Simply existing is never enough!
Although this fact is true for pretty much everything in life, it is particularly important for an e-commerce business. Your website is essentially around which your entire business plan revolves. It is the ultimate touchpoint for your customers and your primary source of conversion. In case you’re running your business entirely online, the website becomes even more paramount. If it isn’t already, then incorporating an e-commerce SEO audit in your online marketing strategy is of the essence.
Building onto this, the source of organic traffic lies at the gates of search engines. In spite of there being several other channels for traffic origination, organic traffic should be a priority throughout your marketing strategy.
Search engines are used by people practically every day, and organic traffic falls third in providing the highest conversion rate after paid and referrals.
A research study by Optify in 2011 showed that
Looking at the statistics, one thing can be said with utmost surety: SEO isn’t going anywhere. It has become instrumental in generating revenue which can only be brought about by ranking high in SERPs.
Better SEO means better clicks, which probably also means better sales. Unlike other types of websites, e-commerce sites are some of the most difficult to optimize in search engines. Search engines love sites with original and detailed content.
eCommerce sites are the exact opposite. They are mostly made up of product images and offer very few detailed descriptions. So, if you haven’t yet conducted an ecommerce SEO audit and implemented a solid SEO strategy, you’re definitely missing out on a lot of impressions, clicks, and sales.
Whether you are just getting started or improving your existing eCommerce site, ranking higher than your competitors on Google is a must, but that’s not enough. These days you must rank number 1! Think Orion’s Ecommerce SEO audit will help you get there.
If followed properly, our free eCommerce SEO guide and checklist will surely improve SEO for your eCommerce website and help you rank higher.
There are two definitive approaches to everything in life; you wait for things to happen on their own (which is never fun), or you can do something to make it happen.
All of us want Google to find our website immediately. Here are some tips that guarantee Google will find your website:
During your e-commerce site audit, you should definitely look out for missing backlinks. When you have got backlinks directing people to your website, all your SEO efforts come together to bring you more traffic.
Knowing how Google crawls your website is pertinent to fixing issues that may be causing hindrance to the entire crawl process.
You can help Google crawl your site by:
Crawling is just half the battle. The next part is to make sure that your site can be indexed. Just because Google can find your site and is crawled by, it doesn’t ensure that it will be stored in its index. While you can request Google to index your website, it will be futile if there’s a greater underlying problem. Try some of these tactics:
Online businesses are wholly dependent on Google rankings. An SEO e-commerce audit needs to find ways to rank higher in Google search since Google gets 31.7% of all clicks while the second-page results receive only 0.78%.
Aiming to rank higher in Google depends on learning the algorithms if you want to run in the longer race. Some other actionable strategies include:
The checklist contains 12 major points for optimization. To make this SEO ecommerce audit easier, here is a division of these pointers in on-page, off-page and technical areas.
Following 5 points from the checklist will help you with on-page SEO. All of these factors convince Google that the content on your ecommerce website is relevant and valuable.
These 3 points will help you with off-page SEO. Performing these actions will help build your website’s authenticity and credibility. These help Google rank your website on specific keywords and gradually you will notice an increased number of clicks and impressions, and ultimately more visitors landing on your website.
Technical Audit Checklist
These factors help Google find, crawl, index and rank your website. Plus these significantly help with initial page experience and improve website’s health score.
SEO for eCommerce is different then SEO for SaaS businesses or blogs. All the products, categories, descriptions, images and everything requires attention to improve your online store's visibility in the SERPs.
See how you can perform SEO for eCommerce website and organic traffic.
Every eCommerce marketer chase keywords with a high search volume, but those with less experience will often overlook long-tail keywords. They think that their low estimated monthly search volume won’t bring in traffic. Does that sound familiar?
Long-tail keywords are 3-4 words and sometimes more. They are less competitive, but since they are precise and targeted to the people at the bottom of the marketing and sales funnel, they convert well and help you outrank your competitors. In fact, Amazon generates 57% of its sales from long-tail searches.
Different CTAs function differently throughout the customer journey. Whether it was to add a product to their cart, to hit the purchase button, to share on social media, CTAs represents the best outcome for visitors to your site.
To optimize CTAs on product pages, here are 9 best practices make sure to follow:
Only use unique and original product descriptions. Avoid content provided by the manufacturers so you don’t end up with thousands of duplicate descriptions of your competitors.
Consider writing descriptions of more than 300 words and as detailed as possible using your keywords. Remember to enable product comments. Users’ submission of comments helps to attract search engines’ attention.
First, write for humans and then optimize for search engines. Write in a language that helps customers know what is in the product to make the purchase. Focus on the features and benefits of the product, but keep it simple and to the point. Expressive and engaging descriptions show customers why your product is the solution they’ve been waiting for.
Whenever people hear about SEO, the first thing that comes to their minds is keywords. That makes sense because, without keywords, all the effort and time spent on product descriptions will be lost.
Google bots use semantic search to understand language just like any user would so they can pull up the most accurate results to their users.
So, your first step is to choose your preferred keywords and then research for variations to these keywords and add them. Doing this will make it easier for Google to understand your content, and therefore, you will have higher click-through-rates.
Meta title tags help search engines understand your page’s content, and they are the first impression many people have of your page. Regardless of your site ranking, a good title tag can be the make-or-break factor in determining whether or not a user clicks on your site.
Here are 4 best practices for title tags; make sure to include:
It is the short description of a page that appears under the title in SERPs. It doesn’t impact rankings, but effective meta descriptions can improve click-through rates.
How to write effective meta descriptions?
When it comes to the URL structure, it is important to include a keyword in there, but it is even more important to tell the consumer exactly what to expect. Product URLs should be:
Rename the image file using the keyword (product name) when it is still on your computer before uploading it to the site. Also, insert the chosen keyword (product name) in the ALT attribute of the image.
We recommend three different eCommerce photo sizes but make sure to keep it consistent for all product images.
The larger the size of the image, the longer it takes to load, which can make or break your site’s performance.
The image size is specified by its dimensions in pixels or by the total number of pixels it contains. Play around a bit to find the right file size for the quality you need.
JPEG images maintain high quality at reasonable file sizes. With this file type, you can choose the level of compression you would like, but make sure this doesn’t go at the cost of image quality.
They are extensions of an XML sitemaps file that gets images indexed and help you generate traffic from image search results.
Image sitemaps must feature:
Pre-order is a powerful tool in customer acquisition that captures sales landing on product pages instead of sending them away.
If you’re using Shopify, an app called Pre Order Now replaces your add to cart button with a “Preorder Now” button.
Marking the items as “Out of Stock” is a tactic that does not need much effort and ensures your website’s usability. Users, in this case, won’t feel frustrated wasting their time clicking through an unavailable product.
Using both of these together ensures that users are able to see your ratings and whether the item is in stock or not. They make you stand out in search results, especially for mobile-friendly sites; they increase page ranks and click-through rates.
Users landing on out-of-stock products are most likely to buy something from you. Make sure to link similar products to those out-of-stock and track the conversions to see how well they generate revenue.
Consider using the 3-click rule, which indicates that the user starting from the page he is on must find what he is looking for after 3 clicks.
The pages identified in your menu are the ones that are most likely to be indexed and ranked in the search results.
Home Depot is a great example. Its “All Departments” menu includes only the 17 most general product categories. However, when passing over each category, it expands into subcategory options (and also into tertiary options and so on). This way, the internal linking value provides a noticeable boost to Home Depot’s menu pages.
Keeping the design uniform and adhering to a navigation arrangement show customers that you’ve invested in your brand to improve their shopping experience. The more pleasant and convenient it is, the more customers will keep coming back to your site.
Use navigation labels so that customers can scan and instantly understand what those labels represent. However, stay away from generic labels as they communicate nothing to the visitors. Instead, use descriptive labels to reduce bounce rate.
Instead of just having generic arent categories, include subcategories to be more specific with filtered options. This tactic increases the time on site and enhances the click-throughs for better metrics and conversions. A “New Arrivals” or a “What’s New” category shows customers that you refresh your inventory consistently.
Add a prominent search bar on your homepage instead of integrating it as part of the navigation menu. Avoid clustering elements around it as these may compromise its effectiveness. It saves your customers time and effort trying to find what they’re looking for. Besides, the auto-complete option helps customers with accurate results and increases the probability of more complete conversions.
Customers most likely want to use as many filters as possible. To prevent random sort orders from appearing in the search results instead of your curated first page, you should add the canonical tag. It identifies the ‘main’ version of the page and avoids duplicate content due to sort options.
Besides the homepage, the second most important pages are the category pages. Since they are located high in the hierarchy, they can potentially become high authority pages. Consider optimizing category pages by adding category titles, meta descriptions, and H1 tags.
The smaller the XML sitemaps are, the less strain you put on your server and the better the indexation and traffic is. Google has increased the accepted size of sitemap files from 10 MB to 50 MB and 50,000 URLs per sitemap.
This is more than enough for most sites, but you may still need to split the pages into multiple sitemaps.
For example, an online shop with 200,000 pages will need five separate sitemaps to handle all that.
Robots.txt files are used to block robots from accessing the website until it’s ready to be launched. It is usually the first place crawlers visit when accessing a website. Having the XML Sitemap in robots.txt provides details on every page on the website you want search engines to discover.
Create a structure of internal links to products, product categories, new arrivals, and promotions directly in the product sheets’ contents. As for the external links, they are as crucial to eCommerce business as for any other site. Backlinks are needed but focus on those that help improve the reputation of the brand.
Before everything else, you should analyze your current linking sites. That’s because it’s important to know if the sites linking to you are authoritative and relevant. One tool you can use for free to find these links is Moz’s Link Explorer. You just put your URL into his tool and you’ll have a report of your backlinks.
Anchor texts are clickable texts on a webpage that links to another place on the web. Since Google and other search engines use anchor text to determine a page’s topic and how it should rank, a keyword-rich anchor text significantly increases the chances for pages to rank well.
Deep links for eCommerce can directly impact conversions because they make it easier for customers to land on category or product pages. For example, if you run an online promotion for Valentine’s Day gifts on your website, you want customers to land directly on that section and not on the homepage, then search for Valentine’s Gifts section.
Deep links impact search engine rankings as well, since a website with links only to the home page is unnatural, and it could be considered spam.
Link building is one of the major off-site search engine optimizations. Natural and relevant linking is essential since the more links you have and the better quality they are, the more search engines will rank the pages. Influencers, video marketing, and creating shareable products are all ways that can help eCommerce businesses build them and increase their brand awareness and credibility.
The search engines can roughly crawl 150 links per page. Although this limit is somewhat flexible, it’s wise to limit the number to 150, so you don’t risk losing the ability to have additional pages crawled.
The page’s size affects its loading speed, which is very important, especially for mobile users. They are on the go and mostly using data connections. They need to get the information they want as fast as possible.
A content delivery network (CDN) is a group of servers distributed worldwide to store files accessed by website visitors. Other than delivering content, CDNs also help at times of significant spikes in traffic to avoid long load times or even server crashes.
eCommerce stores rely on CDNs to ensure that all customers have a pleasant user experience, regardless of location.
They enhance websites’ performance by decreasing their loading speed, which reduces the load on the server and its consumption.
It is essential for eCommerce businesses as no customer would wait for a website taking ages to load pages and process transactions quickly.
Data compression is a method of reducing an image’s size with a little reduction in image quality. It is useful to decrease load times and is also helpful for consuming less digital storage space, and the amount of data served to customers (bandwidth).
For leveraging the maximum performance, eCommerce websites need top cloud providers for a fast hosting service. They can’t afford downtime; customers will leave a slow site. When choosing a host, consider the encryption, PCI compliance, backups, file sizes, and account limitations.
Having a mobile e-commerce site is vital for online business. Searches from mobile devices have dramatically increased in recent years, surpassing those from the desktop since they are user friendly, easy, and quick.
Videos and animations on eCommerce websites are entertaining and encouraging for the user to stay a little longer. For short, animated videos, you can use HTML5 or convert your GIF to Imgur’s GIFV format. Doing this will reduce the size by at least 10 percent or more.
Title tags are clickable headlines for organic search results.
They provide relevance and increase organic click-through rates.
The closer the title tag is to the keyword searched, the more likely users are to click.
However, a meta description tag helps explain the content, but it’s unclickable. Although it doesn’t boost the SEO, it helps dramatically increase CTR.
Although they are part of the product sheet, they can be related to both the products and the seller.
Reviews are likely to play a significant role in customers’ purchasing decisions.
Knowing that many people have had a positive shopping experience with an e-commerce business eliminates any doubts or uncertainties about whether or not to buy on the platform. Therefore, you want to make it as quick and as easy as possible for them to leave you feedback.
A quick rating system is a great option, and you can leave a text as well if they want to say more. It is also important to show your top reviews on the home page or put a badge above the menu or in the footer.
Do not limit this by a form within the product sheets. You can consider sending emails to customers to fill out a survey or inviting their Social Network followers. Just make sure to keep the process easy for your customers.
Replying quickly and politely, even to a bad review, shows your fantastic customer service and how well you listen to your consumers and value their opinions. A professional response to a bad review can be a great form of advertising.
Every aspect of your website needs to be thought through carefully. The positioning of an eCommerce site on Google is complex, but carefully implementing the above-listed SEO checklist will help your eCommerce website see dramatic improvements in the traffic and sales results.