With a brand new decade ahead of us, now is the perfect time to reevaluate your ecommerce website’s SEO strategy.
A Google, Bing, or Yahoo search is the beginning of a shopper’s journey to your site, and proper SEO techniques will ensure that you make the best first impression.
Though the world of SEO can be incredibly complex to navigate, especially for ecommerce sites, the following checklist will ensure you are moving in the right direction.
Ecommerce Technical SEO Checklist
Technical SEO is the foundation for any successful SEO strategy.
Follow these steps to ensure your technical SEO is on point:
1. Ensure Your Website Can Be Crawled & Indexed
If a search engine can’t crawl your website, it can’t rank your content.
Specifically, it can’t rank your products in search results.
Your site’s indexability, crawlability, speed, content, schema markup, and overall user-friendliness are all essential components of technical SEO.
If these elements are correctly set up, the rest of your ecommerce SEO strategy will fall into place.
2. Resolve Pages with 4XX Errors
Google Search Console is an incredibly useful tool for all websites.
Once your site is verified, your first step should be to address any pages that come up with errors.
These are broken pages that Google is unable to crawl, often due to an out-of-date sitemap, out-of-stock products, or a temporary server error.
3. Double-Check Excluded Pages
You also want to check your excluded pages, as Google cannot index them due to the code in your robots.txt file.
Though this list is often comprised of pages you don’t want a search engine to crawl anyway, such as the cart or customer profile page, you should double-check it to ensure no essential pages are blocked from crawlers.
4. Add Schema Markup to Your Site
Schema markup is a batch of HTML tags that allow Google to display the price, rating, availability, and more product details right on the search results page.
Adding it to your site is easy, and it’s vital that you do so.
It ensures that your products are more appealing on the first page of results and in the shopping tab of Google.
You can view your current schema markup setup within the products report of Google Search Console.
Ecommerce Keyword Checklist
Once your technical SEO is sound, you will want to evaluate your current keywords and see which pages are ranking for them.
5. Target Specific, Sales-Driven Keywords
One of the biggest mistakes ecommerce business owners make is targeting the wrong keywords.
Many go after the terms with the highest search volume related to a brand.
Though they look great in research, it’s the more specific, lower-search-volume keywords that will bring in the conversions.
For example, “2017 Subaru Crosstrek rims” may not have an impressive volume compared to “Subaru rims” or “rims.”
However, the more specific term will lead directly to your product page, and searchers will find exactly what they are looking for.
6. Focus on Keyword Intent
You want to ensure the keywords you are targeting reflect the right searcher intent.
Google’s RankBrain helps to determine if a query is informational or transactional. As an ecommerce site, you want to ensure you’re targeting transactional keywords.
You can identify what type a particular term is by searching it in an incognito window to see what results pop up.
If the query directs you primarily to product pages, you’re on the right track.
7. Don’t Compete with Yourself
Once you have figured out your transactional, sales-driven keywords, try to ensure multiple pages are not ranking for the same term.
If two pages rank for a specific query, Google will not know which to display first, or at all.
You don’t want to put in all that effort researching your transactional keywords only to have users directed to the homepage instead of the product page.
Google Search Console can show you the ranking position, clicks, impressions, and CTR for your website’s pages to determine if there’s any self-inflicted competition for specific keywords.
Ecommerce Content Checklist
Quality content is certainly not a new factor when it comes to your rankings.
Though long, in-depth content may not initially be your top priority as an ecommerce website, your rankings will suffer if it’s pushed to the backburner.
8. Avoid Duplicated Content
Google is continuously promoting unique, high-quality content, and websites with duplicated content are going to pay the price.
If 60% of any page’s information matches another, Google could consider it duplicated.
From an ecommerce standpoint, if you have individual product pages for the same item, but in different colors or sizes, those pages could be deemed duplicates.
Consolidating all of these options onto one page will not only solve this issue but ensure your site is responsive and user-friendly.
9. Improve Any Thin Content
Google is also on the lookout for pages with thin content.
If a product page doesn’t contain a detailed description and images specific to the item, it may not be indexed.
The reasoning is that Google does not believe the page will satisfy the user’s search intent, as there is little information to provide.
Go through your products to ensure all of the descriptions, images, specs, and other essential information is clearly defined and available to visitors.
10. Mobile-First Indexing
For at least 90% of websites, Google now uses mobile-first indexing to determine your ranking based on the content of your mobile site, not the desktop version.
With mobile searches largely outnumbering desktop searches, you want to ensure your website and products are optimized for these devices.
Make sure you have detailed, visible content on your mobile site so those with intent to buy can find your product effectively.
The best way to tackle this is to have a responsive ecommerce website.
This will allow your site to adapt to the screen size of the user’s device, making mobile-first indexing a minimal concern.
Ultimately, you should walk away from this article with the following in mind:
- Do not underestimate the role that technical SEO plays in your site’s rankings. Technical elements such as crawlability and schema markup are essential to your success.
- Do not mistakenly target your SEO keywords. Know the difference between transactional and informational queries, and target terms that will increase sales.
- Do not ignore thin or duplicated content on your website, as it can drastically decrease your site’s chances of ranking effectively. The mobile version of your website should also be properly optimized for Google’s mobile-first indexing.
By focusing on these three main areas, your ecommerce website will be an SEO force to be reckoned with this year.