for another article.
Once you’ve got the collection titles, make collections easy to find by adding them to your navigation menu and/or use them as filters.
Another tip is to pick your top collections you want to highlight and add them to your homepage. You can add a little blurb next to an image that highlights products in the collection, helping you to pull the customer in deeper to the site.
You’ll also want to be careful not to over-categorize your products. If you create so many collections that there’s only a few products in each, you’ve gone too far. You don’t want collections to feel empty.
4. Add alt text
The purpose of alt text is to describe what’s happening in the image. This is essential for web accessibility to allow those who use a screen reader to “see” the image.
It’s also a key component to SEO. Google is much like a visually impaired person. They can’t see the image, but alt text allows them to still understand the picture.
Add alt text to your collection image and make sure all product images have alt text as well.
Unfortunately, the spot to add alt text for images feels hidden which makes remembering to add alt text difficult. In case you didn’t know, after you add the image, click on the image to add alt text.
5. Display the collection name
Show the name of your collection on the page to add a hierarchy and structure to your collection page. It also helps your customers to know where they are and what page they are looking at.
This should be a heading 1 or heading 2 in the theme code. Having at least a heading 1 or 2 on every page is an important piece to your SEO.
Themes that use a proper HTML hierarchy will outperform themes who put everything in paragraphs or spans. If you’re not sure if your theme uses semantic HTML, ask them.
6. Use badges
Displaying specific product reviews on collections pages is a big trust booster (e.g. a red shirt can have 5 reviews). If you’re already displaying reviews on your product pages, I recommend showing the review stars on the collection as well.
Make sure you display product information and specific product reviews all the time. I’ve seen many stores that only show the product information when you hover on the image. This hides the details at a glance and can cause friction for the customer.
Another pro tip with badges is to highlight product differentiators. For example, if you sell food and some products are vegan, gluten free, nut free etc, add a product badge!
These tips may seem like a lot, or they may be obvious to you. Yet I don’t see many stores doing all these well on their collection pages. That’s why I include them as part of the Website Rescues. They are six of 150 items I check and help to improve during our time together.