eCommerce SEO Audits: How to Audit Your E-Commerce Site’s Content Strategy
Welcome to Surge, this week we will talk about how to conduct an eCommerce SEO and content audit respectively. These audits are actually different. We’ve had clients in the past few months who have tens of thousands of products. They came to us and we migrated them.
They have good visibility, but they have never optimized their product descriptions, their category descriptions, their content hierarchy was not really organized. Why is it important to do an audit before you actually start executing an SEO content, or a marketing strategy?
Importance of Auditing Your eCommerce Website’s SEO and Content Hierarchy
Look at this if you’re going to execute a migration as well because you don’t want to start off with problems and end with problems. Conduct an audit before you start to migrate, or execute an SEO strategy. Break everything down and look at your content hierarchy.
Why are you doing this before the migration process?
There’s no point in fixing something that’s already broken after you go through all the work of migrating. Once you finally migrate, because you’re going to have to do 301 redirects. So why not fix the content hierarchy and URL structure and breakdown of all your categories prior, if you know that you’re going to have to execute the 301 redirects anyways?
Are you thinking about doing any kind of migration or replatforming from one eCommerce platform to another platform? Then you need to significantly review your content structure and hierarchy, as well as your category and product structure respectively. That’s the best time for you to review all of that.
As you are doing the migration, it will be more efficient. Once you’re done with that analysis and o optimization, your new site is going to be much better structured. Despite that, many people don’t do the difficult stuff, which is writing unique titles and descriptions, meta titles, meta descriptions, and unique product descriptions. This is going to differentiate your brand from all of your competitors significantly.
Tools for Starting Your eCommerce SEO Content Audit
Let’s say we looked at all of this before the migration process. Which elements do you review?
Use tools such as Google Analytics to now prioritize what categories you should strongly focus on. So if you don’t have Google Analytics set up, do that now. Data is the most important thing here and if you do it without it, you can’t really move forward. You need to start generating that data before you come to any conclusion as to how your site should be structured.
Break it down. Which products or which categories are getting the most organic visibility, especially products within categories? From a revenue standpoint, which products and categories generate the most cash flow?
The answer is the top sellers. Now you can prioritize this structured content. If this one category is my bread and butter and these five products within there are my top sellers, I need to make sure that throughout this migration process or SEO content strategy process that I am focusing on this category and these products that live within it.
Then I’m going to pretty much just go down the list: optimizing that category structure and those product pages. Prioritize in that manner. To do that, you need Google Analytics data.
How to Audit an eCommerce Website with 1 Million+ SKUs: Prioritizing Category and Product Pages
This is easy to do for several hundred products, but if you have tens of thousands or even millions of SKUs, how do you do this prioritization?
We do a very basic Excel formula: a specific score and a weight on every single page, including products and categories. Then we take all of that data through five sources. We grab Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMRush, and the keyword rankings.
Our data comes from page authorities for both product and category pages from SEMrush and we grab all the backlinks from Ahrefs and Moz. We combine all of this and create a scoring structure.
Let’s say you have a hundred categories, each with a thousand products. Here are your most important products and the most important categories. Look at your categories on products that get less than twenty traffic. You’re actually diluting your entire authority, entire site authority, and you don’t want to do that.
How do we do the cleanup?
That is a good question. People love having tens of thousands of products on their sites. Our job is to say, “You got to lose 50% of these products.”
Review your top pages, top products, traffic drivers, and revenue drivers. You have a segment that we call lowest-hanging fruit. They are the pages that have the potential to jump into that first segment. But right now they’re just off page one.
That could happen due to thin content, or no backlinks. Identify those as well. That last segment is really just insignificant pages that are bringing you down. They weigh down and dilute your authority.
Decide whether you’re going to cure or kill those pages. It’s tough for many clients when you tell them, “We’re going to cut your product offering, by a third.”
“What do you mean?” they ask
“These products have never sold.”
Identify parameters to justify this claim. Point out that these products have never driven any traffic. There’s no real significance or value having them on your site. So you don’t want to dilute your authority by having 25,000 or 75,000 URLs that don’t get any traffic.
Ask the following: “Do I kill them completely? Delete the pages completely? Or are some of these somewhat significant that I can redirect them to other relatable pages?”
The first step is to do an audit, because there are many details, especially on a site that has tens of thousands of products. Break down and prioritize them. We suggest doing a deep SEO/content audit first. This audit addresses all of the lowest-hanging fruit: the closest keywords, or the closest ranking opportunities, or sales opportunities that you have, as well as targeting your best sellers.
Refining Your eCommerce SEO Content Marketing
You will be on the first page, but the difference between the number one position and number nine position on the first page could be three, four or six X traffic. Many people don’t understand that. It’s incredibly important that you do an SEO, Facebook page search or AdWords audit before you actually engage with an agency or a company to do your marketing.
If you don’t get an audit or statement of work, you don’t know what your KPIs and key performance indicators will be. In addition, you don’t know how you judge, or how you rate that service that you’re getting from a marketing standpoint. If a company is doing marketing for a couple of months, but you don’t know how to really gauge their success, or gauge their results. Do an audit first before you engage in an internet marketing strategy.
To recap: in this audit, we look at the eCommerce platform and its content structure. These include content hierarchy and integrated marketing. We actually have a checklist with close to 140 different items and elements to review.
Auditing Your eCommerce Website for Conversions
After reviewing, break it down and look at the moneymakers. The bottom line is the most important quality. And then we do a six-month strategy for your business and your brand to basically take you from A to B.
The A to B could be revenue, visibility, or leads from phone calls. It really depends on those KPIs that we set forth. And then from there, you can review that six-month strategy and you can see if those KPIs are aligned with what your objectives are for your organization or for your brand.
That’s it for the auditing process. We’ll talk to you guys next week.
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