Ecommerce SEO Audit: Best Practices and Techniques

ecommerce seo audit
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You’ve built an amazing ecommerce store, filled it with awesome products, and are excited to start driving sales and growing your business. But how will customers actually find your store online? The answer is ecommerce SEO. Search engine optimization for ecommerce sites requires an audit of your technical SEO, on-page optimization, and off-page signals to understand how to improve your visibility in search engines like Google. If you want to rank higher in search results, drive more organic traffic to your store, and ultimately boost sales, you need to make SEO a priority. This guide will walk you through the essential ecommerce SEO audit techniques and best practices to optimize your online store for success. By the end, you’ll have an action plan to skyrocket your rankings and gain new customers. Let’s dive in!

What Is an Ecommerce SEO Audit?

An ecommerce SEO audit examines your online store to uncover areas for improvement. By optimizing your site for search engines like Google, you can increase traffic, boost rankings, and drive more sales.

What does an ecommerce SEO audit evaluate?

An SEO audit for ecommerce sites analyzes both on-page and off-page factors. On-page refers to elements within your control like:

  • Page titles, URLs, headings: Are they compelling and keyword-rich? Do they accurately reflect page content?
  • Content: Is there enough content on product pages? Does content include synonyms and related terms? Is the reading level appropriate for your audience?
  • Image alt text: Do product images have alt text with keywords and a concise description? Alt text helps search engines understand your images.
  • Internal linking: Are there links between relevant products and categories on your site? Internal links pass “link juice” and authority between pages.

Off-page factors include:

  • Backlinks: The number and quality of sites linking back to yours. High-quality backlinks from authoritative sites signal to Google that your site is trustworthy and relevant.
  • Social shares: The number of times people share and engage with your content on social media. More shares mean greater visibility and interest in your products.
  • Reviews: Customer reviews on your site and third-party review platforms build trust and social proof. Aim for a high star rating and numerous authentic reviews.

By evaluating both on-page and off-page elements, an ecommerce SEO audit provides a comprehensive analysis of your store’s visibility and areas for improvement to boost traffic and conversions. With an effective optimization strategy, your online store can achieve its full potential.

Technical SEO Audit – Server Health, Site Speed and Mobile Optimization

To optimize your ecommerce site’s visibility in search engines, a technical SEO audit is essential. This examines the behind-the-scenes elements that impact your rankings and traffic. Some of the most important areas to check are:

Server Health and Site Speed

If your server is slow or goes down frequently, search engines can’t crawl your site and customers get frustrated. Run speed tests to check load times, and fix any issues to keep things running smoothly.

  • Enable compression and caching to improve load speeds.
  • Minify HTML, CSS and JavaScript files to reduce their size.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute site assets, reducing latency.

Mobile Optimization

With more people shopping on their phones, mobile optimization is key. Ensure your site:

  • Is responsive, automatically adjusting to different screen sizes.
  • Has large buttons and text for easy tapping.
  • Loads quickly on mobile data and wifi.
  • Is free of popups, interstitials and other annoyances.

Optimizing for mobile isn’t just about conversions – it also impacts your search rankings. Sites that aren’t mobile-friendly are penalized in Google’s search results.

By analyzing and improving technical elements like server health, speed and mobile-friendliness, you’ll boost your ecommerce SEO and create a better experience for customers. An effective technical audit can uncover issues you didn’t realize were holding your rankings and sales back, so make it a priority for your online store.

Content SEO Audit – Keyword Targeting, Title Tags, Meta Descriptions

A strong content SEO audit will ensure your ecommerce website ranks well in search engines. Focus on three key areas: keyword targeting, title tags, and meta descriptions.

Keyword Targeting

Incorporate relevant keywords and phrases in your page content, like “ecommerce website,” “online store,” and “buy products online.” Use keywords in headings, paragraphs, alt text for images, and bullet points. Aim for a keyword density of 3-5% for the best results. That means using your target keyword around 3 to 5 times for every 100 words. Be sure to include semantic variations and related terms as well, such as:

  • ecommerce platform
  • shopping cart
  • checkout
  • payment gateway

Title Tags

Your title tag is the single most important on-page SEO element. It appears at the top of browser tabs and search engine results pages. Include your target keyword in the title tag, preferably within the first 65 characters. For example:

Ecommerce SEO Audit: Best Practices to Optimize Your Online Store

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are short snippets below the title in search results. They should accurately describe the content on your page and include your target keyword. Meta descriptions that are compelling and around 150-160 characters tend to get the most clicks. For example:

Learn the essential techniques to conduct an ecommerce SEO audit and optimize your online store for improved visibility and sales.

Following these best practices for on-page SEO will boost your content ranking and increase organic traffic to your ecommerce store. Be sure to revisit your content SEO audit regularly to keep all pages optimized with the latest keywords and search trends.

Link Building Audit – Quality Backlinks, Anchor Text and Link Velocity

To optimize your ecommerce site for search engines, a link building audit is key. High-quality backlinks from authoritative sites are like recommendations for search engines, signaling your site is a trusted resource. Evaluate your current link profile to make sure you have a healthy balance of high-value links.

Check Your Anchor Text

The anchor text, or clickable link text, should contain your main keyword for that page. For example, if your page is about “ecommerce SEO”, links pointing to that page should contain that phrase. However, be careful not to over-optimize by only using that exact match anchor text. Aim for a mix of partial match anchor text like “SEO for ecommerce”, related terms such as “online store optimization” or “SEO for product pages”, and some generic terms like “click here”. Over-optimization can trigger a penalty from search engines.

Build High-Quality Links

Focus your efforts on earning links from authoritative, trusted sites in your industry. Some strategies include:

•Guest blogging on industry blogs and news sites. Provide useful, insightful content and include a link back to your site.

•Reaching out to journalists and industry experts for interviews, roundups, and mentions. Offer to be a source for their articles in exchange for a link.

•Creating resources and tools to share with the community. For example, put together an ecommerce SEO checklist or toolkit to build goodwill and earn high-value links.

•Participating in industry forums, groups, and communities. Answer questions, provide value, and build relationships. Some may link back to your content.

•Securing business directory listings and product reviews on high-authority sites. Check sites like Trustpilot, Consumer Reports, and AngelList for opportunities.

Monitor Your Link Velocity

Keep an eye on how quickly you’re acquiring new links over time. Search engines view a sudden influx of links as unnatural and potentially manipulative. Aim for steady, consistent link building over the course of months and years. While there’s no exact number, a good rule of thumb is to build 5 to 15 high-quality links per month to maintain a natural growth pattern.

Conducting a thorough link audit and building a sustainable link acquisition strategy is essential for ecommerce SEO success. Focus on relevance, quality, and consistency and your online store will be on the road to improved visibility and more organic traffic.

Site Architecture Audit – URLs, Navigation, IA and Internal Linking

A site architecture audit examines how your ecommerce store is structured and organized. Optimizing your site architecture can significantly impact search rankings and user experience. Here are some key things to check:

URLs

Are your page URLs clean, consistent and keyword-rich? Use hyphens instead of underscores in URLs. Include your target keywords in page URLs when possible. For product pages, use the product name or model number in the URL.

Navigation

Is your site navigation clear, concise and keyword-optimized? Include important keywords in your main navigation links. Consider a mega menu for product categories. Make sure navigation links direct users to the right pages. Broken links frustrate users and hurt SEO.

Internal linking

Are pages on your site well-connected through internal links? Internal links pass authority between pages and help search engines discover your content. Link to related content, categories and product pages. Use anchor text with target keywords where appropriate. Check that all pages have at least 3-5 internal links for the best connectivity.

Information architecture

Is your site content well-organized and structured? Group related content, categories and products together in a logical flow. Use headings, bulleted lists and short paragraphs to make information easy to read. Include FAQs, glossaries, comparison charts and ‘best of’ lists.

Page titles

Do all pages have unique and keyword-rich page titles? Page titles appear in search results and should capture the topic and purpose of the page. Include your target keywords, especially for product pages. Keep page titles under 65 characters for the best display on mobile.

Optimizing these elements of your site architecture will make it easier for search engines and users to navigate your ecommerce store. By following best practices for URLs, navigation, internal linking, information architecture and page titles, you’ll gain better search visibility and keep visitors engaged on your site longer.

Social Media Audit – Profiles, Engagement and Traffic Referrals

Your social media profiles and activity provide another opportunity for optimizing your ecommerce SEO. Reviewing your social media audit will uncover areas for improvement to increase engagement, refer traffic to your site, and boost your search ranking.

Profiles

Make sure your business has an up-to-date social media profile on major networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Include your business name, industry, location, contact info, and a link to your website. Choose a consistent profile photo and cover image across accounts. Keep your profiles active by posting regularly and engaging with your followers.

Content

Share a mix of content like blog posts, photos, video, and promotions. Post 2-3 times per week, with a good balance of educational content, product info, and sales. Use relevant hashtags to help people discover your posts.

###Engagement

Respond to all comments and messages within 24 hours. Like and comment on followers’ posts. Run contests and giveaways to increase engagement. Aim for a 5-10% engagement rate per post. Engagement signals to search engines that your content is valuable to users.

Referral Traffic

Add social media buttons prominently on your site so people can easily follow you. Promote your latest social posts and profiles to drive traffic to your site. Measure which social networks are driving the most referral traffic to optimize your efforts. Referral traffic from social media is a ranking signal, so increasing social referrals can improve your SEO.

Analytics

Review key metrics like follower growth, post reach, engagement, and referral traffic. See which types of content and posting times get the most interaction. Look for any big drops or spikes to determine what’s working and what needs improvement. Make data-driven decisions to strengthen your social media marketing and SEO.

Optimizing your social media profiles and activity is an ongoing process. Conducting regular social media audits and making incremental improvements will maximize the SEO benefits and return on your efforts over time. Focus on increasing followers, engagement, referral traffic, and overall social visibility to give your ecommerce store greater discoverability and higher search rankings.

Local SEO Audit – GMB, Citations and Local Link Building

Local SEO is critical for ecommerce stores. Ranking well in local search results and having a robust local SEO strategy can drive foot traffic to your brick and mortar store, increase phone calls, and boost local awareness of your brand. Here are some key areas to audit for your local SEO.

Google My Business (GMB)

Claim and optimize your GMB listing. This controls how your business information appears in Google Search and Maps. Make sure your business name, address, and phone number are accurate and consistent across the web. Upload photos of your storefront, products, staff, etc. Encourage customer reviews and frequently respond to them.

Local Citations

Citations refer to mentions of your business on other local websites and directories like Yelp, Facebook, Bing, etc. Check how many local citations you have and work to build more. Make sure your business details are consistent across all citations. Look for opportunities to get listed on high-authority local directories in your industry and area. The more citations you have, the more authoritative your local presence will be.

Local Link Building

Build high-quality links from locally-focused websites in your area like neighborhood blogs, city guides, and community organizations. Guest post on local publisher sites and pitch them your products or services for coverage. Apply for interviews on local podcasts, TV and radio shows. All of these tactics will build valuable local links and raise your visibility.

Local keywords

Use keywords and phrases that your local customers actually search for. Things like “ecommerce store” plus your city/state name or neighborhood. Optimize your page titles, meta descriptions, content, image alt text, and internal links around these terms. Local keywords should also be used in your GMB listing and local citations.

Conducting a comprehensive local SEO audit and optimizing the key areas can significantly impact your local search rankings and traffic. Paying attention to local SEO is well worth the effort for any ecommerce business with a physical store. Focus on optimizing your GMB listing, building more local citations and links, using relevant local keywords, and encouraging local engagement. Your local customers will appreciate your efforts!

Analytics Audit – Traffic Sources, Conversion Tracking and Goals

To optimize your ecommerce site, analyzing your analytics and metrics is key. Looking at traffic sources, conversion tracking, and goals will uncover opportunities for improvement.

Traffic Sources

See where your visitors are coming from – search engines, social media, referrals, etc. Make sure you have Google Analytics properly installed and tracking all traffic to your site. Check that search console is also connected, so you can see keyword data and fix any indexing issues.

Once you see the sources sending traffic, focus your efforts there. For search, optimize for high-converting keywords. On social, engage with your audience and promote products they’ll love. Build relationships with sites referring visitors and give them a great user experience.

Conversion Tracking

You need to know how many visitors actually buy from you. Install ecommerce tracking in Analytics to see revenue, transactions, conversion rate and more. A healthy ecommerce conversion rate is around 2-4%, so aim to improve yours over time.

See where customers drop off and make changes, like simplifying the checkout process or offering discounts at key points. Track users all the way through the sales funnel – from first visit to completed order. Find patterns in the customers who do convert so you can target similar audiences.

Goals

Set up goals in Analytics to track what matters for your business. Ecommerce goals like revenue, orders and checkout completions are a must. But also add goals for things like newsletter signups, account creations or key pageviews.

Review your goals regularly to make sure you’re making progress. If numbers are dropping or stagnant, revisit your strategy. You may need to adjust paid advertising, improve the user experience, fix technical issues or switch to more effective marketing techniques.

Continually optimizing based on data and metrics is what will take your ecommerce business to the next level. Track everything, analyze thoroughly and make changes to better serve your customers as well as your bottom line. An in-depth audit of your analytics will uncover weaknesses to shore up and opportunities to pursue for growth and success.

Competitive Audit – Rank Tracking, SERP Analysis and Opportunity Identification

To perform an effective SEO audit of your ecommerce site, you need to analyze how you rank for important product and service keywords compared to competitors. This competitive analysis will uncover opportunities to improve your visibility and click-through rate.

Rank Tracking

Use a rank tracking tool like Moz, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to check your ranking for high-volume keywords across search engines. Compare your rankings to those of major competitors over time to see if you’re gaining or losing ground. Look for keywords where your rankings have dropped significantly and make note of competitor sites that have overtaken you. These represent opportunities to reclaim lost rankings.

SERP Analysis

Analyze the search engine results pages (SERPs) where your site and top competitors appear. Note the page titles, meta descriptions, and content of the top-ranking listings. Look for common elements across multiple SERPs that you may be missing, like schema markup, review stars, or striking visuals. See if competitors are using paid ads to gain top placement for important keywords. All of these factors can guide your optimization efforts.

Opportunity Identification

Based on your analysis, make a list of opportunities to pursue, such as:

  • Optimizing page titles and meta descriptions for target keywords where rankings have slipped.
  • Improving on-page content by adding visuals, reviews, schema markup or stronger CTAs.
  • Bidding on paid search ads for high-volume keywords to quickly regain visibility.
  • Re-building key landing pages to match the content and format of top-ranking competitors.
  • Identifying new keyword opportunities by analyzing related terms that competitors rank for.

An ecommerce SEO audit and competitive analysis is well worth the effort. By understanding where you stand versus major competitors and identifying specific opportunities for improvement, you’ll have a roadmap to enhance your search visibility and capture more of your target audience. With ongoing monitoring and optimization, you can ensure your online store is front and center when shoppers search for products you offer.

Conclusion

That covers the basics of conducting an effective Ecommerce SEO audit. By following these best practices and techniques, you’ll uncover valuable insights to boost your store’s visibility and drive more traffic and sales. Remember, SEO is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and improvements. Make it a habit to regularly check in on your site’s performance and rankings, fix any issues, and keep optimizing. Your online store’s success depends on it. Stay up to date with the latest SEO trends and algorithms to ensure maximum visibility. Keep making progress and don’t get left behind. With the right SEO strategy and persistence, you’ll be well on your way to building a thriving ecommerce business.

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