What is an eCommerce SEO audit?
The process of performing an SEO eCommerce audit is intended to offer assistance for your SEO strategy by highlighting areas where you need to improve and how to do so. A website assessment may also help you compare the outcomes of your current optimization plan against prior ones if SEO is already a part of your online marketing plan.
So, if you want to enhance your site’s performance on search engines, this is the perfect guide for you.
You can’t execute successful organic traffic growth without a comprehensive analysis of your current state. But many business owners don’t know how to correctly conduct a proper SEO audit.
To begin, let’s first understand what a website audit is and why it is important.
What’s the goal of an eCommerce SEO audit?
The goal is to keep an eye on the health of your site, which can deteriorate over time if not given sufficient care. The internet rules are always shifting, as are user behaviours, so it’s typical for you to find areas for improvement every year.
Your eCommerce website is a complex organism made up of several individual compartments. All compartments work together in harmony to ensure that your customers have the best experience possible. With such elements, it’s important to understand what areas you can monitor and how to track down problems when they arise.
A good SEO audit allows you to understand the following:
• Factors to outrank competitors on Google
• Find ways to strengthen your user experience
• Diagnose weaknesses in content, structure, or usability of the site
• Increase organic traffic and sales opportunities
• Identify new keyword opportunities
Why Is a Website SEO Audit So Important for eCommerce Sites?
SEO audit is a great way to improve a site’s performance and rank by making it more visible to search engines. SEO audit also helps an eCommerce site have a higher conversion rate because the consulting process increases awareness of optimizations that need to be made for both content and design.
It’s also a great way to help your site stay out of trouble. By following the guidelines set forth by Google, you can avoid penalties and ensure that your site is running at its best.
As the statistics indicate, eCommerce sites can benefit immensely from organic traffic:
- At least 43.0% of all the eCommerce traffic comes from Google’s organic traffic (Wolfgang Digital, 2016)
- Over 80 per cent of consumers conduct online research for goods and services—every day.
- Shopping is one of the most popular online activities. Thus, it is no surprise that eCommerce sales are expected to reach 54 trillion US dollars by 2022. However, the sector is also becoming increasingly competitive.
- More than 30% of website revenue is generated by organic, and it has grown by 21% in a year.
- Paid traffic is only as long as you pay for it, whereas organic traffic has more time to gain traction but lasts far longer (and is less expensive).
- According to the statistics, organic traffic is a veritable goldmine for eCommerce firms: Google accounts for at least 43 per cent of all eCommerce traffic.
- Organic traffic generated the greatest conversion rates after referral and paid.
What is the most effective approach to prepare for an eCommerce SEO audit?
Connect your website to Google Analytics to ensure that you have all of the data you require for your evaluation. Collecting enough statistical data is a time-consuming process, and if this is your first time doing it on your site, allow plenty of time for analysis.
Another effective tool for assessing website performance is Google Search Console and Google Tag Manager. You can use Google Search Console to see what queries brought visitors to your site, as well as any technical difficulties that you should address.
However, Tag Manager allows you to track certain user actions, such as how many times your visitors click on a specific link on your page or how many of them abandon their shopping carts. Additionally, tag Manager links into Analytics to provide detailed, configurable reports.
Checklist for an eCommerce SEO Audit
The following are the most common areas that an SEO audit checklist will cover:
- Technical SEO – Your website’s technical features ensure that search engines can crawl and index it. Technical SEO also ensures that your website can be properly rendered on popular browsers.
- On-page analysis – Your site’s “on-page” features and content influence how search engines process it. The absence of relevant keywords and other elements on your website signals to search engine crawlers that your pages may not be as relevant as they should be for searchers.
- Off-page analysis – How people interact with your website through social media, links and mentions influences your website’s popularity with search engines. The most important parts of this section cover how popular you are with the public and how much influence other sites have on your own site’s rankings with search engines.
- Content audit–Although content is an essential component of on-page SEO, it must be treated as a distinct element in your audit. A content audit for eCommerce is all about evaluating how confident you are in ranking well in search engines and whether there are opportunities to increase that confidence.
- User experience – Besides high-quality and relevant material, search engines strive to give users the best possible experience. As a result, they will always favour websites that adhere to the most up-to-date user experience standards.
As we previously said, technical SEO is all about making your eCommerce website easy to crawl, index, and rank by search engine robots. First, you need to check the following:
A crawling process is one of the first steps to be taken in the ranking process. A good SEO audit will start by crawling your site to identify any technical issues that need to be addressed. There are various crawling tools available; you may use them to mimic the search engine you’re interested in (Google, Bing, etc.).They will diagnose any technical issues that require your attention.
Something that can cause indexation problems is having too many outbound links to your content. Outbound links are great for creating backlinks, but they also make it difficult for crawlers to crawl through the content on your website because they get lost along the way. Therefore, you want fewer outbound links and more internal links so that search engine crawlers can follow the breadcrumbs.
Let’s take a look at some of the technical elements involved in the crawling procedure:
Your robots.txt file dictates which page search engines can and cannot crawl, preventing your site from being clogged with traffic. You may use this to tell Google not to crawl various pages, such as shopping carts, wish lists, and other similar things.
XML map is simply a listing of all the relevant pages on your website. This provides a direct way for search engines to crawl your site quickly. It will provide your website with more structure, stopping search bots from missing crucial components of it and providing a better crawling experience.
If you don’t have robots.txt or an XML sitemap… If you don’t already have either of these elements on your site, you’ll need to include them. You may get instructions for generating a robots.txt file on Google’s website, and Search Console will help you create an XML sitemap.
If you already have robots.txt or an XML sitemap… Examine them and make sure they’re in working order. It’s typical for companies to reject Google with the robots.txt file, for example. Second, ensure that you’re directing Google to important pages on your site as well as those that you want it to find.
If you want to prevent specific pages from being indexed by search engines, then using the meta robots tag is a good solution. This tag can be used on page-level or site-level, but it’s recommended that you place it on one page at a time rather than your entire site.
After the robots have gone across your website and determined it relevant, they’ll save its most recent HTML version to a large database (also known as the Google Search index).
All the content on your site that is not blocked by robots.txt or meta robot tags will then be analyzed and indexed for search engines, based upon the page quality and relevance signals determined by the bots crawling it.
The most prevalent indexation problems when performing SEO audits include:
Duplicate content is any text that appears on multiple Web pages, whether from the same domain or different domains.
If that text is the same on each page across every element, then it’s a good idea to remove some of it. It can happen for many reasons: your CMS might have a problem with the duplicate content blockage, making multiple versions of the same article appear, or you might be publishing old content under new URLs.
Ideally, no links should lead to non-existent pages. If the page is permanently deleted and must be deindexed, use the 410 status code. If a 301 redirect is preferable since it adds backlink value and helps preserve SEO, do it that way. In the event of a product being out of stock for an extended period,
A 404 error happens when a link leads to a non-existent page on your website. Their influence on your SEO will depend on the cause. Overall, it’s best to reduce these 404 errors since neither users nor search engines like them.
Your website 404 error pages can occur for a variety of reasons:
Broken internal links: Broken links can occur for a variety of reasons, such as deleting existing pages (for example, extremely old ones) or incorrectly connecting two sites (for example, mistyping the URL). Broken links damage user experience and search bots’ ability to crawl your website.
Soft 404s: A soft 404 is a page that has been removed from the website permanently, but that returns a 200 status code because of server issues. This indicates that the request to return the page has succeeded. In terms of SEO impact, soft 404s consume crawl budgets.
There are several methods for correcting broken link errors. The most popular one is to use a 301 redirect to another relevant page that best fulfils the user’s intent or your home page.
The Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol, which assures a secure connection to your website, is another ranking signal.
An HTTPS with an SSL certificate protects the consumer’s data (including login credentials and highly sensitive information like credit card numbers). The data is encrypted as it travels from the browser to the website’s server.
- On-page SEO
On-page SEO involves optimizing the HTML components and content on a website. All of these on-page improvements should be guided by your keyword research.
Keyword targeting helps you get your material in front of relevant leads, resulting in more website visits and full shopping carts. First, verify that the keywords you’re targeting are relevant to your users’ intent, which is almost certainly transactional for an eCommerce company.
- On-page SEO
On-page SEO refers to the factors influencing a page’s rank within the search engine via its content and HTML tags. It includes the following factors:
The title tags are written in HTML and display when the page is displayed in SERPs, in the browser’s tab title, bookmarks, and when people share the link on social media.
The title tag should include the page’s most important keyword, according to SEO best practices. It’s also a good idea to include the name of the company in an eCommerce store.
CTRs are significantly enhanced using a well-written meta description. Although they aren’t considered a ranking element, their presence may influence organic visits.
The keywords that the users have searched are emphasized in bold on the one hand, enticing them to visit your website. To fully take advantage of this feature provided by search engines, make sure to include your targeted terms in the description.
Search engine bots can’t view images. Therefore using an alt attribute on them is essential. If your image is about a specific person, animal, or place and includes the target keyword in the alt text, it’s possible that Google will find it if it’s relevant to your page.
- Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO considers all external factors that can have an impact on your eCommerce web site’s position in SERPs. Essentially, after you’ve improved your site, you need to advertise it.
However, in your eCommerce SEO audit, you should start with the following off-page actions:
Link building is one of the most crucial off-page elements for eCommerce companies in terms of SEO. When Google understands that other reputable, high-authority websites are referring back to your brand’s material, it recognizes your site as a source of valuable information for visitors. On the other hand, if spammy sites with no authority continuously link to your content, Google views your website as spammy as well.
Social Media Activities
According to Google, the rankings of its search results aren’t affected by social signals like shares, retweets, and likes. However, social media does have an impact on organic search ranks indirectly.
You most likely ask people to leave you testimonials because you know that 80% of customers will trust a review more than any other form of marketing. Reviews are popular because they result in traffic. That’s also why numerous services have started including reviews to their material, such as Facebook and Google+. You want as many reviews on as many websites as possible.
Get Listed on Vendor and Partner Sites
Influencer marketing has proven to be a key eCommerce marketing platform for its excellent return on investment, high influencer engagement rates, and targeted targeting of internet audiences.
In the case of eCommerce, influencer marketing is a great way to get your product in front of high-value audiences, as these individuals will be more likely to share it on social media.
Influencers and Partners
You can work with companies specifically to achieve these and other SEO-friendly tactics and boost your sales and efforts. We wanted to call out specifically that there are free and paid options that are both equally valid.
- Content audit
A content audit is a crucial part of your SEO audit. It’s a tool that ensures your current content efforts are effective in achieving the stated objectives. It also provides the data you need to fine-tune your SEO performance. It includes the following factors:
A content audit is a thorough examination of all your current pieces of content to see whether they are achieving the intended results. It also offers you the information you need to fine-tune your content approach for better performance.
An effective content audit will help you determine which of your content pieces are the most popular (as well as those that are wasting your time and resources). A content audit may also reveal a content gap.
- Uniqueness –The biggest problem with duplicate content is that it damages SEO efforts since Google identifies similar content as duplicate. Thus, avoiding duplicate content (i.e., low-quality content) is critical if you want your website to rank well in search engines. One method to solve this issue when you
- Original It is important that you are able to answer all of the questions your target customers could have about your product. Adding additional content, such as photos and videos, and testimonials are also beneficial.
- Usefulness –Your content should be informative and helpful for your buyer personas, and it should be tailored to the stage in the buyer journey that visitors are at. That is, a prospect going through the interest stage requires different information than a long-term client.
- Accuracy –Your content should be error-free, both grammatically and in terms of facts and statistics used to back up your claims, which is a no-brainer.
- Freshness – You’ll want to modify and expand your content regularly to maintain it qualitative and relevant.
- SEO–friendly structure – Make your content easily readable by both users and search engines. This is what on-page SEO is all about, as we’ve previously discussed. You may also want to consider how you might make your content more appealing for SERP features such as snippets/reviews/FAQs.
- The best of the best – As you research the different SEO services, things will start to make more sense. Yes, getting an SEO strategy is important, but so is having a content strategy. This can be hard for many marketers who don’t have experience with content creation for search engines since many people tend to think of what they’ll design or write themselves.
Tips on product pages
Regardless of what product you’re promoting, all of your website’s links should lead to product pages (since conversion is the aim of your eCommerce SEO efforts). Let’s take a look at some of the best eCommerce SEO practices:
- Each product’s meta title and description should be unique and keyword-optimized.
- It’s a good idea to avoid duplicate names and URLs for items.
- The category should not be included in the URL (you want the goods to be viewable across numerous filters/facets). Clean and succinct product page URLs are a must.
- In order to be indexed, each product should appear in at least one indexable path. You don’t want to index all instances where your items occur (e.g., filter pages), so you’ll instruct search engines not to index them. Make sure each item is, however, listed in an indexable path.
- If you’re selling a one-time offer, such as a contest or special discount, it’s best not to make your product page indexable. However, if the stock is only temporary, make sure to recommend related items until it returns. You won’t lose out on any visitors this way.
- Add ratings and reviews to product pages.
6) Bonus: Meet Google’s Web Core Vitals
In 2021, page speed will be essential. Page speed is one of Google’s most important ranking criteria as a result of the Core Web Vitals upgrade. Core web Vitals include the following factors:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have an FID of 100 milliseconds or less.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of 0.1. or less.
Google’s Page Speed Insight tool can be used to assess the speed of your website. It provides an overall grade for mobile and desktop, as well as detailed information on their core web vitals, depending on whether you’re using a computer or a smartphone.
We hope you found this eCommerce SEO Audit useful. You should do an SEO audit on your site regularly to stay up with the latest developments in search engine optimization.
We have broken this audit down into easy, actionable steps. This means that you can start by prioritizing the issues with your site’s SEO rather than having to read through everything.
Just remember that every eCommerce website is different, so make sure you tailor your audit according to your company’s needs!