Searchers looking for a product on an eCommerce website often make mental notes of the search engine rank results without consciously realizing it.
Search engine rank indirectly conveys a vote of confidence. A higher SERP rank makes your business look more credible in the eyes of the searchers. Developing a unique SEO strategy for your eCommerce website will help you to draw massive consumer traffic to your online store. This will, in turn, boost up your sales and profit margin.
SEO audits are an important tool to ensure that your eCommerce website has a continuous inflow of traffic.
Why is it essential to conduct SEO audits for ecommerce sites?
The internet is swarming with thousands of eCommerce websites. Unless and until your site is listed on the top page and amongst the top rank holders, you won’t be able to see a spike in the revenues.
With an SEO audit, it is possible to ensure that your site is well optimized to secure a better rank.
This will allow you to identify the roadblocks impacting the position of your eCommerce store in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Tweaking these issues will ensure your page to secure a top ranking.
The following factors are extremely vital for a well-performing site:
1. Site speed
Studies have indicated that loading time has a direct relationship with your success in the eCommerce business.
The lesser the loading time, the higher is the chance of a conversion.
According to the research, your eCommerce site needs to completely load in three seconds, beyond which you might end up losing 40% of your visitors.
Site speed can be improved by:
- Compression-Reducing the file size to improve the loading time.
- Image optimization-To compress the image for fast loading.
- Caching– Prevents the user from downloading the file every time he visits the website.
The Google algorithm is carefully designed to ensure maximum user experience. Thus, in short, if your site’s loading speed is slow don’t expect to end up with a higher rank.
Various compression techniques will ensure a faster loading speed to secure you a better grade.
2. Mobile-friendly websites
Mobile-friendliness is one of the vital SEO elements to ensure that your page secures a better rank.
Search engines consider various factors such as mobile viewport and touchscreen readiness to ensure that your site is best viewed on a mobile platform.
An SEO audit will help you determine and solve the factors which are lagging in your mobile site.
3. On-page SEO
The success of an eCommerce site depends on the right placement of the targeted keywords. From the perspective of a user, it would be highly appreciated if you are giving them exactly what they are looking for.
Remember, Google’s latest BERT update is all about “searcher’s intent”!
Further, HTML header tags and meta tags need to be taken care of for keyword consistency. Make sure that robots.txt and XML Sitemap are appropriately created and optimized for the search engine robots to crawl and index your pages.
The presence of broken links should be avoided at any cost as this will be annoying to the user.
4. Site Crawl
For eCommerce websites, duplicate content cannot be avoided.
For example, if you own a site that sells shoes online, there will be some content that might be similar for each page. For example, pages describing different categories of shoes would be similar in their description except for the shoe colour.
Now, each time a product is listed, the search engine will categorize this as a duplicate content. Adding canonical tags will tell search engines which of these items is original and which are duplicate and can be ignored.
Using a site crawler will help you to completely streamline the process rather than manually checking through hundreds or thousands of pages.
Reliable and authoritative backlinks will act as a backbone, giving credibility to your online store. Instead of grabbing random links from unreliable sources just for the sake of it, it is 100 times better to have the support of genuine connections.
This will also help to improve the overall quality of your site.
Security is a significant concern these days since internet frauds are on a steady rise.
With the emergence of giant online retailers such as eBay and Amazon, the majority of the eCommerce, search traffic is redirected to them.
It is, therefore, imperative to reinforce the trust of your buyers by strengthening all the security features on your site.
Site security is one of the vital factors that google keeps a check on while giving ranking. Since most of the unsecured sites will be displayed with a clear warning, make sure that your eCommerce site is HTTPS (SSL secure)
eCommerce SEO tools
Following are some of the highly recommended eCommerce SEO tools:
- Google Analytics.
- Google Search Console.
- Title Tag Pixel Width Checker.
- SEO All in One
- Barracuda Panguin Tool
- Beam Us Up (or Screaming Frog).
Steps to perform eCommerce SEO audits
An SEO audit for an eCommerce site is done to:
- Get a birds-eye view of the current status and quality of your site.
- Ensure the best possible outcome with minimal changes.
- Understand the improvements needed to be done to improve the traffic.
Following are the key steps to be undertaken for an eCommerce audit.
Step 1: Are you visible on Google?
The first thing to check after you have planned a site audit is the visibility of the site on the search result.
Once a site map has been created, you need to make sure that the domain name is verified with Google Search Console. This will help you to determine how Google sees your eCommerce site.
The “Search Appearance” section will help to determine whether any of the essential features for a search engine display is lacking in your site.
This includes Title, Search within a site, URL, Snippet, Sitelinks, Product Rich Snippet and Breadcrumbs.
Ensuring all the features are well in place will give your online store a significant improvement in the search rank.
The other important thing is the implementation of structured data on your page. Structured data helps search engines to understand your content more accurately.
Step 2: Run a site crawl and analyze the report
Many a time, eCommerce sites struggle due to duplicate contents.
Your site is most likely to have duplicate content if it allows the user to filter the products based on colour, product type, size etc.
Every time a product appears, Google will classify it as a duplicate content.
To avoid this, canonical tags should be used to tell the search engine, which part of the content is original and what all needs to be ignored.
Unfortunately for eCommerce sites having several hundred pages for individual products, checking each page individually will be an arduous task.
Luckily SEO crawlers are available to instantly run through all your pages to make sure that canonical tags are properly implemented at the right places.
You could use any good quality site crawler to run through your site and generate a crawl report.
The crawl results will help you to determine:
- Any broken links that might creep in within your internal pages
- Pages that return HTTP error codes
- Duplicate URLs
- Missing alt text
- Missing or duplicate meta descriptions
- Missing or duplicate content
Step 3: Ensure that your site can be accessed through one way only
A user can browse your eCommerce store through multiple means. Say for example
However, it is important to make sure that your site is browsable through one version only. The rest should be 301 redirected to the original text.
Having an HTTPS version will improve not only the ranking but also the user’s confidence.
Studies have indicated that having a secure HTTPS will fetch a better rank.
Step 4: Check your site speed and navigation.
Site speed and navigation are one of the key important factors that have a greater influence on the performance of your website.
Greater the user experience and performance, higher will be ranking.
Surveys have indicated that more than 51 percent of online shoppers in the US suggested that they won’t complete a purchase if the site speed is not fast enough.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool is of great help when it comes to determining your page speed.
The tool will give a ranking for your site from 1 to 100, for both the mobile and desktop versions. This will also suggest the improvements required to increase the site speed.
Step 5: Improve the home page SEO
SEO is one of the crucial factors for the success of an eCommerce business. The following points should be noted to have a well functional SEO on your home page.
- Make sure that the page title is excellent and based on frequently used keywords.
- Meta descriptions should be well optimized.
- H1 tags should be properly used without unnecessary repetitions.
- H2 & H3 tags should be properly aligned with the H1.
Step 6: Check for duplicate content
Content quality is one of the essential features for ranking in a search engine. The content should be simple, engaging and compelling.
High quality, informative and relevant content will boost up your site ranking with ease.
While adding content to your page, make sure to avoid all the duplicate content at any cost. With the recent update in Google’s Panda algorithm, the penalty is given to sites having duplicate content.
With a premium Copyscape account, you could find out all the duplicate contents in your eStore.
Step 7: Review your search traffic
By using Google Analytics reports, you can get a clear cut idea of the search traffic on your site, right from the launch day of your eCommerce store website to the current date.
The results will be displayed in a timeline which helps you to understand whether your eStore has been hit with a penalty ever since its creation.
If you see a sudden dip in traffic between particular months, you could review what all went wrong and implement the measures to prevent a similar problem in the future.
Additionally, you could use the Panguin SEO Tool to compare your analytics report with the algorithm updates to see whether your site has been penalized with algorithm updates.
Step 8: Streamline the backlinks
For any search engine, backlinks are one of the most vital components that determine its SERP rank. Backlinks are the links that direct one website to the other.
However, filling your page with irrelevant links won’t do the job. Search engine algorithms have improved tremendously over the years to pluck out the bad links from the good ones.
More links will secure your online store a higher rank for sure, only if they are from authoritative and diverse domains.
To perform backlink analysis, you could use one of the popular tools such as Ahrefs. Login into the site and within the “site explorer” section, search your site.
On the left-hand side, you can see a menu mentioned as backlinks.
Make sure to take care of:
- Anchor text (the text that is linked to your site)
- Broken backlinks
- Sleazy links
Step 9: Social media analysis
With a recent update in the search engine algorithms, more weightage is given to sites that are actually trying to have a genuine interaction with the users.
- Make sure that you integrate all the essential features in your eStore, blog etc. for sharing the details on all popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Delicious etc.
- Add content that is of high quality and worth sharing.
A site audit is a great way to analyze the errors of your online eCommerce store and improve the quality of the traffic.
By ensuring a better ranking, you are not only guaranteed a better rank in the search result but also of gaining the right amount of trust from your users.
Unlike most people think, this is not a one time process.
eCommerce site audits have to be regularly undertaken to ensure a top position in the rat race where several thousands of eCommerce stores are fighting to win the search engine game.
With a carefully planned and intelligent approach, you could boost organic traffic and have higher conversion rates as well.
Need help to drive those valuable organic search traffic to your ecommerce website? Ask us for a free audit check on your website now!