How to Conduct a Thorough eCommerce SEO Audit – Checklist

In this guide, I’ll show you how to conduct an eCommerce SEO audit to boost your online sales.

This checklist covers everything you need to know to improve your eCommerce website’s search engine ranking and increase organic traffic.

Check your recent SEO performance

The first step in conducting an eCommerce SEO audit is understanding your website’s recent SEO performance.

One way to do this is by using Google Analytics. Go to your Google Analytics account and check your website’s organic traffic:

Google Analytics 4 Organic Search Traffic

Check whether your traffic is growing, decreasing, or staying the same. Then check which pages generate traffic to the site and which don’t.

Another useful tool for analyzing your website’s SEO performance is Google Search Console:

Google Search Console Performance on Search results

In Search Console, you can check total organic traffic, landing pages, and also keywords that bring search traffic to your website.

For additional insights, you can also use tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush.

Check key technical SEO aspects

When conducting an eCommerce SEO audit, analyze the following key technical SEO aspects of your online store.

Site Architecture

Make sure your website has a clear and logical hierarchy so search engines can easily discover your pages. Ideal for eCommerce sites is a pyramid site structure that looks as follows:

Pyramid site structure for eCommerce

Faceted Navigation

Many eCommerce sites utilize faceted navigation to allow users to refine their product searches. It usually looks as follows:

eCommerce site faceted navigation

If not correctly optimized, faceted navigation can create duplicate content issues that weaken your SEO efforts.

In addition, faceted navigation can also result in empty pages that Google may classify as “soft 404” errors.

I suggest you read this guide which describes in detail the best practices for faceted navigation.

Duplicate content

eCommerce sites frequently face issues with duplicate content due to product variations and multiple product listings.

To fix duplicate content, it is necessary to implement canonical tags, add the noindex meta tag, or delete duplicate pages (depending on the situation).

Eliminating duplicate content ensures that search engines don’t index and display it in search results.

Excessive number of low-value indexed pages

Low-value pages include various duplicate pages, tags, customer login pages, etc. It would be best if you prevented the indexing of such pages.

To address this issue, add the noindex meta tag to low-value pages. This will remove these pages from search results.

Internal search results

This is a standard feature on many eCommerce sites. Internal search results pages often contain dynamically generated URLs with parameters, resulting in duplicate content issues.

This is why it is recommended to block the crawling of internal search results pages using the robots.txt file.

Product Out-of-Stock

Use the appropriate HTTP status codes for out-of-stock products – 404 (“Not found”) or 410 (“Gone”).

Also, regularly update your online store inventory to maintain a positive user experience.

Site Speed

Page load speed is crucial for eCommerce sites. Many studies prove that slow-loading pages negatively impact user experience and conversion rates.

For optimal results, aim for a page speed of 2 seconds or less. This can significantly increase your conversion rate.

Category Structure

If you have a large eCommerce website with multiple categories and subcategories, ensure that the category structure is logical.

This enhances the user experience and makes it easier for search engines to understand the website’s structure.

URL structure

The URL structure should reflect your site structure – categories and products, like this:

yourwebsite.com/category/product

or

yourwebsite.com/category/subcategory/product

Such URL structure is user-friendly and also easy to understand and index by search engines.

Indexing and crawling issues

Check the “Indexing” report in Search Console for possible crawling and indexing issues:

Page indexing report in Search Console

Open the “Indexed” tab of the report and make sure Google indexed your target pages. First of all, these are product and category pages.

Check also why pages are not indexed:

Why pages are not indexed Search Console

If you notice that Google has not indexed some of your important pages, identify the reasons and fix them.

XML Sitemap

Ensure your XML sitemap contains the most important pages of your online store. This includes product pages, category pages, and blog articles (if you have any).

Go to the “Sitemaps” section of Google Search Console, submit your sitemap(s), and check their status:

Submitted sitemaps Search Console

Mobile-friendliness and responsive design

Any eCommerce website should be mobile-friendly since most Google searches are now on mobile devices.

A responsive design ensures your site provides a seamless experience across different devices.

robots.txt file

Your robots.txt file should disallow search engines from crawling the following common URLs on an eCommerce website:

  • internal search results pages;
  • sorting and filtering parameters;
  • shopping cart and checkout pages;
  • admin or backend pages.

You can also go to Search Console and check the “Page Indexing” report for “Indexed, though blocked by robots.txt” URLs:

Indexed though blocked by robots txt

If you notice that some URLs have been indexed despite being blocked in the robots.txt file, identify the reasons and fix them.

Site security (HTTPS)

Having a secure connection (HTTPS) allows you to protect customer data and prevent malicious attacks. In addition, search engines use HTTPS as a minor ranking signal.

Check the “HTTPS” report in Google Search Console for possible non-HTTPS URLs:

HTTPS report Google Search Console

Canonical links

Canonical tags help to avoid duplicate content issues by specifying the preferred version of a webpage for search engines.

This ensures search engines understand which URL to index and display in search results.

Orphan pages

Orphan pages are those that have no internal links pointing to them. If your site has such pages, visitors won’t be able to find them. Search engines may also fail to discover and index orphan pages.

Therefore, make sure to interlink all your product and category pages with other pages.

Schema markup

Schema markup enhances the appearance of your eCommerce site in search results by providing additional info about your products:

Rich results example

Such product snippets or rich results can help significantly increase click-through rates for your product pages.

Broken links

Dead links = lost shoppers. Fix broken links on your eCommerce site to improve conversions and encourage customers to proceed to checkout.

Conduct an on-page SEO audit

On-page SEO is another essential part of eCommerce SEO audit. Page-level optimization helps your website rank for relevant keywords.

In addition, on-page SEO can also help your website better appear on search engine result pages and improve click-through rates.

Here are the on-page elements you need to check.

Title tags and meta descriptions

Ensure your product and category pages have descriptive title tags and meta descriptions.

eCommerce product page title meta description

You can use title and description templates for consistency. Learn more about how to write good titles and meta descriptions.

Keywords in headings and page content

Headings, particularly the H1 heading, and page content should include your target keywords. This shows Google that your page relates to the product you are selling.

Incorporate keywords naturally (a few times on the page) and avoid keyword stuffing.

Image alt attributes

Product images are essential for eCommerce sites. They enhance the user experience and present a valuable opportunity to increase organic traffic.

Original and high-quality product images allow you to attract more potential customers through image search results.

Optimize images using alt attributes that accurately describe the product.

Product descriptions

To achieve high rankings in Google for your product pages, product descriptions must be completely original.

Create unique and detailed product descriptions and do not copy them from any other sources.

If you have similar products with minor variations, avoid boilerplate product descriptions. Try to create unique descriptions for each similar product.

If unique descriptions are not possible, select a canonical product. Then use canonical tags to consolidate similar products – this prevents duplicate content issues.

Category descriptions

Your category pages should have introductory content – category descriptions. They provide valuable information to customers looking for products within specific categories.

Category description example

Internal linking

Leverage internal linking by adding links to related products. This helps search engines understand the relationship between your products and improves the overall site structure and navigation.

Product reviews or ratings

Reviews build trust and provide valuable insights to potential customers.

Product reviews

Encourage customers to leave product reviews or ratings. Good reviews will help to increase the credibility of your brand.

Check off-page SEO

Off-page SEO improves the overall online visibility of your online store and can also help drive additional referral traffic.

Here are the most important off-page factors to pay attention to when conducting an SEO audit of your eCommerce website.

Backlinks

Backlinks are crucial for improving the SEO of any website, including eCommerce sites. To assess your website’s backlink profile, use tools such as Ahrefs backlink checker or SEMrush backlink analytics.

When evaluating your backlink profile, focus on quality over quantity. Fewer high-quality backlinks from reputable websites are more valuable than more low-quality backlinks from spammy websites.

Online Reputation

Effective online reputation management can influence how people feel about your brand.

Monitor and promptly respond to customer reviews on external review platforms such as Trustpilot, Google Business Profile, or Facebook. Engage with customers and address concerns.

Conduct a content audit

A content audit is also necessary when conducting an eCommerce SEO audit. This is especially true if you have a content section dedicated to the products you offer.

Optimize your content to attract potential customers seeking information or advice about your products.

Assess existing content

First, check how much traffic your articles or other content pages generate. Find the best-performing and worst-performing content.

After that, improve worst-performing articles that generate little to no organic traffic. For this purpose, I’d recommend you use specialized content optimization software such as SEO Writing Assistant.

Using content optimization tools ensures your content is relevant, well-written, and easy to read.

Identify content gaps

Examine topics and keywords relevant to your industry. Compare these to the content on your website and identify any gaps in your content.

You can do it by conducting keyword research or analyzing competitor content. Use this information to create new content.

Conclusion

Conducting an eCommerce SEO audit is essential to optimizing your online store for search engines. Proper optimization will help increase your site’s online visibility and drive more organic traffic.

I hope this checklist will help you succeed in your eCommerce business.

Andrew Postelniak

I am a freelance SEO consultant with over 7 years of experience.

I've worked with various companies (from local to international) as well as marketing agencies from the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

This is my SEO blog where I share actionable tips from my experience.

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