Technical SEO is the process of optimizing your site specifically for crawling and indexing. It helps search engines interpret your website without complication. Technical SEO is referred to as such because it has nothing to do with the actual content on your website (on-page SEO). Its main goal is to optimize a website’s architecture.
Technical SEO for eCommerce is important because it alerts search engines that your website is of high value and prompts them to rank it higher. Here’s a Technical SEO step-by-step breakdown on how to improve your online standing and drive more traffic to your eCommerce store.
Websites with strong Technical SEO receive preferential treatment from search engines. Below is a list of tips on improving technical SEO, so your website can meet search engine standards.
Conduct a Technical SEO audit to identify opportunities and fix exit points for improved user experience. This ensures any new SEO practices are built upon a strong foundation. Specialized auditing software like SEMrush and Screaming Frog are great tools for this.
At Comrade Digital Marketing, we also conduct a free Technical SEO audit for all our clients before we develop and implement their digital marketing strategy. Our comprehensive audits assess keyword effectiveness, missing tags, duplicate content, and 404 errors pages, for example. In addition, we’ll fine-comb through your website’s architecture and identify opportunities for improvement.
Not only does a well-structured website point users in the right direction, but it also makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index. The more logical the site structure, the higher it ranks. You may need to re-evaluate your website’s navigation hierarchy to improve Technical SEO.
Map out your website pages in a hierarchy tree structure to determine whether the structure of your website’s pages flows. You will also need to assess navigation menus, pages categories, internal linking, and URL structures.
URLs tend to get neglected when an eCommerce site has thousands of products. Most content management systems (CMS) auto-generate URLs, but these can be messy and look like: http://yourdomain.com/index.php?=6512524=e03=?p=89. This URL is poor because it doesn’t provide search engines with useful information to rank this page.
An improved URL would look like this: http://www.cycleworks.com/collections/blue-mountain-bike. In this example, you can clearly see the eCommerce website > the category the product belongs to > the product.
Keep URLs as short as possible, use a focus keyword, clarify their hierarchy and always use hyphens to separate words.
Google favors secure websites, i.e., websites that are prefixed with HTTPS and not just HTTP. HTTPS sites utilize SSL (Secure Socket Layer), a standard security technology that encrypts the connection between a web server and browser so that even if someone intercepts a user’s information, they will be unable to read the data.
SSL certificates are a major part of Technical SEO for eCommerce, as customers are more inclined to purchase off a secure site they trust. Nowadays, most top website builders include SSL by default.
The probability of users leaving your website (bounce rate) increases by 32% as page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds. Therefore, the gold standard for eCommerce website page loading across devices should be no longer than 2 seconds. Google has indicated that site speed is one of the signals used by its algorithms to rank pages.
The size and the total number of images and videos loaded at a given time can slow downloading page time and negatively impact your Technical SEO strategy.
Compress all visual files where possible without compromising on quality. Using fast hosting and minifying your eCommerce site’s web pages may also help.
70% of total digital media time in the US is spent on smartphones. Nearly $3 out of every $4 is spent on online purchases is done through mobile. What’s more, in 2019, Google switched to a mobile-first index, meaning that the mobile version of your eCommerce site is the baseline for indexing and determining SERP ranks.
Whether desktop, tablet, or smartphone, the same website best practices like structured pages, compressed images, and canonical data apply. Remember that mobile screens have a different interface, so pop-up ads that work great on desktops may create a frustrating experience for mobile users.
Consider search volume, relevance, competition, and intent when selecting keywords. Popular keywords are difficult to compete for, as many sights that contain them are already ranked. However, there are free tools like WordStream that can help find new keyword combinations.
Keywords also don’t have to be a single word. They can be phrases.
Long-tail keywords that contain more than one word correlate strongly to users’ online queries and help sites attain higher ranks on Google. For example, “best coffee machine.” This long-tail keyword can be applied in copy, links, headers, product descriptions, file names, image descriptions.
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to your eCommerce website. It’s a common tactic used in Technical SEO for eCommerce because links signal search engines that they are a quality resource worthy of citation.
The best way to build links is through relationships with influencers, bloggers, and reputable companies that can promote your product.
Essentially, you want to get other websites to mention yours. This can be done through reviews, the sharing of press releases, and brand mentions.
Use software like SEMrush and Screaming Frog to diagnose technical issues adversely affecting Technical SEO. An eCommerce website crawl will alert you to broken links, missing alt text or metadata, thin or duplicate content, insecure pages, and bad redirects. Periodically crawling your website fulfills the same function as servicing a car. It ensures all technical aspects are working their best, and if not, they can be easily remedied.
Google relies on alt text (image description) to understand the content. When correctly optimized, images can boost Google rank. Always make image descriptions as concise and specific as possible.
For example, if you have a picture of a dog, it’s better to describe the specific breed as opposed to just labeling it “dog.” Of course, keyword optimization also needs consideration in this context to maximize Technical SEO for eCommerce. And, don’t forget to compress image size for faster load time.
Robots.txt is a type of file that instructs web bots whether they can or can’t crawl parts of a website. They block pages that are unimportant or non-public, like login pages, as well as prevent resources like PDFs from getting indexed.
If left unchecked, a search engine robot may crawl shopping cart links, wish lists, test links, and other pages that are not relevant to climbing SERPs.
Duplicate content is confusing for search engines and users. It also negatively impacts Technical SEO performance, as search engines won’t know which page to prioritize. Check that your CMS isn’t publishing multiple versions of the same page, and use canonical tags to let search engines know that a specific URL represents the master copy of a webpage.
Websites typically have at least two separate versions, and four if they have an SSL certificate:
Search engines view these versions as separate entities, which can be problematic when building effective backlinks and ranking your website in general. If possible, always choose the HTTPS version that’s encrypted and secure to improve Technical SEO.
Technical SEO for eCommerce is a detailed procedure that provides opportunities to communicate relevant information to prospective customers when properly executed. However, if you lack Technical SEO know-how or finesse, then we can help.
Comrade Digital Marketing is a full-service digital agency dedicated to eCommerce, with a specialized SEO division. With over a decade of experience, our experts can assist you in achieving your online revenue goals. Call us at (312) 265-0580 or click here for a free Technical SEO audit.
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