It’s important to understand that search engine ranking is a competitive market and the rules are ever-changing. If you see that your ranking begins taking a steep decline or isn’t moving much in general, it’s important to be able to diagnose the problem. According to Paul Klebanov of BigCommerce, there are three important things to keep in mind:
- If search engine bots can’t find a page, then they can’t crawl it
- If they can’t crawl a page, then they can’t index it
- If they can’t index a page, then they definitely won’t be able to rank it
In the first part of this article, we’ll walk you through how to conduct a basic initial audit on your ecommerce website in 5 easy steps. The goal is to ensure Google is properly indexing your website, and that your pages include rich and relevant keywords.
STEP 1: Verify your Domain
Google offers a feel tool called Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools). The first step is to set up your account and verify your domain. By verifying your domain, you’re letting Google know that you own that domain and are able to make edits to it. Once you’ve completed that step, the next step is to submit your sitemap.
STEP 2: Check and Setup Structured Data
Next, go to the “Search Appearance” section to gain insight into important search engine displays and their corresponding terminology (i.e. Title, Snippet, Sitelinks, Search within a site, URL, Event-Rich Snippet, Breadcrumbs, and Product Rich Snippet). The overview allows you to ensure your website is included within each possible element on Google.
To ensure that Google displays your data properly within its index, it’s important to implement the schema.org vocabulary within your page. The Google Search Console even allows you to highlight elements on your page and start tagging without any programming.
STEP 3: Check Google’s Index Report
If Google encounters too many technical issues it will cause the bots to leave your page and negatively affect your ranking. Use Google’s Crawl Error reporting tool to see if Google is able to crawl your site, and if not, what issues have prevented it from doing so within the last 90 days.
By using Google’s Index report, you can drill down the pages that Google has indexed on your domain and whether your content is on an upward or downward trend. Monitoring the content keywords report is another way to see if strange or non-related keywords are appearing and affecting the way Google perceives your website.
STEP 4: Determine Relevant Keywords and Queries
After Google has successfully crawled and indexed your pages, the Googlebots will determine the page rank based on over 200 factors. To determine relevant keywords and queries for your website, consider the following when conducting keyword research:
- Search Volume - you can easily find historical data in regards to search volume by using the Google Keyword Planner in AdWords.
- Intent - the keywords you use should offer a solution to the user's problem. This, after all, is why they searched in the first place.
- Relevance & Difficulty - when it comes to increasing your rank, you want to make sure you’re bidding on keywords that closely match up or relate to what your company offers or sells. You also don’t want to get into the trap of using keywords that are simply too broad or competitive.
STEP 5: Add Keywords to your Website’s Pages
Once you’ve compiled a list of worthy keywords, it’s crucial that you not only include them in your page but also in the right places. The most important places to include your keywords are:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Heading 1's (H1's)
- Subheadings (H2, H3, etc.)
There are several tools available to help you analyze SEO errors on your website. Errors can be caused by:
- Duplicate content
- Duplicate or missing title tags
- Duplicate meta descriptions
- Missing ALT tags
- And many other on-page factors that can significantly impact your rank, crawl, and even index of your pages.
You’ve conducted a basic SEO audit on your ecommerce website. Ready for a more advanced SEO audit? Enlist our help.