Anatomy of an Ecommerce SEO Audit

by Jeremy Tang
PROGRAMMATIC SEO SEO

The article explores the intricacies of conducting an ecommerce SEO audit, emphasizing its importance for online store optimization. It covers evaluating on-page elements, content quality, technical SEO, as well as auditing other factors for better user experience.

Table Of Contents:

A Crucial Step in Online Store Success

Struggling to reach the online traffic you want for your ecommerce website? Feel like your monthly sales have plateaued? The issue might be deeper than meets the eye, a challenge even experienced store owners like you can overlook. 

 

An ecommerce SEO audit will help you identify these hidden obstacles and unlock the full potential of your site. But what steps are involved in a comprehensive audit, and how do you actually do it right?

 

At Area Ten, we understand the ins and outs of ecommerce, regardless of what platform it may be. Read along because we’ll break down each component of this important SEO aspect with precision and expertise.

What Makes an Ecommerce SEO Audit Different?

Just like a store manager would regularly inspect product inventory, placement, and the overall well-being of a business to maintain optimal operational efficiency, an SEO audit is non-negotiable for ecommerce websites.

 

It helps you pinpoint specific issues, such as poorly optimized content, technical issues, or inadequate keyword strategies that could be hindering your site’s performance.  It sets the stage for data-driven decisions to enhance your store’s online visibility for increased traffic, and, ultimately, higher sales conversions.

 

But unlike a regular SEO audit, an ecommerce SEO audit requires a deep dive into the unique ecosystem of ecommerce platforms.

 

Just take content for example. While you would simply need to ensure that your content is educational and engaging in regular SEO, in ecommerce SEO, it should be crafted with a laser focus on sales-driven objectives to turn browsers into buyers. 

 

The keyword strategy in ecommerce SEO is also different, as it zeroes in on transactional keywords that echo buying intent, such as “buy online” or “fast delivery.” Moreover, technical optimization in ecommerce audits is more complex and necessitates advanced strategies to adhere to the specific restrictions of each CMS platform.

 

These differences mean that a mere glance at your website won’t cut it if you want to survive in ecommerce. Now, how do you actually execute a proper SEO audit?

Fundamentals of an Ecommerce SEO Audit

By its nature, an ecommerce SEO audit could be complex, but what makes it more complicated is when you don’t have a strategic way to check all the boxes you need to. So, we’ve grouped the fundamental components into key categories. 

 

Let’s start with your digital store’s actual shopfloor—your on-page elements.

 

On-Page SEO

 

Auditing on-page SEO involves a meticulous examination of the elements within your website. Here are the things you want to inspect:

 

  • Keyword Optimization: Are your keywords mirroring the intent of a ready-to-buy customer? Also, evaluate if you’re missing out on long tail keywords that help you achieve maximum visibility.
  • Meta Tags and Descriptions Optimization: The absence or poor optimization of meta tags and descriptions can significantly impact your click-through rates from search results. These elements should be compelling, relevant, and infused with targeted keywords.
  • URL Optimization: Each platform may have its own URL restrictions, but you need to check if your URLs accurately represent the content of the page and incorporate keywords if possible.
  • Website Design Review: A poorly designed website can lead to subpar user experiences, negatively affecting your site’s SEO performance. Ensure your design facilitates easy navigation and showcases your products effectively.
  • Internal Linking Structure: Proper internal linking is key to establishing a clear hierarchy and navigation path on your site, so it’s important to implement it.
  • Image Optimization: Ensure they’re optimized for quick loading and include descriptive alt text.

 

Content

 

SEO-friendly content drives brand awareness and differentiation and supports your visitor’s customer journey. These are the key aspects you need to check to make sure your content will help drive traffic and sales:

 

  • Evaluate Keyword Usage: Assess how seamlessly your keywords are woven into your content.
  • Quality and Relevance Check: Google rewards content that demonstrates E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). Scrutinize your content for quality and relevance, and check for thin content that doesn’t add real value to your visitors.
  • Identifying Duplicate Content: A common pitfall in ecommerce platforms is the automatic generation of multiple URLs for the same product, leading to duplicate content issues. You need to identify and rectify such instances, ensuring each of your product and category page’s contents are unique.

 

Off-Page SEO

 

An off-page SEO audit focuses on factors external to a website. These include backlinks or links from other websites directing to your ecommerce store. 

 

While backlinks can be audited, they are less effective at gaining authority compared to more innovative methods. At Area Ten, we’ve developed a proprietary software-based approach to building authority that often starts delivering results within 6 weeks, even at scale. Alongside this, we focus on onsite elements such as content, which have a more substantial and direct impact on SEO.

 

So, when conducting an off-page SEO audit, the objective should not be solely to depend on backlinks to boost your site’s authority. Instead, you can check these links to spot any potentially harmful associations that might adversely affect your site’s SEO.

 

Technical SEO

 

While technical SEO changes may now contribute to less than 20% of overall SEO performance, ignoring them can be detrimental. They ensure that your ecommerce site operates like a well-oiled machine—efficient, responsive, and ready to captivate and convert.

 

Ecommerce platforms demand an advanced level of technical optimization due to their inherent size and structural intricacies. Here are the key elements of a robust technical SEO strategy:

 

  1. XML Sitemaps and Robots.txt File: The XML Sitemap guides search engines through your site’s key pages and content layout, while the robots.txt files direct crawlers on what to index and what to avoid. While optimization levels for these elements vary based on your ecommerce platform, their correct setup is essential for effective search engine navigation.
  2. Canonical URLs: These are the versions of your web pages that you want search engines to crawl among multiple URLs. The customization options for canonical URLs might differ across platforms, yet accurately establishing them is crucial.
  3. Schema Markup and Rich Snippets: Like nutritional labels on food products, Schema Markup provides search engines with extra insights about your webpage content. It aids in generating rich snippets in search results that further enhance your product’s visibility. Ensuring these are correctly implemented is crucial for effectively conveying your products to search engines and improving user experience.

 

Aside from what we mentioned, there are other technical elements that you need to look after:

 

  • Check for Broken Links: Regularly check for broken links that result in 404 (Not Found) or 410 (Gone) errors, as these can negatively affect user experience and site credibility. 
  • Functionality of Product and Category Filters: Ensuring that product and category filters operate flawlessly is crucial for user experience and search engine efficiency. 

 

While it may seem like we’ve covered every aspect of an effective ecommerce SEO audit, there are still additional factors that you should consider.

Other Aspects that Need Attention

Google’s Core Web Vitals

 

In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO, user experience has taken the spotlight. While it’s becoming less of a strict ranking factor, Google’s Core Web Vitals can help boost your SEO performance. It’s a metric that measures how users interact with a webpage by focusing on how quickly the main content of a page loads, the responsiveness of a page when a user interacts, and visual stability.

 

Mobile-Friendliness

 

With the advent of mobile-first indexing, Google now prioritizes the mobile version of your website when a user uses a device like a smartphone. This shift underscores the criticality of a mobile-optimized ecommerce site. Your ecommerce store must be responsive, adapting seamlessly to various screen sizes while maintaining swift load times.

 

Voice Search Optimization

 

Voice search optimization is becoming more popular, making it crucial for SEO discoverability. Optimizing for voice search offers a strategic edge in capturing a wider audience. For effective ecommerce SEO audits, you need to ensure that you’re targeting long tail, natural language keywords that align with voice search queries.

 

Local SEO

 

Contrary to popular belief, local SEO isn’t just for brick-and-mortar establishments. For ecommerce, it’s a tool to create a personalized, relevant online presence globally. In auditing this aspect, focus on how well your ecommerce site performs in different geographical markets and evaluate your site’s capabilities for multi-language support.

 

Social Media Integration

 

Social media is a powerful extension of your ecommerce store. Check if your website seamlessly integrates with your social media profiles. Are your social icons prominently displayed and linked correctly? Is your content easily shareable on social media platforms? This audit step is crucial for driving brand awareness and customer engagement.

 

If you’ve come this far, you may be thinking the same thing most of our clients thought before partnering with us, “This is too much. How can I complete all these audits in time before my business continues to dip even further?”

 

Well, you don’t have to do it alone.

Area Ten: Revolutionizing Ecommerce SEO

At Area Ten, we understand that a comprehensive SEO audit can be daunting, even for in-house marketing teams. That’s where our expertise as an ecommerce SEO agency comes into play.

 

We don’t just skim the surface. We dive deep. Our comprehensive audit meticulously analyzes every aspect of your ecommerce site, identifying the highest impact strategies for bigger SEO results, faster.

 

Our approach is technology-first, deeply rooted in a profound understanding of the unique technical aspects and marketplace nuances of each platform, be it Shopify, WordPress, or Bigcommerce. 

 

But our commitment to your ecommerce success extends far beyond the initial audit. We dive deep into the heart of your business, crafting strategies that are as unique as your brand. 

 

We tackle ecommerce SEO challenges head-on, addressing critical aspects such as scaling category and product page content with our Full Body SEO approach. Our focus isn’t limited to highly competitive head terms; we recognize the untapped potential of long tail keywords. These represent a vast majority of search opportunities, bringing in users with stronger buyer intent and a higher conversion likelihood.

 

What makes us capable of targeting all these terms is our proprietary technology, CMAX™. It’s our AI-driven powerhouse behind our Programmatic SEO strategy. 

 

This isn’t your generic programmatic content generation. CMAX stands out with its ability to churn out thousands of SEO-friendly, keyword-enriched, unique content pieces, all while maintaining your unique brand voice and adhering to industry requirements. 

 

Our programmatic SEO strategy is CMS agnostic, designed for seamless integration with any ecommerce CMS, including Shopify, Magento, and Bigcommerce. By simply adding a unique Div ID and our JavaScript code to your store, we can integrate the content while ensuring minimal impact and without disrupting your store’s design and layout.

 

Moreover, CMAX is dynamic. It’s self-learning and self-optimizing, shifting along search engine algorithm changes to ensure your content remains relevant and optimized.

Case Studies

Scaling Brand Content for a Fashion Retailer in Singapore

A prominent luxury handbag retailer based in Singapore was expanding its product offerings to include designer apparel. They wanted to create content that resonated with their luxury brand messaging for thousands of their new product pages. However, their in-house team was overwhelmed by the scale of content required.

They were looking for a BigCommerce SEO agency when they decided to book Area Ten’s FREE SEO Fast Track.

Our seasoned writers first collaborated with the client to curate bespoke templates that adhered to their brand’s core voice and messaging while meeting industry requirements. After approval, we fed these templates to CMAX, which generated thousands of unique content pieces for each of their new product pages.

In just six weeks, the retailer experienced a significant boost in online visibility, with a 22.7% increase in organic traffic and a remarkable 25.3% rise in organic revenue.

Revitalizing Shopify SEO for a Leading Baby Supplies Seller in Australia

In Australia, a major Shopify seller of baby supplies, ranging from feeding bottles to car seats, grappled with low traffic and engagement.

Our thorough SEO audit revealed improperly set canonical tags, leading to duplicate content issues and adversely impacting their rankings. 

Our team quickly rectified the canonical tags and looked for other opportunities for quicker wins, and we found out that they were missing out on long tail keywords. Our next step involved harnessing the power of CMAX and our Full Body SEO approach to target both head and long tail terms and populate its product pages with fresh, unique, dynamic content.

Within eight weeks, their organic traffic surged by 19.3%, and more importantly, their organic revenue leaped by 13.2%.

But don’t just take our word for it. This is what their marketing director has to say about our campaign:

“Our online store was in a tough spot—low traffic, minimal engagement, and soaring Google Ads costs. It felt like we were at a dead end. We took our chances and sent an email to Area Ten, and that’s when things began to change dramatically. 

They tackled our SEO head-on, turbocharging our content. We hit sales levels we hadn’t seen since our launch. It’s been a cracker of an experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s considered a good score for an ecommerce SEO audit?

There’s actually no definitive score for SEO audits. While some tools might offer a score as a preliminary indicator, the real value of an SEO audit lies in its detailed analysis and strategic recommendations. The focus should be on how these insights will contribute to revenue growth and overall business performance.

How often does an ecommerce website need to audit its SEO?

It depends. The frequency of SEO audits for an ecommerce website varies based on several factors: the current SEO health of the site, the size of the website, and the competitive dynamics of the niche. However, regular audits are crucial to keep pace with competitors and address any emergent SEO issues.

Does product availability affect SEO?

Yes, product availability can impact both the user experience and SEO performance. When products frequently go in and out of stock, it can affect the visibility of product pages on search engines. At Area Ten, we implement strategies for managing transient product availability, ensuring that popular product pages continue to rank highly and provide value to users, even when items are temporarily out of stock.

What You’ve Learned: Key Takeaways from the Article

Here are several key insights we’ve uncovered in understanding ecommerce SEO audits:

 

  • Ecommerce SEO Audit’s Importance: It’s essential to identify issues affecting a site’s performance. It’s crucial for improving online visibility, driving traffic, and enhancing sales conversions.
  • On-Page and Content SEO Elements: The audit should involve examining on-page elements like keyword optimization, meta tags, and URL structure, and content must be evaluated for quality, relevance, and integration of strategic keywords.
  • Technical SEO Considerations: Checking technical aspects like XML sitemaps, robots.txt files, canonical URLs, and schema markup is important.
  • Additional SEO Factors: Aspects like user experience, mobile-friendliness, and optimizing for voice search contribute to overall site performance and user engagement.

Actionable Advice

​​To leverage these insights into tangible benefits for your ecommerce platform, consider the following actionable steps:

On-Page SEO Essentials

  • Keyword Review: Regularly update your keywords to reflect buyer intent, incorporating both high-volume and long-tail phrases.
  • Meta Elements Audit: Ensure meta tags and descriptions are keyword-rich and compelling to improve click-through rates.
  • URL Optimization: URLs should be clean, descriptive, and keyword-inclusive.
  • Site Design Evaluation: Assess the user experience and ease of navigation. A customer-friendly design aids in SEO performance.
  • Internal Linking: Check and optimize internal links to establish site structure and enhance user navigation.
  • Image Optimization: Ensure fast-loading images with appropriate alt text for SEO benefits.

Content Quality Check

  • Content Relevance: Evaluate for engaging, high-quality content that aligns with user search intent.
  • Duplicate Content Detection: Identify and resolve duplicate content issues, a common challenge on ecommerce platforms.

Off-Page and Technical SEO

  • Backlink Analysis: Examine backlinks for quality, avoiding negative SEO impacts.
  • Technical Audits: Include checks for XML sitemaps, robots.txt files, canonical URLs, schema markup, and broken links. These elements are crucial for efficient search engine indexing and user experience.

 

While conducting these audits can be the springboard you need for success, accelerating your growth all starts with getting the right kind of SEO audit. You can choose to conduct this audit internally, but you can also gain more from the perspective of an SEO expert who can apply more advanced strategies and deliver greater value and impact.

Elevating Your Ecommerce Game

The anatomy of ecommerce SEO is complex, but just like a human body’s intricate systems, every element plays a critical role in the overall health and success of your digital presence. 

 

Remember, the realm of ecommerce SEO is constantly evolving. Staying ahead demands not just adaptation but also anticipation. Keep your SEO strategies dynamic, agile, and aligned with the latest trends and technologies.

 

At Area Ten, we’re a digital marketing agency, a technology powerhouse that can fuel your ecommerce ambitions. Our expertise spans a diverse array of ecommerce product verticals, serving clients across all continents except Antarctica. 

 

Our mantra, “100% Solutions, 0% Excuses,” isn’t just a statement we like to make. It’s a formula that works, as evidenced by the staggering $1.1 billion in annual online revenue we’ve generated for our ecommerce clients.

 

Our holistic approach to digital marketing encompasses not just SEO solutions but extends to live chat and paid media management. Whether it’s harnessing the potential of long tail keywords or navigating the complexities of major CMS systems, our promise remains the same: to start delivering results in just six weeks.

 

From uncertainty to a booming online store, the only thing standing between them is your decision to act.

 

Book your FREE SEO Fast Track today.

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