It is that straightforward.
When it comes to website structure, there’s no need to complicate things. Just be straightforward about where you want your visitors to go and they will likely go there.
Aside from being straightforward, you should also avoid deep linking structures like this.
Why is that?
According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, it tend to dilute Pagerank (or in today’s term Domain Authority) to the bottom pages. This means that the deeper the page is, the harder it is for the page to gain some authority.
Now, you know how it is in eCommerce websites. It is usually designed with hundreds or thousands of product pages that hardly gets a share of the homepage authority.
The best way to distribute authority is to have category pages.
As you can see, the categories that you find in websites like Amazon are not there for aesthetic purposes. It is designed specifically to distribute authority the right way.
Another idea about site architecture that I love is to define the purpose of your pages. This idea came from Snap Agency and it entails tagging a page according to its purpose.
According to the author, pages can be tagged as a navigation page if all is does is contain links. This is true for resource or link pages and category pages.
A page is then considered an information page if it provides information. This can be a blogpost or a blog page.
Then, a page can be considered as a conversion page if it asks for an action. This can either be a purchase, a download or a sign-up.
From here, you can now imagine yourself as a visitor to these pages and imagine how you’ll navigate through your website. Look at your reaction and what buttons you tend to click.
For a more accurate analysis, have at least 5 friends visit your website. You can then ask them for feedback.
Then, you should craft the final product: the whole website structure. Map out your pages if you need to so that you can see the whole picture.
Now that you are finished with the external structure, it is time to look at the individual elements. These are onpage SEO elements – elements that the search engines consider when they rank a particular website.
Let us take a closer look and see how we can improve our eCommerce website’s elements.
What’s the first thing that the user sees when he visits a page? It’s probably the title.
The same is true in search engine results. Take a look at all of them and you’ll see the titles on top.
This goes to show how important page titles are in onpage SEO. It is the title that the search engines put in their search engine results.
With this in mind, it is important to learn how to craft a title that will do two things: (1) get the search engine’s attention and (2) get your target market’s attention.
It is important to remember though that your target market is always more important than search engines. Sure, search engines may rank your website. But it is your target market who will buy from you and make you money.
More than money, it is also important to consider that the market ultimately decides who get ranked. If a website is a regular favorite for a particular search term, you can expect that to be ranked higher than the others.
With this in mind, craft the title. The limit is 70 characters. Be sure to stay within the limit to prevent your title from being cut off.
There have been much talk about meta data – meta keywords and meta descriptions in the SEO forums. Some claim that it is still important while others say that it doesn’t matter anymore.
For me, I think that descriptions (or more specifically, meta descriptions) are still very important.
They are important because it is the first thing that a potential customer sees when he searches for something on the search engines.
Aside from the title, search engine results contain descriptions.
Where does the search engine get these descriptions?
It comes from the meta description.
So craft your meta description with care. Include keywords if you need to. Just be sure to stay within the limit of 156 characters and you’ll be fine.
Did you know that short, descriptive URLs tend to rank better?
And this is backed up by data.
According to Backlinko’s 1 Million Search Results Study, Google Position is directly proportional to the length of URLs. The longer the URL, the lower its position in the search engines.
I noticed that eCommerce websites generally have longer URLs.
Take Microsoft for example.
Its URL is so long because it contains a product ID.
What’s the problem with this URL?
First, it is not keyword-rich. This means that people who will link to it using the naked URL will find it hard to know what the link is for.
Second, it is extremely long. Longer URLs are not good for higher rankings.
So what can you do?
Do this instead.
1. Include the product right after a keyword-rich category.
2. Remove the category and go for a shorter URL.
I personally prefer the second one.
Because it is shorter.
Sure, I may have missed the chance on getting ranked for major keywords. But that is not what I’m after.
What I’m after is getting ultra-targeted leads.
I could even make the link more specific like this.
You get the idea.
Aside from the Page’s title, meta description and URL, there are other elements that you have to consider. I will just give a brief description of each.
Image ALT Text
Since eCommerce websites contain thousands of images, it is important to optimize all of these images with the right ALT text. You can do this by simply adding the <alt=””> code inside an img code.
Here’s an example.
alt=”Google Results Graph” class=”aligncenter” />
What does this do?
It does two things.
First, it tells Google what the image is all about. Google Robots are image-blind. They don’t understand what an image is all about unless you tell them. An ALT text assists the search engine robot to understand the image.
Second, it helps in ranking you for that particular keyword. Upon using ALT text, you’ll find yourself ranking even in Google Image search. Pretty neat, huh?
In any case, implementing ALT text is always a win for your website.
Canonical tags are put inside URLs to give credit to the original content. This has been implemented recently as the search engines become stricter about duplicate content.
Here’s how it works.
When you have a page that has similar content to another page, you just need to put a canonical link in one page and Google will treat it as different pages.
Putting a canonical tag in a link is easy. You just need to append the <rel=”canonical”> inside the code like this:
This is very important for eCommerce websites that uses duplicate content (delivery policies, ordering steps, etc.) in their product pages.
Be sure to put canonical tags accordingly.
Want certain aspects of your page to show in the search engines? A schema markup is what you need.
This allows you to format your pages in such a way that search engines can take rich snippets from it and display it on the search results.
For example, try searching for a recipe and you’ll see this.
The reader doesn’t even need to visit the website anymore. The information is already displayed on the front page.
This is valuable for eCommerce websites because it allows sellers to instantly display their items in the search engine results.
For eCommerce products, the reviews, pricing and availability are usually displayed.
Amazing clickthroughs and conversions.
You may visit the Google Schema Markup Helper for more information.
There are several things that you must look into when it comes to content.
Does your store have a blog?
It seems that blogging has an impact on traffic and leads.
HubSpot did a study on this and found that blogging can have an impact on amount of traffic and leads in B2B and B2C verticals.
And that’s not all.
It seems that it also has an impact on sales as well.
It seems that 82% of marketers get more customers by simply blogging.
This goes to show how important blogging is even if you’re an eCommerce website owner.
It is not enough to just blog.
Content length also matters even for eCommerce websites. It seems that the optimal length for content is 2000 words.
In fact, it seems that content length has something to do with rankings.
The rule also applies to your product pages. Only this time, you should aim to hit 1000 words instead of 2000.
While this may sound too ideal, it is good to try to have 1000-word descriptions for your product pages. It will help the search engines understand your pages a bit more so that you can get ranked for your target keywords.
LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing may sound complicated. But really, it is just all about sprinkling synonyms or synonymous terms in your content.
This prevents over optimization methods like keyword stuffing. Instead of using the same keyword over and over again, use a synonym instead – Google will still understand it.
You can easily find LSI keywords when you scroll to the bottom of the page of search engine results.
From here, all you need to do is sprinkle these keywords all over your content.
Also, look at your internal links. Be sure that each page has a navigation bar that allows visitors to visit different pages in your website. The key is to prevent so-called ‘dead ends’.
Don’t be afraid to link outside as well. According to Moz, external links may even be more important than internal links.
The good news?
You have complete control over your website links and you can add as many as you want.
How do your visitors feel when they visit your website? It is also important to consider these elements when you do a website audit.
In this aspect, I look at two elements.
Does your website take a few seconds to load? If it takes forever, you may need to make some adjustments.
The best place to test your site speed is Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Simply visit the page and input your URL.
Once you plug your URL, you’ll get a page like this.
You can then click on the links below to find out how you can solve the problems indicated.
Mobile Friendliness or Responsiveness
Is your website mobile friendly?
It seems that people are now more comfortable in purchasing through their gadgets.
And it is not because a particular brand has an app. People usually purchase through the website.
How do you know if your website is responsive or mobile-friendly?
The best way to know is to simply resize the window of your browser and see if your website fits.
You can do this by clicking the Restore Icon for Windows users.
ECommerce Onpage SEO Audit Checklist
Here’s your checklist. Be sure to sufficiently answer each question by attaching some data to it.
- Have you checked your website’s structure?
- Does the title of your pages contain your target keywords?
- Does the meta description of your pages contain your target keywords?
- Are your URLs short and descriptive?
- Do you have ALT image texts?
- Do you have canonical tags?
- Have you implemented a Schema markup?
- Does your store have a blog?
- Does the content have at least 2000 words?
- Does your product pages have at least 1000+ word descriptions?
- Have you used LSI Keywords all throughout your content?
- Do you have sufficient internal links in all pages?
- Do you also have external links?
- Does your page load fast?
- Is your store mobile-friendly?
What do you think of the entire eCommerce website audit process? Tell me all about it below.