Do you manage a fashion & apparel e-commerce store that is getting beat in the search engines by competitors that DON’T DESERVE TO BEAT YOU?

Proper Category Hierarchy

This item on our checklist is important enough that it is usually something we have looked at before the audit process actually even starts. Your category/collections setup is central to your website’s functionality, so it is hard not to notice this. Looking at your hierarchy is a point where we can find lots of low hanging fruit.

apparel cartegories for e-commerce website

Adding new categories and subcategories for existing products is an easy way to optimize your website for more traffic. This helps to set a website up to receive more organic search traffic naturally.

Pages for Each Brand

If your e-commerce store sells goods that you manufacture then you won’t need to worry about this. For retailers that sell many brands, it is important to have a category-like structure for each brand. You can set these up as category pages, as product tag pages, or any other solution that will accomplish the same ending within your CMS.

The goal here is to have one page that is designated for each brand and this is where customers can find everything that you sell from that brand. This gives you a clear and PERMANENT target page that can rank for each brand name and some of its related searches.

Product pages can do this as well, but products can come and go and also have their own keywords to attack. Having a permanent target for internal and external links is often a best practice here.

This is essentially the same thing as a pillar page which you can link to from lots of blogs and other content throughout the website.

Product Image Attributes

optimized alt tag for search enginse on an ecommerce website

There are a number of different items on our audit list related to optimizing images throughout the site. Here I am referring to a subgroup of these and let’s just call these the most important aspects of SEO for your product images.

You will probably have lots of product images on your site and naturally this will give you lots of opportunities to have those images show up in the search engines.

  • We make sure that these images all have alt tags that are optimized in unique ways.
  • We make sure that each image is using an image file name that has also been optimized.

In my experience these are the two things that are most likely to help that image get found in the search results.

These are easy opportunities as well, and this also makes them a favorite item to visit on our audit checklist. This is the opposite of trying to propose a content strategy that is conducive to link building, or trying to make critical decisions about which category pages should be deleted and created. This is simple, straightforward, it can bring in traffic, and you only have to do it once.

Multi-Lingual Coding

international e-commerce flagsThis item is not for everyone but for those with the largest audiences and product selections, this is a top priority. Does your website implement “hreflang” coding properly? Are you presenting different versions of your website to users of different languages in the same country? what about users of a different language in a different country? This can make a huge difference to some of our clients when you are selling internationally.

Homepage Keyword Audit/Title Tag

The homepage will often have the most incoming links to it and this often presents the best opportunity to go after some specific keywords. Many of the best keyword opportunities out there will be for product pages, but most industries will have a keyword set that the homepage can attack on some level.

Identifying competition strength, keyword volume, and a website’s ability to rank for certain keywords is a big part of our job here. We want the best keyword targets, but they must also be obtainable. In many cases, the obvious choices are not realistically attainable in a short time frame for smaller websites… This is the eternal plight of the SEO agency.

A new t-shirt company is going to have a very tough time ranking for “mens t-shirts” in Google’s search results. They will need to pick some more reasonable keyword targets. This is where we come in!

Category Title Tags and Keyword Optimization

Making a second appearance on our list… your category pages. However, now we are not looking at these for their general hierarchy and keyword opportunities. We are looking specifically at the way that you set up your title tags. We look at the overall scheme of your category title tags (most websites do all of their category title tags in a similar style) and whether or not they contain the product brand name etc.

In addition to this, we are looking to see if there is space to go after additional keywords and we look at possible ways to do this.

While we do look at the title tags for all page types during our audit process (product, category, homepage, blog page etc), the category page title tags are among the most important. Product page title tags are usually pretty simple because just the brand and product name are often enough to fill the title tag to the character limit. Category pages present a different opportunity with more room for optimization in many cases.

Product Page User Reviews

user reviews for e-commerce websiteThese reviews have two great purposes. The first is to act as a conversion tool. Adding some social proof in the form of customers/user reviews is a great way to convince people to buy whatever you are selling.

Equally as important are the keyword ranking opportunities that are created by adding this kind of content. You’ll often find that the reviews can help you show up for long-tail searches, some of which can be very high converting.

The Backlink Audit

Why do we audit backlinks?

This is where we can start to understand what is making your website successful. We do check for toxic links and incoming links to 404 error pages, but what is probably even more important is that we just assess the strength of your website. This gives us an idea of whether or not some of the tougher keyword targets for a website will be realistic targets or not.

Some websites are successful because of great social media campaigns. Sometimes it is Google PPC. Sometimes a website might simply just have acquired a strong following from being great for many years. But there are others that are successful because of their backlink strength.

This powers these websites up in the search engines and it can be the main driver of success for some clients. Knowing this is more than just useful knowledge to us. Understanding this is critical for anyone that is doing strategic content planning for a website. If you are going to war in the content world, you must know the strength of your army.

If you are losing traffic to competitors that don’t deserve to beat you, now you have some starting points to try and change that. If you feel like it’s time to get serious and assert your dominance in the SERPs, give us a call and ask us about our E-Commerce SEO Roadmap.

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