The Actionable Ecommerce SEO Checklist (2017 Version)

Managing everything when it comes to SEO when dealing with an ecommerce site can be a very daunting prospect.

In order to lay a solid SEO foundation for various online retail SEO’s I’ve worked with in before, I created this checklist to get an understanding of where the sites were at that moment in time.

The list covers the basics and most important things you should be doing from an SEO perspective on your ecommerce site (new or old). If there are any concepts you don’t understand, feel free to reach out and I can help explain them.

The SEO checklist focuses on the on-page elements of your online store, it is vitally important that you get your on-site SEO elements perfect as it will make all your off-site SEO much more lucrative & effective.

Most modern ecommerce platforms & providers should be able to cope with the majority of the points on the list, some may require additional plugins or apps to get perfect.

One thing to remember when working through the SEO checklist is that each one you can action / improve will be incrementally beneficial to your overall sites SEO, try not to get hung up if there are a few points that you can’t quite get perfect. If you can tick off everything on the list, awesome! If there are a couple you can’t then that is okay, it’s all about getting your site to be as SEO-friendly as possible.

The 2017 SEO Checklist

Sitewide

  • Do you have Google Analytics installed?
  • Have your verified your site in Google Search Console?
  • While you’re at it, get Bing Webmaster Tools verified too?
  • Using Woocommerce (or another WordPress based shopping cart)? Make sure you have the MonsterInsights Google Analytics plugin.
  • And you have Yoast SEO installed right? The single most important SEO plugin for WordPress.
  • Use Google Search Console to fix the following:
    • 404 crawl errors
    • 500 crawl errors
    • Duplicate meta tags (title tags, meta descriptions)
    • Missing meta tags
  • Use Screaming Frog (quite literally the best valued SEO tool ever) to find technical errors like 302 redirects that should be 301s, multiple redirect chains, broken links, orphaned pages and other crawl problems.

Category Page Specific

  • Keyword research (the cornerstone of SEO). Find suitable keywords using Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMRush or Ahrefs. Review the difficulty, generally lower-volume are easier to rank for than higher – aim for a single keyword / topic per page – always have a primarily keyword to target for each page.
  • Is your primary keyword in your category page’s URL?
  • Is your primary keyword in your title tag? Does your title tag encourage clicks? Have you included words like ‘Shop’ or ‘Buy’ to show you are an ecommerce site?
  • Is your keyword (or synonym) in your meta description? Does it confirm to standards of approx. 155 characters, and entices the user to click on the link? Do you offer free delivery, free returns, include this incentive to increase CTR.
  • Is your primary keyword in your H1 tag on the page? Make sure you are only using a single H1 tag. Try to incorporate synonyms of the keyword in H2, H3, H4… if you are using them.
  • Do you have enough text on the page – I would recommend at least 150 words, to ensure you can clearly explain to the visitor (and search engines) what the topic of the page is.
  • Make sure you have included synonyms in your text on the page. Synonyms make it easier to rank for a wider range of keywords and the natural language usage ensures you aren’t keyword stuffing.
  • Using a hero banner image? Make sure the ALT tags and the file names include your primary keyword.
  • You’re linking to product pages on your category pages, but are you also linking to related categories? Having a section on each category page that links to other related categories can allow the spreading of link equity across your site to give a boost too those categories too.

Product Page Specific

  • Are there any keywords suitable to target for your product page?
  • If there isn’t consider adding a rel=canonical to the category page.
  • If there is…
  • Is your primary keyword in your product page’s URL?
  • Is your primary keyword in your title tag? Does your title tag encourage clicks? Have you included words like ‘Shop’ or ‘Buy’ to show you are an ecommerce site?
  • Is your keyword (or synonym) in your meta description? Does it confirm to standards of approx. 155 characters, and entices the user to click on the link? Do you offer free delivery, free returns, include this incentive to increase CTR.
  • Is your primary keyword in your H1 tag on the page? This should be the product name primarily!
  • Does your product description sell the product and not just list the facts about it?
  • Make sure the ALT tags and the file names include your primary keyword of the product imagery on these pages.
  • Are you linking to other similar products as well as linking back to the category page (use of breadcrumbs is strongly advised on ecommerce sites)?

Technical SEO

  • Do you have any duplicate content? This can often be on product pages if you have copied them from the manufacturer, or you have a lot of similar products. Fix these by re-writing unique content on product pages, rel=canonical them to the category page. Duplicate content could cause indexation issues on your site.
  • Always use absolute URLs in your code rather than relative ones, it’s slightly better for crawlability, but also makes finding people stealing your content much easier.
  • Check your site speed with Google PageSpeed Tools – and implement the recommendations.
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly – the best solution to manage would be ensuring your site is fully responsive.
  • Is your XML sitemap (you have one right?) submitted to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools?
  • Is your Robots.txt fully up to date and not accidentally blocking search engines from your site?

 

There you have it, a complete on-site ecommerce SEO checklist.

 

Have you ticked everything off? How many changes have you made?

I’m always interested in hearing your results, so let me know in the comments…

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