Complete SEO Audit Checklist For E-Commerce Sites
SEO is not an art. Google is definitely not an art gallery. The best analogy for SEO is to compare it to the practice of medicine. The world of knowledge is always expanding, conventional wisdom is challenged every day, and new researchers create new outcomes ever so often. Another similarity, one that I’m going to focus on, is this: doctors and SEO experts are tasked with the prevention of problems as much as with curing them.
For an e-commerce firm, a leaking faucet in the whole SEO pipeline system can mean lost sales, customer attrition, low product visibility, and a lot more. That makes e-commerce SEO auditing a highly crucial and value-adding practice for a truly successful SEO strategy. Let’s talk about execution.
SEO campaigns for e-commerce websites can be made or broken based on keyword quality. Here’s how you can audit keywords.
Make sure your keywords have:
High search volumes
Use Google’s free Ads Keyword Planner tool to get a refresher on the search volumes associated with your primary keywords. Compare the volumes to when you last did the analysis, and identify high performing and low performing keywords for re-allocation of budgets.
Low difficulty score
Use Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool to understand which keywords are most difficult to target. Unless these are your top 5 high volume keywords, you don’t want to waste any effort on them.
Make sure each page on your e-store focuses on a primary keyword. If that doesn’t sound practical, you need to reorganize the products in more tightly bound categories.
The goal of this part of SEO audit is to identify missed opportunities apart from validating your keywords. The 3 key reasons to do this are:
- To identify which keywords are too competitive to pursue
- To identify high performing content formats from competitors
- To scrape the link profile of your competitor for possible linking opportunities
Now, SEMrush is one of the best SEO site analysis tools to identify ultra competitive keywords at scale and eliminate them from your plans.
- Go to SEM Rush
- Enter your competitor’s URL
- Select “Organic Research” from the sidebar and go to “Positions”
- Sort the keyword list to on lowest search volumes and see which ones you can include in your SEO campaign to make the most of the opportunity
Too many 404 redirects, keyword cannibalization, websites that don’t load well on mobile devices, slow loading websites – there could be many technical flaws with your website, pulling your SEO scores down. This calls for technical analysis to be included in your SEO audit.
There’s always something you can do to improve page loading speeds; before that, conduct analysis using a tool such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom. Anything less than 1 second is awesome, and anything higher than 3 seconds is cause for concern.
Mobile search volumes are increasing. Make sure your e-store web pages are mobile responsive. Use Google’s mobile friendliness check to evaluate.
Avoid keyword cannibalization; that’s when you have more than one page that ranks for the same primary keyword, confusing Google in the process. Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a good tool to do this; go to Page Titles, enter the main keyword in the search box, and you’ll get a list of competing pages from your website ranking for the same keyword.
Get rid of redirect issues that might have crept up in the last quarter. These include:
- redirect chains
- 302 redirects
- the non-preferred version of the domain not 301ing to preferred
- the non-secured version of the domain not 301ing to the secured version
Sitemap and robot.txt
Lastly, audit the sitemap and robot.txt file to make sure there are no technical issues preventing search engines from crawling your website.
Page Level Analysis
The goal of this analysis is to optimize each keyword targeted landing page. Strong content won’t give strong results without optimization, and your SEO audit is the perfect opportunity to make amends.
Run your key pages through Copyscape, identify the people who copy your content, and file DMCA reports with Google to have them removed.
The rest of the activity is best managed by answering these basic questions for each page:
- Does the title include a keyword?
- Does the meta description include the keyword (once, ideally)?
- Does the target keyword appear in the beginning as well as the last sentence of the content?
- Is the URL short, clean, and includes the keyword?
- Does the alt tag of the first image on the page contain my target keyword?
- Do my internal links placed on the page use exact match anchor texts?
The answer to all these needs to be a resounding and confident YES.
User Experience Analysis
Use Google Analytics to get actionable insight on the user experience issues that might be pulling SEO down for your websites. For instance:
- Bounce rates need to be in the vicinity of 50-60% or lower
- Average time spent on the website must show improvement over time; lack of this indicates the user experience or content is not engaging enough.
- Identify pages with more than 75% exit rate; see what might be wrong with them.
Good SEO means great visibility, and great visibility translates into higher sales for your e-commerce websites. Trust this e-commerce SEO audit guide to improve your SEO.