For better or worse, Google search still accounts for the vast majority of searches on the internet, which means traffic to your e-commerce store depends on whether you show up on Google’s search results pages. While Google has many bots to scour the web for indexing purposes, you can help get your store on Google’s radar much quicker and more extensively if you submit a sitemap of your website.
Let’s take it from Google itself:
"A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. Search engines like Google read this file to more intelligently crawl your site. A sitemap tells the crawler which files you think are important in your site, and also provides valuable information about these files: for example, for pages, when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and any alternate language versions of a page."
In general, e-commerce stores have the most to gain from submitting sitemaps to Google because they contain extensive product pages, with more added all the time. Especially if the cross-linking between all your store’s pages isn’t great, sitemaps are a quick solution to make sure no page slips through the cracks.
Shopify’s platform will automatically create a sitemap of your e-commerce store. All you need to do is locate the file to submit to Google. Luckily, it’s really easy to find.
All you need to do is type your main domain and add “/sitemap.xml” in your web browser. So your Shopify sitemap URL should look like this:
That will generate an page of XML that looks similar to this:
All you’ll need is this URL, but you can also save as an XML from your web browser if you’d like a copy just in case (just choose “Save As XML file”).
If you haven’t utilized Google Webmaster Tools yet, now is the time. It’s how you’ll access your Google Search Console that will give you access to how Google views your site. From general analytics, to crawl errors, to website improvement suggestions; it’s an essential tool for anyone running an e-commerce store that relies on Google for traffic. Not to mention, it’s how you submit your Shopify sitemap.
If you haven’t yet submitted a sitemap, it’s possible you have yet to verify your ownership of your e-commerce domain with Google.
Once you’ve verified your site, you can now submit your Shopify sitemap. In your Google Search Console, make sure you picked the site you want to submit a sitemap for in the upper left hand navigation drop-down menu. Then, select sitemap.
On the resulting screen, just paste in “sitemap.xml” since in Shopify, the sitemap is right on the root domain. Click submit, and Google will start processing your sitemap.
It can take Google a few days to crawl your site after you’ve submitted your Shopify sitemap, especially if your site is large. You can log back into the Google Search Console to see whether it has finished crawling.
Once it’s complete, you’ll see it live under Submitted sitemaps:
From here, you’ll see how many URLs Google crawled and whether there are any errors in the crawling that you need to address.
With your Shopify sitemap submitted to Google, your e-commerce store will have a much better chance of ranking on Google’s search results page. It’s the first step to getting great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) done on your store so it starts climbing the ranks toward the number one spot.
Submitting your sitemap is just one of many SEO techniques that you should be using to improve your store's online visibility.
For example, you should do everything you can to make your site load faster. Google and other search engines will measure your site's "bounce rate" when determining where you're positioned in search rankings - this is the percentage of visitors who land on your site but back out before clicking through to another page. If your site takes a long time to load (in this context, a few seconds is a long time), you're going to get a lot of bounces.
The Shogun page builder app allows you to easily create high-quality pages for your store, and it will also help you improve SEO. Shogun uses methods such as image compression and lazy loading to improve performance, so you'll be able to reduce your bounce rate and rise up in the search rankings.