As an eCommerce SEO specialist, I have come to experience that doing SEO for eCommerce websites is one of the most challenging tasks. Whereas every webmaster must keep themselves updated about the Google SEO algorithm updates, it is also super important to make sure you get the basics right to master advanced eCommerce SEO.
Knowing what the gaps and opportunities are, a webmaster can be at the forefront of their SEO game. From that perspective, I have compiled a list of the most common ecommerce SEO mistakes and errors that you can make while running an online store. If you can avoid these listed below, you can get higher traffic and may also notice better conversion rates. The idea is to fix these SEO errors, adopt best practices for your store and, lay a solid SEO foundation for your website.
So, if you are struggling to get better SEO results for your online store or your new website’s organic traffic is not good, this article will help you improve your SEO strategy for eCommerce sites.
Mistake 1: Deleting Discontinued Products Web pageseCommerce businesses like fashion and clothing launch new collections every year or season. This also means that they have to discontinue some of their previous ones.It is important to handle the web pages of the discontinued products in a way that they do not hit your SEO efforts. Here is what you should or shouldn’t be doing with them.You should not delete or remove discontinued product web pages. These could be the ones attracting the highest organic traffic or might as well have some great backlinks from social shopping sites like Pinterest or your blog posts. Simply deleting any of these will run into 404 errors which means you will lose all the organic traffic as well.Instead, you should display a clear message on such product pages and inform your customers about their discontinuation.Following this, you should download the list of all discontinued product web pages and check their organic traffic in analytics. This will give you some idea about their SEO popularity, basis which you can redirect these web pages to their parent category. This will pass on some SEO value to the redirect page instead of losing it forever. I don’t recommend redirecting these to similar product pages because you might need to redirect those pages as well the next year once they are discontinued. And in 3-4 years, it will create a redirect hop (multiple redirects for search engines) which is not a healthy SEO practice.If you are a big eCommerce website and have good organic traffic coming in from other channels, you can afford to avoid the above hassle. In that case, you can put a Noindex tag on discontinued product pages and remove the hyperlinking from other sections of the website like homepage, category pages, blogs, and others.Mistake 2: Forgetting To Activate Site Search In Google AnalyticsMany times when I get an eCommerce project, I notice that the ‘Site Search’ is not activated on the client’s website. Why is it important?If activated, Google Analytics Site Search can give you great ideas about user behavior and the type of keywords they use on the website to search for the products. It also lets you know which keywords result in a “No Result” page on your website. Using this data, you can optimize your existing landing pages and can also create user-driven content topics to serve your customers better.All you need to do is download the list of those keywords and find their relevant pages. You can even do Google search and cross-match this with Search Console data to see their current position, impressions, and clicks.
In my opinion, the Site Search report provides you one of the most powerful opportunities to improve SEO for eCommerce sites which even CRO experts use while sharing recommendations during the audit. This is one of the most important data that can do wonders for your eCommerce store. Hence, I recommend doing this exercise every quarter.Mistake 3: Not Optimizing PageSpeed For All PagesI have often noticed that PageSpeed optimization is done for a homepage only. One should not ignore category and product pages (conversion pages) and should make sure to optimize these as well for good PageSpeed. This is because Google considers PageSpeed signals at a web page’s level and not on a homepage’s level.Since category and product pages are usually the same, you can pick one from each category to test the PageSpeed and replicate the findings and fix those on all pages. Pro tip: Whenever you do any new design/development change at a page’s level, you must run its PageSpeed score before making it Live. This ideally should be a part of the Q&A process.Mistake 4: Not Redirecting Website’s Non-Preferred Version To Preferred Version 301 redirect your non-preferred version to the preferred version. For eg. if your SEO preferred version is https://www.example.com, do not forget to 301 redirect https://example.com to the same.You need to make sure that your customer is landing on only one website (your preferred version) and not finding two different links to the same website. Use this tool https://httpstatus.io/ to check if you have redirected your non-preferred version to the preferred version.Mistake 5: Not Using CDN For Website Or BlogContent Delivery Network (CDN) is a method using which a website can display its visual content like images, videos, etc. quickly even if the website is crowded with traffic.eCommerce websites that serve their customers worldwide get traffic from numerous locations. This could result in making the website heavier and increase its load time. Serving your visual content using CDN helps decrease server load time and directly helps in increasing the PageSpeed score, resulting in better user experience.However, many new website hosting platforms like Shopify provide this as a default feature but many old platforms like WordPress, Woocommerce, Magento, etc. do not.Mistake 6: Not Installing Facebook Pixel Code & Not Enabling Enhanced eCommerce Settings In Google AnalyticsFacebook marketing is an important channel for targeting audiences based on their behavior on your eCommerce website. If you want to re-target your users, you can create a lookalike audience on FB based on the real-time data of your audience’s behavior around CTAs including Add to Cart, checkout, etc.Hence, it is important to make sure that you install Facebook pixel code on the website once you push your new eCommerce store Live.Mistake 7: Auto Redirecting All 404 Pages To HomepageThe simplest way that the marketers find to control 404 pages is to auto direct all of them to the homepage. This approach works in a way that the Search Console won’t report them but this is not a recommended way to deal with them.You should understand this from the users’ and SEO’s perspective. It is important to identify where your users are coming from and why they are landing on 404 pages. Also, there is a huge misconception that 404 pages lowers the traffic. But that’s not always the case.
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