Call Scooby-Doo: The case of the missing Shopify products in the search results

There’s a lot of technology behind the scenes that Google uses to build up their search results.

One customer emailed me with a question that highlights a very important concept that you should know with Shopify stores and SEO. It’s a bit technical but understanding it will help you with a lot of common SEO problems.

The customer wrote:

I can’t find the product page [https://example.com/collections/mens-watches/products/example-1234] in the SERP [search engine result pages] at all.

Basically, this customer was trying to find a url to one of their products in the search results but they were unable to.

Sometimes this is because a page hasn’t been found and indexed by Google yet but that’s uncommon for popular pages.

What was really happening was that the url they were using is the product and collection url. Notice the /collections/[collection name]/ in the url:

https://example.com/collections/mens-watches/products/example-1234

But when you look at the product page itself there’s a special tag called the canonical url that looks like this:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/products/example-1234" />

The canonical url basically says that the official, main page is located at this url.

This tells Google to ignore other pages and instead use this page for their analysis and search listings.

This lets you have multiple duplicate pages in your site without getting penalized by Google.

In Shopify, most of the time the canonical url is the main product page without a collection. Then all of the collection pages for that product will "point" their canonical tag to the main page.

So across the entire store there might be several urls for this product, depending on which collections it belongs to.

  • https://example.com/collections/mens-watches/products/example-1234
  • https://example.com/collections/diving-watches/products/example-1234
  • https://example.com/collections/digital-watches/products/example-1234
  • https://example.com/collections/clearance/products/example-1234
  • https://example.com/products/example-1234

The first four of those all point to the final fifth page.

That fifth page is the one Google will analyze, ignoring the other four.

So back to the customer’s question, they couldn’t find that page since they were looking for a collection page (mens watches).

If they search for the product page instead, it showed up.

And in this specific case, the product page included the full set of Rich Snippets too. Price, availability, and the orange review stars.

Now if you’re ever searching for a specific page in the search results but you’re unable to find it, check the canonical tag on that page and see if it’s pointing to a different url. Chances are you’ll find that page instead.

Though I can’t promise any results with it, after seeing the additional traffic and sales some customers are getting, installing JSON-LD for SEO might be one of the highest ROI decisions you make today.

Install JSON-LD for SEO

Eric Davis

Get more organic search traffic for your Shopify store

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Increase organic SEO traffic through Google's Rich Results. One click allows search engines and others to understand your store and products.

Install JSON-LD for SEO