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A 16-Point Ecommerce SEO Checklist to Boost Traffic and Sales in 2022

Updated on December 24, 2021

11 Min Read
Ecommerce SEO checklist

If you think your business growth has become stagnant, and sales are not increasing, it is probably a domino effect of low traffic on your ecommerce store. Ask yourself, have you been neglecting your SEO strategy? You definitely are!

But if you don’t want to miss the traffic opportunity for a product search query, make sure you read on.

Here is a complete ecommerce SEO checklist that you can base your ecommerce SEO strategy on to drive your business towards growth, attract more traffic, get more conversions, and have higher ecommerce revenue!

#1. Perform Keyword Research

Performing keyword research is an integral part of your ecommerce SEO checklist. If you want to improve your organic ranking, you must unearth the top-searched keywords and terms related to your product niche.

Some of the important things to remember while doing your keyword research are the following:

  • Keyword search volume
  • Keyword ranking difficulty (KD)/Keyword competition
  • Keyword search intent

Always go for the keywords with high search volume, and low ranking difficulty or competition. You should choose a target keyword for a specific page on your ecommerce website and some LSI or related keywords. Make sure it matches the intent of the ecommerce website page you are trying to rank, and avoid keyword stuffing.

  • For e.g. if you own a beauty and cosmetics store and you want to sell a mascara, targeting the keyword “mascara” wouldn’t be a wise thing to do. Instead, you can target keywords like “vegan mascara” or “best non clumping mascara” that have KD within the range 1-15 and a high monthly search volume. Refer to the screenshot below where we have shown you how to perform keyword research for your ecommerce product page on Ahref.

low difficulty keywords example

There are many tools you can use to perform thorough keyword research around a certain product or niche. Some of them are as follows:

  • Ahrefs
  • KW Finder
  • Semrush

Performing keyword research will help optimize your content to reach the people searching for your product online. You just have to take out the time to understand search queries and naturally integrate popular keywords in your ecommerce website.

We also have a list of 10 ecommerce SEO tools to help you grow your business. There’s just one mistake to avoid: targeting the wrong keywords, especially branded keywords.

#2. Use Unique Title Tags On Ecommerce Website Page

Search result - chocolate dinosaur

Upon searching for the keyword chocolate dinosaur, we came across a list of product pages on the SERP with different meta title tags and meta descriptions. Given that we don’t have a preference right now, which link are we most likely to click on? The one with the most interesting and unique title tag!

In this example, we will go with the one ranking on no. 1!

  • Do you see how Li-Lac Chocolates is using their brand name in their title tag? This is a great strategy you can adopt. Use a unique title tag, and keep the brand name constant at the end. Although it is recommended that your title tag should include the exact term that your potential customers search for, look at how that’s not the case with Li-Lac Chocolates’ product page title tag. Yet, it is ranking no. 1 for the keyword chocolate dinosaur!
  • Now, look at the product page ranking on no. 5. Krause’s Homemade Candy is using the exact keyword in its title tag, yet it is not ranking on no. 1. Hence, you shouldn’t restrict your meta title tag to a specific format. There is a lot of room for creativity that you can explore and still rank on no.1!

Your overall ecommerce product page SEO strategy matters more here. So, make sure you are ticking all boxes in your ecommerce SEO checklist.

Discussing Ecommerce SEO with Julian Goldie, Founder of Goldie Agency

#3. Include Keywords in Heading & URL

Heading tag example

Look at how we have included our targeted keyword ecommerce SEO tools in the heading tag of one of our high-quality blogs. Not just the heading, but we have also included the same primary keyword in the blog URL:

Keyword in URL example

Optimizing your H1 heading and URL for the search engine ensures that each page of your website is unique and tailored to the page’s topic. This is why your website page’s H1 heading is the highest priority content for the search engine. You may also include the keyword in your H2 heading too.

Similarly, your URL should help Google understand the context of your page. Ensure that it is easy-to-read by incorporating your primary keyword in your page’s URL. Since the URL is the first thing Google sees, this strategy will make your ecommerce website rank higher in organic search.

Also, make sure all your URLs are unique and you are not targeting the same keyword for two pages. This might confuse Google as to which page is more relevant for a specific keyword. Likewise, avoid using extra words that don’t add value, like “the” or even “and” in the URL.

#4. Optimize Alt Text and Image File Names

To make Google understand the context behind the images you use on your ecommerce website page, you have to optimize your images with their alt text to describe your images to Google as well as to those potential customers who are visually impaired.

Using alt text would also form a connection between your product description and product images, relating everything together. Remember, this is a very important element in your ecommerce website SEO checklist.

It is also important that when working with image files, you avoid using default file names, and rather use proper image file names that are descriptive and helpful in SEO ranking. For e.g., asos store has kept their image file name and alt text the same as their product name.

Asos alt text example

Using unique image file names and alt text differentiates your images from one another, is better for visibility, as well as ranking on the SERP.

#5. Avoid Duplicate Content

Google rewards unique, fresh, well-researched, and high-quality content. Keeping this in mind, if you copy and duplicate content, Google will be quick to spot and penalize that.

Now, there are two things that you must keep in mind.

There’s plagiarism, which could be in the form of copying product title and product description from another ecommerce store. Then, there is another thing called duplicate content on your own ecommerce website.

Duplicate content usually happens when you use two different product pages for the same product but in different color or size. For example, a blue T-shirt, and a red T-shirt on two different product pages and not the same. This is a wrong practice!

  • Solution? Group product variations and display them on a single product page to make your ecommerce website more responsive and user-friendly. Look at how Target is following the strategy by grouping colors and sizes on a single product page.

Group product pages example

It is extremely important that you avoid both kinds of duplications and keep each of your product pages unique. Group product variations and display them on a single product page to make your ecommerce website more responsive and user-friendly.

#6. Improve Any Thin Content

Should you improve thin content, or entirely remove it? Well, that depends on what it really is, and what use and impact, if any, it has on your ecommerce website.

Thin content is low-value content that does not give users any value-adding information. In context to your ecommerce website, it could be any product page that lacks product image, description, specifications, or any other information valuable and important for your potential customers to convert.

A featured snippet is the top description that shows in Google’s Search Results. Optimizing for it should be an important element in your ecommerce seo checklist. Why? Simply because appearing in featured snippets for products you sell can do wonders in increasing your ecommerce sales.

To make this happen, write product descriptions, landing page content, or blogs in a way they can rank for featured snippets.

  • To see the featured snippet for a particular keyword you want to target, Google the keyword, and a featured snippet will appear at the top of the first page. If you can see a featured snippet, you need to optimize relevant content accordingly. For instance, here’s how Macy’s handbag brands show up as a featured snippet:

Featured snippet Macys - handbag brands

And, here’s how the content appears on the website:

Macys - website content

#8. Improve Page Load Time

Most of the ecommerce sites average load time is 6 seconds. Best load time is around 2-3 seconds.

Some points which reduce your ecommerce site load time:

  1. Reduce Redirects.
  2. Optimize Images.
  3. Try to upload video from external source.
  4. Minify HTTP Requests.
  5. Minify Development resources like: HTML, CSS, JavaScript.
  6. Reduce or if possible deactivate extra Plugins on your cms.
  7. Try to get better Hosting + CDN service.
  8. Enable Browser Caching.

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#9. Mobile-First Indexing

Do you know that Google uses the mobile version of your ecommerce site first to index and rank it on SERP? This is called mobile-first indexing. What this means is that Google will rank your ecommerce website by reviewing the content of your mobile site first.

For this reason, you must ensure that your content is optimized for mobile, and is responsive, detailed, and visible enough to convince the potential buyers to convert! You must have a responsive ecommerce website to be able to effectively do so.

With a responsive ecommerce website, you don’t have to stress about mobile-first indexing as you will be ensuring that your website adapts to different screen sizes. Another thing to make sure of is to keep the URL of the mobile version of your ecommerce website and the desktop version the same because the URL of the mobile version of your ecommerce website will be indexed first.

The Best Responsive Themes for WordPress

#10. Ensure Your Website Can Be Crawled and Indexed

Your ecommerce website won’t rank for your targeted keywords if Google can’t crawl and index it first.

This is why you must ensure that your ecommerce website’s content, speed, schema-markup, user-friendliness, crawlability, and indexability are all on point!

To make sure your ecommerce website is indexed and crawled, you will have to optimize your ecommerce site for both on-page (especially product page SEO) and technical SEO.

You can check whether your ecommerce website page is indexed or crawled using Google Search Console. Look at how you can do so in the screenshot below.

Crawled and Indexed search console

#11. Keep Site structure Simple

A site built on a structure provides good user experience. It helps visitor and search engines in finding relevant information. Beside this, internal linking of related products and other pages of your store helps to easily index pages of your ecommerce site. Proper structured websites help search engine crawlers to find your site pages.

#12. Don’t Forget HTTPs

Google announced minor SEO benefit for website that implement HTTPs for transfer. Ecommerce sites have to apply HTTPs not only for Google, but for its users too.

Online stores usually have payment gateways connected with the cart system. HTTPs basically encrypts all the data which is transferred between the server and website. Now, buyers won’t pay on a site that does not use HTTPs for data transfer. To get your website HTTPs protected, you need to install an SSL certificate. Many hosting service providers offer this feature to their customers.

#13. Resolve Pages with 4XX Errors

Often because of broken or invalid links, the Google crawler is unable to crawl your website. The reason for such 4XX errors can be server malfunction or temporary shutdown, outdated sitemap, deleted or moved page with no redirect setup in the form of out-of-stock products, etc.

But, don’t worry. There are a number of steps you can take to resolve 4XX errors, You can use Google Search Console to spot, identify, and address any of your ecommerce website pages that give an error. Look at the screenshot below to see where you can check for your ecommerce website’s 4XX error pages.

404 Errors example

#14. Double-Check Excluded Pages

Don’t forget to double-check excluded pages that you don’t want Google to crawl. These are pages that you don’t want Google to index, and to give Google that instruction, you use a code in your robot.txt file.

Normally, these pages are the ones that you don’t want search engines to rank, such as the shopping cart pages. But you should make sure that you are not blocking any essential pages from being indexed by Google.

  • Wondering how you can double-check excluded pages? You can use Google Search Console to check all the pages you have excluded in order to ensure all your essential ecommerce website’s pages are visible to Google for indexing. Here is a screenshot that may help you understand how you can do that.

search console Excluded Pages

#15. Add Schema Markup to Your Store

Schema Markup search result

Source: BiQ Cloud

Schema markup is also known as structured data, which provides information to the search engine in a way that helps it understand the content better.

Adding schema markup to your ecommerce site is an important part of your ecommerce SEO checklist. This is because it helps Google understand and display content in a structured manner that is easy to read for the users.

You basically have to add a set of HTML tags so Google can understand and display your product information and details on the SERP when your potential customers search online for a product you sell. This could be your product price, ratings, reviews, availability, and more.

All of this would help your product look more appealing on the first SERP and on Google Shopping.

If you use Google Search Console, you can check your current schema markup by going to the products report.

#16. Add Canonical Tags to Duplicate Pages

Canonical Tags are for search engines to define a page and avoid considering duplication of that page. Here are some examples:

  • http://www.example.com
  • https://www.example.com/
  • http://example.com
  • http://www.example.com/
  • http://example.com/
  • http://www.example.com/index.html

Search Engine Bots consider all these pages as different from others. But these are single pages. To define to the search engine that it’s a single page you have to put Canonical Tags and point to one page.

The best example is: https://www.example.com/

The last “/” sign indicates to the search engine that the URL path has come to an end.

Most of the users are confused with the usage of 301 Redirects and Canonical Tags. Canonical Tags are for Search Engines, not for Users. Redirects are for both Users and Search Engines. For staying safe from suffering a Google SEO Penalty, use proper Canonical Tags.

Conclusion

Now that you have the complete ecommerce website SEO checklist, you can easily work on each important aspect of your ecommerce SEO strategy in a smooth, seamless manner.

Make sure each and every aspect of your ecommerce optimization checklist is in sync and fits together to make your ecommerce website pages rank on Google’s top 10 search results when your potential customers search for your ecommerce store and the products you sell!

You can also read our blog on Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid to further understand how you can optimize your ecommerce website.

Moreover, in order to follow a 360-degree approach in leveling up your ecommerce seo checklist, read the following actionable in-depth articles related to your seo goals for the year:

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Sadia Zia

I work as a Senior Digital Content Producer at Cloudways. Creating content keeps me busy for the most part, but I relish discovery, adventure, and thrive in challenging situations and environments.

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