eCommerce SEO Audit: Comprehensive Guide and Checklist

by | December 27, 2023

In the highly competitive digital marketplace, the fight for visibility is relentless. 

That’s where eCommerce SEO auditing comes to the rescue to guide your business to success.  

But what exactly is an eCommerce SEO audit 

From scrutinizing keywords and assessing website structure to dissecting backlink profiles, an SEO audit is the first step in fine-tuning your digital storefront to stand out in the crowded world of online retail.  

In this blog, we’ll break down all the essential steps of an eCommerce SEO audit, along with all the technicalities, tips, and FAQs.  

Let’s get started! 

What is an eCommerce SEO Audit? 

An eCommerce SEO audit is a specialized form of SEO research that combines manual analysis and tool-based audits that mimic search engine crawlers.  

This process is designed to uncover issues that hinder search engine bots from effectively crawling, indexing, and serving your online store in search results. It also identifies areas for improvement, gaps, and potential enhancements to elevate your store’s visibility and ranking in SERPs.  

When people search for products that you sell, you want to rank as highly as possible to get more traffic. Unlike traditional SEO, which focuses broadly on boosting a website’s visibility for a wide array of content, eCommerce SEO focuses on optimizing your online store to attract potential buyers. 

Additionally, while traditional SEO might target general keywords and topics to draw in a diverse audience, eCommerce SEO is about laser-focusing on product-specific keywords and user intent. It’s about understanding the customer’s journey from discovery to purchase and ensuring your products pop up right where they need to be seen – at the moment of decision-making. 

But before we go into the details, let’s cover why regular SEO auditing is essential for your eCommerce success. 

The Need for Regular eCommerce SEO Audits 

Let’s face it: an eCommerce website that remains static is bound to fall behind.  

Regular SEO audits ensure that your site not only keeps pace with the constantly evolving digital space but also leverages it to drive organic traffic, and, ultimately, boost profitability.  

Additionally, SEO helps you understand the fluid nature of search algorithms, consumer behavior, and market trends.  

Without regular audits, your site may miss out on crucial updates, leading to decreased visibility. Similarly, as consumer preferences evolve, reliable monthly SEO services can help realign your content and keywords to match current trends, keeping your site relevant and engaging.  

Now, why should you trust our guidance on conducting eCommerce SEO audits?  

Our team of SEO specialists is equipped with the expertise and passion needed to elevate your eCommerce presence. 

Let’s take a quick sneak peek at our SEO gurus: 

  • Assia Belmokhtar, SEO Specialist at Scopic: With over six years in the field, Assia combines her computer science background and extensive SEO experience to craft strategies that resonate across various niches. 
  • James Lim, SEO Specialist at Scopic: James applies his five years of diverse industry experience to boost businesses’ online visibility and rankings. 
  • Srdan Borovic, SEO Specialist at Scopic: With eight years of SEO expertise and a master’s degree in marketing management, Srdan is a whiz in keyword research and technical SEO. 
  • Araksya Hakobjanyan, SEO Lead at Scopic: An SEO Manager with over seven years in digital marketing, Araks blends her deep understanding of SEO with marketing trends to drive client success time and again. 

Each specialist at Scopic brings a unique blend of skills and insights, ensuring that your eCommerce site is optimized to excel. 

Step-by-Step eCommerce SEO Audit 

An eCommerce website SEO audit is not just a routine check, but a strategic deep dive into the very core of your online store’s digital footprint.  

It’s essential to approach this audit with a comprehensive mindset, focusing not only on immediate SEO metrics but also on long-term user engagement and conversion strategies.  

Remember, effective eCommerce SEO is not just about driving traffic – it’s about attracting the right audience and converting visits into sales. 

Let’s explore the ultimate eCommerce SEO audit checklist: 

Technical SEO Audit 

The backbone of any effective eCommerce SEO strategy lies in a robust technical SEO audit. This process involves a meticulous examination of the technical aspects of your website that affect its visibility in search engines. A technical SEO audit scrutinizes the foundational elements that can make or break your site’s search engine performance, including: 

XML Sitemaps

An XML sitemap is like a roadmap for search engines, guiding them through your website’s pages. During the SEO audit, ensure your sitemap is updated, concise, and submitted to search engines.  

It should reflect your site’s most important pages, aiding search engines in efficiently crawling and indexing your content.  

Pro tip: If you’re dealing with a large website, you can use a sitemap index, which allows you to organize your sitemap into smaller, manageable files. Also, you can integrate sitemap extensions for images and videos to improve the visibility and indexing of your multimedia content. 

Robots.txt File

The robots.txt file acts as a gatekeeper, instructing search engine crawlers which parts of your site they can or cannot access. Auditing this file ensures it accurately guides crawlers to relevant content while preventing them from indexing sensitive or duplicate pages.  

Pro tip: It’s crucial to use your robots.txt file to block access to checkout, registration, and login pages, safeguarding sensitive user information from search engine crawlers. Additionally, consider blocking URL paths containing ‘/search/’ to optimize the crawl budget, preventing search engines from indexing numerous search result pages. 

Response Codes and Server Health

Response codes are indicators of your website’s server health and accessibility. During an audit, check for any 4xx errors (like 404 not found) and 5xx server errors. These can hinder user experience and crawl efficiency.  

Pro tip: Fix your broken links and ensure a healthy server response for a smoother and more search-engine-friendly website. 

Canonical Tags and Duplicate Content Handling

Canonical tags are used to resolve duplicate content issues, a common challenge in eCommerce websites with multiple product listings.  

An eCommerce SEO audit service should verify that canonical tags are correctly implemented, pointing search engines to the preferred version of similar or duplicate pages. 

Pro tip: Choose a primary version of the product URL as the canonical one, especially for items with optional query parameters like color or size. For instance, use the URL without the query parameter (e.g., /hat) as the canonical URL for all variants of that product. This approach helps Google understand the relationship between product variants and ensures the correct product variant is displayed in search results. 

ecommerce seo audit checklist

URL Parameters and Google Search Console Settings

URL parameters, often used in eCommerce for tracking and filtering, can create duplicate content issues if not handled correctly. Audit your URL parameters in Google Search Console to ensure they are set up to inform Google how to interpret them.  

Pro tip: When structuring URL parameters, aim for simplicity and clarity to minimize duplicate content. Ensure all URLs are case-consistent, as mixed upper and lower case can lead to confusion for Google’s crawlers. For paginated content, assign unique URLs to each page to avoid mistakes in indexing. Additionally, include descriptive words in your URL paths to aid Google in understanding the content and context of each page. 

Pagination and Category Pages

Pagination is a critical element in eCommerce sites, especially in category pages. It allows users to navigate through your content using ‘next’, ‘previous’, and page number links. 

Pro tip: Ensure that pagination is handled correctly, with proper implementation of ‘rel=prev’ and ‘rel=next’ tags. This helps search engines understand the sequence of pages, ensuring they index a wider range of products while avoiding duplicate content issues. 

Navigation and Site Structure

A well-structured site with intuitive navigation is key for both user experience and SEO. 

Pro tip: Incorporating ‘related products’ blocks on both product and category pages improves user navigation and aids search engine bots in discovering additional relevant content. This reduces the click depth, making it easier for users and search engines to access deeper pages and improving your site’s overall SEO and user experience. 

Internal Site Search Optimization

Internal site search can be a goldmine for insights into user intent.  

Ensure your internal search is fully optimized, and consider indexing popular search result pages, especially if they serve unique user needs.  

Pro tip: To gain deeper insights into user intent, set up Google Analytics 4 and Google Tag Manager to analyze search terms used on your site. This integration allows you to track and understand the most popular queries within your internal site search, enabling you to tailor your content and SEO strategy more effectively. 

Internationalization and Multi-language SEO

For enterprise-level eCommerce sites targeting multiple regions or languages, it’s essential to audit international SEO setups. By incorporating a proper enterprise SEO audit, you ensure a tailored user experience and higher local search rankings. 

Pro tip: Check Hreflang tags for correct implementation to ensure search engines serve the right language or regional URL to users.  

Page Speed and Mobile Optimization

In an age where speed and mobile-friendliness are paramount, auditing your site’s performance in these areas is non-negotiable.  

Pro tip: Check page load times with the PageSpeed Insights tool and utilize Google Search Console to monitor your site’s Web Vitals. Also, optimize for mobile users, as slow-loading pages or poor mobile experiences can lead to decreased rankings and higher bounce rates.  

Content SEO Audit 

Content SEO audit focuses on evaluating and optimizing the textual and visual content of your site, ensuring it aligns with SEO best practices and effectively communicates your brand’s message.  

A thorough audit scrutinizes various elements – from the clarity of your meta tags to the relevance and uniqueness of your content – all aimed at enhancing your site’s search engine performance and user engagement. 

Meta Titles and Descriptions

Meta titles and descriptions are the front-facing snippets that introduce your pages to the digital world.  

Audit these elements to ensure they are compelling, concise, and contain relevant keywords. This not only boosts your visibility in search results but also encourages higher click-through rates. Each title and description should be unique and crafted to capture the essence of your product or service in a few impactful words.  

Pro tip: Focus on optimizing the click-through rate for your meta titles and descriptions. Craft them to stand out amidst other SERP features, using engaging and persuasive language that highlights unique selling points of your products or services. 

Identifying and Fixing Duplicate Content

Duplicate content in an eCommerce site can dilute your SEO efforts.  

Audit your content to identify any duplications, whether in product descriptions, blog posts, or informational pages.  

Pro tip: Once spotted, rework or consolidate the duplicate content to present unique and value-added information to your visitors. This not only improves your SEO rankings but also enhances the overall quality and credibility of your site.  

Broken Links Analysis

Keeping a clean, well-maintained link structure ensures smooth navigation and a positive user experience, which is crucial for retaining visitor interest and loyalty. 

Pro tip: Regularly audit your site to identify and fix broken links. This includes not only external links but also internal ones that lead to product pages, categories, or informational content.  

Content Quality, Brand Compliance, and Keyword Optimization

The heart of your eCommerce site is its content.  

Your content should naturally incorporate relevant keywords while maintaining readability and providing genuine value to your audience. 

Pro tip: Audit for quality, ensuring your content is informative, engaging, and aligns with your brand voice. Check for keyword optimization but avoid keyword stuffing.  

Structured Data Implementation

Structured data, or schema markup, is a powerful tool that speaks directly to search engines.  

It organizes and labels your content, making it easier for search engines to understand and display it in rich snippets. This can significantly enhance your visibility in SERPs and attract more targeted traffic to your site. 

Pro tip: Audit your site for structured data implementation, particularly for product pages, reviews, and FAQs.  

Off-Page SEO Audit 

An off-page SEO audit delves into the elements that are not directly on your website but have a substantial impact on your search engine rankings. It primarily focuses on understanding and optimizing your site’s presence and reputation in the wider digital ecosystem.  

Backlink Profile Analysis

Backlinks are digital endorsements from other websites and are an essential off-page SEO element.  

A healthy backlink profile is a blend of high-quality links that boost your site’s authority and ranking. That’s why it’s important to identify and disavow toxic or spammy links that could harm your site’s reputation. 

Pro tip: Assess the quality, quantity, and relevance of links pointing to your site. During the audit, look for authoritative and relevant backlinks that bolster your site’s credibility.  

Mitigating Negative SEO

Negative SEO, often manifested through malicious backlinks or copycat content, can jeopardize your site’s standing in search results.  

An off-page SEO audit should include monitoring for signs of negative SEO, such as sudden spikes in low-quality backlinks or duplicated content across other domains. Once identified, eliminating harmful links and reporting duplicate content is crucial in mitigating these risks.  

Pro tip: Proactive monitoring can help you respond fast to such negative SEO indicators, safeguarding your site’s integrity and SEO performance. 

ecommerce seo audit

User Experience and Accessibility 

UX and accessibility auditing ensures your website is not only easy and pleasant to navigate but also accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. A seamless UX and robust accessibility ensure both user satisfaction and better SEO performance. 

Mobile-Friendliness

In an era where smartphones are virtually extensions of our hands, how does your website fare on these compact screens?  

A mobile-friendliness audit involves scrutinizing your site’s design, layout, and functionality on mobile devices.  

Ensure that your website is responsive, with content and images that fluidly adapt to various screen sizes.  

Pro tip: You should aim to optimize loading speed, navigation, and interactive elements for mobile use. After all, a mobile-friendly site not only ranks higher in search results but also captures the growing mobile user market.  

Site Security (HTTPS)

Audit your site to confirm that it’s using HTTPS (a secure version of HTTP), which encrypts data transferred between the user and the server. This security measure is a Google ranking factor and is crucial in safeguarding user data.  

Pro tip: Regularly check the HTTP report in GSC. This report helps you identify and address any remaining HTTP URLs on your site. Eliminating these unsecured links is vital for maintaining site security. 

Digital Accessibility Compliance (WCAG)

Can everyone, regardless of ability, navigate your website with ease?  

Search engines favor sites that are accessible to all. That’s why you should ensure your site adheres to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).   

Pro tip: Check for elements like alt text for images, keyboard navigation, screen reader compatibility, and color contrast ratios.   

Advanced Considerations 

This segment of the audit delves into more intricate elements that significantly influence how search engines understand and rank your site.  

Crawlability and Indexation Analysis

Crawlability and indexation analysis ensures that search engines can effortlessly discover and index all relevant pages of your site.  

Pro tip: Performing a detailed log file analysis allows you to see exactly how search engine bots navigate your site, highlighting potential crawl blocks and inefficient use of your crawl budget. This helps in identifying any underlying issues that might prevent your site from being fully recognized by search engines.  

Handling Out-of-Stock Product Pages

Out-of-stock product pages can be a tricky terrain. How do you maintain the SEO value of these pages without frustrating your customers?  

The key is to preserve the SEO equity these pages have built over time while maintaining a positive user experience.  

Pro tip: Consider strategies, such as keeping the pages live with recommendations for similar products and using a 301 redirect for permanently discontinued items. 

Content Strategies for Informational Keywords

Are you effectively capturing users in the research phase of their buying journey?  

Auditing your content strategy for informational keywords involves ensuring that you have high-quality, informative content that addresses broader topics related to your products.  

Pro tip: This content can attract users early in the decision-making process, build brand authority and trust, and indirectly boost your product pages’ SEO. 

Internal Linking and Breadcrumb Navigation

Internal linking and breadcrumb navigation guide your visitors and search engines through your site’s structure.  

Pro tip: Audit your internal linking strategy to ensure it effectively distributes page authority throughout your site. Similarly, breadcrumbs should be audited for logical hierarchy and SEO-friendly URL structures, aiding in both user navigation and clearer understanding by search engines.  

Customer Interaction with Site Search

How are your customers interacting with your site search function?  

Auditing this aspect involves analyzing search terms, user behavior after search, and the relevance of search results. This can unveil insights into user intent, popular products, and potential gaps in your content or product offerings.  

Pro tip: Optimizing site search not only improves user experience but also provides valuable data to inform your overall SEO strategy. 

Audit Analysis and Prioritization   

Unveiling the intricacies of your eCommerce website through an SEO audit is just the beginning. The real mastery lies in the audit analysis – a crucial phase where the gathered data transforms into actionable insights.  

This process will help you decide what to tackle first based on urgency and potential impact.  

Reviewing Audit Results

Reviewing audit results reveals your website’s strengths and weaknesses. It involves a detailed examination of the audit findings, identifying patterns, anomalies, and opportunities.  

Pro tip: At this stage, you should understand each element, whether it’s a broken link or a poorly optimized product description – how do they affect your site’s search engine rankings and user experience? Are there any quick wins or deep-rooted issues that need more attention? 

Prioritizing Fixes and Improvements

Once the audit findings are laid bare, how do you decide which issues to address first?  

This is where prioritizing fixes and improvements comes into play.  

It’s a tactical approach, weighing the severity of each issue against its potential impact on SEO performance and user experience.   

Pro tip: Start with low-hanging fruits – quick fixes that can yield immediate results, such as correcting meta tags or fixing broken links. Then, move on to more complex challenges like enhancing site structure or content strategy. 

eCommerce SEO Audit FAQs

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions on eCommerce site audits: 

Are SEO audits worth it?

Absolutely. Think of an SEO audit as a health check for your eCommerce website. It diagnoses issues that might be hindering your site’s performance in search engine rankings, identifying opportunities for improvement.  

This is crucial because even minor optimizations can lead to significant increases in traffic, customer engagement, and sales. 

How to choose an SEO service provider for an eCommerce audit?

Look for a provider with extensive experience in eCommerce SEO, a track record of successful projects, and a deep understanding of current SEO trends. Transparency, communication, and a customized approach tailored to your specific needs are also key traits to seek. 

Can I get a free eCommerce SEO audit?

Yes, Scopic offers a preliminary free eCommerce SEO audit to help you understand the current state of your online store’s SEO.

This initial audit provides insights into areas needing improvement and potential growth opportunities. For more details and to request your free audit, please visit hereWe offer this free service as a great starting point for enhancing your site’s SEO and identifying how our comprehensive audit services can further benefit your business. 

How to approach SEO audit for eCommerce?

Approach an SEO audit with a comprehensive perspective.  

Start with a technical audit to identify site structure and backend issues, followed by an on-page optimization review for content relevance and keyword usage. Don’t overlook off-page factors like backlinks and social signals.  

Lastly, assess user experience, as it plays a pivotal role in retaining visitors and converting them into customers. 

What is SEO for eCommerce?

SEO for eCommerce is the specialized practice of optimizing your online store to rank higher in search engine results.  

This involves tailoring your site to meet the unique needs and behaviors of online shoppers. It encompasses optimizing product descriptions, enhancing site architecture for easier navigation, and ensuring mobile-friendliness, among other tactics, all aimed at driving relevant traffic to your store. 

What should be included in an SEO audit?

A comprehensive SEO audit should cover several key areas:  

  • Technical analysis: Checks site speed, mobile responsiveness, and crawling/indexing issues. 
  • On-page optimization: Examines content quality, keyword usage, and meta tags. 
  • Off-page elements: Assesses backlinks and external factors influencing your site’s authority. 
  • User experience evaluation: Analyzes navigation, user interface, and overall user journey. 
  • Competitive analysis: Compares your site’s SEO performance against competitors. 

About Creating eCommerce SEO Audit Guide

This guide was written by Veselina Lezginov and reviewed by  Araksya Hakobjanyan, SEO Lead at Scopic.

Scopic provides quality and informative content powered by our deep-rooted expertise in software development. Our team of content writers and experts have great knowledge in the latest software technologies, allowing them to break down even the most complex topics in the field. They also know how to tackle topics from a wide range of industries, capture their essence, and deliver valuable content across all digital platforms.

 

If you would like to start a project, feel free to contact us today.
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