The Ultimate Ecommerce SEO Checklist For 2023

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    SEO is always evolving and the practice of appealing to Google’s myriad algorithms has never been more important — or more challenging. Whether you’re looking to increase your number of site visitors or improve your rankings, the start of a new year is the perfect time to reevaluate your SEO strategy to drive more organic traffic and survive Google’s inevitable algorithm updates.

    Here are some of the top ecommerce SEO tasks you should consider doing.

    Why are SEO updates important?

    SEO continues to change every year and while many of Google’s updates will be barely perceptible, if you’re not on top of best practices this even a small algorithm change can very quickly affect your site’s rankings. What’s more, Google periodically releases major updates that have a significant impact on the SEO community: for example, the 2021 Panda update hit sites with low quality content, content mismatching, lack of authority, and more.

    To get the most out of your efforts and keep your site competitive, it’s essential to keep on top of your SEO requirements. Maintaining a regularly updated website has many advantages for growth and visibility, even though it may seem like a never-ending task (in truth, it is). 

    Top SEO tips for 2023

    So, what can you do to improve your SEO for 2023? From on-page SEO to technical SEO, keeping your website as optimized as possible requires regular check-ins and updates. You don’t need to completely overhaul your strategy to see results, but adapting to new changes will keep your ecommerce store on track and even give it a much-needed boost so 2023 becomes your best sales year. Here are our SEO tips for 2023:

    Verify your website on Google Console

    If you haven’t already, make sure your website is set up on Google Console and Google Analytics. It’s a free service that provides valuable information around page impressions, search queries, errors, and overall performance that can be used to improve the quality of your site and help it grow.

    All you need to do is create an account and verify your web properties, which will only take a few minutes. Once you’re all set up, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner! It’s essential to have a good understanding of your site’s overall performance — including what products are performing well, where your organic traffic is coming from, and so on — as it enables you to spot trends, identify opportunities, and address any issues. 

    Don’t forget about site speed

    Have you considered site speed? If not, now is the time to review this. A simple site speed test will give you insight into how quickly your pages run, and if they’re on the sluggish side, there are plenty of actions you can take to speed them up: for instance, cleaning up any messy or excessive backend code, compressing image files, and reviewing any bulky plugins your site might be using. 

    You should also take a look at your hosting provider, as this will have a huge impact on your site’s loading times. Check their average speeds against others in the market, and opt for an ecommerce-specific hosting solution — Cloudways has a dedicated ecommerce hosting package — to ensure your online store is not only fast to load, but secure

    Why is speed so important? Well, it’s an important ranking factor, and a key component of Google’s user experience (UX) metrics known as Core Web Vitals. Not to mention, as an ecommerce business, your customers are far less likely to convert if they have to wait for pages to load — research has shown that 0-4 seconds is optimal for conversion rates.

    Ensure your site is mobile-friendly 

    It’s projected that by 2025, mobile ecommerce sales will account for over 44% of all ecommerce retail sales, so it goes without saying that ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly is essential in 2023 and beyond. You can do this by opting for a responsive mobile-optimized design and focusing on key elements such as font size, spacing, scrolling capability, and ease of navigation. Shoppers behave differently on mobile than on a desktop, for example — they’re likely more time- and attention-limited — so you need to consider this.

    Websites that are deemed by search engines to be ‘mobile-friendly’, on the whole, will outrank those that aren’t — so yes, mobile-friendliness is considered a key ranking factor: in fact, Google’s mobile-first index means that the search engine is beginning to primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank its pages and understand its structured data, so it’s imperative that the mobile version of your site is up-to-scratch. 

    Simplifying your checkout process is one way to optimize your site for mobile users. Rather than presenting your customers with lengthy forms and multiple steps — which could result in cart abandonment — keep things clean, simple, and uncluttered.

    Create content that is topic-focused rather than keyword-focused

    There’s a lot that goes on between someone finding a product they like and actually purchasing it. Often, users will return to a page several times before actually making an order, conducting their own research around the item to help make their decision — especially if the purchase is something a littler pricier such as television or an item of furniture. This means, of course, that you need to be a little more persuasive with your content.

    Adding a blog page to your ecommerce website can be a great resource for your customers, but it’s also a great way to generate more organic traffic by including specific long-tail keywords. But instead of focusing just on keyword-based content, try writing blogs that are topic-based: content that is stuffed with keywords and doesn’t provide any genuine value won’t perform well in search engine results pages (particularly since Google’s recent Helpful Content Update). To help explore relevant topics to cover, tools such as Answer the Public are useful for understanding what people are actually searching for.

    Make accessibility a priority

    Google wants to make sure that every user, including those with disabilities who might require more information to understand a web page, is catered for. This means that your SEO strategy needs to include accessibility as a priority — if it doesn’t already. 

    Adding alt text to your images is a simple yet effective way of being more inclusive on your site: this benefits Google image searches (as it helps Google understand the content of an image) but also users with visual impairments who may use a screen-reading tool. Also important is using a clear and organized layout for your pages so your content is more scannable. 

    Not only will this help you grow your consumer base by ensuring everyone is catered for, but because of Google’s commitment to accessibility — it will improve your search rankings, too.

    Increase your number of backlinks

    Over time, gaining high-quality backlinks can make a big difference to your site’s SEO ranking, as they effectively represent a ‘vote of confidence’ from one site to another. A backlink is simply a link from another site to your own, and having several of these sends a signal to Google and other search engines that your content is valuable. 

    The more backlinks your site has (providing those backlinks come from reputable sources) the quicker you’re likely to move up the rankings and build organic traffic. 

    Performing a competitor link analysis using a tool like Ahrefs allows you to find sites that commonly link to websites similar to yours. From here you can approach them for a guest post (ensuring you include a backlink to your product, of course) and gradually increase your number of inbound links. 

    This also stresses the importance of ensuring your own content is valuable. The more ‘helpful’ your content is, the more likely other sites are to link to it since it will be useful for their own visitors. 

    SEO is something that no website owner should ignore, especially when it comes to ecommerce. By keeping your website optimized and implementing updates when needed, you’ll find it much easier to increase your ranking and secure valuable sales that help your business grow.

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