SEO is a crucial part of any website’s success, even more so in the e-commerce industry. That’s why you have to make sure that you dedicate time and energy to developing a thorough and robust strategy for your e-commerce website.
With that said, we developed this eCommerce SEO checklist to be your one-stop-shop for everything that your e-commerce website needs to be as search-engine-optimized as possible.
To begin, we’ll first start at all the basic SEO steps that any website needs to succeed on the Internet, whether you’re just starting in the e-commerce business or not.
The Basic Ecommerce SEO Checklist
Before anything else, you have to make sure that your e-commerce website has everything in this list set-up.
Setup Google Search Console
If you want to properly improve your site’s SEO, you need to make sure that you have set up the Google Search Console on your site.
The Google Search Console’s main job is to notify you of issues inside your website that will affect your eCommerce site’s search rankings.
Since most of your customers are using Google to look up products or services before making a decision, you want to make sure that your site is optimized for Google. Since the Google Search Console is the only way you can get direct SEO information about your site from Google, you definitely need to connect your website there.
Install Bing Webmaster Tools
Aside from the Google Search Console, you should also connect your site to the Bing Webmaster Tools. It also does the same thing as the Google Search Console.
Since Bing’s search engine market share is at almost 10%, second only to Google, they still have a considerable market share, so don’t ignore them.
Setup Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that helps you with your website’s SEO and provides metric measurements of your site’s SEO data. For your particular purpose, make sure that you turn on the Enable Ecommerce on the Ecommerce settings of Google Analytics.
There are two types of e-commerce tracking that you can use on Google Analytics: Standard Ecommerce and Enhanced Ecommerce.
Choosing the right type of e-commerce tracking enables you to get the best data to improve your business. So, when do you use which e-commerce tracking type?
Standard Ecommerce vs. Enhanced Ecommerce
When people are first starting out with Google Analytics, they usually settle for Standard E-commerce tracking.
Standard Ecommerce tracking tracks data the most from when a customer has already confirmed the order. On the other hand, Enhanced Ecommerce tracking tracks almost everything in the selling process, from the impressions to the check-out.
The Standard E-commerce tracking option is sufficient enough, especially for smaller businesses with business owners doing their own SEO planning.
However, if you want to get a more in-depth view and reports on your eCommerce site’s SEO, you should want to go with Enhanced Ecommerce.
If you’re starting out, you can go with Standard E-commerce first but you can do a lot more once you know how to work with the Enhanced Ecommerce tracking option.
Create an XML Sitemap
A Sitemap helps search engines identify the main content on your website and which versions are the authentic ones for you. The sitemap also helps search engines like Google crawl and index your site.
You can find your website’s sitemap usually by going to yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml, but if your content management system (CMS) is WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO plug-in to create one.
You can also instead look up a sitemap generator online depending on your CMS of choice.
Create and Optimize Your robots.txt File
The robots.txt file on the other hand is like the opposite of a sitemap. The robots.txt file tells the search engine crawlers which parts of your site you don’t allow it to access.
You can find your robots.txt file on https://www.domain.com/robots.txt.
There are some parts of your e-commerce site that you don’t want them to crawl nor index. Here are a few that you probably want to command search engines not to crawl:
- Search Results page
- Checkout page
- Thank You page
- Wish Lists
- Login Page
- Deliberate Duplicate Content
These pages on your site don’t add value to your SEO due to the nature of the page. Thus, you should use the disallow command on robots.txt for these parts of the site so that it’s easier for Google’s bots to crawl your site, and improve your eCommerce site’s indexability.
Make sure that you double-check and test your robots.txt file to ensure that it’s up and running properly. You can use the Google Webmasters Tool for that.
Install an SEO Plugin/Extension to Make SEO Implementation Easier
There are different SEO plugins or extensions that will make it more convenient for you to manage SEO for your site. The plugins or extensions available to you are different depending on your CMS of choice.
- Rank Math
Rank Math is an excellent On-Page SEO tool for your e-commerce site. From a webpage analysis test to keyword optimization, Rank Math is able to help you with your SEO needs, and all of that for free too.
- Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is another great WordPress or WooCommerce SEO tool for all-around SEO on your site. Although it’s not free unlike Rank Math, this plugin is still pretty powerful and a lot of sites still use this plug-in to this day.
- All-in-One SEO Pack
The All-in-One SEO Pack plug-in aims to be your main SEO tool. Although it’s pretty comprehensive, it might not be very approachable for beginners. However, it does the job quite well still with the features that it does have.
Another new SEO tool that you might want to use that is a tough competitor for Yoast is the SEOPress. The SEOPress is a freemium SEO tool that has plenty of powerful features, including integration with WooCommerce.
Paying for Premium will let you unlock every other feature that isn’t free on SEOPress, so you won’t have to get a bill for every SEO tool that you plan on using with this plug-in.
- SEO Suite Ultimate by MageWorx
The SEO Suite Ultimate by MageWorx is one of the most popular SEO tools that Magento 2 users apply on their eCommerce sites. This Magento 2 extension has many functions, from SEO redirects to templates for both product and category pages. It’s certainly one of the ultimate SEO tools for Magento 2 users.
- Magento 2 SEO Extension by BSS Commerce
Magento 2 SEO Extension by BSS Commerce is an all-in-one SEO solution for Magento 2 users with a price that starts at $149. It’s a small price to pay for the many features and SEO tools that open up to you.
It helps you from SEO reports and audits to creating snippets and breadcrumbs. These features make it another great alternative as an SEO extension on Magento.
- SEO Content Optimization by ReloadSEO
The SEO Content Optimization extension by ReloadSEO is an SEO tool that does everything from keyword research to site crawling. The pricing package starts at $59/month with limited features, but it’s great for smaller businesses that are starting out.
- Advanced SEO Suite by Mirasvit
The Advanced SEO Suite by Mirasvit offers the same SEO features that will make your eCommerce website get more traffic. Many reviewers are most fond of the time-saving templates that they provide and that this tool makes SEO a lot easier to understand and operate on their sites.
There are plenty of Shopify-based apps and tools that you can use to improve your site’s SEO. We even made an entire Shopify SEO Guide that includes an audit checklist as well as a list of all the best Shopify apps to use for your store.
In the meantime, here are a few of the SEO tools that we recommend you try for your Shopify store. If you want more in-depth information, feel free to read through our guide.
- Smart SEO
Smart SEO is an excellent plugin for automating common SEO tasks like creating meta-tags, managing your sitemaps, and so on. It also supports the multi-language feature on Shopify, so you can increase your rankings for each language.
- SEO Doctor
The SEO Doctor does exactly what its name implies: it helps identify SEO issues that your Shopify store may have and automatically fixes them. Some of the work that it does is compressing images for faster loading times, fixing broken links, sitemap generation, and so on.
- Fire AMP
Fire AMP is a Shopify plugin that creates Google Accelerated Mobile Pages on your Shopify store that helps speed up the loading time of your entire store. It makes for a better mobile experience, faster loading speed, and even better conversion rates.
- SEO HTML Sitemap
The SEO HTML Sitemap on Shopify is pretty simple: it helps generate the sitemap for your Shopify store and updates it every hour for $3 a month.
It’s a simple feature but it’s very helpful in upping the SEO efforts of your Shopify store.
Ecommerce Keyword Research Checklist
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to get to another crucial part of SEO: Keyword Research.
To be able to connect with the right customers, you need to know the correct keywords. That’s why keyword research is the blood flowing through the veins of your SEO strategy.
That’s why we recommend that you download our Keyword Research and Mapping Template to help you build the basics of your keyword research plans. Don’t worry, it’s free!
We’ve also made this comprehensive eCommerce Keyword Research Guide For Beginners that will help you research keywords like a pro to go along with our template, so check both of them out. You can find the Keyword Research and Mapping Template in it as well.
Choose a Keyword Research Tool
Before getting on with your keyword research, of course, you need to have a go-to tool to help you look for the right keywords. Here are several that you can choose:
Google Keyword Planner
Google has its Keyword Planner that is very useful for looking up new keywords, looking up search volume trends, and other critical historical data of these keywords, as well as performing a forecast on the performance of your keywords.
They’re an excellent all-around tool, especially if you’re planning on getting paid ads on Google.
Google Search Suggestion
Even Google’s own search suggestion is a great and simple tool that you can use to look up keywords. By typing in your keyword of focus, you can use the search suggestions to figure out what people are asking about it. You can then target other keywords associated with that in the search suggestion.
SE Ranking Keyword Research Tool
SE Ranking has a Keyword Research tool and more that will help you do more than suggest potential keywords for you to target. However, this tool is not for free, with pricing packages as low as $39 a month to $189 a month.
Ahrefs is a popular all-around SEO tool that you can use for many things, but it also has a powerful Keyword Explorer tool. Ahrefs is excellent and reliable but can be quite pricey with its lowest pricing package at $99 a month.
SEMRush calls itself an online visibility platform that all SEO professionals should have in their arsenal. SEMRush has a specific SEMRush solution for the e-commerce niche so you might want to use that before purchasing.
Ubersuggest is a free keyword tool that primarily helps suggest keywords that you might want to target. It’s free, but it has limited power. Nonetheless, it’s still a great resource for potential keywords to target.
Take Stock of the Key Pages of Your Online Store
For an eCommerce business, there are two main pages that will be the heart and soul of your thriving business and these are the category pages and the product pages.
Knowing the difference between the two will help you understand what the correct SEO strategy for each is.
The category page connects your homepage with the product pages on your eCommerce website. Unlike the product pages, they don’t refer to a single product. Instead, they refer to a general type of product.
For example, if the category page is Women’s Shoes, the product pages should then be Flats, Heels, Sneakers, and so on.
Category pages have a high likelihood of ranking higher on search engine results than product pages simply because it usually contains a general keyword. Product pages are more specific, and thus, more niche.
The product page on the other hand is about the specific product that you are offering. It should include crucial information about the product, like its model and other specifications.
Again, since it’s more specific, it might be harder to rank higher in search engine results.
Assign Keyword Themes That Best Suit The Page
Now that you know the category and product page, you can better choose a keyword theme to target and map for each page.
For both of these pages, you should apply the keyword theme to the:
- Title Tag
- Meta Description
- Text Content
For Category Pages, in particular, you want to put the keyword in the URL, and you want to keep that URL short. A study by Backlinko showed that shorter URLs tend to rank higher. Therefore, you want to keep your URLs short and sweet. Keep them at about three to five words in length or around 50 to 60 characters.
Assess Search Intent
Once you have keywords in mind, you should learn more about what the search intent is behind each keyword.
Search intent is the purpose behind why someone did an online search and used the keywords that they did. Identifying the search intent will help you know at which part of the sales or buying funnel the customer is. When you know how far along the customer journey they are, you can get a better insight into what the customers are looking for when they click through to your site because of a keyword.
There are four different types of search intent:
- Informational intent
- Navigational intent
- Transactional intent
- Commercial investigation
By knowing which type of intent your keyword is, you can better optimize the content based on the keyword theme you’re using for their landing page.
Generate More Keyword (and Content) Ideas With Answer The Public
Answer The Public is a very useful keyword tool that uses what they call a search cloud to show search queries and autocomplete suggestions based on a keyword or keyword phrase that you type.
Answer The Public is an excellent keyword research tool in that it helps you identify more specific keywords that your buyer persona is looking for that you aren’t aware of. You can use the results on Answer The Public to map out the customer/buyer journey that leads them to you so you can start targeting the right keywords for each phase of the buyer’s journey.
Make Use of the “People Also Ask” Section on Google Search Results
Whenever you’ve looked up anything on Google, you’ve probably noticed a widget after the top search engine result.
Aside from using it to get more information about your search query, you can use the information there as a way to find more potential keywords to target that is close to your niche.
It’s a simple, but an excellent way to do more keyword research and to get content ideas too.
Run Content Gap Analysis
Speaking of content ideas, content marketing is a huge part of any business’s SEO strategy. However, too many eCommerce sites don’t make the most out of it.
If you want to ensure that your content is working towards a greater goal, you have to run a content gap analysis.
A content gap analysis aims to identify gaps in the available content on a specific niche or topic. You can fill those content gaps so you can create an even better version of the content that’s already out there.
When running a content gap analysis, you have to analyze content both on your website and content that everyone else makes.
Of course, given the number of content that’s out there, it’s difficult to manually go through each one to assess them. That’s why you should use tools like SE Ranking’s Competitor Analysis tool.
You can then use that information to drive your content efforts to the right place and position yourself better.
Access Keyword Difficulty
When using tools like SE Ranking’s Keyword Suggestion Tool, you’re going to find out information about your chosen keyword, including the keyword difficulty.
The keyword difficulty indicates how hard it is for you to rank using that keyword.
When looking up keywords, usually, we think of the search volume and the search intent first. However, knowing the keyword difficulty will help upgrade your keyword theme altogether.
As much as possible, you want to target high-volume keywords with a search intent that is relevant to your SEO plan’s goal. However, there are plenty of keywords that can fit that category, but you won’t rank high because the keyword difficulty is too high. That’s why the sweet spot should be a keyword with high search volume and compatible search intent and low keyword difficulty.
Technical SEO Checklist
If your eCommerce website won’t show up on a search engine results page (SERP), then any other SEO effort of yours will be in vain. That’s why it’s important for any website to ensure that search engines like Google are able to crawl and index your site.
That’s why in this Technical eCommerce SEO checklist, we will focus on the practices and steps that will help you have a crawlable and indexable website.
To begin, we will first look at our trusty friend: the Google Search Console.
Check Google Search Console for Any Crawl Errors
Google Search Console, or previously Google Webmaster Tools, is able to show you crawl errors both within the entire site level or within individual webpage levels.
The difference between Site Errors and URL Errors is that Site Errors are more urgent since they affect the entire site. URL Errors are from web pages, so there isn’t as much urgency in them. Nonetheless, you don’t want errors at all.
Ideally, you should be checking the Search Console frequently for any Crawl Errors so that anything bad won’t become any worse. You want to be able to address issues as soon as they happen. It’s monotonous work, but it’s a foundation of your overall SEO in the grand scheme of things.
If you’re going to have an SEO goal for Crawl Errors, the goal should be to not have any errors for at least 90 days.
Get the Index Coverage Report on Search Console and Look For Web Page Count Deviation
Google’s Search Console has an Index Coverage Report that lets you see which pages on your site Google have indexed already as well as problems they encountered when indexing your site.
You can look at the web page count that they indexed and see whether or not it’s accurate to your site’s authentic pages.
Do note that you can’t expect all of the pages on your site to be indexed by Google. You only want the canonical versions of the webpages on your site. Aside from that, you should expect that the number of webpages should increase over time. If you notice drops, that’s when you should start troubleshooting.
Find Out How Google “Sees” Your Site/Page Using the URL Inspection Tool
Google’s URL Inspection Tool is another SEO auditing tool that you want to put in your arsenal to help you have a better understanding of how Google understands or sees your website. Therefore, if you want to rank high on Google, you want to know which parts of your site Google thinks are problematic.
Aside from letting you know server and indexing errors, the URL Inspection Tool will also help you identify whether the mobile version of your web pages through the Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) is valid.
When you know which parts of your site Google finds issues with, it’s a lot easier to fix them so that you know that the live version of your site works without any issues that could affect your eCommerce site’s SEO.
Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Speaking of AMPs, you have to make sure that there is a mobile-friendly version of your site. You can’t expect every customer that is interested in your product to be looking at your site using a desktop. You should know that more people are using their phones to access the Internet these days, so you should adjust accordingly.
For an eCommerce site especially, you want to make the site navigation a lot smoother and easier.
You should check whether your product photos are showing up well on phones as well as the product description.
By taking the time to make your site mobile-friendly, people who get to your site using their phones or other gadgets won’t want to leave immediately after getting to your site.
Fix Broken Links
Broken links have a negative impact on your SEO because it interrupts the link flow in your site. Aside from that, it provides a negative user experience (UX) on your site. That’s why you need to fix broken links when you find them.
If you’ve set up Google Analytics for your website, you should be able to use that tool to help lead you to broken links around your site. Once you know that there are broken links, it’s time to figure out what type of links these are.
The type of link will affect how easy or difficult it is to fix the broken link issue.
If you have a broken internal link, all you have to do is to either keep the 404 pages or to redirect it to the correct page. It will be more complex to fix outbound links.
Outbound links lead to web pages from sites that you have no control over, which is what makes it challenging to fix. However, there are a few solutions you can try.
For example, if you don’t really need the link to provide context to your content, you can simply remove the link and get on with your day. However, for links that you need, you need to do a more thorough search for similar or updated versions of that content.
Speaking of fixing broken links, you also need to learn how to optimize your redirect pages.
Optimize Your Redirects
A redirect is when your website sends users on your site as well as search engines to a different page from the original page they wanted. The redirect can be due to a relocation or deletion of content, the wrong spelling of the URL, and so on.
There are two common types of redirects that you should know: 301 and 302 redirects.
301 vs. 302 Redirects
The 301 means that the content that was previously in the original link has been moved to a different location on your site.
On the other hand, the 302 redirect is less common. It’s a redirect that means that the web page moved but it’s a temporary move.
Redirects for Out-of-Stock Products on Your Ecommerce Site
Within the context of your eCommerce business, you’re likely going to be using the redirects due to products that are out of stock. Therefore, you should use the correct redirect depending on the situation.
Restock is coming.
If you’re still planning on restocking the product, you can use the 302 redirects and lead to a replacement product.
You can also instead link to a page that encourages customers to sign up for email notifications once you restock the item.
No longer restocking.
If you’re no longer stocking that item, a 301 is the most appropriate. You can then link to a similar or a replacement product.
Don’t remove the page altogether.
You don’t have to redirect to a 302 or 301 at all if you don’t have the need to. Sometimes, leaving a 404 error is an opportunity that you can use if you optimize it correctly.
For example, you can use the 404 error to help advertise other products that you have on your site, especially ones that are similar to the product that they originally wanted.
Avoid Redirect Chains
Although you can optimize your redirects, you should be vigilant and avoid creating a redirect chain as much as possible. A redirect chain is when there are multiple redirects from the original URL to the URL that a user lands in.
Redirect chains are bad for your SEO for three main reasons which are why you must avoid them:
- Delayed Crawl: You might use up your crawl budget if the redirect takes five or more redirects which will lead to indexing issues.
- Slower Loading Time: If it takes too long to load a page, a user might be too impatient and will click away.
- Reduced Link Equity: The more redirects you go through, the lower the link equity the destination page will have, which means you’ll rank lower on search engine results.
Fix Duplicate Content Issue
Duplicate Content is blocks of content that match or are similar to another, both within the same domain or in different domains.
For duplicate content within your website, this can crop up a load of issues. In terms of SEO in particular, you’ll find that duplicate content makes it difficult for search engines to
- index your page,
- direct the link metrics to the correct place, and
- the content will conflict with one another in terms of search rankings.
That’s why fixing the issue is part of our ultimate ecommerce SEO checklist.
Ensure Correct Canonical URL Setup
One way you can fix duplicate content issues in your site is by using canonical URLs. Canonical URLs are the versions you want search engines to index and to show up in search results.
A canonical URL setup is crucial for eCommerce websites, especially for category pages.
In the category pages, the filter view settings of your products are common and are great for user experience, but it presents an issue in terms of duplicate content.
When customers use the filter view, they get the same content as your category page, but there are parameters added to the end of the category page’s URL to account for the filter. What you then get is a different web page altogether but it technically has the same content as your category page without the filter.
If you don’t want to have a duplicate content issue, you should use a canonical URL of the category page without the filter view and direct search engines to that for indexing.
Adding the canonical tag in the page’s HTML page will help direct search engines to the canonical URL.
Ensure Correct Hreflang Setup
If your eCommerce site targets people from all over the world or you live in a place that has multiple languages, you should use the hreflang tag.
The hreflang tag lets search engines know which web pages have the same content, but they’re in a different language.
Adding the hreflang code to key web pages helps your SEO because you are targeting potential customers better because you lead them to different web pages based on their language and location. It also lets search engines know that your duplicate content is meant to optimize for different people, so it’s not really going to bring up duplicate content issues.
On-Page Ecommerce SEO Checklist
Most of the SEO practices that we’ve covered apply to your eCommerce site in general. However, on-page SEO is about optimizing individual web pages in your site to help you rank higher in search results.
With that said, let’s start with optimizing your product pages for search engines with this on-page eCommerce SEO checklist.
Product Page SEO Checklist
Check Out Our Product Page Guide
If you want a simple and in-depth guide on crafting an excellent Product Page, we’ve made a guide for this specific reason.
A product page is a crucial part of your eCommerce site, which is why you want to make sure it’s optimized for higher chances of success. Check out our product page guide to help you get started.
Develop a Naming Convention for Product Pages
When naming your products, the name is likely going to be the title tag or the webpage title that’s going to show up in search engine results. Therefore, it will be a lot more effective if you develop a naming convention for product pages that will be SEO-friendly and will allow you to be consistent in developing the title tag.
You have to think about two things when creating a naming convention for product pages:
- The length of the title
- Keywords your customer will use
You want the product pages to have titles that aren’t so long that they get cut off. However, you also want it to have enough details to contain the keywords that your customers are looking for plus actual information about the product.
When it comes to the length, try and keep it no more than 60 characters to ensure that your title doesn’t get cut off.
Front-Load Your Keyword in the Title Tag
When inserting keywords in your product page’s title tag, make sure that the most relevant keywords are at the beginning. People are more likely to click on something with the keyword they looked for at the very start of the title. Thus, as much as possible, try to front-load your keyword on the title tags.
Do note that if it doesn’t work, don’t force it, but try to keep it as near the front as possible.
The product images are one of the most crucial factors to the success of your eCommerce business. You start by getting high-quality and beautiful pictures of your products, but it shouldn’t stop there. You also have to remember to optimize your images.
Include an alt text to describe the image, ideally with your keywords too. Some have found it useful to add the product name in the main product image as well.
Speaking of images, you might want to consider getting videos of your products as well since consumers also like watching the products in action first.
Lossless Compression of Your Images
Speaking of images, when you get high-quality photos of your products, make sure that they’re in .PNG format. The .PNG format is going to make it easier for you to get lossless compression of your images. That means that if you compress your images to make it easier to upload on your site, you won’t be reducing its quality.
The reason why you might want to compress your images in the first place is that it will help improve your page loading speed. As we all know, page loading speed affects our search engine rankings.
Use WebP Next-Gen Image Format As Much As Possible
WebP Next-Gen image formats can significantly reduce the file size of an image, which is why you want to use this format for your product photos as much as possible. Even if it reduces the image size, the quality of the photos will remain the same. Your customers will barely notice if at all, the quality change in your photos.
You can convert your images to WebP Next-Gen images by either using tools that Google has or getting your web development team to do it for you.
Use Only One H1 Tag
Google says that having multiple H1 tags in your content won’t harm your search engine rankings. However, it’s still better to stick to one H1 tag.
With a single H1 tag, you’ll be able to concentrate all of the SEO effects on that H1 instead of spreading it around over other H1s in your content.
Create a Proper Header Tag Hierarchy
Speaking of the H1 tag, you should also remember to create a proper hierarchy between your heading tags. If you have the proper head tag hierarchy, it betters the user experience and allows them to better navigate your site.
Link to Relevant Resources (Both Internal and External)
When you have content on your site, you would want to link to relevant resources as much as is appropriate. Linking to resources both internal and external both have SEO benefits to your site.
External links are links that lead to other websites. Internal links lead to other parts of your website.
When you add external links, particularly to trust-worthy and authoritative sites, it will help make your site have more of an authority. Plus, Google will have an easier time figuring out what the content that you’re making is about.
On the other hand, when you’re adding internal links, it will help customers stay on your website a lot longer.
It’s really a win-win situation, so make sure that you add links whenever it’s relevant.
Add Schema Markup
Adding a schema markup creates a more detailed description of your webpage, which is helpful to stand out from search engine results. If you don’t know what schema markup is, it’s essentially code that you put in your site to ensure that search engines return more informational results (specifically called rich snippets) about your site on the search engine results.
Although there’s no actual data to prove that these rich snippets help improve your search engine rankings, they do, however, help increase your click-through rates (CTR).
There are many different types or properties of schema markups. However, for your eCommerce site, the most useful ones you’d probably want to focus on would be:
- Reviews: Shows previous ratings of a product or service.
- Locations: Shows where someplace is happening or taking place, like an event or your headquarters.
- FAQs: This schema will show frequently asked questions and answers to these questions underneath your search engine result.
- Product: This shows an image of the actual product itself.
- Price: Shows the overall price of the product.
Category Page Ecommerce SEO Checklist
When it comes to the Category Page eCommerce SEO Checklist, a lot of the SEO efforts you apply on the product page would apply to the category page. For example, the optimization of the header tags, the use of keywords in the title tags, and so on.
However, there are also other things that might be more category page specific. Here are a few of them:
Remember that the Category Page Can Also Be a Landing Page
In some cases, potential customers’ landing pages could be a category page on your eCommerce site. Therefore, you have to optimize it for conversion as well.
Thus, you should remember to include key landing page components such as:
- A Call-to-Action button
- Your branding logo
- Contact information
- Shopping Cart
Highlight Your Popular Products
Under the main heading or the H1 of your Category Page, make sure that you include a list of the most popular products or even product categories on your site.
Remember to optimize the photos and to include this section almost at the very top of your category page.
Make Use of Faceted Navigation
Your category page needs to have search filters to help potential customers find the product that they want on your site.
If you want potential customers to save time from having to rifle through an extensive catalog, you might want to use faceted navigation on your category page.
The faceted search involves having a set of characteristics pre-set by you to help users refine their search. It’s different from search filters because you want facets to be crawled and indexed but you don’t want the same for search filter results.
Remember to be careful and optimize your facets so that they don’t end up as duplicate content on your site.
Don’t Be Wary of Adding Content
A lot of eCommerce sites aren’t confident in adding content in their category pages. After all, the focus of the category page isn’t the written content but the products themselves. However, avoiding content entirely is a missed opportunity.
You can add content at the bottom of the category page. As long as the content doesn’t precede the H1 and the product highlights under the H1, it should be helpful for your SEO without interfering with user experience.
Add Breadcrumbs to Your Site
Breadcrumbs are a text-based path that indicates to the web visitors where they are located on the website now. It shows the users where they are, but it also helps them backtrack to how they got there.
All the steps on this path or the breadcrumbs are clickable, so they can go back to each previous step if they want to, all the way to the homepage.
Here’s an example that you can see on the Yoast website on their blog article about the same topic:
You’ve probably seen some sites have this at the top of the web page right below the site menu bar and before the headings. You can even see them on Google search results at the top before the title tag.
So, why should you add breadcrumbs to your site in the first place? Well, there are two reasons.
It Improves UX
If a user finds one webpage of your site through search engine results and land smack-dab in the middle of it, they want to look for landmarks to understand where they are exactly. The breadcrumbs at the top of the webpage will help them situate themselves.
This simple improvement to the user experience will make your web visitors stay longer and will have the potential to reduce your site’s bounce rate.
Improves Internal Linking, Including the Distribution of SEO Value
Breadcrumbs make it easier for search engines like Google to understand the structure of your site so that you don’t lose out on your crawl budget. Since they have better information on site structure, they can better distribute SEO power to the right places on your site.
You can even make your breadcrumbs appear on Google search results if you add structured data to it or if you use Yoast SEO.
Add Reviews on Your Product Page
If you don’t have a reviews section on your product page, your eCommerce site is severely incomplete.
The reviews are one of the best ways you can understand customer satisfaction based on a product. At the same time, reviews also help attract other potential buyers to get your product.
Reviews also have other benefits like:
It Improves the Uniqueness of Your Product Page
If there’s one consistent thing about what affects Google Search rankings, it would be unique content.
When your customers leave their personal feedback on your products, they’re going to be able to generate long-tail keyword traffic while creating content for you on your product pages. Thus, also improving your SEO.
Enable Richer Result Snippet
As we mentioned before, reviews are one of the best schemas that you can incorporate for your product page. That’s because this social proof can help attract other potential buyers to your site.
We’ve already briefly mentioned the importance of adding relevant links to your site. However, we haven’t covered the importance of getting other sites to link to you.
The more sites link to you, the more reputable your site seems to search engines. That’s why link-building is a strategy that you want to include in your eCommerce SEO checklist.
Link-building is about the process of getting other websites to link to your site. With that said, here are the steps that should be in your link-building checklist to fill out your link-building strategy.
Use a Backlink Checker Tool
Before you start with your link-building strategy, you should first figure out how your current link profile is doing. You might be able to skip this step if your website is new. However, if you’ve established your eCommerce site for a while, you need to check out your link profile with a backlink checker tool.
With that said, here are the tools that are the best for just this task.
- SE Ranking
SE Rankings have a Backlink Monitoring tool that will help with monitoring and managing your backlinks. They can help with planning your link-building strategy by letting you know the costs of each backlink and will help estimate the total costs of your link-building campaign.
They even have a Backlink Checker that checks your competitors’ backlinks to help you get more data to better inform your decisions.
Ahrefs’ backlink checker has one of the most powerful backlink checker tools in the industry, powered by their very active web crawler, second only to Google.
Ahrefs offers a free version of their backlink checker, but if you’re going to be needing this tool a lot, it might be worth it to get the premium version.
SEMRush’s Backlink Analytics allows you to check the backlinks of any website, meaning you can use it for your site or your competitor’s site.
Aside from the Backlinks Analytics tool, they also have their Backlink Audit tool which will help you plan out your link-building strategies, and the Brand Monitoring tool that will help you find mentions of your brand and competitors to create a potential backlink opportunity.
Build Powerful Backlinks with Guest Posts
A tried and tested technique that people use to build links is to write guest posts for other people’s blogs.
One of the best ways you can get a backlink to your site from a reputable site is by writing articles for them. In exchange, you can use their platform to market your eCommerce site to a new audience. At the same time, you can include a link leading back to your site.
Of course, you can’t just make guest posts for random blogs if you want your backlinks to be effective in terms of SEO. You have to choose the right industry at least or a blog with a considerable presence.
Get Links from Partners or Suppliers
It can be difficult to create a new connection with a website or a business and then try to convince them to link to your site. However, when you ask businesses that you’re already working with to do it for you, the hurdle you have to get over is a lot smaller.
That’s why your current partners in business, inventory management service providers, and suppliers are businesses that you could easily get backlinks from if you position yourself right.
Usually, many of these businesses would have a page on their site listing all of their business partners. For some of these businesses that you work with, you can even get a link to your site to show that they are your customer. It’s a win-win: they get a testimonial, and you get a backlink.
Reverse Engineer Competitors’ Backlinks Profile
Working on your On-Page SEO is not enough to ensure that you stand out from your competitors in search engine results. With that said, you can have an easier time improving your SEO by doing reverse engineering on your competitors’ backlinks profile. It sounds more complicated than it is.
All you need to do is identify where their backlinks come from and find opportunities to get into those same sites.
The backlink checker tools we’ve mentioned before should help you identify the backlink profiles or portfolio of your competitors. You can then find sites where your competitors were mentioned by a high-authority site and try to get yourself the same spot.
Find Unlinked Brand Mentions
Unlinked brand mentions are when someone mentions your brand/business name but doesn’t link back to your site.
Look for mentions of your brand on the Internet. You can use tools like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer to help you. However, you can also use handy-dandy Google to help find mentions.
When you find ones that don’t link to you, filter out the sites that have a high authority rating.
Once you do that, you can start creating a list of sites that you plan on getting in touch with through an outreach program.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get results from having that backlink up and running, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Create Content Hubs/Guides/Resources to Attract Backlinks
We’re going to briefly mention this here, but there’s a reason why content marketing is a crucial part of any website. One of the reasons being that it’s such an excellent way of attracting backlinks.
If you want other sites to mention your site, you should provide something of value. Otherwise, there’s no point in linking to you. That’s why creating content hubs, guides, and other free resources are an excellent way to attract backlinks.
We’ll cover more about this in the Content Checklist later in this guide.
Build a Real Brand
The reason why you don’t have any or many backlinks might be because you’ve just started. This means that you haven’t established yourself as a legitimate brand. You have no brand identity that people can identify yet. Thus, you should start chipping away at developing and building your brand.
Having an identifiable brand will make it more understandable to link back to you than to a random site of no importance.
Remember that building a real brand has almost little to do with your logo. You have to put some thought into it.
It requires a ton of research from competitor analysis to opportunity planning and so on.
Once you have a solid brand forming, you’ll find that you’re going to be more familiar to people’s minds.
Get Influencers to Use Your Product and Share the Review on Social Media
Influencers are an interesting group of people that a lot of eCommerce businesses are tapping into for good reason. They have influence over a specific group of people and you can use their reach to help you find an audience for your products.
Aside from that, they can also be an opportunity to get some backlinks leading back to your site. When you sponsor a YouTube video or send some products to an influencer, they can link back to your site to get customers as well as backlinks to you.
If you haven’t incorporated influencers in your marketing plan yet, you’re missing out on a wide reach of people you haven’t tapped into yet.
Monitor and Reclaim Lost Backlinks
The Backlink Checker tools that we’ve mentioned before can also help you monitor and manage your backlinks. There are paid tools and free tools alike and it’s all a matter of how much you want to invest.
You can use these tools to crawl through your site and find broken links.
When it comes to reclaiming lost backlinks, it’s a lot trickier than reclaiming broken internal links because you’d have to approach other websites to help them get the right link back. However, a lot of these people would probably appreciate the heads up because the broken links will affect their SEO too. Therefore, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to them and point them to the right link.
User Experience – Google’s Core Web Vital Update
SEO may sound a bit complex but if you focus on bettering the overall user experience on your site, you’re headed in the right direction. After all, Google’s main criteria for ranking websites on search engine results all boils down to whether or not they provide an excellent user experience.
However, it’s difficult to quantify the user experience overall. That’s why Google created and updated its Core Web Vitals which is how they evaluate the overall user experience on any website.
For your SEO strategy and for our eCommerce SEO checklist, it is crucial that you know what these updates are and to keep track of them. With that said, there has been no full update yet on this. Instead, they’re slowly trickling down these updates in their system.
What we do know so far though is…
Speed is the Next Big SEO Focus
People have come to expect more from websites, including response time. If it takes more than three seconds for a website to load, many users are going to leave the site, which will affect your bounce rate and your search results ranking. Thus, it’s crucial to include this in any eCommerce SEO checklist.
With that in mind, you now have to also start making your site load faster for this sake. On that note, here are a few strategies that you can implement on your site.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN or a Content Delivery Network is basically a network of servers from a variety of geographic locations that work together to ensure that pages load fast for users by connecting them to the nearest server.
If your web host is in North America, a user from South Asia going to your site is going to have a slower loading speed, which will make them want to leave your site.
With the help of a CDN service, you’ll be able to run your site’s loading a lot faster and can even make your site more secure.
Enable Browser Caching
Another way you can speed up the page loading time is by enabling the browser caching option.
When users access your site, they have to load up all sorts of elements on your web page. However, if you enable browser caching, the user will download static resources (parts of the site that aren’t bound to change anytime soon) so that they don’t have to load up these elements every time they go to your site.
You can do this by setting an expiry time for certain file types in your HTTP headers. Ideally, you should set the expiry to at least a month. However, you can get away with setting it to a year but not more than that.
If you’re currently working on changing elements of your site, it might not be the best to enable browser caching at the moment. Once you have set elements for the long-term, like your logo, you can then set the expiry date for them. That way, site visitors will get an updated version of your site elements while still having a fast page loading speed.
WordPress has plugins that can help you minify your code. However, if your site isn’t on WordPress, you can lookup minifier tools online.
Use a Good Hosting Provider
A good hosting provider also has a huge influence over your website loading speed.
Ideally, you should avoid a shared hosting plan because you are going to share bandwidth and RAM with other sites. Thus, making your site slower the more traffic either of you have.
Thus, you should get a good hosting provider as well as the right hosting plan for you.
On that note, an excellent hosting provider to try would be SiteGround.
SiteGround operates using Google cloud which is one of the fastest and most powerful networks out there. You can see through our GTMetrix just how fast SiteGround is for page loading speed.
Loading Speed Test Tools
If you want to be able to optimize your page loading speed, you first need to analyze your current one. That’s why you should use these speed test tools to identify your loading speed right now.
GTmetrix is a popular website performance report generator to help you identify your site’s loading speed. It’s also a free tool so you’re saving money but still getting a pretty comprehensive report on your site.
With that said, one drawback of GTmetrix is that the test server will depend on your location. Therefore, it might not accurately reflect what users from a different country experience on your eCommerce site.
Another tool that you can use to help identify your loading speed will be Google’s very own PageSpeed Insights tool. This tool is also free to use.
When using Google PageSpeed Insights, you don’t need to get 100% to be able to have a functional and optimized site. Some performance parameters that Google sets can be quite difficult so if you don’t fulfill these, don’t be too disheartened.
Lighthouse (Chrome Extension)
Lighthouse is another free tool that Google provides to help you identify page speed.
Like their PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse also provides a thorough performance report of your site, including the website speed.
To use it, make sure that you only have one tab open. Once Lighthouse finishes scanning your site, it will then open a new tab detailing your site performance overall.
An ever-present part of a lot of websites’ SEO strategy and also included in our eCommerce SEO checklist is the content marketing.
Although no one will say that a blog or longer content is a requirement for your eCommerce business to succeed, it’s still a very powerful way to get traffic and attention back to your site. Plus, it opens up a lot more SEO opportunities for you.
To get you started, here are some tasks you should put in your content checklist.
Plan Your Content Hubs
We’ve mentioned before how valuable content hubs are in terms of getting you more backlinks leading back to your site. That’s one of the many reasons why content hubs are useful.
Before we proceed, let’s first state what content hubs are.
Content hubs aren’t the blog section of your site. They’re bigger than your blog.
Sometimes, people confuse the term and throw it around for a variety of meanings. However, for our definition, our content hubs would be the aggregate of curated content on your site or even your social media.
Ideally, your content hub should have media that can appeal to different types of web visitors. You can include content you produced, advertising for a service or product that you have, content that a reputable source has that’s relevant to your customers, and so on.
The key is to plan your content hubs around variety but most importantly, around your web visitors.
Create a Sticky Resource Guide
A sticky resource guide is a content that people would want to come back to again and again or content that will make people want to stay on your site for a long time.
If you want people to stay on your site for a long time and come back to it again and again, you’ll need to provide something of value in the first place. Otherwise, why would they stay?
Thus, a resource guide can be a huge help.
For a lot of sites, they’ll offer a comprehensive guide on a specific topic. Like this article!
Other sites would even accompany the resource guides with free resources to go along with it.
To make a sticky resource guide, you’re going to have to create long-form content. Your 500-word articles might not cut it anymore.
Long-form content provides more value and more in-depth information, which means that site visitors will have to stick there for a while longer. For example, this eCommerce SEO checklist is a type of long-form content.
Leverage on Keyword Research to Generate Topic Ideas
Keyword research is also an excellent way to generate possible content topic ideas.
What’s great about keyword research is that it will let you know what your target customers want to know. You can also use search query recommendations as a way to identify the questions that people are looking up along with the keyword that you plan on targeting.
You can use the keyword research tools we’ve mentioned before as a jumping-off point for creating your topic ideas.
Write an Attractive Title and Meta Description
The title is going to attract readers to your content. That’s why you have to put great care into the title that you put.
You have to make sure that you include your main keyword in the title for SEO purposes. Aside from that, you have to make it enticing while also targeting the main issue that your readers want to find the answers to.
Aside from the title, you also have to make sure that you dictate a meta description. Otherwise, Google will grab a random snippet in your content and put that in as your meta description. Sometimes, it will work well, but it’s not the best in terms of SEO.
When writing your meta description, make sure that you also include your targeted keyword in it.
Your page title and meta description will serve as your organic ad copy. What this means is that the title and meta description you dictate will be what Google uses to show your webpage on the search engine results.
Use Active Voice
When creating content, make sure that you use active voice more than passive voice.
Active voice ensures that your content gets straight to the point. Aside from that, it’s easier to understand the point of a sentence when it’s in the active voice.
However, you don’t have to use it all the time.
If using the active voice makes your content sound unnatural or too robotic, you don’t have to use the active voice, but make sure that the default is in the active voice.
Keep Sentences Short
Keep your sentences short.
You will lose the attention and focus of your readers if you have long-winded sentences. That’s why as much as possible, you should try and keep your sentences short.
Remember that you are not a fiction writer, so you shouldn’t get used to using run-on sentences.
Focus on Readability
Readability is a huge reason why you want to keep your sentences short. Readability is a quality to describe how easy to read your content is. That’s why it’s better to have shorter sentences because they are easier to read at a glance.
Aside from the length, it should also include how complex the words that you use are.
With that said, you can use Readability tools to help you identify how readable your content is.
An example of a great Readability tool will be Hemingway Editor where they track readability by assigning a grade level on your content. The higher the grade level, the more complicated your content is.
As this case study on readability grade level shows, it’s better to write content that stays below the Grade 9 reading level.
Use the Skyscraper Technique
The Skyscraper Technique is technically a link-building strategy, but it requires you to create content to make it successful.
What you do in the Skyscraper Technique is you find an amazing piece of content that’s relevant to your niche or industry, make sure it has lots of backlinks, then create content in a similar vein that’s better than theirs. Then, contact these backlinks and ask them to link to your content instead.
You might also find organic backlinks to your content along the way, which is always a plus.
SEO is now a necessary part of ensuring the success of any website, whether you’re in the eCommerce industry or not. With a powerful and robust SEO strategy, you’re going to be able to connect to more audiences and establish a stronger brand presence on the Internet.
With that said, this eCommerce SEO checklist is a comprehensive guide that should help you create a strong SEO strategy for your website.
Whether you are working on a new and improved version of your SEO plan or you don’t have any at all, you can use our eCommerce SEO checklist to help you stay on the right track.
If you have any questions or comments about our ultimate eCommerce SEO checklist, don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below!