Using a single domain for multiple Shopify stores (Shopify accounts) is absolutely possible – and is a good idea from an SEO Standpoint. What I mean by that is, if you’re wanting to get free traffic from Google to your stores, having Shopify stores setup on a single domain name is the best way to leverage this free traffic.
Now, Shopify has an imperfect approach to setting up multiple stores on a single sub-domain.
Ideally what we’d see is each site setup on a “Sub-Directory”
What I mean by sub-directory is this:
Ultimately Google KNOWS and treats these all as the same website – meaning the “Authority, Trust & Relevancy” signals are shared across your stores without a second thought.
A subdomain on the other hand is like this:
See the difference?
Google see’s these sites as COMPLETELY different websites.
This is because they can be!
Think about free blogging websites like WordPress or blogspot.
Even better, think about the domain name that Shopify gives you if you DON’T provide them with a domain name of your own.
the “Domain Name” part of that domain above is “myshopify.com”
Meaning you SHARE the MAIN domain with thousands of other stores, many with poor quality information on them, poor trust signals, and a wide range of irrelevant topics to your store.
So Google MUST treat each of those sites as completely separate websites.
That being said!
If you work hard on your SEO and TIE TOGETHER these sites in other ways, you can send strong signals to Google that these Sub-domains used for your other Shopify stores are all closely related to each other and in fact “the same store”.
This approach helps Trust, Authority and Relevancy signals travel between sub-domains. But more on exactly how to do that later…
So how to setup multiple Shopify stores with the same domain name?
Simply setup each store on a SUB-DOMAIN
I gave examples above, but these could equally be:
So when configuring Shopify – configure it to use a SUB-DOMAIN to take this approach.
The good news – you only pay for the domain name ONCE.
You can create as many sub-domains on your main domain as you’d like – you set these up with your domain registrar (GoDaddy for example).
As you expand, you add another sub-domain.
Sub-Directories are better for eCommerce SEO than Sub-Domains
Sub-Directories are better for eCommerce SEO than Sub-Domains.
It would be completely radical of me to say you could never achieve this with Shopify – but the way their system is setup, it’s almost impossible unless you get deep into customisation and configuration at the server level. I believe this is only something you could dream of, even if you are part of the Shopify Plus programme.
We’ve had conversations with the guys at Shopify Plus about this and they say “in theory” this could be done – but they didn’t have any examples of where it had been done. Then on another call, they flat out said it wasn’t possible. I believe it’s probably the latter. It’s a SAAS offering – and server configuration on a customer by customer level just isn’t a viable approach.
WooCommerce on the other hand isn’t a SAAS – it’s a Software.
Software that can be installed and configured really easily – and even more attractive is that multiple WooCommerce stores can be setup on a single domain using SUB-DIRECTORIES.
WooCommerce absolutely KILLS Shopify when it comes to SEO.
It’s therefore no surprise that WooCommerce also wins hands down over Shopify in this area too.
For eCommerce entrepreneurs who build SEO traffic into their business model and business plan from an early point in their business growth – the flaws that Shopify has when it comes to optimizing for Search Traffic are so great that WooCommerce is an option that should be considered, and re-considered at every step of the growth journey.
In the Shopify vs WooCommerce battle – WooCommerce doesn’t just beat Shopify – Shopify doesn’t even put up a fight.
Why doesn’t Shopify get better in terms of SEO?
The truth is, Shopify isn’t interested in SEO.
They’ve pretty much said as much when in discussion with me personally. In fact to make sure I’m being clear, the actual phrase was that “Our customers (store owners) aren’t really focused on or interested in SEO, so we don’t focus on it closely”
So the people whom Shopify deem their customers are people who AREN’T interested in search traffic…
Shopify are MUCH more focused on customers (store owners) who are focused PURELY on paid traffic channels – like Facebook Ads.
So it’s not even on Shopify’s radar to get better in terms of SEO for store owners.
WooCommerce is winning a fight that Shopify hasn’t even turned up to – that’s the truth.
Personally I think this is short sighted of Shopify – as paid acquisition is ever increasing in cost, meanwhile search traffic continues to grow and be more cost effective than ever.
The store owners of this decade will be a lot more focused on SEO and Organic traffic as a whole as economic pressures pile on and online shopping trends grow – the opportunity to mop up the increasing search traffic that’s already “in the market” and actively searching will be taken advantage of by store owners who have an SEO strategy.
When eCommerce is in such significant growth – the problem isn’t demand generation. It’s demand CAPTURE – and being more effective at it than your competition. Demand generation through paid advertising is ALWAYS going to be more expensive than demand capture – where the customer is ready to buy, you just need to point them at the right offer. Conversion rates are higher, traffic costs are lower and profitability is at it’s highest.
So focusing on SEO now is a great idea.
Whether using Shopify or WooCommerce – you can formulate a strategy and take steps to generate traffic from organic search (Google of course!).
You can make your life harder or easier when it comes to SEO – it depends on other factors in your business of course.
The choice between Shopify or WooCommerce is rarely made purely on the grounds of SEO.
Equally, there’s a significant amount of misinformation about WooCommerce being more complicated than Shopify which probably forces many store owners to choose Shopify over WooCommerce based on “fake news” and misinformation (much of which is spread by the WooCommerce community!)
When it comes to international eCommerce we have a roadmap that delivers a robust approach to scaling with risk and cost management taken into account – meanwhile keeping things “codeless” i.e. without the need for a single line or code or developer on hand!
You can checkout my guide to multi-country eCommerce with WooCommerce here.
Connecting Sub-Domains together in the eyes of Google using Shopify
I’ll write more on this in coming weeks, but for now I’ll simply mention that you need a multi-lingual Shopify App which can be added to EACH store you have setup on a sub-domain.
This DOESN’T mean that it only deals with different languages…
What I mean by that is if you had a store targeting the USA and a store targeting the UK – you would set the language tags, called “hreflang tags” to en-us for the US and en-gb for the UK.
Both Shopify stores would be written in “English” but the “hreflang tags” send a signal to Google to say THIS PAGE is the SAME as THIS OTHER PAGE – but it’s not duplicate content, it’s simply content that should appear for searchers based in the UK vs USA.
Google therefore makes a STRONG connection between the 2 SEPARATE websites and sees that they’re actually interconnected websites.
To find out more about using hreflang directly from Google – check out this guide. It’s dry and written for developers. You DON’T need to know any of this – but I share it here so you can see what I’m talking about is a fundamental of multi-national eCommerce.