Shopify & Fast Simon: Tips

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A new article on Search Engine Journal reports on Fast Simon for Shopify integration and provides some handy tips for handling challenges in rendering, crawling, and pagination.

Clearly, Shopify is attracting sites with bigger technological requirements. A lot of these larger Shopify stores are utilizing the Fast Simon technology for faceted navigation, category page personalization, improving internal site search, and more. Here, the author looks at a Fast Simon integration and offers some tips you can use to make yours go smoother:
  1. Enable Prerendering: When we first started working with the website, one of our main concerns was that a lot of the key content on their website was getting loaded through JavaScript. For instance, when turning off JavaScript, after reviewing the raw HTML, we were able to confirm that the content wasn't getting server-side rendered. While Google can crawl JavaScript, this means that Google's second wave of indexing must parse through the JavaScript to properly index the content. While Google has improved its ability to crawl JavaScript, this led to some uncertainty as to whether or not Google was able to get complete indexes of their pages. As well, when looking at Google's rendering tools, we saw that an individual page's content was getting loaded in very long <script> tags which also gave us pause. When looking at Google's rendering tools, we saw that an individual page's content was getting loaded in very long <script> tags which also gave us pause. Fortunately, when talking with Fast Simon's support team, they were extremely helpful and were able to implement prerendering of the content. This means that the content loaded by the JavaScript is also server-side rendered in the raw HTML. This means that we know Google will be able to crawl and index an HTML snapshot of the page. It gives us extra security in case Google has any issues crawling and indexing some of the content loaded through JavaScript. If you're a store that uses Fast Simon, I highly recommend ensuring that you're using prerendering. Their support team is really strong and was able to implement this quickly for our client.
  2. Block The Crawling Of The Faceted Navigation: Since Fast Simon implements faceted navigation, this is something that SEOs need to be sure to account for. Faceted navigations can significantly increase the number of potential indexable pages. This can lead to Google crawling and indexing a large number of duplicate pages. While Fast Simon currently utilizes canonical tags that point to the root category page, canonical tags are hints and not directives. Fortunately, you can now edit Shopify's robots.txt to block the crawl of these duplicate pages. This approach might be preferred to canonical tags in most cases as Googlebot will respect the robots.txt commands and should not crawl the content. If we block Google's ability to crawl the content, it should hopefully result in decreased indexation here. This is especially important if Google is spending a large amount of crawl budget parsing through JavaScript.
  3. Ensure Google Is Allowed To Crawl Pagination: Another adjustment you'll want to make is to ensure that Google can crawl through the site's pagination. Sometimes with Fast Simon setups, we see that this is actually being blocked. This means that technically Google is not allowed to crawl through the pagination. Googlebot won't be able to use pagination as a pathway to access deeper products within the website's hierarchy. As well, link equity won't be distributed via pagination. Fortunately, the solution here is pretty straightforward. You just need to replace the "?sort_by" parameter in the pagination with something else. For our client, we recommended they create a new URL parameter similar to what Fashion Nova has done:
#fast #shopify #simon #tips
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  • Profile picture of the author Klara Pelhe
    I really got fond of Shopify lately as I discovered it has some pretty cool features and its performances are also very satisfying, especially for the e-commerce sites. So, I'm glad to see now they are working on the implementation of some new technologies like Fast Simon is, as if it will help us improve internal search, make pages more personalized and so on, it will really become one of the most influental CMS out there that will beat up all competitors in no time.
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