From slow loading times to trailing slashes, here are 21 answers to the question, “What are the most common SEO errors in an e-commerce website and how do you fix them?”
- Slow Loading Time
- Obsessing Over Ranking
- Tackling Duplicate Content
- Using Product Descriptions Provided by the Manufacturer
- A Lack of Customer Feedback On Products
- Not Having a FAQ Page
- Not Taking The Time to Optimize Each Product Page
- Building Links to the Domain of Your Shop Instead of Your Website
- Missing or Incomplete Meta Tags
- Failure to Perform Proper Keyword Mapping
- Lack of Keyword-friendly URLs
- Failing to Include Category Pages in the XML Sitemap
- Category and Tag Pages Set to Index
- Canonicalising Paginated Pages to the First Page
- Using Shopify
- Broken Links
- Letting Software Generate the Title Tags for You
- Insufficiently Detailed Structure of Product Categories
- Not Optimizing Images Properly
- Lack of Detail and Targeted Keywords in The Product Description
- Trailing Slashes
Slow Loading Time
One of the common SEO errors in an e-commerce website is not considering the loading time, which is, instead, fundamental. The longer it takes for your e-commerce web pages to load, the poorer your customer experience and your conversion rates. Therefore, it’s necessary to check the status of your website and reduce elements that lead to slow loading time. For example, removing unnecessary files, removing unnecessary code from your websites, and reducing the size of images are ways to fix a slow loading time.
Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing & Outreach Manager, UK Passport Photo
Obsessing Over Ranking
SEO for e-commerce, despite what many marketers will tell you, being on the top page of search results isn’t the goal; it’s all about driving traffic that converts into purchases. Even if you have the finest keyword emphasis, it does not guarantee that your efforts will be financially rewarding. SEO should be considered alongside other marketing efforts, such as social media and content marketing by e-commerce companies. A fundamental mistake in your content marketing efforts (such as a lack of calls to action) might render your SEO efforts ineffective. And it’s becoming evident that site structure, keyword density, and backlinks are only a tiny part of the SEO puzzle. Google considers hundreds of distinct ranking indicators when determining the value of your business in search results.
Muskan Rai, Content Writer, HostingRevelations
One of the most common SEO errors found in e-commerce websites is duplicate content. This happens when multiple pages on a site have the same or similar content, which can negatively impact search engine rankings.
To fix this issue, follow these steps:
- Identify duplicate content on the website by using tools like Siteliner or Copyscape
- Determine which version of the content should be indexed by search engines (typically the version that is the most complete and up-to-date)
- Use 301 redirects to send duplicate pages to the primary content version
- Add rel=”canonical” tags to the duplicate pages to indicate the primary version of the content to search engines
- Remove or “noindex” any unnecessary duplicate content
- Check for any other technical issues that may be causing duplicate content, like incorrect URL structures or parameters that are causing the same content to be accessible from multiple URLs
- Monitor your website regularly for any new instances of duplicate content.
Vincent Orleck, President, SMC Phoenix
Using Product Descriptions Provided by the Manufacturer
One of the most frequent SEO errors e-commerce companies make is using product descriptions provided by the manufacturer rather than creating their own. It can easily lead to duplicate content problems, as other sites may use the same description your supplier gave.
To fix this, it is essential to rewrite each product description and make sure all pieces are unique. Rewriting product descriptions requires minimal effort but can hugely impact your SEO success; in fact, carefully crafted product page copy can result in more backlinks and higher click-through rates from your target audience!
Additionally, don’t forget to add supporting images, videos, and other interactive features (e.g., zoomable photos) that improve the user experience while providing additional visibility opportunities with search engines.
Gosia Hytry, Head of Content, Spacelift
A Lack of Customer Feedback On Products
One of the most common SEO errors in e-commerce websites is little to no product reviews. Customers research products before purchasing them, and one way of determining how a product performs is through reading reviews from other customers. They are a great way for someone to get honest feedback on their personal experience, building credibility. Making sure customers have a way of leaving feedback on merchandise will fix the SEO mishap, driving traffic and positive customer relations.
Chris Coote, Founder & CEO, California Honey Vapes
Not Having a FAQ Page
Not having a FAQ page is a common mistake. Though many companies assume they have answered questions throughout their site, they need a dedicated page. Brainstorm any questions customers may have and answer them thoroughly with unique and useful content. Long-tail keywords, more specifically tailored and usually longer than typically used ones, think “nursing support for young moms” instead of just “nursing.” An FAQ page is an essential part of your e-commerce website and will help you realize your SEO dreams.
Temoer Terry, Partner, Mommy Care Kit
Not Taking The Time to Optimize Each Product Page
One of the SEO issues we see frequently with e-commerce stores is a large number of pages with thin content-often auto-generated pages. This can happen when brands bulk upload products all at once without taking the time to optimize each product page, add good content, and ensure it has been looked over and edited by a real person.
This can really weigh a site down and affect the SEO considerably. The best fix for this problem is to invest the time and effort required to ensure every e-commerce product page adds real value to shoppers, is properly formatted, and doesn’t just contain copy/pasted manufacturer specifications. This is a time-consuming process, but the long-term SEO benefits can be considerable.
Ryan Turner, Founder, EcommerceIntelligence.com
Building Links to the Domain of Your Shop Instead of Your Website
Building links to the domain of your shop instead of your website is a common SEO error in an e-commerce website because it can lead to dilution of link equity.
When links are distributed across multiple subdomains, this dilution occurs, making it harder for search engines to understand which subdomain is the authoritative source of information. This can make it more difficult for search engines to understand which page is the most relevant to a given search query, and ultimately can lead to lower search engine rankings.
To fix this issue, you can redirect all links from your shop domain to your website domain. This is typically done using a 301 redirect, which tells search engines that the shop domain has permanently moved to the website domain. That way, you ensure link equity and link signals are passed on.
Additionally, it’s important to consolidate all the content from your shop domain to your website domain and make sure that your internal links use the correct domain.
Piotrek Sosnowski, Chief People & Culture Officer, HiJunior
Missing or Incomplete Meta Tags
Missing or incomplete meta tags: Inadequate or missing product information, including title tags, meta descriptions, and product photos, is, in my opinion, one of the most typical causes of search engine optimization problems on an online retail store’s website. Because of this, it may be difficult for search engines to comprehend the information included on your sites and to index them accurately. To fix this issue, check that each product page contains comprehensive and correct information. This material should consist of well-written and original product descriptions, photographs of high quality, and relevant meta tags.
Hamza Usmani, Head of content, SEO-Audits.io
Failure to Perform Proper Keyword Mapping
Keyword mapping is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of SEO strategy. It consists of determining for which keywords a page should be optimized. In an e-commerce site, it is important to correctly assign the keywords, taking into account the search intent. Deciding which keywords to target for each category, product, or item is a complex task that is often done incorrectly.
Marco Genaro Palma, SEO Consultant, Genaro Palma
Lack of Keyword-friendly URLs
One of the most common SEO errors in an e-commerce website is the lack of keyword-friendly URLs. This issue can be fixed by making sure that each page of the e-commerce website has a unique, keyword-rich URL. This means that each page should include keywords relevant to the content on the page and the products or services offered on the website. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the URLs are both short and descriptive. This will help search engines easily and quickly index the pages and rank them accordingly.
Jaya Iyer, Marketing Assistant, Teranga Digital Marketing
Failing to Include Category Pages in the XML Sitemap
One of the most common SEO errors in an e-commerce website is failing to include product or category pages in the XML sitemap. This results in search engines not being able to properly index the website, which can lead to lower rankings and traffic. Category pages are important because they help search engines as well as visitors understand what products and services your website offers.
Optimize the category page by choosing a keyword or phrase that describes the products or services in that category. Then, use that keyword or phrase throughout the page, including in the title, headings, and body text. Be sure to also include relevant images and product links.
Finally, add all product and category pages to your XML sitemap and resubmit it to search engines. This will ensure that your content is properly indexed and that your e-commerce website can rank as high as possible in search results.
Dhiren Mulani, SEO Consultant, Dhiren Mulani
Category and Tag Pages Set to Index
Having many category and tag pages set to index is one of the most common SEO mistakes in an e-commerce website.
This might happen when a website has a significant number of categories and tags (perhaps for different clothing sizes and colors) that are all set to be indexed by search engines. This might result in a large number of low-quality pages, diluting the authority of the website and making it more difficult for search engines to identify and rank the site’s significant pages.
To prevent search engines from indexing low-value category and tag sites, utilize a robots.txt file or meta robots tags. Additionally, to prevent these pages from being indexed, put the “noindex” meta tag on them. This can help you restrict the number of indexed pages on your site and make it easier for search engines to identify and rank your important pages.
Jason Moss, President & Co-Founder, Moss Technologies
Canonicalising Paginated Pages to the First Page
An error that too many e-commerce sites fall into is canonicalizing their paginated pages to the first page. It’s often due to a misconception or misunderstanding that paginated pages are viewed as duplicate content. This isn’t the case, and in fact, canonicalizing them to the first page can stop products on those paginated pages from being crawled. The best way to fix this, or avoid it in the first place is to ensure all paginated pages have a self-referencing canonical.
Edward Roberts, SEO Specialist, Page Not Found
Shopify is a great platform if you know what you’re doing. It is easy to launch a brand, track sales, and fulfill orders.
The one caveat is that it is not SEO-friendly. It’s difficult to customize as a web designer unless you know how to code; every collection page has “/collections/” in the URL slug, every blog has “/blog/news/” in the URL slug, and Shopify automatically fills out metadata and skews based on product names. These are not huge issues, but it makes the platform not very friendly from an SEO perspective.
I recommend trying WooCommerce on a WordPress website. WordPress is much easier to customize and there is a bunch of free information available on YouTube.\
Nick Varga, Chief Riding Officer, ERide Journal
Broken links increase the bounce rate on your e-commerce website, thus robbing your business of many customers who can’t get redirected to the pages they want when they click on the links on your site. To fix this, I recommend using SEOAnt. Our app allows you to track in bulk all broken links on your site and get daily reports on them. You can edit the errors in bulk, thus reducing the time it takes to fix each broken link manually. With SEOAnt, you can also download reports in CSV and XLS files to easily share with your team and stay on top of your e-commerce website’s broken link detection efforts.
Alvin Wei, Co-Founder and CMO, SEOAnt
Letting Software Generate the Title Tags for You
The most common SEO error on an e-commerce website is letting the software of the website builder generate the title tags for you, without any enhancements on your part.
The best thing is to go in and, at the very least, add more keywords to the auto-generated title tag, optimizing the page for the handful of keywords that you want that page to rank for. No matter how big the site is, you want to manually go into every category page and all your main product pages and tweak those title tags to make them better.
Boyd Norwood, VP Marketing, Nozzle
Insufficiently Detailed Structure of Product Categories
Category pages receive the most traffic from high-frequency queries. If the structure of the site is poorly developed, then it has a much smaller number of landing pages that can bring in organic traffic.
Of the possible 100% of the potential traffic, a poorly structured site receives only about 50%, or even less. For example, if an online store sells shoes and has only the category “Sneakers” without further dividing the category into smaller groups of products (e.g., using subcategories or filters), then such a site misses traffic on groups of search queries such as gender, brand, size, season, etc.
To optimize the structure, it is worth first analyzing the structure of niche leaders. If they have landing pages that are not on our site, then such pages should be created (if our inventory includes those products). Netpeak Spider can help you to check any website structure and see what deployment solutions work best.
Vira Shkrebtsova, PR Specialist, Netpeak Software
Not Optimizing Images Properly
Think about when people are looking for something specific, but they don’t know exactly how to search for it or the style/type of product they want. They may type a string of words into Google, and instead of clicking every link they see on the “All Results” page, they may go over to “Images” or “Shopping.”
When designing your website, you or your designer should put themselves in the place of that potential customer and use the Image Alt Text area (the text that is typically shown for accessibility purposes or if, for some reason, the image doesn’t load) to describe the product using specific keywords. This way, Google recognizes the product and its qualities and it will be shown on the Images and Shopping tabs of search results.
Beyond that, your image files should be titled appropriately as well. A string of letters and numbers followed by .jpg or .png is impossible for Google to recognize. Instead, a descriptive name of your product with hyphens (-) separating the words is best.
Alina Scarcella, Business Systems Integrator & Web Designer, Alina Scarcella
Lack of Detail and Targeted Keywords in The Product Description
One of the most common (and easily fixable) SEO errors I have come across with DIY e-commerce websites is the lack of detail and targeted keywords in the product description. A scary amount of small business owners repeat manufacturers’ details or add a very small amount of unemotional and non-descriptive content. I always encourage my clients to dive deep into the customer’s psyche and create content that will trigger their emotions. Along with this, a well-planned SEO approach to keyword research is imperative.
Greer Rowley, Digital Marketing Specialist, Zel Designs
Adding trailing slashes at the end of URLs is one of the most common SEO mistakes, and it is also the easiest to fix. Most web frameworks render a webpage the same with or without trailing slashes, but Google considers them as different URLs and marks them as duplicate content. The fix is to stick to one slash (or no slash) and redirect.
Siddhartha Gunti, Co-founder, Adaface