SEO for eCommerce website – 2018

seo audit checklist for ecommerce store

SEO for eCommerce website will help you to improve your e-commerce website performance through the search engine and among your customers as well.

A timely SEO audit for e-commerce website is a must. Some issues can be fixed quickly and some take the time to fix.

We are trying to list few points that you can cover in your next SEO audit of your e-commerce website.

How to do SEO for eCommerce website

In 2011, a research study by Optify discovered that “websites ranked number one received an average click-through rate (CTR) of 36.4 percent; number two had a CTR of 12.5 percent; and number three had a CTR of 9.5 percent.”

SEO audit checklist for e-commerce store helps you to find our important points that will help you to perform better in the search engine. As you rank higher, more chances to get customers from organic search.

1. Write your own product description

How do you tell your visitors about the product? Do you simply copy and paste the product description from the manufacturer page?

If yes, then you are doing it wrong.

2. Know your buyers

You need to know your customers, in order to make them click on buy. Learn what makes them click on buy. Learn what makes them dislike a product.

3. Clear list of features and Benefits of your Product

While making a list of product’s feature is a good idea for the product itself, it might not be a good idea for your customer. People want to know

  • how your product is helpful for them.
  • Will it make things easier/ better?
  • Will it solve any issue they are going through?

Try to differentiate between a specification and benefits of your product.

  • A feature is a fact about your product.
  • Benefits are how the feature will help your clients.

Here is a great example from Amazon. Amazon listed some benefits of XboxValue like this.

SEO for eCommerce - ExampleFew more tips

  • Write quality descriptive content that helps your customers make purchasing decisions.
  • Avoid Slang.
  • Use Key Phrases in your Product Headline.
  • Focus on your customer. Write product description for customers, not for search engine.

4. Use canonical link

Problem: If you run an e-commerce site, you must have a product which can be accessed using multiple URLs. For example, if you sell Panda T-shirts, then there might be different URLs you can access the t-shirt as shown below

http://abc.com/tshirts/panda-tshirts.html
http://abc.com/Men/Tshirts/panda-tshirts.html
http://abc.com/onsale/Tshirts/panda-tshirts.html

Now search engines like Google considers these URLs as three different URLs and will penalize your site with duplicate content.

Question: How to solve the duplicate content problem for e-commerce sites?
Solution: Duplicate content issue can be solved using the canonical tag. The code to implement canonical tag is given below.

With an absolute URL.

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.abc.com/product-url” />

or with a relative URL.

<link rel=”canonical” href=”/product-url” />

 

5. Use Schema Markup

If you are selling a product that has reviews, or if people are searching for a product that is available on your store, schema markup can be helpful for you.

SEO for eCommerce: An example of schema markup
An example of schema markup in Search engine results page
Wondering how to display Rich Snippets for Products?

Solution: You need to use predefined set by Google, so google can understand the structure of your website and product.

Now suppose you are selling Panda Tshirts on your eCommerce website, which has average rating: 4.4, based on 100 ratings and the price is $11- $14.

Example Code To display Rich Snippets for Products

<div itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/Product”>

<span itemprop=”brand”>ACME</span> <span itemprop=”name”>Panda T-shirt</span>

<span itemprop=”aggregateRating” itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/AggregateRating”>

Average rating: <span itemprop=”ratingValue”>4.4</span>, based on

<span itemprop=”ratingCount”>100</span> reviews

</span>

<span itemprop=”offers” itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/AggregateOffer”>

from $<span itemprop=”lowPrice”>11</span> to

$<span itemprop=”highPrice”>14</span>

<meta itemprop=”priceCurrency” content=”USD” />

</span>

</div>

For complete instructions additional information and the complete set of Rich Snippets for Products, check instruction by Google.

6. Speed up your web pages

Before we start discussing, why page load is important, let’s take a look at some major eCommerce websites and how they improved their online sales.

According to a research report by Aberdeen Group, a 1-second delay in page load time yields:

  • 11% fewer page views.
  • 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
  • 7% loss in conversions.

Walmart, who found a 2% increase in conversions for every 1 second of improvement.

SEO for eCommerce : Walmart report shows 2% increase in conversions for every 1 second of improvement
SRC/research report

 

According to Akamai, 73% of mobile users say they’ve encountered a website that was slow to load. Many times, this happens when users aren’t on WiFi and are relying on a cellular connection.

Hence, Google also cares about the page speed. As per them

screenshot-google-webmaster-blogA fast loading page will ensure that your visitors remains on your website and more chances that they will convert to lead.

So now you understand how page load time can increase/decrease your sales. So let’s see how you can improve page load time.

6.1 How to speed up your page

Enable browser caching

Every time a browser loads a web page it has to download all the web files to properly display the page. This includes all the HTML, CSS, javascript, and images.

For example, your company logo doesn’t change every day, so using Browser cache mechanism, you can instruct the user’s browser that he don’t need to download the logo every time or logo should be downloaded once in a week.

Reduce the Image Size

Reducing the image size can improve drastically. If you need some motivation, take a look at this report about how Amazon lose $1.6 billion a year.

Optimize your images for SEO

Some important factors to optimize your Images

Use meaningful names for images

You might upload your image with a random name like abc.png which is not at all helpful. Use some meaningful name for your images.

For example panda-tshirt.png is more useful then asd123.png. Search engine is not only crawling your web page only, they are crawling your images as well.

So using the meaningful name for images is a must.

Use Alt tag for your Images

If your browser cannot render the image, it will display the alt tag instead. Also, bots can’t read images, they check for alt tags for the images, and the more relevant the image alt tag is with your content, more benefits you get with SEO.

Avoid Keyword stuffing

This applies to images and your web pages. Your keyword should be relevant to your content, using the random keywords and more keywords will only make the situation worst. You can read more about Keywords here.

Bonus: To check the best ways to optimize your images, check Google’s recommendation.

7. Say no to landing page redirects

An example of landing redirect is, suppose a customer is requesting a page using a phone. This is what happens in worst scenarios.

Abc.com -> www.abc.com -> m.abc.com or abc.com/phone/index.html

This makes two additional HTTP request-response cycle and delay page rendering.

Check the suggestions by Matt Cutt, How would Google recommend handling eCommerce products that are no longer available?

8. Collect customer reviews after purchase

According to CompUSA and an iPerceptions study,

“63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.

For example, every time I purchase a product from Amazon, they contact me after some days, to review the product. They contact me if someone asks any question regarding the product which I ordered in past and might provide some helpful answer.

This approach helps to get more reviews for the product that you are offering. This helps new users as well. Your product, web page become more engaging and it increases the trust.

Some more points to remember

  • Analyze your back-links.
  • Be socially active.
  • Check your website’s HTML and CSS codes for broken links or code. Go to W3C Validator and CSS Validator.

9. Use HTTPS

use https - ecommerce seoIf you own an eCommerce website, then it is must to use HTTPS throughout the website.

HTTPS provides important security and data integrity to you and to your website visitors. It is also, one of the main requirement of many web browser. Read more about why you need HTTPS on your website on Google developer blog.

Lately, Google has confirmed, that websites that are using HTTPS, will see slight boost in their ranking in Google Search.

Google Chrome now shows a warning “not secure” in browser for any website not using HTTPS.

So, no one would like to buy from a website, which is not secure. Make sure to implement HTTPS.

Conclusion

SEO is not a one-time action. You need to keep your website up to date because search engines are updating their algorithms constantly.

Hence we created SEO audit checklist for an eCommerce store. So online eCommerce website, who are struggling with online sales, can get the benefit from Google Search and organic traffic. We hope SEO for eCommerce website will be useful.