If you’re doing an eCommerce SEO audit, you can’t go by a generic checklist.
That’s because eCommerce has its own special SEO needs, and ignoring those can hurt your results in the long term.
Instead, it’s a good idea to audit your site using a checklist crafted just for eCommerce.
That’s what you’ll find here.
Editor’s note: This article comes from years of experience helping clients sell more using high-converting content. If you’re interested in more sales at your eCommerce store, send us a message.
Step 1: Review the bottom line
Every business starts and ends with profit and cash flow. But few businesses rely as much on these metrics as eCommerce stores.
Preparing inventory, shipping products, handling returns, and other eCommerce tasks can only happen when there’s money in the bank.
So the first place to start is by reviewing the income from your store and making sure everything works as it should. Which products are the most profitable? What types of users are most likely to buy, request refunds, and more?
Understanding the money side of the business isn’t something you’ll commonly see in SEO audits. But without it, you’ll never know where to focus your attention.
Step 2: Review accessibility issues
It might surprise you to read accessibility issues as the second most important factor in an SEO audit.
But accessibility is more than just preparing your content for screen readers or improving contrast, as important as those kinds of tasks may be.
By accessibility, I mean quite literally who can and can’t access your website. Do rigorous tests across different device sizes and internet speeds. Get feedback on how Google interprets your site and the rankings you’ll see there.
Only when you know everyone can interact with your site can you work to improve it.
Step 3: Review conversions
Once you’ve reviewed your profit and bottom-line metrics and ensure all visitors can interact with your site, it’s time for the next step—conversions.
Conversions are one of the most important key performance indicators for any eCommerce store. You’ll want to follow these steps:
- Content. What pieces of content have the highest conversion rates, and what do they have in common?
- Products. Which products convert especially well? Are there any patterns among your top performers?
- Traffic. Which types of visitors convert best?
Once you have this data, it will help you find issues with what’s performing. For example, if you notice that all top-converting content pieces include product features, it’s time to do the same across all content.
Step 4: Review backlinks
Finally, in step four, we move toward a “traditional SEO” metric you’ll find in most audits.
Now that we’ve handled what matters most to eCommerce stores, it’s time to focus on SEO performance. And backlinks—that is, links to your site from other websites—are one of the best predictors of search engine placement.
To do this, you’ll want to use a tool like Ahrefs or Google Search Console. Explore which sites are linking to you and which pages they’re linking to.
How can you reach out to more sites like the ones that are linking to you? And how can you create more pages like the ones they want to link to?
These will give you huge insights into the biggest areas of leverage for your eCommerce SEO growth.
Step 5: Review behind-the-scenes issues
By “behind-the-scenes,” I’m referring to the technical side of SEO that most humans won’t see or notice. These technical changes include issues like duplicate content, meta descriptions, title tags, broken links, and more.
Many audit checklists only focus on these technical issues. But that’s a mistake.
The reason is that, aside from the most egregious offenses, technical problems don’t deliver large results.
And if you’re using a modern content management system like WordPress or Shopify (in other words, you didn’t code your entire website from scratch), there’s a very slim chance the problems lie in technical SEO problems.
The problem is that technical SEO is relatively easy and fast to fix. But it’s the meatier issues—steps one through four—that will make a difference to your business.
The best way to check for the “behind-the-scenes” SEO problems is to use an automated program. Audit tools work quickly and will give you specific, actionable ways to improve. (Remember I said it was easy?)
There’s nothing wrong with fixing technical issues, as long as you realize they’re usually the last step in boosting SEO results—not the first.
The final word on eCommerce SEO audits
One of the best ways to get an eCommerce site with great SEO results is to understand what’s under the hood and improve everything as best as you can.
The problem with this approach, especially if you’re new to the SEO world, is that many of these require the art and science of good SEO to make them work.
If you’re looking for an experienced team to help you create a better-performing eCommerce SEO site, get in touch.