Shopify SEO: Tips to Rank Your E-Store for Higher Conversion

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Today, we speak to Kristaps and Kaspars. Kristaps is the CMO of On The Map, Inc and runs the SEO, SEM, and web development teams of 100+ people. His current focus is on SEO product improvements, inbound lead generation, and constant contribution to ensure rapid agency growth. 

Kaspars is the CTO at On the Map, inc. He manages a development team of 15+ people. He is making it to the INC. 5000 list for three years in a row and has been listed into Forbes 30 under 30 in Latvia

In this episode, they will speak on the topic “Shopify SEO: Tips to Rank Your E-Store for Higher Conversion.

Stay tuned for the next podcast episode, where our guest, Nickey Pickorita, discusses the three phases of ranking content on Google.

Show notes

How big is the Shopify ecosystem?

Is Shopify completely competent? 

People used to come across something called forced URL structures when it comes to Shopify, could you speak more about that?

Isn’t it a great feature that Shopify canonicalizes web pages by default?

Do people need to build a separate blog on WordPress when they already have their e-commerce store on Shopify?

Are most themes pre-approved on Shopify? 

Can you tell us more about how product descriptions on Shopify would look like for every country?

 If you add tons of descriptions copied from the manufacturer, it’s going to damage your website even more. Do you agree?

Is getting an app approved is easier compared to getting a theme approved on Shopify?

When did you guys launch the Accessibility app? 

 When is the next version of Accessibly is going live? Are there any other features coming up?

Show Notes Explanation

Hey guys, welcome to another episode of SEO on air. Today, we have a couple of special guests with us. They are the Shopify experts, and their names are Kris and Kaspars. Kris is the CMO of On the Map Marketing and Kaspars is the CTO of On the Map Marketing. Hello gentlemen, welcome to the show.

Kaspars:  Hey, Senthil. Thanks for having us. 

Senthil: Great. So guys, Kaspars and the team have done a really fantastic job when it comes to Shopify. They have their own app, Accessibly, which is downloadable. I think it’s been used for over 65 million times in the last 30 days. So it’s like a wonderful thing. There are a lot of celebrity websites using this app. And as you know, Shopify is really big these days, they have close to a hundred billion dollar evaluation, and it’s like, they’re just rocking the show when it comes to eCommerce sites. 

So, Kris, I think you’re the best person to answer this question.How many sites are there in Shopify? Whenever we speak to any e-commerce, they usually say they have their site built on Shopify. So how big is the Shopify ecosystem?

Kris: Well, it’s massively large, and it keeps growing every day. So some fun facts. I don’t know precisely how many Shopify sites are out there. Kaspars might know the exact number, but the fact that sales from the top 10,000 sites around 4% are on Shopify right now.

 So we’re talking about the top 10,000 most visited websites, and the number 4% is quite staggering, thinking what the previous ecosystem has looked like, and that number will continue growing too.

Senthil: Absolutely, because the moment we think about e-commerce, we think about Magento or WooCommerce because in WooCommerce, especially, it’s free, so a lot of people are going to use it, but Shopify is completely competent, isn’t it?

Kris: Yeah. I think Shopify has focused so heavily on a prebuilt system where people can launch their own websites. Like for instance, my mom totally surprised me like a year and a half ago. She’s a painter, and she launched her own websites alone to sell her paintings, and I had no idea she was working on it, and she did it all by herself without any preexisting development knowledge. So, just the ability of how they set up their system is so effective, that’s why I think they also have such a high level of success right now.

Senthil: That’s great. I need to check with my mom, as well. I shouldn’t be surprised if she’s selling some English books online. Anyway, Kris, when it comes to Shopify, the first thing that we as an SEO think, “Oh my God, there’s not going to be as many options available, we don’t have access to the robots file, there’s going to be a lot of URL restructuring, duplicate content issues, and stuff. Most importantly, people used to come across something called forced URL structures when it comes to Shopify. So could you please share some more light on that? 

Kris: Absolutely, and I kind of had a feeling you were going to talk about it because, like all things technology, there are certain pre-existing opinions about stuff. So, let’s dive into some of these facts, and we’ll give you guys our opinion, how we do SEO and what do we think about Shopify? You know, being someone working with Shopify sites almost daily, what would we do? 

So one would mention the forced URL structure, right? So Shopify, by default, breaks down your website in five types of URLs. So one just a regular product URL. I guess you can override the URLs if you wanted to, but by default, they will come with this “products” folder for all your products. What’s interesting is this is your main unique URL for all your products. 

Second thing Shopify does by default and I actually really love the fact that they do, and some people might say they don’t like it, but from site structure perspectives, they automatically trade your category pages. So, in this case, if I was going to optimize a page for women’s shirts, they have already created this collections URL. For me, all women’s shirts will appear on this page. So all I have to do is take this product, and I want to say, okay, place this product in my women’s shirts collection. 

They simplified all my SEO work while other people would be doing some kind of custom structuring. And maybe in WordPress, we even have to write those types of systems for ourselves, right? But Shopify has thought about it from the get-go. And they said, “Well if you’re going to have several products, you’re going to put them in different types of categories.” So I love this actual load default setup they have.

Now, the next one is kind of tricky, and I think this is where people get confused. So Shopify will take the product that you have submitted, and then they will create another version of that product within these collections you put them in. So we would say, “Okay, that’s duplicate content,” but what’s interesting by default they add a canonical tag for this product already in this new URL that they generated. 

So, we’re signalling Google and saying, “Hey, this is the original URL, but here’s a copy of that URL.” We just have this copy to add it to this collections page. So in such a way, we’re dealing with the duplicate content kind of issue, but at the same time by default, create canonical tags. It’s not per se like a huge issue right up front. And then, there are two other types of URL structures. Sorry. Was there a question about that?

Senthil: I was about to ask this. This is quite surprising when you mentioned that this canonicalization is done by default because, you know, this puts us SEOs into an embarrassing field. The moment when we pick up a site and run it through Siteliner, it’s going to pick up the duplicate content, and then we need to say that to the client, but by default, Shopify is already solving it. It’s not like we have to say that these are duplicate content because the canonical tag is already added. Right? So this is such a wonderful thing.  

Kris: Right, and again, there are so many ways to do SEO and so many opinions, such as do canonical tags work, or they don’t, that’s like an ongoing debate, but in our experience, this solution works. There are two other types of pages; one is triggering regular pages. So these would be like informational pages, FAQs, or other types of things. And then also a blog structure. So Shopify also gives you a default blog structure, and you’re going to get into this a little bit more afterwards.

But they have really thought about what does a site owner need to make this website successful? Like they provide tons of information out there on how to optimize your website, etc. And they have really thought about it, not just like, “Okay, we’ll create some really good help guides.” They built the site with this thought behind it like,” Okay, what are the default settings that site owners would need to be super self-sufficient and from day one so that they can start publishing tons of content and necessary information out there for their eCommerce store?”

Senthil: Yeah, normally people think, “We have a store built on Shopify, and then we host the blog in WordPress.” That’s what usually people tend to do, but we get the complete set of features. So I don’t think people have to worry about having a separate blog on WordPress, right?

Kris: No, you don’t have to. Maybe there were some older versions of Shopify. Kaspars, perhaps you have some thoughts on that?

Kaspars: I think it’s just people don’t know how to do it. So it’s just a lack of knowing things. So if you do it right, you shouldn’t add a blog to WordPress. It should be done in Shopify. At least that’s what I think.

Kris: Okay, cool. So I guess that’s kind of dive in. So like the pros and cons of these kinda default settings, right? So pros, automatic page categorization in silos. I love that. Like site structure is such an exciting topic for me. So I just think about all the collections, like from day one, you can plan what you want your site to be, and those collections will be created for you. And then you simply add them in your drop-down menus, and all your authority pages are there. Then you can start playing around with them. So that’s, that’s awesome. 

Now the cons are, there are a million ways to do SEO. But the problem is these URLs basically cannot be all written and Kaspars, you can probably talk a little more technically about it, but just kind of out of the box, like from once we started working on Shopify site, it’s like, you just need a count on the fact that your URLs will look like that for the products, collections pages, and blog.

So that’s a little bit of a con because if you want to play around with URLs, you kind of need to have very clean URLs, maybe even a little bit of keywords in them. That presents a little bit of challenge, but do you guys believe you are all structures matter a lot? Like that’s also a dilemma in SEO, like some say they do some say it doesn’t. So I don’t know.

Senthil: No seriously, Kris, because if it mattered, then Amazon shouldn’t be ranking at all. Amazon’s URL structure is just crazy. I don’t think that URL structure is going to have a bigger play on this.

Kris: Right. Exactly. So some say, “On Shopify, you can’t change the URL structure,” but it’s like, it doesn’t really matter. Let’s dive a little deeper. So, let’s say you’ve got to start your Shopify site and you want to start working on it, but you’re like, you know, I’m going to be on a trial account at first. So trial accounts are not set to index. So you need to be able to pay the account from day one. Otherwise, you’re going to be doing all this work and information will not be indexing, which may be fine, but still, it’s kind of important to keep that in mind.

So site speed is an interesting topic that a lot of people bring up when they talk about Shopify. So if you add tons of apps, it might blow your sites. But in our experience, Kaspars will add more to this, because obviously his technical background, but overall, we do not experience many site speed issues in the Shopify sites. And the main reason is like the default teams that they provide you; there’s an extremely rigorous process to get these teams approved. So by default, these teams come at super high quality and like it’s just Shopify is built to provide quality websites. So from day one, they are high quality, and the site speed is definitely above average. That’s what it is. Feel free to add to this.

Kaspars: Yeah. So basically how Shopify works, it pre-renders your code. So the code is written in liquid, and then it just renders on the server and, and shows the HTML version to your customers. But what, what I have seen in most cases when the page speed is bad, it’s really because of the poor quality apps you have added. 

So I had just won this case last week when one site was terribly slow, and they added a terms and conditions app, which could be easily written customly with only a few lines of code. So they added just an app for that, and it slowed down the whole site. It took 20 seconds to load. We removed the app, added a custom code, and it’s like one second.

Senthil: Yeah, absolutely. Because when it comes to Shopify, the standard answer is that you don’t have full control and you have to maybe look at the team and stuff, but Kaspars’s solution is great because we should probably start with trying to disable some of the apps and see if that helps with the site speed. That could be a quick fix. For example, just the terms and conditions are very simple, just simply add the content, and that’s it, you’re done. And if that is going to spoil nearly 20 seconds load time, it’s huge. And so, I think anyone who’s listening to this, if you own a Shopify site, and sense that there is a slowdown, as Kaspars has mentioned, just try disabling the apps and see if there’s one particular app that should be doing it.

I think most of the themes are already approved. Isn’t it? Because they go through a performance process and then only they are in the store. Right? 

Kris:  Yeah. So I sort of mentioned a couple of things on that too. We’re actually working on a team ourselves, and the process is probably harder to get a team approved than the actual app. Right, Kaspars? 

Kaspars: Yeah. So, actually, Shopify allows you to create the team only when they approve your ideas. So, you just kinda create the team and submit it. You could do this like three, four years ago, but now it’s a different story. Shopify has to actually approve your idea that it will be a good team and it has to be unique and so on. And yeah, the process is pretty complicated right now, which is good. I like it.

Kris: To me, that just speaks for their expectations of what kind of teams they want to give staff store owners. So like you have really high-quality teams where super-smart people are working on it. Like your end product will be really good. So like anyone can launch super high-quality sites on Shopify. I think that’s awesome.

So a couple of other highlights here. So, we were talking about the pre-default, the URL structure. So by default, one really awesome thing that Shopify does is they have both built-in product and article schema markups. I’m going to scroll back up to the product pages we were talking about, but all these product pages, they come in with built-in schema markup. So, if you want your product to come up with specific pricing, reviews, etc., Shopify already has that set up for you. You don’t need an additional plugin or anything like that. So you have it in the system itself.

Like Kaspars said, there’s absolutely no reason you should be using WordPress as your blogging solution, because Shopify has thought about that too. You have a great blog structure where these blogs come actually with article markups. So, what that means is your articles could come up in some of the news features, snippets or other elements. But, you know, those are like two easy events where people probably don’t even know that it’s available to them, but it really is. And again, just simplifies things.

Senthil: Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to have the built-in store, they’re not going to care about the markups, and that’s already been taken care of by the system itself automatically.

Kris: Yeah. And then another awesome element is out of the box redirects. So you can do redirects of the pages directly from the Shopify admin panel. So I think that that comes in handy too. I want to talk about something that we’ve had a little bit of a kind of debate and again, there are millions of ways how to do SEO, but I think this one kind of leads in a bit toward the opposite way, how Shopify is set up again. I think this is going to be an interesting one to kind of uncover so international SEO. 

So obviously, you know, you’re selling products you want to sell in different countries. That just kind of seems like a normal scenario for big stores. Right. So here’s how Shopify suggests you should be structuring your site. So you have two options, right? So get another Shopify account. Maybe they want you to have several Shopify accounts because, with millions of users, that’s probably a big profit margin for them, or, the second one is to get another domain. So I kind of pulled a couple of examples. I’m going to show as well. This example is in their help article on Shopify store with multiple countries. Let’s take a look at the option they’re suggesting and then we’re going to look at the option of how we would normally do international SEO for a custom site or any other system. 

So we can see that this is an Australian site that looks like they’re selling some cool smartphone gadgets. So we can see that this domain is dot au. The good thing about international URLs, like the TLDs, if they’re in a specific country, it means your information will be indexed instantly in that country because if he did it like the folder structure, which would be dot com, then this would be our Australian domain. Right. So the difference here is you don’t have dot com au domain. We have a direct Australian domain by default. So what happens now is that you’re kind of losing a little bit of that domain authority. If you had it under dot com and then you have basically your au pages. 

Now there could be several reasons why they’re doing that. And I think one is, again, the simplicity, because it’s probably much easier to set up several store replicas. Let’s take a look at how they did it. So up here, all these stores are interlinked, which is cool, right? So let’s go to the Canada store, boom. Now, if we directed us to the Canada store and what’s really happening is they have five different accounts, and they just have interlinked five websites needed for kind of a seamless experience. Right. So now let’s switch to the US, right. 

Senthil: Kris, I’m more interested in looking at how the product description would look for every country. You have to do a separate product description because it might end up as duplicate content, right? Can we look at one example of a product page? 

Kris: Now the question is you’re launching it as on a separate domain, and you’re setting up separate master tools too. So, maybe if the content is indexed in the US and contact is indexed in Canada, maybe it’s treated separately? We would have to dive deeper in it. I think they also in their health article talk about that because here they say, duplicate your shop. So basically migrate all your page content. So let’s see, there is no shortcut to export it, to move your page content from your original shop to your new.

Senthil: In the second point they have mentioned, “After migration to avoid being penalized by Google, be sure there are Hreflang.” So that is exactly what I was about to ask because the country-specific, hreflang tags, I think we should be able to add it and get that issue resolved.

Kris: So I guess with Hreflags,  it’s not treated as duplicate content because it’s nothing.

Senthil:  Yeah. So just like the canonicalization within the website, now this Hreflang tag is going to help you resolve that country-level duplicate content as well. So, now we are a bit safer. So I think this is quite an important thing that people should note because this is quite a common scenario as people are drop shipping, they might be shipping to multiple countries and you can’t just simply afford to do content for every country. So obviously it’s better to ensure that this is taken care of.

Kris: Yeah. And I think one thing that’s beneficial in their example is the fact that now you have several stores. So, I imagine inventory management becomes easier when you have several systems because then if they had the URL structure, which we would kind of suggest, which is everything coming under dot com and then setting up everything in a custom way….Actually, I can show you a great example Print4, maybe you guys heard of this company. They’re actually growing really fast, and they’re also out of Riga, Latvia. 

So you can see here, they have the Spanish page actually pulled it right away. So they don’t have a separate domain for the Spanish content, but it goes directly in the folder which will stand for Spain. So again, you know, this is obviously a custom site, so you can create things anywhere you want, but from domain authority perspectives, this is a much better solution than launching several sites.

But then again, there are pros of launching individual sites still because from index perspectives might be better just to launch the international TLD because then it gets picked up in that respective country from day one. But when you have the dot com, it’s a bit more complex setup to follow through and as we identified in this conversation and the call that Shopify is pushing things to be simple. So like anyone can launch international SEO like you read this article and it’s like, “Okay, I can pull this off,” or you have a developer, and you can actually pull it off without having some international SEO specialists to come in and do all the work for you. 

So Aleyda Solis, I would be curious to hear her opinion. Maybe you can have her as a guest too on international SEO. It would be fun to hear her thoughts on Shopify SEO for international kind of cases. Any afterthoughts or comments, maybe you guys feel free to ask, answer a question about us.

Senthil: Yes, Kris, like you mentioned, it’s always better to keep it two ways of looking at it. From an SEO convenience perspective, it’s always better to host it under dot com/the folders of the content, because when you’re building the backlinks, it’s easier to always point out to these pages and the link authority remains within the domain and it’s quite easier to rank well, but again, on the other side, when you’re looking at it, it’s always the local TLDs, the country-specific TLDs always have a higher chance. 

So, for a dot com site to need 10 to 20 links, I think a country-specific TLD doesn’t need that many links to even rank on the particular country. Right. So, there are both ways of looking at it. So, I think people have to take it based on a case by case basis. It’s not like a one size fits all. It all depends on the situation. And also, as you mentioned, I love that fact that if you have multiple websites in multiple different countries, it gets easier to manage that particular country-specific inventory, right? 

Because sometimes, for some products, the quality might differ to fix the quality standards of each and every country. So it’s quite easier doing that way. So I think it’s like a case by case basis, but it’s best to get suggestions from SEOs like you to get to understand what the best thing for these SEOs to look at is?

Kris: Cool. Okay, the last part, Kaspars took a little bit of time and like he mentioned, he’s working on Shopify sites on a daily basis and sees all kinds of scenarios. So he put together a little list of the most common mistakes from a developer point of view. So, let’s run through those quickly.

Kaspars: Yeah. The first one I have seen a lot of times is multiple H1s and this is caused by just people itself, like just tumbling around the theme and just adding a title because like originally themes just come with the wrong H1 of course. And they just add another one and then the owner adds another one. And so it adds up, and I’ve seen the cases when it’s like 20, each one per page. So yeah, that’s one of the issues. 

Then the second thing is a lot of times I’ve seen the product pages are missing content. So it’s actually the product without any content. And then just people ask, “Alright, our website isn’t ranking. What should we do?” Let’s start with the content. So that’s one of the things. The other thing is missing a webmaster and, and a sitemap isn’t submitted. So Shopify actually creates a sitemap for you, it’s available for all stores, but users tend to not submit it. And then it just hangs there for no reason. 

Another thing that Kris has already mentioned is that inside pages don’t include collection names, which I prefer. It should be, you just have to know where to do it, and it’s like one minute to fix. And another thing is a lack of count on general product pages and homepage, in blogs. I’ve just no content out there. So that’s definitely an issue. Then, multiple times I have seen that it’s missing titles or meta descriptions, which also is usually made by human error. It was like, sometimes you change it, just remove it or mess up your theme code, I’ve seen multiple cases like that. 

And the same thing applies to alt tags for images. Our Accessibly app generates alt tags for you. If your image doesn’t have any Alt tag or artificial intelligence, we’ll take a look at the image, see what’s in there and add Alt tags, which is pretty cool. Sarah or we get a lot of requests for generating new Alt tags. So, that’s an issue for stores, and our app solves it through. 

Senthil: It’s a pretty common one. People just get it directly from the manufacturer and they just upload the entire dump CSV file, with thousands of products having the same description of the product. It’s the same as what you mentioned first, the lack of content from an SEO point of view, it’s bad, but at least it doesn’t hurt the site. But, if you’re just going to add tons of descriptions copied from the manufacturer, it’s going to damage your website even more.

Kaspars: Yeah, exactly. I have cases when a customer is just like, “Well, it’s a description, what’s wrong with it?” I try to explain like, “Look, you just copied it from a different website and this is not how it works.”

Senthil: And sometimes Kasper, you know, one thing that we noticed before was that on sites that had about 50,000 products, they never got index data. The site was not getting indexed more than a hundred URLs per day. And it just runs back and forth. You know, the site had a clear sitemap, everything was good, but I think the moment your site is introduced first to Google bot, it detects that there are a lot of products being added with the same kind of description they find in other sites, the crawl rate goes down drastically. So that’s when the indexing issue starts happening. And people used to complain that not all of their products are getting indexed and all the things. 

So, there is one interesting point when we were trying to troubleshoot, we found the product description is a hundred percent copied from another website and that other website has a domain authority of over 70 or something. And they always rank well. And this website had the same description and maybe Google is doing something around it. Maybe they’re trying to figure out sites with such a level of duplicate descriptions. They’re just trying to avoid indexing them all together. I think it’s an important thing that people who are trying to get these bulk products from manufacturers, white label it and try to sell it to be aware of these issues.

Kaspars: Yeah, a lot of times also I have seen that a schema is broken or it’s even not implemented in the theme. So that’s also an issue. You have to always check your webmaster, see if everything’s set up correctly. And the big point about the page speed is it’s apps. I think on Shopify, when you submit an app, you have to go through the review process, which they, they actually bumped the requirements recently. So I guess it will, it will be resolved in the future, but if your store is using like two years or three years old apps, you might have a problem there because I have seen a lot of cases like that.

Senthil: So, getting an app approved is easier compared to getting a theme approved?

Kaspars: That’s correct. But still the app review process is also intense, like we’re actually working on our second map and then Shopify is like, “If the app is actually bigger than shop, I will go through everything.” I, again, like it, it gives you some kind of responsibility and imagine your app is used by thousands of stores. Of course they want you to make it right. So, they are actually putting the reputation of their own because like a lot of times actually users think that they are using Shopify app. So they, they, they think that those apps are all built by Shopify. And if the visitors are saying something bad about that, and they actually think that, “Oh, it’s Shopify’s fault, but yeah, to some degree it is.”

Kris: When you pay for the apps, the app cost is actually calculated in whatever team package you have. So like whatever payment you have for the Shopify package, that’s where they also add your app costs. So there’s some interesting similarities to how Apple does things too. 

Senthil: Yeah. And obviously you guys have your own app. I could see the next fun fact about the Accessibility app. So, Kasper,, you showed us the dashboard right behind you, can you tell in the last 30 days, what’s the updated number.?

Kasper: So the last 30 days we got 63 million requests through our server, basically the app load for users was 63 million times, which is a lot. Well, from my side, Deadmau5, that’s a pretty big one, we have Paris Hilton. 

Kris: You know, what’s interesting,these are not the sites with the most traffic, you would think they are, but actually there’s several really large e-commerce stores like in vitamin space, all kinds of different spaces. And like, they’re the ones that put the heavy load on our app. These are heavily visited sites. So we’re really proud of it , that was actually a challenge after we launched it, like actually being able to handle such high volumes of requests, and now it’s super stable and we can easily provide it to, you know, as many stores as needed.

Kaspars: Absolutely. Yeah, It was definitely challenging because we were handling in the first 30 day our own formula and requests. And so, imagine like in one exact time, like multiple stores actually are using the same app and visitor service they can decide. And our server crashed multiple times. So we actually had to redo the server structure. So we added multiple fallback servers and basically there’s different clusters and add the failover DNS. So all the geeky stuff was added and we are now safe. I don’t know, we had the last incident months ago, and it was just like just the minor things. So it’s up for a couple months without any problems. 

Senthil: Great. So when did you guys launch this app? 

Kaspars: It was the end of September, 2019. 

Senthil: So it’s been like a little over a year. So honestly, tell us what was going on your mind when you launched the app, how much you thought you’d hit in a 30 day period. As a developer, when you do all the hard work with  millions of lines of code and getting everything done and when you see the server crash because of the use. It’s a good thing, right? Because that should be a great feeling for you.

Kaspars: Well, at least for me, the app had a different purpose. So, I wasn’t ready to get into the whole Shopify ecosystem. So what I was thinking is, “Look, if you make the app and the app will be developed professionally,Shopify will notice us. They actually featured us, and  it’s rare.They featured us in their homepage for a week. My intent was a different one. Like I didn’t expect anything like a huge dollar, but I was thinking, “Look, let’s make it right and maybe, it will open like, different kinds of opportunities in Shopify.” 

And it actually did. So the product was built like we actually cared about it and actually Shopify featured us. Then later on Shopify invited us as experts because it’s a little circle. So they reached out to us and asked, “Look, guys, do you want to be experts? And I was like,”Yeah, sure.” That was one of my dreams come true.

Senthil: So any other stats? I could see the amount of mobile users is quite a lot, no surprises there, 70%.

Kaspars: It is pretty high. Like 70% of shops are actually browsed on mobile devices. Right. It’s pretty high. 

Senthil: Where are you guys going next? What is the next version of Accessibly is going live? Are there any other features coming up? Maybe you can give a background, offer a quick intro about what the app does. What problem is it solving? 

Kris: Yeah, sure. I’ll discuss it. So, Accessibility,in 2018, became kind of a heavy topic. And then in 2019, it became a very known topic because a lot of websites started getting sued due to lack of accessibility for people with disabilities. So what it is, is the people with hearing, eyesight issues, hand issues can navigate the site. So basically demand for website access is extremely high. Like anyone needs to use the internet, but not all websites are built for every type of user. So when there’s this accessibility issue, site owners have two options. Either they can do a custom audit or the site is audited for their accessibility, different types of elements, ADA compliance and then there’s specific requirements you need to adjust to. 

These requirements basically put your site in a category where it can be accessed through different types of tools. People With disabilities, they use different types of tools to actually use the internet. But if your website is not configured properly, they’re not able to actually use your website. So that was presented as a big issue. And basically it’s now treated the same way as if you have, let’s say, a grocery store and your grocery store doesn’t have a ramp to drive on with a wheelchair, right? So, now they’re treating websites and the internet in general, as a requirement that your website needs to be accessible for people with disabilities.

So just the ramp example is really good. We actually met with Lighthouse here in Miami. They were testing our Accessibility app. So I guess it was a really interesting experience. And they gave us real feedback that we would implement afterwards in the app. So every website needs to be accessible for any type of user. And there was a big lawsuit. 

I think it was Domino’s pizza or one of them even went to a full trial. So, our app, what it does, it basically solves this issue for you without a large process of custom audit audits of the site. Like Kaspars mentioned about image all tags. Why image alt tags are so important because let’s say you have visual impairments and you’re reading the content on the page, but then there’s a supportive images.So alt tags actually read the image information for them. So then they can kind of visualize a little bit better, the content on that page. Like that was actual feedback that we got from people we met here

Like I’m sure you can share in the podcast notes, some information on it too, but yeah. So our Accessibility app, why we built it is to simplify life for eCommerce store owners, because, you know, like eCommerce stores are also being shot, but with people with disabilities. So like you have to make your site available for them to shop easier. And you know what I’m saying, people with disabilities, actually, it’s not just people with disabilities, actually older people, they have a hard time seeing the fonts. So our tool helps you increase the fonts. It helps you change the contrast, little things like that. So it’s super useful.

Senthil: Absolutely. Wow. That’s a great thing guys that you guys have done, it just simplifies the process. It’s quite good. So, is it just limited to Shopify or you guys have any plans to have this on other platforms as well, because it’s going to be going global and it might be useful for other platform people as well. 

Kris:  We do have plans. We built a WordPress solution for it too, which we haven’t really pushed it into like a mainstream advertising for it yet because there’s still a couple of tweaks that need to meet the ADA requirements and things like that. Meanwhile the Shopify one is the most refined one. So we kind of pushed that out for a while now. We’ll also develop a standalone solution, but like Casper said, this was more like a little hobby project that would be launched to start building our reputation in the Shopify marketplace. But yeah, evolved a bit bigger than just a small little micro project.

Senthil: It’s a great job guys. Great job Kasper and Kris. It’s really good. It’s going to help a lot of stores for sure. And I really enjoyed it. In fact, there’s this, I’m just checking the time now. It’s actually one of the longest podcasts that we did.We usually limit it to 20, 30 minutes, but you guys have shared so much information. This is really good.

 So guys, whoever’s listening, you know, you should really check out On the Map Marketing, especially their Accessibility app because like Kris was mentioning, it’s quite the requirement. You should have it for your website and for compliance as well. It’s obviously this app that helps you get  things up and running without breaking a sweat.

Kris: You know Shopify SEO, they’re a miracle too, as well. I mean, there’s tons of things we do. And you know, people in our company, we love what we do. So like you’re not really, it’s not just working with, you know, professional. It’s like you working with someone who is really excited to help you. Like it just changes the entire experience. 

Senthil: Absolutely. You guys have tons of information. It’s a great conversation. Gentlemen, thank you so much for taking your time out. I know you guys are busy, but  I really appreciate taking your time out and coming to this podcast and sharing such wonderful information. Thank you so much guys for being on our podcast.

Meet the speakers

Kaspars Milbergs

CTO – On the Map, Inc

Kristaps Brencans

CMO – On the Map, Inc

Senthil Kumar

VP Marketing –
Stan Ventures