Growth Hacking
Jun 4, 2021

Technical SEO Best Practices for Ecommerce Sites

Madeline Ury

There are so many SEO best practices out there that are important to learn. There are also specific practices that work best for different types of online content. Maybe you’re familiar with SEO best practices for blogs or YouTube videos, but what about technical SEO practices for ecommerce sites? It’s a whole new set of practices -- don’t worry, there are plenty of similarities, too!

But what exactly is an ecommerce website? Let’s refresh.

Ecommerce (short for electronic commerce) websites involve sales transactions on the internet. Basically, any product or service you can shop for and pay for online is considered ecommerce! It started out with Ebay and Amazon, but these days, most of your favorite stores have online stores, too. Over time, ecommerce has been revolutionized and made to be a safe and convenient way to shop.

You can even shop for groceries online and purchase experiences -- say you’re headed on vacation and want to book some excursions in advance! You can book it instantly, and the transaction is quick and simple.

an ecommerce website that sells clothes and accessories
Building an ecommerce site is easy, as long as you take all of these best practices into account!

Building an ecommerce site is pretty easy, too -- you can enlist a website developer to bring your ideas to life, or do it yourself! The first thing you need to do is decide exactly what you’ll be selling and narrow down your target audience so you can create an ecommerce site that will really benefit them. Along with technical SEO best practices for your site, which we’ll get into in a minute, your ecommerce site should have:

  • High-quality images of products
  • Detailed descriptions
  • Terms and conditions of the sales
  • Prices
  • A live chat feature for assisting customers
  • Tracking numbers

So how can you apply technical SEO best practices in conjunction with the elements above to develop a successful ecommerce website? Let’s discuss all of the practices you can implement to take your ecommerce to the next level!

Technical SEO Practices for Ecommerce

two screens represent an ecommerce transaction, exchanging a credit card (money) for goods
Ecommerce makes shopping and obtaining product information easier than ever.

With ecommerce sites, you want to provide Google with accurate product information. When you do so, Google can display product ratings, reviews, prices, stock levels, and more in order for it to show up in search results, therefore increasing traffic to the website. It’s essential for ecommerce sites to provide this information to Google, and there’s a few ways to do it with these practices!

First, what are technical SEO practices?

Technical SEO practices optimize your ecommerce site for the interpretation phase. Google does the interpreting -- further discussed in the next section -- by pulling information and data from your site in order to help it appear when searched by consumers.

Understand which data Google can get, and which data you need to provide

Google Analytics
Google is a very intuitive search engine, but you still need to provide some extra information!

Of course, Google is a very smart platform and it can pull some information on it’s own. However, there is data on product pages that Google is unable to pull from ecommerce sites, which you will need to provide. This data includes:

  • Prices: Is there a discount? If so, how does it compare to the original price?
  • Related Products: Compare with actual products being sold.
  • Extra Costs: Don’t just provide the price, but taxes and shipping, too.

You can provide this information by using structured data or Google Merchant Center, in which you can manually submit or upload data.

Monitor your significant content

an example of a blocked page on an ecommerce site, where the graph shows decreasing traffic over time
Here we can see an example of a blocked page, and how it drives less traffic over time. Image courtesy of Sanborn Marketing.

In order to keep track of updates and additions to your ecommerce website, a bot “crawls” the site to alert search engines of these changes. You can monitor this by instructing these bots of which pages they should check on your site, and which they can ignore.

This is an important step to take because some pages may be blocked. To determine which pages are blocked and fix the problem, you can use Google Search Console. There, you’ll enter your domain or URL, check the coverage report and extended URLs, and search the “blocked by Robot.txt” error -- all fixed!

Secure your site

an example of a secure versus insecure browser, indicated by a lock icon or warning sign
Search engines are encouraging ecommerce sites to switch to HTTPS -- it helps with security and sales. Image courtesy of Elevated Internet Marketing.

Securing your ecommerce site is an essential step. Google can’t prioritize your site and rank it at the top of search results if there are security issues. That’s not at all helpful to the people searching for it! Search engines care more about providing searchers with a simple experience, so basically, if your site is not secure Google will just prioritize another one that can get the job done for the consumer.

Fortunately, you can easily make your ecommerce site secure by upgrading from “HTTP” to “HTTPS.” Not only is HTTPS great for security purposes, but it helps your search engine ranking -- it’s a win-win.

It’s easy to tell whether or not your website is secure. There will be a little lock icon next to the URL in the search bar if it is secure, or some sort of warning if it is not. Regardless, switch from HTTP to HTTPS -- it can only help your business, and that’s the goal here!

Create a sitemap

an ecommerce website
A sitemap will only improve the search engine’s ability to “crawl” your ecommerce site for important data and updates!

A sitemap makes it easier for search engines to navigate your ecommerce content. In simple terms, a sitemap is a file you create with information about everything on your website, including information about how they relate to each other.

Once Google has this information, it’s much easier to “crawl” the site, like we talked about earlier -- and an important step in updating search engines about changes to your website! Using a sitemap, you can make it clear to any search engine which pages are most important for your site, how often pages are updated, and other details of that nature.

Not every ecommerce site absolutely needs a sitemap, but it really can’t hurt. This is especially true if your website is large or if it’s somewhat new.

The bottom line?

The entire goal of ecommerce is profit. How do you earn those profits? By consumers finding your website at the top of search results, and then being inclined to click on it. Taking these extra steps in the form of technical SEO best practices will make consumers’ lives a lot easier because your content will match what they’re searching and your site will be the first thing they see -- another win for everyone.

All of these technical SEO best practices may sound intimidating, but much like online shopping in itself, creating and managing a successful ecommerce website gets easier with time. That’s what these best practices are for -- to make it easier on you, and make your online store successful! Implementing these strategies will only elevate your business, whether it’s a large and established ecommerce site or one that is just getting started.