Complete and Stepwise Ecommerce SEO Audit Checklist

by | ecommerce seo

SEO for online stores is like a constantly shifting puzzle; strategies that made your store shine yesterday might not do the trick today. That’s why doing regular ecommerce SEO audits is important to ensure your website is optimized for the search engines.

Drawing upon years of expertise in digital marketing, particularly in the e-commerce sector, we have crafted this comprehensive checklist to improve your site’s visibility, optimize user experience, and boost conversion rates. We have weaved together some insightful tips, hard-earned lessons, and invaluable data to guide you through the SEO audit process for your e-commerce website.

The article follows a section-wise division and “quick checks” section that will save you from reading between the lines. Dive in to learn more. 

Trust us, your online store will thank us later!

What is Ecommerce SEO?

At its core, e-commerce SEO doesn’t drift far from the traditional SEO practices—climbing search engine rankings to reach the right audience. But in the case of e-commerce, the focus shifts to managing thousands of product and category pages, all to make sure you’re attracting the right customers.

What is an Ecommerce SEO Audit and Why It Should Be Your Next Big Move? 

An Ecommerce SEO audit is basically a health check for your online store, which involves a thorough examination of your website to identify its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.

Why do top-performing online stores rely upon SEO audits?

Having refreshed your core knowledge of e-commerce SEO, it’s time to dig into why conducting an e-commerce SEO audit is essential.

So, carrying out an Ecommerce SEO audit is important because ecommerce websites and Google algorithms are ever-evolving. New products are added, old ones are removed, some become out of stock while others fall under the discounted categories. So, carrying out regular audits helps you track changes and spot potential issues before they affect your website’s rankings.

In addition to providing a quick overview of your website’s performance report, the audit hands you a priority to-do list highlighting areas that need immediate attention to enhance your SEO strategy.

What Can Our Experience with Ecommerce SEO Audits Teach You?

Based on our experience, we would like to share a set of “common issues and mistakes” that we frequently observe while conducting SEO audits for e-commerce websites. This exploration will help you understand the importance of SEO audit more deeply, connecting you to its vital role in enhancing your online store’s performance.

Five H1s on the home page

Having multiple H1 tags can confuse search engines about what the page is about, potentially diluting the SEO impact of the home page for eCommerce or DTC brands.

Only two-sentence product descriptions

Concise product descriptions do not provide enough detail to inform customers or search engines effectively about the product. This negatively affects both SEO rankings and conversion rates for eCommerce sites.

No or concise content on the category page

Lack of content on category pages negatively affects the user experience by not guiding customers through product selections.

Missing H1s on category pages

Not using an H1 tag on category pages fails to emphasize the main topic or category to search engines, weakening the SEO structure and clarity of an eCommerce site.

No relationship between category and products

Poorly defined relationships between categories and products can lead to a confusing site architecture, making it difficult for search engines to crawl and index the site efficiently, which is crucial for eCommerce visibility.

Targeting the wrong keywords

We have observed numerous websites targeting the wrong keywords, which makes them lose a lot of money on the table.

Therefore, conducting an ecommerce SEO audit helps you avoid these problems and resolve the issues at an early stage. 

Step-wise Ecommerce SEO Audit Checklist for Your Online Store’s Success

An Extra Step for The Solid Foundation

Before we dive into the SEO audit, let’s take a moment to focus on some essential aspects that you must verify before conducting the ecommerce SEO audit:

  • Analyze Your Current Organic Traffic: Use reliable and professional tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to get insights into your website’s current organic traffic.
  • Review Keyword Rankings: Check the performance of your keywords to better understand your online visibility. You can do so by using Google Search Console or by manually typing the keywords in the search engines and scrolling through search results until you find your website.
  • Check Conversion Rates: Take a closer look at conversion rates to identify how effectively your website turns visitors into customers. For that, we recommend you use Google Analytics.

Examining these aspects can help you better understand the current state of your website’s SEO performance and assist you in defining goals for your SEO audit.

E-commerce Technical SEO Audit Checklist 

Technical SEO works on behind-the-scenes optimizations for your website to make sure it is fit for the search engines. Conducting a technical SEO audit is absolutely vital for e-commerce websites because their complex and ever-changing structure can pose challenges for search engines trying to crawl and index them. 

But, don’t worry! With the help of this e-commerce SEO audit checklist, you’ll be able to assess and fine-tune the technical elements of your site, ensuring everything runs smoothly and efficiently.

1. XML Sitemap: XML sitemap is a map of your website for the search engines that help them crawl your entire site. 

Quick checks:

  • Ensure that all important pages, including product pages, categories, and essential content, are included in the XML sitemap. Google Search Console is a good application that helps you verify that your XML sitemap is submitted and indexed. It also provides insights into any errors or issues with the sitemap.
  • Verify the accuracy of last modification dates to improve crawl frequency.
  • Check that canonical URLs are accurately represented in the XML sitemap, directing search engines to the preferred version of your product page.
  • Monitor which pages are getting indexed and mark non-important ones as “noindex.”

2. Robots.txt: Robots.txt tells the search engine bots which pages to crawl and which ones to not.

Quick checks:

  • Ensure that essential pages, like product pages, category pages, etc., are indexable.
  • Test any modifications to the `robots.txt` file using Google Search Console’s Robots.txt Tester to ensure it doesn’t block vital content.
  • Additionally, you can optimize your crawl budget by using the robots.txt file to block irrelevant site sections.

3. Site Speed: Nobody likes a slow running website, mainly when it comes to online shopping. So, to stop your visitors from bouncing back, you must ensure your website is as fast as the speed of light.

Quick checks:

  • Besides Google’s Page Speed Insights, you can also use GTmetrix to evaluate and improve page load time. We advise you to prioritize product and checkout pages for speed improvements.
  • We understand high quality images are crucial for ecommerce websites to showcase products attractively, but make sure they are optimized to avoid slowing down your site.
  • Implement browser caching to decrease the page load times. You can do that using GTmetrix or Google page speed insights.
  • Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML to help product pages load faster. The process involves removing unnecessary spaces, line breaks, and redundant code from these files to reduce their overall size.

4. Mobile Responsive Design: With more than two-thirds (2/3rd) of the world population using smartphones, having a mobile-optimized website is a must, especially for ecommerce websites.

Quick checks:

  • Ensure that the product images and the product descriptions adjust effortlessly to various screen sizes. You can manually test this by doing a trial website run on different screen sizes or by using Google page speed test tool. 
  • Also, check if the CTAs are correctly placed and work the same across mobile devices. Mobile screens are smaller, so CTAs need to be easy to find and tap. Ensure they’re not only visible but also well-placed for easy shopping and a great mobile user experience. 

5. Duplicate Content:  Keeping a check on the duplicate content is extra important, especially for ecommerce websites, because these websites might have the same product listed multiple times across various categories. These issues can lead to the wrong page being indexed and shown in the search results.

Quick checks:

  • Make sure to use the `rel=”canonical”` link element to signal search engines which version of a page is the preferred one.
  • Rightly utilize “noindex” tags for pages that should not appear in search results, such as certain product variations or promotional pages.
  • Check if the robots.txt rules are properly implemented to prevent search engines from crawling duplicate content.

6. Secure website: Having a secure connection is crucial, especially for ecommerce websites. This is because users who shop online share sensitive information, such as credit card details and personal data. Therefore, visitors are more likely to trust a website that displays the padlock icon in the address bar, indicating a secure connection.

Quick checks:

  • Ensure your website starts with “https://” instead of “http://,” indicating a secure connection. Additionally, you can check for a padlock icon in the address bar to verify a secure connection.
  • Utilize online tools like SSL/TLS scanners to check the configuration of your SSL certificate and ensure it is correctly set up.

E-commerce On-page SEO Checklist

Have you ever noticed how some online stores effortlessly catch your eye while others struggle to get noticed? That’s where on-page SEO comes into play. On-page SEO for ecommerce websites involves optimizing elements that are visible to the visitors on your page. It works to fine-tune all the elements that your visitors see, ranging from catchy product descriptions to page titles. 

Let’s take a closer look at the elements of an On-Page SEO audit – where every click counts!

7. Pay attention to content quality: “Content is the crown jewel that plays an essential role in your ecommerce SEO.” The content that you write for your headlines and product descriptions should be relevant, accurate, and error-free to attract the attention of your visitors.

Quick checks:

  • Make sure the content is updated and free of grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. You can use apps like Grammarly to proofread your content.
  • Check if your content aligns with customer preferences, the latest fashion trends, and seasonal changes.
  • Ensure to update your homepage taglines to match the ever-changing occasions and festive celebrations.

updated content of ecommerce store homepageThe online store’s updated tagline according to the new season

8. Evaluate Target Keywords: Targeting the right keywords can help your products appear in relevant search results. This can ultimately lead to more visits and potentially more sales for your products.

Quick checks:

  • Run a keyword gap analysis to analyze which keywords your competitor ecommerce websites are ranking for. 
  • Make sure you have strategically incorporated target keywords in your meta descriptions, title tags and throughout the content. 
  • Ensure you have intelligently used your keywords to hit the search intent of the users. For example, product pages target buyers ready to make a purchase, while blog posts cater to those in the research phase.

9. Title tags and meta descriptions: In ecommerce, title tags and meta descriptions act as your site’s first impression to the search engines. So, it’s important to keep them updated to stay relevant and appealing to customers searching online for your products.

Quick checks:

  • Make sure that the title tags are within 50-60 characters, while the meta descriptions do not exceed 150-160 characters to ensure it is visible in search results.
  • Do not overstuff your meta descriptions and title tags with keywords.
  • Ensure that your meta descriptions are optimized for mobile devices as well.
  • Utilize tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor the performance of your title tags and meta descriptions. Leverage them to analyze click-through rates and make adjustments accordingly.

10. Internal Linking: Keeping the internal links relevant and updated is important (especially for ecommerce websites) for better navigation. When your links are thoughtfully connected and regularly updated, it helps visitors explore different products and categories, enhancing the user experience.

You can leverage tools like Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to identify issues, such as broken links, redirects, or pages with few internal links.

Quick checks:

  • Make sure your website has a clear hierarchy, making it easy for both users and search engines to find products. It’s better to opt for a simple structure like: Home > Category > Sub-Category > Product.
  • Ensure that the majority of your products/categories are reachable within 3 clicks from the homepage because the deeper a page is buried, the less likely it is to rank well.
  • Another thing is to avoid having too many internal links on a single page. You must stick to a reasonable number, focusing on relevance and quality over quantity.

11.  Image Optimization: Optimized product images are the heart and soul of ecommerce websites. So, you must audit your website images at regular intervals to keep the site updated. 

Quick checks:

  • Check if the images are compressed and of high quality. You can employ tools like TinyPNG, Optimizilla, and Ewww image optimizer to compress images.
  • Make sure your website employs the right format images. You can choose between JPEG, JPG, PNG, WebP, or AVIF formats for your ecommerce website.
  • Check whether the image size is appropriate. Keep it ideally between 70 Kb-100 Kb. 
  • Ensure you have added descriptive and relevant alt text to all the images. While doing so, consider the information a user would need if they couldn’t see the image.

Ecommerce Off-page SEO Checklist

Think of off-page SEO as your online reputation. It involves everything you do outside your website to make Google and other search engines see your site as a trusted and credible source. Auditing off-page elements for your ecommerce website is crucial because it plays a vital role in boosting your online store’s visibility and authority.

Keep reading to discover which elements to take care of while conducting an off-page SEO audit for your ecommerce website.

12. Backlink Profile: Backlinks are a “pat on the back” from other websites, and Google considers them to be of high importance, helping your website increase its authority and ranking in search engines. You can use tools such as Ahrefs backlink checker, SEMrush, or Majestic to evaluate your backlink profile.

Quick checks:

  • Check for any spammy or non-relevant websites linking to your website.
  • Run a backlink gap analysis to evaluate the backlink profile of your competitors.
  • Make sure there are no broken links. Whenever you discover one, use 301 redirects to guide visitors to a current, relevant page.
  • Look for instances where your brand is mentioned but not linked. You can perform this by using applications such as Google Alerts or Mention or do it manually by searching for your brand name in the search engines.

13. Evaluate Social Media Profiles: Social media plays an important role in making your website reach potential customers. By optimizing your presence on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, you get a chance to engage with your target audience, creating opportunities to convert social media users into potential customers for your ecommerce website.

Quick checks:

  • Ensure that your social media profiles, Instagram, Facebook, etc., include accurate and updated information about your ecommerce business, including a concise bio, website link, and contact details.
  • Check you have consistent branding elements, i.e. logo and color scheme across all platforms.

Wrapping Up

Conducting a thorough SEO audit is no joke as it demands time and effort, not to mention the resources for implementing changes afterward. That’s where our ecommerce SEO checklist comes in handy, helping you find and fix issues on your site, making it even better for your audience!

However, as industry experts, we recognize the ever-evolving nature of digital marketing and the importance of staying ahead. We specialize in comprehensive eCommerce SEO audits.

Take the first step by requesting a free SEO audit today. Let’s make your digital journey a success together!

Navneet Singh Final

A young enthusiast who is passionate about SEO, Internet Marketing, and most importantly providing tremendous value to businesses every day. Connect with him on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter: @nsvisibility

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