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Must-Have E-commerce SEO Checklist - Updated 2023

October 18, 2023 | Author:  Cassidy Burns

The ecommerce industry is evolving at a rapid pace. According to a report from Statista, the global ecommerce market is expected to grow from its current value of $5.2 trillion to $8.1 trillion by 2026. 

This unprecedented increase in the market size has also triggered an unprecedented number of changes in how businesses approach the sector. As a result, almost every ecommerce business today needs a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to thrive in this new environment. 

But, as you'll see, many factors come into play when determining your SEO strategy for ecommerce. 

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You might be running an online store on Shopify or another CMS platform, which means some of these recommendations won't apply to you—but most likely, they'll still provide some insight that can help you improve your site even more. 

Let's look at what we think are the most critical points when optimizing your ecommerce site for search engines and high search volume from potential customers in 2022!


SEO in Ecommerce Is More Than Just SEO

While it's true that the most critical aspects of your ecommerce SEO strategy will typically come under the umbrella term "SEO," you can't approach the topic without considering the other factors at work in the ecommerce industry.

Mobile-Friendly Design

For example, one of the most significant trends in ecommerce right now is the drastic increase in mobile traffic. Since most online shoppers still prefer to browse and purchase via mobile devices, you must approach your SEO strategy with mobile site viewing in mind.

This means making sure your website has a responsive design so that its web pages can be viewed and navigated easily from any device. Such a focus on a mobile-friendly experience also includes ensuring that page loading times are fast by using caching and optimizing images.

Personalized Approach to SEO

Another thing to consider is the fact that results from search engines are now being personalized more than ever. This means that you can no longer rely on a "one size fits all" approach to SEO for ecommerce.

To succeed in today's ecommerce landscape, you need to create a highly customized and targeted SEO strategy that considers the unique needs of your business, your customers, and the search engines you're trying to rank with.

User Experience Is the Most Important Aspect Of SEO

Search queries are becoming increasingly specific, so searchers almost always look for a particular thing when they type something into a search engine.

This might surprise some SEO practitioners, but SEO for ecommerce isn't just about increasing your site's ranking on Google and other search engines. It's also about bringing in more qualified leads and getting them to buy from your ecommerce site.

This is crucial in an industry where one of the biggest trends is that consumers are increasingly shopping online on their mobile devices—which means they're looking at your site on a small screen.


Creating a Seamless User Journey

The first step in achieving a top-notch user experience with your ecommerce SEO strategy is ensuring that your initial user journey is as smooth as possible. Your site structure should make your online store easy to navigate, visually appealing, and (above all) quick to load. The faster the loading time, the more likely a customer is to stay on your site and explore.

Additionally, make sure that when someone visits your homepage from a search engine results page (SERP), they get direct access to product information and categories.

Creating an Off-Site User Experience

Having a good user experience also extends beyond your website. Your company should be active on social media platforms and other channels, offering helpful information and highlighting unique aspects of your products.

This will help to build trust with potential customers so that when they're ready to make a purchase, they'll be more likely to buy from you.

Why User Experience Is So Important

Ultimately, making sure that your ecommerce site's SEO strategy focuses on user experience is essential for success in today's digital landscape. Developing a great user experience will not only help with your SEO ranking in search results, but it can also help to convert more leads into customers.

By investing in your user experience, you'll be able to attract qualified visitors who are more likely to become loyal buyers.

Keyword Research for Ecommerce SEO

Of course, e-commerce keyword research is still significant for your SEO strategy. You need to ensure that you're targeting the right keywords to bring in the right traffic.

But, as we mentioned above, you also need to ensure that those keywords will result in sales—not just clicks. This means that you need to put in the time to research not only the right keywords but also the right intent behind the target keyword.

Of course, ecommerce keyword research is still significant for your SEO strategy. You need to ensure that you're targeting the right keywords to bring in the right traffic.

But, as we mentioned above, you also need to ensure that those keywords will result in sales—not just clicks. This means that you need to put in the time to research not only the right keywords but also the right search intent behind the targeted keywords.

Target Keyword Intent

Determining search intent basically means putting in the effort to understand search queries that your potential customers might make.

For example, let's say you are selling shoes on your ecommerce website. You need to think about the type of target keyword that a potential customer might use in their search query when looking for shoes. Are they searching for "dress shoes" or "running shoes"?

Do they know what type of shoe they want and so will be searching for "Nike running shoes," or are they still in the research phase and so will be searching for something more general, such as "best shoes for running"?

By researching long-tail keywords with the specific intent to purchase, you can create content that is better targeted toward users who are ready to make a purchase. With this kind of primary keyword targeting, your SEO efforts will be more focused, resulting in higher-quality traffic and ultimately, more sales.

Using a Keyword Research Tool

To make it easier to perform keyword research, you can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs to identify the search volume behind long-tail keywords related to your ecommerce business.

Furthermore, by using those same keyword research tools, as well as SEO plugin tools such as Yoast SEO, to find relevant keywords for your site, you can also discover new keyword ideas that you may not have previously considered.

How to Place Target Keywords

Target keywords must be placed strategically throughout your site, including in titles, meta descriptions, blog posts, descriptions on product pages, and your ecommerce platform's code.

And all of this needs to be done with mobile users in mind—which means you must ensure that your website is responsive and that your content is mobile-friendly.

It’s also important to make sure every title, tag, and meta description is succinct, clear, and to the point. If you’re not targeting the right short-tail and long-tail keywords, then no matter how difficult the SEO work that follows is, it won’t be worth it in the end.

Relevant Keywords on Your Web Pages Must Be Used Thoughtfully and Strategically

Your ecommerce pages must be keyword-rich but not to the point of keyword stuffing. No one wants to read a product page that's stuffed to the brim with keyphrases that have been shoehorned into the web copy on the screen.

Instead, your keywords should be used judiciously and strategically placed throughout your content to avoid any penalties from Google.

In other words, keywords need to naturally flow within the body of each web page and all of your meta descriptions, and they should be tied directly to the service or product descriptions for whatever you are selling.

It’s also important to remember when selecting keywords for your website to use words that accurately reflect what your customers would be searching for. You don't want to select a primary keyword that is either too specific or too general.


On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO

On-page SEO and off-page SEO are other areas where ecommerce businesses must focus their attention to obtain top-tier search results.

On-Page SEO

In short, on-page SEO means ensuring that your website's structure is conducive to good SEO (for example, by using breadcrumb navigation) and creating high-quality content that will earn links and social media shares.

Furthermore, using on-page SEO techniques such as regularly monitoring your website’s performance concerning search engine ranking and web analytics will help you spot any areas for improvement.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is all about generating backlinks from other websites – the more authoritative the source, the better. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as through content marketing (i.e. guest blogging) or by reaching out to influencers and asking them to share your content.

You can also use social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to help boost your online presence.

Duplicate Content Is Still A Big Problem

If you have duplicated content on your ecommerce site, fixing it as soon as possible is essential. Google has been cracking down on duplicate content for years, and they're only getting stricter with their penalties.

SEO efforts should focus on creating unique, high-quality content targeted to specific keywords. This will help your website stand out from the competition and rank higher in search engine results.

Create Fresh Content Suited for Search Engines

In addition to creating unique content, you should also make sure that each website page has the right title tag and meta description. This helps search engines understand what's on your important pages better, so they can serve up relevant results for users.

Perform Regular Content Audits

Lastly, it's important to regularly review your website for any duplicate content. If you find any, it's best to revise or remove the duplicated content right away. You can also use this opportunity to remove any broken links you come across.

Doing so will help ensure that your ecommerce site doesn't get penalized by a search engine's ranking factor and continues to perform well in organic search results.

Dynamic Product Ads Are Becoming the New Standard

Dynamic product ads are targeted to your specific product pages and are incredibly helpful for increasing your sales.

However, not all ecommerce websites can run product ads, and some sites that do run them cannot get the total value out of them because they don't have the right ecommerce SEO strategy.

This is because product ads work best when you're targeting particular groups of people with your ads. This can be difficult if you have a long product page title, or if you target too many niches with a single product.

Running Focused Dynamic Product Ads

Not all online shopping sites can run dynamic product ads, but if you can, it's worthwhile to ensure that your ecommerce SEO strategy is up to snuff so that your product pages get the traffic you're looking for.

As with many things, it just requires discipline in choosing a specific niche to focus on, rather than using an unfocused, scattershot approach.


Shopify Shoppers Are Currently Very Brand-Centric

One of the most important considerations in your ecommerce SEO strategy is the type of shoppers you attract. While this can vary from niche to niche, certain shopping trends are common to most.

On the one hand, niche-specific keywords will always continue to be necessary. On the other hand, it's also crucial that you focus on getting a solid brand name out there.

After all, consumers will probably type in many different terms before they finally decide which vendor to go with.

Putting Brand Building Into Practice

But what is the cash value of this concept for your ecommerce SEO strategy? Well, it means that you should consider investing in brand-building efforts that can help you to reach a larger audience.

This includes creating content that is valuable to your particular target market, optimizing the ecommerce website for organic traffic, and utilizing social media to increase brand visibility.


Amazon Will Continue to Dominate E-Commerce

While other brands have succeeded in the ecommerce industry, there's no denying that Amazon is still the ecommerce giant.

Perhaps it's not hyperbole to say that the only way Amazon could become more dominant would be if the government passed a law making ecommerce illegal.

How to Compete with Amazon

As bleak as that may sound for anyone who isn't Jeff Bezos, this isn't to say that it's impossible to be successful in the ecommerce industry without competing directly with Amazon.

However, it is to say that if you're hoping to beat them at their own game, you're going to have to put in more effort than ever before.

To compete with Amazon, you need to understand exactly how they make their money. You have to understand the customer journey and identify what makes them tick. Once you've done that, you can then start making changes to optimize your own online store, from your home screen to your product pages.

Discover The Best Places To Channel Your Marketing Budget

When determining the best places to channel your marketing budget for your ecommerce SEO strategy, it's essential to decide on where your target audience spends their time.

This information will help you to spend your budget in the most effective places. For example, if you're hoping to reach the Baby Boomer generation, it might make sense to invest in TV ads.

However, if you're hoping to reach Millennials, social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube might be better venues.

Finding the Right Type of Content

In addition to understanding where the members of your target audience are spending their time, it's also important to consider what type of content they respond most positively to. Millennials are known for preferring visuals over words, so investing in video marketing or creating visually appealing imagery could help you reach this demographic.

On the other hand, Baby Boomers may prefer more traditional marketing tactics, such as print ads or radio spots. It's important to understand which methods are most likely to reach your target audience.

Develop a Strong Internal Linking Strategy

A solid internal linking strategy will help you organize and navigate your site better, and it can positively impact your ecommerce SEO.

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Create Category Pages

One of the best ways to do this is to create category pages with links to the subcategories. Not only will this help you to navigate your site more efficiently, but it will also help search engines to navigate your content with more accessibility.

While ecommerce SEO has always been important, it will only become more so in the future. This is because search engine crawlers are getting smarter and starting to understand ecommerce sites better.

Search engine bots can now pick up on the different sections and categories of a site, which helps them to rank pages according to their content.

Place Strategic Internal Links

Furthermore, internal linking is important for showing search engines which pages are most important on your site. By strategically placing links to certain pages more often than others, you can signal to search engines which pages should be given the most weight.

Finally, linking to internal pages can help you to keep visitors on your site for longer. By providing links that lead to other relevant pages, you can encourage readers to explore more of your content and stay engaged with your business. This will give you a better chance at turning them into customers.


Google Search Console and Analytics Ecommerce Tracking

Search engine bots are constantly crawling ecommerce sites to catalog their products. However, they don't always have an easy time understanding the context of what they're looking at.

Google Analytics ecommerce tracking is a great way to track the performance of your ecommerce website. Not only will it help you to see how much traffic you're getting, but you'll also be able to see where that traffic is coming from.

This information can be beneficial when determining which marketing channels are the most effective. It can also help you see which products sell the most and which might need a little more work.

The Google search console is another powerful ecommerce SEO tool that can help you to keep track of your ecommerce site's SEO progress. The Google search console and similar SEO tools also provide you with data that can help you to make changes to your ecommerce SEO strategy. 

The Results of Accurate Tracking

By being able to track the performance of your ecommerce website, you'll be in a better position to make changes that will help your business succeed.

The Google Analytics and search console tools can also provide valuable insight into customer behavior. You can see what pages they are visiting, when they're leaving, and how long they're staying on certain pages. All this data can give you an idea of what works and what doesn't.

Finally, these tool from Google allows you to set up goals and funnels so that you can track customer conversions from various sources. This way, you can see which channels are driving the most sales, and make sure your marketing budget is being used effectively.

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The Benefits Of Having An Ecommerce Checklist

Set Yourself Up for Success

Ecommerce SEO can be a very time-consuming and challenging task. However, by following our in-depth ecommerce SEO checklist, you can be sure that you are taking all the necessary steps to set your ecommerce site up for success.

Save Time and Money

Additionally, this checklist will help you to save time in the long run, since you won't have to waste time fixing errors that could've easily been avoided.

Having an SEO checklist can also save you money, as it allows you to track your progress and make sure your ecommerce website is optimized correctly. By having a clear understanding of what SEO needs to be done and which tools (such as the Google search console) are most effective for achieving the desired results, you can avoid costly mistakes.

Monitor Your Overall SEO Progress

Finally, an SEO checklist will help you keep track of your ecommerce SEO progress. By monitoring your SEO performance, you can make changes to your strategy quickly and easily to achieve the best possible results.

With a checklist, you'll also be able to identify areas that need improvement so that you can focus on them and make sure they’re optimized properly.

Having an ecommerce SEO checklist is a great way to ensure that your ecommerce website is optimized correctly and making the most out of its potential. A good SEO strategy can have a positive impact on your Google search results, web traffic, search engine rankings, and overall success.

A Final Word: Keeping Track Of E-Commerce SEO Changes

The ecommerce industry is always changing, new trends are constantly popping up, and old ones are dying down. However, this doesn't mean keeping track of them is impossible. So keep an eye on how things change in the ecommerce sphere.

This will help you stay on top of the ecommerce industry and ensure that your ecommerce SEO strategy is always evolving and improving.

Make sure to monitor your analytics and constantly adjust your strategies as needed. By doing this, you'll stay ahead of any changes and ensure that you're always on top of the ecommerce SEO game!

By following this ecommerce SEO checklist, you can ensure that you're on the right track to optimizing your website for search engines. If you need help with any steps, don't hesitate to reach out to our experienced ecommerce SEO consultants for guidance through the process.

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