eCommerce SEO Checklist [12 Step Checklist]

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]

Hi, I’m Oliver from Mechanised and in today’s video, I’m going to run through a 12-step eCommerce SEO checklist to help your website rank better in Google and make more sales.

So why do you need to watch this video?

If you run an online business your main aim is to sell products and grow revenue. One of the best ways to achieve this is to appear on the first page of Google when customers are in buying mode and searching for your products.

Savvy business owners know that if you optimise your website using SEO techniques you stand a better chance of appearing on page one of Google and making a ton of sales.

So before I get into it if you like the video, like the video and in the comments please tell me what’s holding your website back from making sales.

Okay, let’s get into it.

Step 1 – Make sure your website can be indexed

The first thing you need to check is if your website can be indexed in Google. If it can’t be indexed then it can never appear on there. Luckily there’s a quick and easy way to check for this.

What you need to do is go to Google and type in site:, your domain, hit enter and you should see all your website pages that are currently indexed in Google. If it’s not indexed it’s most likely a robots.txt issue.

Your robots.txt file can be found at yourdomain.comrobots.txt and you need to check that the disallow line is correct. It shouldn’t just be a forward slash on its own as this is an instruction to block all web crawlers.

Step 2 – Keyword research

Knowing what your customers are searching for is important if you want to sell more online. If you optimise your website based on search data you have more chance of being found and appearing higher than your competitors.

If you run a large online store I recommend doing keyword research based on your product categories. This way you can group keywords together which makes it easier to apply to products.

Your keywords can be split into short tail keywords and long tail keywords. Short tail keywords are generally selling keywords and long tail keywords are generally educational keywords.

So whilst you’re doing your research make a note of your long tail keywords as we can use them later for content.

Step 3 – Unique titles, descriptions and headings

Now that we have a list of keywords you want to apply them to your titles, descriptions and headings. When dealing with an eCommerce website the headings can be found on the home page, the category pages and the product title on your product pages.

To get the full benefit of SEO you want to optimise your whole website because every page has the potential to rank. If you’re not sure what to optimise your pages for then try this.

  • Your home page should be optimised for your brand and your industry.
  • Your category pages should be optimised for that specific category
  • Your product pages should be optimised for that product plus its model name, description, colour etc.

Also, don’t forget that the meta title should be approximately 70 characters in length so that it fully shows in Google Search.

So what about the description? The aim of the description is to draw customers in and to increase your click-through rate. In the description, you should include call-to-action keywords such as buy now, next day delivery and free shipping.

Step 4 – Unique product descriptions

Your product descriptions are important because they give you an opportunity to tell your story and sell to the customer. It gives the customer more information about the product and it lets Google understand what your page is about.

It’s also important that your product descriptions are unique and not copied from the manufacturer’s website.

So here are some tips for creating a unique product description.

  • You want to include your target keywords
  • You also want to include supporting keywords and variations.
  • You want to make sure that the content is well-formatted and easy to read.
  • Make sure that the content isn’t too long and you can break it up with bullet points
  • Also tell the customer how to make them feel when they buy the product.

Step 5 – Simple structure and SEO friendly URLs

How you structure your website will affect the overall user experience and search engine ranking. Starting from the home page, your products should be organised into main categories and subcategories. Also, bear in mind that your homepage will have the most link authority so you want to keep products only a couple of clicks away.

To achieve this you need to do the following. You need to include the target keyword, you need to include the full product name, you need to use hyphens instead of underscores and you want to try and keep it as short as possible.

Step 6 – Product images

If you want to sell more online it’s important to have high-quality images. Ideally, you want to show your product off from multiple angles so customers can have a good look at it.

Where SEO comes into play is in the file names and the alt text. Where possible you want to rename the image file as the product name and in the alt text, you want to add a description of the product.

Step 7 – Site security

Now I really shouldn’t have to include this one but I still come across eCommerce websites without a secure https connection.

Now most modern web browsers flag sites that aren’t secure, so if your website is flagged as unsecure it’s really going to hurt your sales. Most eCommerce platforms flag this in the admin area or if you’re using Shopify https comes as standard but you can still break it.

If you add an image or a video to your website and the link in the code isn’t https then your website will be flagged as mixed content which means it won’t be secure. To fix this problem simply open the developer tools and it will show you which element is causing the problem.

Step 8 – Broken pages

Broken pages can cost you sales if a customer is searching for your product on Google and they click on the link and taken to a broken page, they’ll see a 404 error.

This isn’t the best first impression to give them and most likely they’ll go elsewhere. The thing is with eCommerce sites it’s very easy to create a broken page.

Common reasons for broken pages are the following; a product is out of stock so it’s unpublished, a product is discontinued so it’s unpublished or the product name is changed and the URL has changed to match.

But don’t worry because there’s a simple fix for this.

If your product is out of stock leave it published. Just make sure that it’s clearly labelled as out of stock. This prevents creating a broken page and you get to keep all the SEO value for that product page.

If your product has been discontinued or you’ve changed the URL you need to create a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect will tell Google that the page is permanently moved and you can redirect the customer to the page of your choice automatically.

Step 9 – Page load speed

Page load speed is not just important for the user experience but it’s also a ranking factor. Customers will not wait around for a slow website to load.

So what can affect your page load speed?

  • You can have too many DNS requests coming from widgets, apps and extensions.
  • Your theme or template could be bloated with extra code you don’t need.
  • Your images could be too large.
  • You could be using a third-party widget like Trustpilot or Feefo.
  • Your files might not be cached in the browser and you might not have minified your CSS, HTML and javascript files.

One of the best ways to measure your website speed is to go to GT Metrix. This will analyze your website and give you suggestions on how to improve it.

Step 10 – Google Analytics and Search Console

Tracking your website visitors and the behaviour is an important step because it will give you an insight into your audience and where they spend the most time on your website.

This is an important step if you want to start optimising your site for more sales.

Google Analytics will tell you the following about your website visitors; how are they reaching your website, the location, the demographics, which pages they look at the most and whether they’re on mobile or desktop.

Google Search Console can give you extra information such as; the position of your website in Google, it’s click-through rates, what keywords people are using to find your website and crawl errors.

Step 11 – No index unnecessary pages

Google has millions of pages to crawl each day so don’t waste your crawl budget on unnecessary pages. Pages that should be set to no index are the following.

You’ve got supplementary pages such as your terms and conditions, your delivery information and your privacy policy. You should also no index your category pagination and you should also no index your blog article categories, the tags, the archives and the authors.

Step 12 – Create valuable content

Remember those long tail keywords I told you to take a note of? Well now is their chance to shine!

A great way of increasing traffic and ranking for hundreds of keywords is to create content around educational long tail keywords. If your customers are asking questions around one of your products then it’s a great idea to create in-depth content around it.

For example, if you know customers are asking how Nike air bubbles are made then you want to create a piece of content that answers all the questions such as; how are they made, what technologies are used, what materials are used, how long they’ve been making it for. This way you’ll appear in Google Search and you can link out to your products.

Okay, so that concludes my 12-step e-Commerce SEO checklist. So whether your website is live or you’re just about to launch it make sure that you work through the checklist and make sure you’ve got everything in place. Once again if you’ve liked this video and found it valuable please leave a like and if you have any questions please leave in the comments below and I’ll make sure that I get back to everyone.

Thanks again for watching and see you next time.

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