Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) has been proven to be the best way for businesses to increase their visibility on search engine result pages. This ultimately leads to more traffic to your eCommerce website and higher conversions. What is the secret to SEO success? To get started, take a look at our comprehensive SEO guide.
Prioritize and Identify What You Want to Optimize
Many eCommerce businesses don’t know where to begin before they start the entire SEO process. Here’s a quick guide to help you identify which pages to focus on. We also show you how to prioritize your SEO efforts for product changes such as new products or the retirement of old products.
URL Selection for Optimization
There are many ways to determine and prioritize URLs that you want to optimize.
This guide is not intended to be a complete step-by-step guide, but rather to provide a reference for you and your team. Each industry is unique, making it difficult or impossible for us to create a step–by–step process. When deciding which pages to optimize from month to month, you will need to use data, multiple people within your organization, and your best judgment.
Shopify sites that are larger or run on Shopify should be aware of how pages are organized and canonicalized in the backend. This will help you to identify which page(s).
Example: Shopify adds collections to the URL by default depending on which collection you were in before that product. The URL will look like this:
/collections/(collection name)/products/(name of product)
The canonical point to a simplified URL however:
http://products.com/ (name of the product).
You should ensure that you have optimized only the page(s), or pages you are trying to index, and not trying to optimize the product in every collection you might have.
Before You Begin Optimizing…
Before optimizing any website, you must first take a snapshot of the entire site using a web crawl. ScreamingFrog or RavenTools are good tools for smaller sites.
Try to crawl the site at night and crawl at slower speeds.
EX: (Screaming Frog) Configuration > Speed -> Check “Limit URL/s” then choose 0.50 Max URL/s
Site crawlers are not the only tool you can use to find the most important URLs of a website. The sitemap is also useful. You should be able to find this by using the address: domain.com/sitemap.xml (i.e. https://www.rei.com/sitemap-core-collection.xml). most important
Screaming Frog allows you to choose between Mode > List and “upload”, then select “Download XML Sitemap”
Paste the URL of the sitemap, hit OK, and you can start running.
You can save crawl information to a Google Sheet or spreadsheet if you don’t use an Enterprise SEO tool such as BrightEdge, SEOClarity, or Conductor. To keep track of pages that have been optimized, use a spreadsheet.
Phase 1: Category and Subcategory Pages
SEO optimizations usually start in the same way. They optimize the category pages because these are the ones that drive the most traffic to the site and generate the most revenue.
Subcategory and Category Pages
While some businesses may be able to optimize every category and subcategory page in a matter of weeks, others might have hundreds of pages that require months to complete. It is difficult to choose the right focus to make the greatest impact.
What pages should I begin with?
There are many ways to prioritize pages of category or subcategory. These are just a few:
- Alphabetically (seriously).
- Pages that receive the most traffic are either first or second.
- Pages ranked in the top 10-20 positions (pulled with tools such as SEMRush and AHREFs).
- Pages ranked in positions 5-10 (using Google Search Console data).
- The best selling
- Top converting
- Any combination of the preceding
If you’re still not sure where to begin, I recommend that you start with each category page. They have the best chance of ranking and will give you an easy win to demonstrate the value of SEO if necessary. Next, move on to the subcategory pages.
Phase 2: Everything Else
The next step will vary depending on which website you are visiting. These questions will help you make a decision.
- Are there too many product pages?
- Do we need to focus only on the top products, and then move on?
- Is there a way to automatically optimize product pages and other pages?
- Is there any page that ranks on the margin of Google’s first page but is not a category page?
- Are there any high-value/low-competition keywords that haven’t been assigned to a page and optimized that could be?
- Is there a low-value page that doesn’t generate a lot of traffic or revenue, but can still be used?
Take a look at the Site Optimization document’s list of URLs to see which ones have not been changed. To improve the efficiency of writing meta descriptions and title tags, group them according to similar keywords.
Additional helpful ideas for prioritizing pages
Page 2 Ranking URLs
These URLs rank for relevant keywords between positions 11-20. These pages are only one page from the first Google page and will drive traffic to your site with minimal effort.
You can run a SEMRush report to identify the pages. Remember that pages that rank for keywords on page two may also rank for URLs on page one. You shouldn’t try to cannibalize URLs on page one. This strategy’s effectiveness will depend on your judgment.
Do not choose URLs that are “page two”, just because they rank low. They won’t be able to move the needle if they are at the fringe of a keyword with a search volume of less than 50 or 100.
You could “level up” this strategy by looking at URLs that rank between 4-10 positions, as the CTR for positions 1-3 is exponentially higher than the rest. To quickly get this data, you can use a Google Search Console tool. You must have added Google Search Console to your website, and you should wait a few days before collecting data. Once you have the data, you can access the Performance section by selecting Total Clicks and Average CTR.
To filter the Keyword Table, click on the Filter icon located below the graph chart. Filter by: Clicks, Query, and CTR
You can further filter the results by selecting filters. You can sort the information by the highest clicks. Then, review keywords that rank between 4-10. Next, work on improving the CTR for these terms.
URLs with no landing page traffic (as seen in Google, Adobe, and other Analytics tools) have nothing to lose. These pages are the best to optimize. These pages can be optimized by “deoptimizing” them. The oversaturation or use of keywords on these pages could have caused them to lose rankings.
The Best Sellers
Shopify, Google Analytics, and Shopify can identify the best-selling product pages (highest revenue, highest conversion rate, etc.). This list can be exported (most platforms offer an export option). Select the appropriate date range if the client’s website has seasonal content. Add the Link Klipper extension for Chrome to export the client’s website. View the appropriate category page, choose the view that displays the most products, and then run the extension.
After you have downloaded all links, you can save them to a CSV file. This is how it will look:
The Latest Pages
Choose the most recent pages. These pages are likely to be outdated and need some optimization. This likely takes little effort. To stay on top of optimizations before new products launch, make sure you communicate with the product team.
What can I do to optimize my entire website?
First, have a good time. It was worth it! Good job!
After optimizing the website in its entirety, return to the beginning and examine the pages that you have optimized. You should have enough time between optimizing those pages and seeing the impact of your optimizations. Do you have pages you optimized that don’t rank for the keywords you optimized? Are they not ranking at all? Try again and optimize.
To see if there is more movement for a keyword, you could try choosing a keyword that has less competition. Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm to see how the 200+ ranking factors impact site rankings and, more importantly, how users react to content that ranks at page 1.
It is important to conduct keyword research to find out how consumers search and purchase products. New products can have an impact on what users search for. Google trends show that “women’s boots” is the most popular term for traditional web searches.
Google shopping, however, is the opposite. Google shopping is the opposite. “Women’s boots” aren’t as popular as “women’s ankle boots”.
Focused keyword research is the next step in improving your website’s SEO presence. This will serve as the basis for all future SEO efforts.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research involves the collection of search terms that are related to your products, services, and industry. Keywords, also known as search terms, refer to any phrase you enter into a search engine. Keywords can be long or short, simple or complex. Your keyword research should answer the questions that your target audience is looking for.
Keyword research that is focused on your target audience’s search terms will help you determine if your product is well-suited for them. Although you might be describing your product in one way internally (or vice versa), keyword research can help you determine if customers are using different terms or phrases to find your products.
If your company offers custom photo printing solutions, then wood hanger boards might be one of your top terms.
Some might use this term to search, but they may need to refine their search as they are looking for “photos printed on wooden slats” “photos printed onto wood panels”, or “photos on wood planks”.
The keywords that potential customers use to search for products could be very different depending on their needs.
Keyword research allows you to understand and see what people search for when they want to buy your product. You can then use that information to create your website to help them find it.
To match customer shopping intent with the correct terms, it is crucial to fully understand the keyword landscape.
How to choose keywords for a product, category, or any page of your site
After you have created a list of keywords and entered them into the Keyword Planner, it is time to group or cluster similar keywords.
These terms should be symbiotic with one another.
You should consider other factors, such as keyword fit, competition, and shopper intent when organizing your keywords.
When evaluating keywords, search volume should be considered. It is difficult to balance high search volume keywords with lower search volume terms to find the right mix of keywords that can bring in traffic to the site and generate revenue.
What is the search volume?
Search volume is the average number of people who search for a particular phrase each month. You can view this metric by using the Google Keyword Planner. This tool allows you to get keyword ideas and see which keywords are searched each month.
Not a good idea. To see historical data and actual search volume as well as forecasts for the future, you must be running ads. You will not see the full range of search volume as this:
You won’t see the traffic, conversions, and revenue you need to grow your organic search channels if no one searches for the keyword that you chose to optimize.
This is an important metric to take into account when choosing which keyword to optimize. However, we did not give you a number to use for a benchmark. Why? Without knowing the industry details, there’s no way to give search volume recommendations. 10,000 searches per month in some industries are not enough. 1,000 can be quite a lot in other industries depending on the average order value (AOV), a lifetime worth of a customer, and the number of competitors in that space, among other metrics.
You can use the keyword ideas section to help you determine what keywords are high and low in volume in your industry.
How to find search volume for specific keywords
The Google Keyword Planner tool is available within your Google Ads account. Users can view keyword search volumes.
To find the search volume, all you need to do is enter the keyword you’re interested in. If you don’t want to see searches below a threshold, you can filter and sort by average monthly search. This information can be further refined by users who can view seasonal keyword variations using the Google Keyword Planner’s mapping feature.
You will be pleasantly surprised at the seasonal peaks and valleys of items that perform well in certain seasons. These natural ebbs flows will help you plan your SEO efforts to support business goals.
Product Keyword Match
Google’s algorithm continuously improves its understanding of keywords and their relationships to match keywords to the most relevant searches. Google’s algorithm is great, but you need to make sure Google knows exactly what products they have.
Search volume is an important metric, but you should also consider whether keywords are appropriate for the information and products on the page you want to optimize. High search volume keywords that are not in line with the offerings of the site will have no impact on the business.
Remember that keywords that are not directly related to the products you sell won’t result in the conversions needed. Before you start optimizing for keywords not related to your products, make sure that you are looking for keywords that match your product perfectly.
If you have an eCommerce website that sells wooden wine gift boxes, you might come across a keyword such as “wine gift”. Although you may be selling the box, the search intent behind wine gift boxes is to sell wine bottles and not wooden gift boxes.
Although you might be able to convert this keyword into a blog post or category, it is unlikely that you will see many conversions.
It is also very difficult to incorporate keywords naturally into content if they don’t match the information or product. The keyword alignment is not only wrong, but it can also confuse users once they click on the page. This will negatively impact your organic visibility.
What does this all mean? Even if the search volume is lower, choosing the right keyword will produce better results. After you have identified the keywords for each product and page you sell, it is time to optimize those pages.
As we have already discussed, shopper intent is similar in concept to keyword and product fit. It is important to understand the user’s search intent when searching for a keyword. It is difficult to understand what users are looking for when they search for keywords. However, your products must meet their intent.
Do you want to rank number one for the highest-converting keyword? Ideal.
No conversions for high-volume keywords? This is not ideal.
Before optimizing high-volume keywords that are product-aligned, it is important to consider whether the keyword will attract bored customers or convert customers.
The Google Keyword Planner makes it easy to determine the intent of a shopper. You can filter keywords by their competition rating.
What is competition telling you? It shows how many people are actively bidding for that keyword when they promote Google Ads. You can conclude that there are money or conversions if there is a lot of competition for the keyword.
Optimizing for high- and medium-competition keywords should be a key focus of ecommerce websites. This will align your keyword optimizations and revenue-generating queries.
Reviewers can also be requested by companies to review the “Top of Page Bid”
Why? This will show you how much advertisers will pay to click on a Google Ad. The bid is a measure of the shoppers’ intent.
Be aware that certain words and phrases may suggest that the buyer intends to purchase, which can impact the estimated price.
This could mean that many people searching for the keyword aren’t ready to make a purchase. Perhaps they are looking for a Bengal stripe dress shirt. They might also be interested in different styles for a dress shirt.
A similar keyword, such as “buy dress shirts online”, has suggested bidding that’s twice the amount.
Although this is only an indicator of intent, there are many other factors involved in keyword selection. However, it can serve as a starting point to understand the shopper intent behind keywords you want to optimize your pages for. Competition is another important factor.
Let’s see how difficult it is to rank on Google’s first page. This is why you’re here!
Your site may not be able to rank for highly competitive search terms. This could lead to you spending a lot of money, time, and resources trying to rank for these terms which could take many years.
They appear everywhere in Google Shopping ads and PPC. They are even found in the “Searches related scrubs” section on Google, but they still rank second on Google.
Figs’ popularity has increased significantly over the past few years, but if they had focused a lot on ranking for the term “scrubs”, they would not be satisfied with the results.
Tip: You can use quotes to determine how competitive a keyword is. This will allow you to count the number of websites that include the keyword in their content. For the keyword “women’s scrubs”, you will get about 345,000 results.
This guide will help you quickly determine how competitive a keyword might be:
|# of Pages Rankings for the Exact Phrase||Level of difficulty to rank||What does that mean for me?|
|Results between 1,000 and 30,000K||It is fairly easy to rank this term.||You can rank for this keyword in 2-4 weeks if you create a good resource and build a few decent links. You can rank for page one in as little as 3-6 months, but it may take additional links.|
|Results between 100K and 350K||Keywords that are competitive to rank for||If your site is not authoritative, you will be competing against enterprise-level sites on page 1. Until you have enough links and support content, focus on the long tail terms. It will likely take 12-24 months for similar terms to rank in this group of terms.|
|Results between 500K and 1 Million+||Extremely competitive||Go for it if you’re Amazon or a comparable site in size and authority. If you don’t, it will be difficult to gain any sort of traffic for this keyword. It is better to concentrate on long-tail keywords. You should have authority on the keyword if there are more than 1,000,000 results.|
This is a guideline, but it’s something you should consider when looking for keywords to rank for. It is not a good idea to focus on one keyword and work hard to rank for it. Ranking fluctuations can happen at any time. Even if you reach page one, you might lose all your traffic and revenue due to an algorithm change. You can avoid this by diversifying your search terms and ranking for many terms to keep visibility for keywords that are not being used.
The Key Takeaway: SEO is a complex process that involves optimizing keywords for different keywords. This can cause SEO problems and make it difficult to rank organically. Some tools can help you identify keyword difficulty.
SEMRush’s Keyword Difficulty Tool is available to you
Other tools can also be used to help you determine the keyword’s competitiveness. SEMRush provides a keyword difficulty tool that will show you how competitive a search query can rank. You simply need to type a keyword into the SEMRush Keyword Magic tool search bar.
It will display the Average Keyword Difficulty of all searches that were related to the keyword. The average KD for scrubs is 76.17%. This is quite high.
The tool includes the “Keyword Difficulty%” column. SEMRush uses a scale from 1-100%.
It is more difficult to rank higher than your competitors for a keyword if the difficulty percentage is high.
Check Keyword Targeting
Keyword targeting refers to the process of looking at the top 10 websites that rank for a particular keyword to determine if they have been optimized for the chosen keyword. If the top-performing websites have not optimized for the high-yield keyword, then keyword-targeted research could prove to be very effective. Focusing on keyword optimization can help you outrank your competitors.
After you have identified the pages that you want to optimize, completed keyword research, and analyzed the competition landscape, it is time to determine how these keyword groups will be supported by the site. It is important to examine the architecture of your site.
eCommerce Site Architecture
What is Site Architecture?
Site architecture simply refers to the structure a website has. Site architecture is organized well and makes it easy to navigate.
Ecommerce websites have many more pages than other websites. It’s important to think about how to make your site as user-friendly as possible. This will not only save you time but will also create a positive experience that will lead to success.
Let’s take a look at this. Because of the site’s proper architecture, you can quickly navigate to the right section if you are looking for dresses for your little girl.
This is how your navigation path will look when it’s broken down:
It seems easy enough, and it works well for smaller sites. However,
It Must Be Simple and Scalable.
Your products and website will need to grow as your business expands. You may have only 10 products on your website when you first start your business. You will gradually add more products as you grow.
It can be very difficult to deal with thousands of possible categories, subcategories, and faceted navigation pages. Once you add in Features, Brands or Uses, Ages, Weights, Colors, etc., it becomes extremely complicated.
It is crucial to have a website that can be scaled. Instead of having to completely change the structure of your website to add new products, you can file them under a subcategory or create a new category for the products. Simple is the key to organic search success.
REI is a good example. REI has many subcategories and categories on its website. However, they have identified the most important elements of their business and created simplified navigation and filtered pages that are specific to their audience’s requirements.
For eCommerce, On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is simply the process of optimizing web pages to rank higher and draw more relevant traffic from organic search results. There are many ways to optimize your website. We will discuss them below.
Title tags are an HTML element that identifies the main focus of your website. Search engine result pages (SERPs), where title tags are the most clickable element, will have them. For SEO and social media sharing, title tags are crucial.
How to optimize your title tags
Optimizing your title tags starts with keyword research. This will help you choose the right keyword to optimize for. To help long-tail searchers, you can add modifiers to the title tag after you have chosen the keyword.
Let’s take an example of a keyword modifier. Instead of writing “Turkish towels” in your title tag, you can add a few words that people might use to search for Turkish towels.
Modifiers to be considered:
- Material – i.e. – cotton, linen, etc.
- High-quality beach towels, linens, and bathrooms are just a few of the features available.
- Colors – gray, white, multicolor, etc.
- Patterns – striped, etc.
- Style – i.e. – fringed, bohemian, Moroccan, etc.
Take a look at the Google image and product results to get an idea of the modifiers people are looking for.
As a rule of thumb, I recommend a title tag length between 55-60 characters. Any more than 60 characters may be cut or shortened in search results. Stick to the 60-character limit, and make sure to include the most important keywords in the title tag.
Description tags are small piece of HTML code that describes the content of your website page to a user. These descriptions are often found in search engine results pages (SERPs) and can play an important role in increasing click-through rates.
Your descriptions should include keywords and other effective modifiers to encourage users to click to learn more.
What is the difference between your description and your title tag? Your description is longer so you have more space to sell your products and services.
Here are some phrases you might consider adding to your description
- All products eligible for free shipping
- Get our exclusive deals on ____.
- You will find a wide selection of ____.
- Buy Today and Get 20% Off ___
Use keywords to explain why they should shop with you. A description tag is not a ranking factor in and of itself. Therefore, adding keywords to the tag will not increase rankings. A high CTR can impact your SEO as Google considers CTR a factor. Keep your description tags under 155 characters. Google will test your description length and may show you a longer tag. However, it is better to keep it between 150-155 characters.
Content for Product and Category Pages
Invest time in writing 1,000+ word articles. Did you know that longer articles rank higher in Google?
The eCommerce vertical also need long-form content. Google wants to know what your page is all about to better serve its search audience. Customers will trust and feel more confident when you provide in-depth content. They will be able to better understand what they are buying and have a better overall experience.
Every web page should contain 1,000 words. Let’s be more realistic.
Your goal is to provide extraordinary descriptions that answer every user’s question. As much content as you can on a page that answers a user’s question succinctly, and effectively. There is no general guideline for the amount of content that should be on a page. For example, SEOs recommend at least 250-300 words for category pages and subcategory pages. Although more content is better in most cases than not, I recommend that there be some content on the page. You can use the content length of top-ranking sites’ pages to gauge your content length. You should be focusing more on quality content and user experience, rather than quantity.
Start by focusing on the top 25 products and pages in your category. Next, work on improving other product pages and pages.
This page about the Airpods Pro has 1,304 words.
Use keywords throughout the content
While it is ideal to optimize your content before it goes on the site, let’s face it, product teams often push new products. Then the SEO team must go through it and revise or optimize it for SEO. Although it’s not ideal, it is better to go back and improve it after it has been published.
Once your product team has finished writing in-depth product description categories, subcategories, and category descriptions, the SEO team or individual must optimize content by including your target keywords(s) several times throughout the content.
You shouldn’t keyword stuff your content and just add the keyword to the content. To help Google understand your page’s content better, you are simply adding keywords to the text.
For example, if your target keyword is “women’s scrubs”, then you should include that keyword or a variant of it in your content at least a few times.
Google will give more weight to keywords that are at the top or first 100 words of a webpage.
What’s all the fuss about Synonyms, LSI Keywords, and Semantic Keywords?
No matter what terminology you use, incorporating Latent Semantic Indexing, Natural Language Process (NLP), and semantic keywords and phrases closely related to the main keyword will increase your visibility and exposure. Google is leveraging technology to better understand how words and phrases relate.
You can find many different meanings of the word “hot” depending on their context. Hot ovens, hot food (it’s spicy and does not burn your mouth), hot costumes (when it refers to an object or person’s attractiveness), etc. Google is trying to figure out the relationships between words and how they relate to one another to determine what information they have.
Google is constantly trying to figure out the relationships between phrases based on how users search for items or refine their searches to find the most relevant results.
We have now explained what LSI/NLP/Semantic keywords are. Let’s see how to use them in your keyword research. Let’s see how this might apply to eCommerce businesses.
Google Search to See What’s Up
Enter your target keyword into Google. Take a look at what results appear in the search results. If you’re optimizing your eCommerce page for children’s athletic clothing, consider (NLP/Semantic Language) related to children and clothing. To help Google, you might consider the following keywords: activewear, athletic clothes, sports apparel, and sportswear. Sites use all or most of these phrases to describe their clothing lines:
Next, look at the product or category pages that appear in the search results.
Kohl’s uses terms such as activewear and athleticwear interchangeably on its page. Google can also recognize that performance clothing is relevant to searches for “boys’ athletic clothes”.
Google Keyword Planner
After reviewing the Google search results, you can type your target keywords into Google Keyword Planner. You will see the suggested phrases Google suggests and see if you missed any.
Keywords can be incorporated into your content
To increase search visibility, the last step is to incorporate additional keywords (LSI, NLP/Semantic) into your product or category pages.
Intentional internal links
Internal linking refers to linking pages from your website to pages that are also on your site. This is a great way for you to rank higher in search terms. You can also see impressive results when you link from the highest authority pages on your website.
You can also generate high-quality links by using your content marketing. A blog post on your website is often the best and easiest way to create these links.
Let’s take, for example, a post you wrote for your website with a lot of backlinks. Your site is ranking high on Google for “Benefits Of Moisture-Wicking fabric in your workout clothes.” You can also link your post to related category pages using keyword-rich anchor text such as “Moisture Wicking fabric for workout clothes” or “Odor control material for workout clothes”. Dick’s Sporting Goods does exactly that.
Pro tip: Link to the most relevant pages in your related categories with internal links that are not part of the navigation menu or within the HTML code. The body content links are more important for SEO rankings than the sidebar, footer, and header navigation links.
SEO technical for eCommerce
SEO is more than just targeting keywords. SEO is more than just targeting keywords. There are many technical aspects that you should focus on and optimize for. These include site speed, mobile-friendliness, and 404 errors, user experience, and working links.
Technical SEO also focuses on providing the best user experience when it comes to information architecture. Your rankings will improve the easier your site is for users to navigate.
Technical SEO is where you should start. To begin with, run a site audit to determine what pages the crawlers can access, what they can’t, and metadata elements such as title descriptions and header tags. This information will allow you to quickly identify the root cause of your problems. To run an audit, you’ll need to have the Google Search Console set up. You can use additional tools to assist you in your audit once that is done. We will discuss this in the next section.
Use Leverage Tools for an SEO Audit
We want to share some tools that we use to complete our SEO audit report before we go through each step.
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- Screaming Frog
- Title Tag Pixel Width Checker
- Raven Tools
- Botify or Deep Crawl (Usually used to crawl large sites with hundreds of thousands, or even millions of pages)
Once you’ve chosen a tool for your audit, dive in to crawl the site and find out what your problems are. Let’s dive into the process of running an audit.
A technical site audit for eCommerce should:
- Give a comprehensive view of the current website’s quality.
- Before you start focusing on off-page SEO, prioritize what is important.
- Highlight any issues Google has with your site.
- Create a plan to address site problems.
Let’s get started!
To gather data, set up a site crawl
Screaming Frog can be used to crawl your site and reveal broken links, missing metadata, or duplicate content. ScreamingFrog allows you to crawl 500 pages on the site. Any additional pages will require you to purchase a license.
Move on to the next step by starting a crawl in the background. Your crawl will take longer if the site is large. Download ScreamingFrog, launch the program, and then enter the URL to be crawled. Make sure that the Mode is set for Spider. For more information, see below.
After you’ve started a site crawl, go through the site and inspect any additional items while you wait for it to end.
Is it possible to have multiple versions of your site?
Users can search for a website’s main and supporting pages in many ways. You can search for:
You should ensure that only one of these versions is browsable as a user can type www. When searching for a site, you should choose non-www over www. For reference, all other URLs should be 301 redirected.
You can also use a tool like http://www.urlitor.com/ to plug in different versions to see how they have set up redirect rules.
Always use the HTTPS version for your domain. HTTPS is the encrypted/secured version. Implementing this secure version will improve user experience and Google’s ranking algorithm.
Secure sites are a sign of trust and security to your customers. SEMrush offers a wealth of information on 10 common implementation errors that you need to fix right now.
Analyze Your Crawl Report Data
After your crawl report is finished, you can dive into the data. This report will highlight broken links and duplicate URLs, missing title tags, meta descriptions, or alt text.
This data may make you wonder, “What does it tell me?”. We’ll cover some basics here. This resource will provide a comprehensive guide to how to effectively use Screaming Frog data.
The Screaming Frog Report includes the following:
Check the URL status code to ensure pages are using the correct code. Examples include:
- Old pages with link equity should be given a 301 redirect status instead of a temporary redirect (302 for those that are not). This is especially important for discontinued product pages and pages from old categories.
- You don’t want error pages to be indexed with a 404 status. These pages shouldn’t show a 200 OK status as they don’t contain any content and are not useful to users.
- 200 OK status is given to pages that are crawled and indexed using search engines.
Check the Indexability Status code and indexability status codes for each URL. Make sure pages that you wish to be indexed can be indexed, not redirected, have meta tags, or are canonicalized.
Check the Title tag length columns and title tags for each URL to ensure that you have only one unique title tag. To ensure that title tags are not exceeding 60 characters, you should also check their length.
You can review other things like description tags, meta robots tags (index/nofollow/index/follow tags), header tags, image alt text, and other elements with ScreamingFrog data quickly to see the overall health of the site and to make sure you are maximizing your crawl budget.
Optimizing your crawl budget is crucial, especially if your company is using an enterprise search strategy. Technical enhancements are essential when Google can crawl millions of pages on your website. Google shouldn’t crawl pages on your site that you don’t care about being included in the index. ScreamingFrog will inspect pages on the site and let you know if it is so that you can fix it.
Search For Your Company
You should ensure that your brand name appears above all others. Google will search for your brand name. The first search result that appears should be your brand name. If you are not in the first search result, work hard to get there.
These are some ways to solve the problem.
- Build strong brand connections
- List your work in business directories
- Claim your Google Business Listing
- Make sure you are present on the major social media platforms
Next, use the site operator to search for your website.
Your crawl report should show a lower number of URLs than what is being indexed. There may be more URLs being indexed than you have crawled. This could indicate that junk pages are being indexed for product or site searches.
These pages don’t usually contain any content, so you can make them non-indexed to increase your crawl budget. Google’s crawl budget is the number of pages Google has allocated to crawl your site.
Examine Your Search Traffic
Google Analytics will allow you to set the period from the beginning of the site up to the present day. This view will show you any possible penalties or unexplained declines.
You can review your historical notes to see if there were any concerns. These can be used to identify possible easy fixes.
Dig into Your Google Search Console
Google Search Console offers a variety of SEO tools you can use in your Technical SEO Audit. You can find error reports, coverage issues, and performance data (clicks CTR, impressions, etc. Site speed, UX, schema markup data, UX issues, and many more. This tool is free and should be used regularly to assess the health of your site.
Let’s take a look at a few specific things that you can do to better understand how you can use the data Google has collected for you.
Use the Coverage Reports to Crawl Details
When you log into Google Search Console, navigate to the Coverage section. This section will display any indexing errors that may negatively impact your search results.
You can look at the data if there are errors to determine why pages are not being crawled or indexed. This is an example:
Alternate Pages using a proper Canonical have seen a significant increase in their number, from over 14K to more than 22K pages in four weeks.
Click to Learn More. This page points to the Canonical Page. There is nothing you can do.
Do you think that’s all? You might want to dig deeper to see why this spike in page numbers has occurred over the past few weeks. You can see the URLs to find out what type of pages they are.
You can inspect the URL by hovering over it. Clicking on the magnifying glasses will bring up a page with more information about Google’s crawling of the URL. They have properly canonicalized this page, but they allow Google to crawl and index it by not using meta tags such as noindex/nofollow.
They aren’t a problem right now but they need to be aware of the growth in these pages. These pages should not be crawled by search engines. This means that search engines may not crawl the most relevant pages depending on the authority of their site. This could cause traffic to your site to drop and affect the current rank of the pages.
Take a look at The Search Performance Report
Go to the Performance tab to check if your traffic has changed over time. To account for seasonality, you can view up to 16 months’ worth of data.
To see how site traffic is affected by changes in click-through rates, impressions, and click-through rates (CTR), you can look at the data. Is your CTR declining but your average position not changing? Your average position is dropping, which could be causing your CTR to drop. Because you are less likely to appear on page one of Google, your CTR will naturally drop.
You can look into your mobile usage data to determine if there are any performance drops. This is because mobile site traffic keeps growing.
Mobile Usability Reports: Review
This report will give you quick insights into mobile page problems. In the left-hand navigation, click on the Mobile Usability link. If you don’t find it immediately when you log into the tool, it is located under the Enhancements section.
This will allow you to see if the text is too small or not set properly, as well as if your mobile-friendly pages are valid.
This Google tool is free and can provide valuable data that will assist you in SEO and increasing organic search traffic.
Check Your Site Speed
The ranking is determined by site speed. A recent survey found that 40% of U.S. online shoppers will not buy from websites that are too slow.
You can use Google’s PageSpeed Intelligences Tool to identify the best tactics for your team to improve your website speed on both mobile and desktop.
This tool will give you a Mobile Score and a Desktop Score. It will also provide specific strategies that you can use to increase site speed.
Google stated earlier this year that they will be rolling out this technology in 2021. They also promised to give at least six months’ notice before their rollout.
As they strive to improve user experience, here is what they’ll be looking into incorporating into their core algorithm in the next year.
Webmasters need to examine how their websites handle things like:
- The largest contentful paint measures loading performance. This is the point in the page loading timeline at which the main content of the page has likely loaded. To ensure a good user experience, LCP should be within 2.5 seconds after the page starts loading.
- Interactivity is measured by the First Input Delayed (FID). It measures page responsiveness. This is because it quantifies how users experience interaction with pages that are not responsive. To provide a good user experience, pages should have an FID of fewer than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift, (CLS), measures visual stability by quantifying how frequently users experience unexpected layout changes–a low CLS helps ensure the page is charming. A CLS value of 0.1 should be maintained by pages.
These three elements should be prioritized for site speed improvements to prepare Google for its core algorithm changes in 2021.
You can compress your images if you’re not sure where to begin. Images can be very large so a strong focus on decreasing file size will make a difference.
After you have reviewed the technical issues of the website, you can create a plan to fix them.
How to fix common technical SEO issues
Issue: Too many pages
You may need to consider a difficult SEO solution if your site has thousands of pages. You run the risk that your site will be penalized by duplicate content if you have thousands of pages.
Ecommerce websites can generate hundreds of product pages. If you sell running shoes, your website may generate unique URLs for every color and size. The more products you sell, the more this can add up.
To reduce the number of URLs that are being indexed, analyze your URLs and find ways to redirect, delete, or add no-index tags. Consider how your site handles duplicate content. For example, if you have a website that uses color inventory to determine if it is possible to assign a preferred URL to color and use parameters to account for color.
You can reduce the number of product pages that don’t generate consistent revenue by combining them into one page.
Google Analytics is a great tool to check if pages aren’t performing well or generating consistent traffic before you delete them or combine them. This will impact the site’s rankings and traffic.
Every page that doesn’t bring in revenue or traffic should be reevaluated. Pages that are not performing may account for 10% to 50% of your site.
Duplicate content is a major problem in eCommerce SEO. If not addressed, it can cause a drop in your rankings.
It’s possible to make duplicate content disappear by putting in a little work and using canonical tags.
There are many ways duplicate content can appear on an eCommerce site. Here are the most popular.
Multiple product URLs
You can easily accumulate duplicate content if your website has a unique URL for each color, size, and version of your product.
Here’s an example.
For every selection, it might create a unique URL.
You can optimize duplicate content if all the selections result in a unique URL.
To reduce duplicate copy, you can add no-index tags on unfiltered URL pages.
Once you have added a no-index tag to pages that are not performing, you can use canonical tags.
Simply put, a canonical tag is a way for search engines to identify similar pages. This code informs search engines that the copy isn’t unique and should not be treated as such.
Once you have created canonical and noindex tags, it is time to create unique content for all remaining pages. If you have a large number of products on your site, this task may seem daunting. However, SERPs will provide significant benefits.
By creating templates for your product and category pages, you can simplify the process.
Issue: Duplicate Content Continued
You can also duplicate content in the following ways:
Company Standard Product Copy Content
Every company has an elevator pitch, or boilerplate message, that they use to explain their products. It is okay to reuse the same copy on several pages but it is not allowed to copy and paste it on more than one page.
Manufactured Product Descriptions
This happens more often than you might think. Companies that don’t invest in creating unique product descriptions and opt instead for the manufacturer’s description run a risk of getting duplicates from their competitors.
This is a common occurrence in the home decor industry, where manufacturers place their products across multiple sites. Wayfair, for example, sells a couch.
It can also be purchased on websites like jossandmain.com and allmodern.com as well as birchlane.com.
This can be fixed by going through every product and creating unique content for each one. If they rely on dropshipping to sell products, this can sometimes be the entire website. Start with the most popular products in your largest category, then go through each product and create unique content.
Issue: Thin Content
This content is web pages that have little or no content. A lack of contact can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Due to the thin content Panda penalty, eBay lost 33% of organic traffic.
Thin content is a problem for ecommerce websites. It can be difficult to create unique content that covers thousands of products. After 20 pages of running shoes, it can be hard to create unique content.
Although the task can be difficult, you must write at least 500 words on each of your main product pages and category pages.
You can identify pages with thin content. Raven Tools and DeepCrawl can be used to identify pages with thin content.
Once you have created a list of thin content pages to be used as a guide, plan a schedule for adding unique content to those URLs. You can create basic templates similar to meta descriptions to speed up the process.
The issue with slow site speed
Google considers site speed a key signal in its algorithm for ranking websites. It is an important signal for Google’s ranking algorithm. However, eCommerce shops also note that it directly affects their bottom line. A recent study found that slow loading speeds up the abandonment of shopping carts by around 29.8%.
Image File Size
Websites with multiple high-resolution product photos can negatively impact page load speeds.
Code of the Olden Days
Old codes can slow down ecommerce platforms. You cannot install a plugin immediately and see the results, unlike a CMS like WordPress.
Slow Hosting and Servers
Slow hosting plans can limit the speed of your website.
Upgrading Your Hosting Plans
Although it is difficult to recommend a hosting plan, you can expect to pay at most $50/month for your hosting support.
Optimize Image Size
For eCommerce businesses, it is crucial to compress images. Optimized products will give you a huge boost.
Content Delivery Network (CDN).
A CDN can be a cost-effective and quick way to improve your site’s speed. Bigcommerce, Magento Commerce (Cloud), and Shopify all have built-in CDNs that serve images. You can rely on this network to speed up your site’s image speed.
Building your eCommerce SEO through Backlinks
Backlinks remain very important and should be part of your SEO strategy. Google considers backlinks to be “votes”. This means that the more backlinks you have to a page of your website, the more popular it is. Your page visibility will increase on Google as you gain more votes (or links).
To make your backlink portfolio natural, you should work to get links from multiple sources when building links. This is a list of websites to consider for your eCommerce link-building strategy.
We recommend that you look at your backlinks if you have an established business. This will allow you to see what you have and where you can find additional links.
Check Your Backlinks
Review the websites that point back to yours. To understand your current links, you can use tools such as Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Moz Link Explorer. Each tool offers a different view, but we will show you how Ahrefs works for you.
Ahrefs data can be used to determine if there are high-quality sites that recommend your site, or spam sites that could penalize you.
This report can be run using the Site Explorer tool. Enter the URL or domain you wish to view backlinks from and select whether you want the complete URL, prefix, or portions of the domain.
Submit to receive a list of domains that link back from your site.
When looking at the links coming back to your site, you should consider anchor text used, broken links, sudden drops in links, or spammy sites linking back. Below I’ll cover some of these issues.
Anchor text being used
Ahrefs will allow you to see the anchor texts being used under the overview section.
You want to ensure that there are many keywords in this section and not just one keyword or one phrase. Your URL or Brand name is the exception to this rule. For lizard skins, they get anchor text links to their brand or Lizardskins.com (and other variations).
It looks natural and is similar to how visitors would want to visit a site. You should consider ways to leverage your brand name and URL if you have a lot of keywords and anchor text links on your site. Lizard Skins was concerned about getting too many links that included anchor text like hand grips or grip tape for baseball, grip tape for batting gloves, and so on. They would need to be concerned about diversifying their links.
Identify broken backlinks
Broken links can be fixed easily. Navigate to Ahrefs’ Backlinks tab and select Broken to display the affected links.
A 301 redirect from broken links to active categories, subcategories, blog pages, etc. is the best strategy. You should ensure that the link redirects to the relevant page on your website.
Spam sites are to be avoided
Your website can be negatively affected by links from low-quality websites. Google might consider spam links to be part of a Private Blog Network or other black-hat tactics.
These links can be found by going to the Backlinks tab. Sort the results by Domain Rating from lowest to highest.
Links marked with a “N/A”, or a UR of 0, are considered low-quality. You can also search for URLs that have spam names.
To acquire backlinks, you’ll need to partner with bloggers and other businesses. Here are some link-building websites:
- Link Building for Resource Pages
- Influencer Marketing
- Broken Link Outreach
Link Building for Resource Pages
There are many ways to create resource pages. These include industry blogs, static pages, directory listings, and many more.
Google commands are all you need to find resource pages. Simply type “inurl. resources +X” into the search engine.
Once you find a resource page that suits your business, add the URL to a spreadsheet and contact it. Once you have a good list of leads, it is possible to send out emails.
Collaborate with Influencers
To be successful in holistic marketing, influencer marketing is a key component. You can increase brand visibility and SEO by working with influencers.
We’ll discuss how influencers can positively impact your SEO efforts.
Instead of paying influencers to promote your product via their social channels, work with them instead to create a post that has a high-quality link from their site to yours. You can request a link from their website to your product or a blog post featuring your product.
It is best to build relationships with influential people. SEO will produce better results if you are more personal.
How can you establish a rapport with influential people?
- Leave genuine comments on their blogs and social media posts
- These people should be recommended to potential clients
- Give them products for free to review personally
- Loyalty to your coworkers
Now you can build relationships and how do you find influential people? Google can be used to perform the following command: “[Topic] Blogs/Influencers.”
Look out for broken links
Broken links can be fixed quickly and effectively to create links that point back to your website.
Google Chrome extensions can be used to identify broken links or point to pages that do not exist.
Broken links will be highlighted in red. Once you have identified the broken links, you can start reaching out to the authors of the article. The following template can be used to reach out:
Today, I visited your website and noticed that one of the links was broken.
This is the broken link:
I have a resource I believe would make a great addition to your article. You can find it here.
We are grateful for your outstanding advice and leadership in the industry.
Cold outreach can be difficult to master. To get some links back to your website, you will need to send hundreds of emails.
Local SEO for eCommerce
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO emphasizes the importance of optimizing your optimization for local search audiences.
If you have a downtown LA hair salon, for example, local SEO can help you reach the top of the search results for the keyword “LA Hair Salon.”
What should you be focusing on when doing local SEO
1. Claim your Google My Business Profile
Google’s feature Google My Business allows you to claim your company. This allows you to enter your business information into Google’s business database.
You will be more likely to show up in local searches if you claim your business.
Google My Business lets you update information about your website, including addresses, reviews, photos, and more. This is a great first step. However, you’ll also need to create local citations.
- Create Local Citations
Local citations refer to backlinks that point to your site from local websites. Local news, press releases, and directories can provide backlinks.
Claim your Yellow Pages listing to get a simple local citation.
Citations are an indicator of your popularity as a local vendor. Backlinks from local websites can greatly assist your local SEO efforts.
- Link to Local Websites
Linking to local sites is a great way of building domain authority and local search authority. These sites could include local news, charities, or partners, as well as your local Chamber of Commerce.
eCommerce Content Marketing
Find out more about your target market
Target marketing allows you to focus your marketing dollars more effectively on a targeted audience that is more likely than others to buy your products and services. We will discuss how to find out more about your target market.
Analyze your current customers
Who are your customers? Identify the common interests and characteristics of your audience. Are there certain segments that spend more than others? You should look for patterns in spending habits. What keywords are your users searching for and what products are they purchasing?
Examine the Targeting of Your Competitors
Find out who your competition is marketing to and what message they use. Do you market to the same audience as your competitor? Is your product a niche that is not being served? Consider the opportunities that your competition is missing.
Your Products Broken Down
List all the products that you offer and the benefits they offer. Next, identify the type of person who could benefit from the product. If you sell a product that reduces the appearance of acne on your face, you could market it to teenagers and young adults.
Assess Your Target Market
Once you have chosen the market that you want to target, you should ask the following questions.
- Are you reaching enough people?
- Are you too specific in your target audience?
- Are you able to understand the motivations of your audience?
- Can your target market afford your products?
- Are you marketing where they will see it?
You can create content based on your market and keywords
Once you have identified your audience, it’s time to create content that speaks to them and includes keywords that will help them find you.
To help you find the keywords that your target audience uses when searching for your products, consult your pre-built keyword research file. Next, create a content strategy to consistently publish content on your website.
These content pieces will increase web traffic, and social media shares, and help your product pages and category rank higher on search engine result pages.
This is why many other websites link back to them.
Measurement of SEO Success
What is the average time it takes to see an ROI?
SEO success is usually evaluated every month, as well as quarterly and annually. Why? This is a long-term strategy and requires patience to achieve strong ROI results. Companies typically see a negative ROI within the first three to six months of SEO optimization.
Let’s look at the potential SEO ROI timeline:
You will be setting the foundation for long-term success in SEO optimization during the initial phase.
Things to consider:
- Make sure you have done your keyword research thoroughly and that the pages are optimized for the relevant keywords.
- Site optimizations can be implemented for core revenue-generating URLs.
You can expect the following results:
- It is unlikely that you will see an increase in leads or a positive ROI. These changes should be considered long-term and not for overnight conversions.
The next phase will allow you to do more targeted optimizations for local searches and link-building.
Things to consider:
- Make sure your Google My Business listing has been claimed and optimized.
- To better visualize your sales funnel, use call/lead track software.
- Google search bots will be able to better understand your website’s format if you create a backlink strategy and an internal link strategy.
You can expect the following results:
- You will see keywords increase in number and rank depending on the industry you are in. If done correctly, you will see an increase in site visitors around the end.
These months should be spent optimizing keywords, creating supportive content for ROI-generating products and services, as well as building quality links from influencers and third-party sites.
Things to consider:
- Which keywords drive traffic to your website? Do they work on your site and in Google Ads?
- Are you able to build upon keyword growth and increase the number of internal linking?
- Are you able to improve your site experience? (Site speed, Mobile Friendliness, 404 errors, etc.)
You can expect the following results:
- You should have more backlinks.
- Increased number of keywords and ranking of keywords
- Google should trust you more and be able to rank your products higher in search results.
- You should see modest improvements that result in increased sales, leads, and conversions.
Months 12 and beyond
It is important to do a thorough audit of the previous year’s implementations every year. These audits will help you identify areas that are growing and areas where you can improve.
Things to consider:
- Website Performance
- Bounce Rate
- Conversion Rate
- Technical SEO Elements
- Local Search Performance
- Analyze Internal and External Links
You can expect the following results:
You can expect your site to improve in brand visibility, brand loyalty, and conversions after a full year of SEO optimization.
Are you looking for SEO help? Book a consultation today to see how we can help your business. If you are not ready, but still curious about what makes a Kobe Digital client a good one, take a look at our ideal customer description.