May 14, 2013 by stevenmacdonald
Most e-commerce stores are losing out in online sales by not ensuring their website is visible in Google’s search results. Our latest research, based on more than 10 websites in Norway, indicates that a website with 10,000 visits per month could be missing out on approx. $100,000-$120,000 in revenue per year.
An SEO audit is a quick way to find out if your store is losing money. This blog post will cover three important areas of SEO. These three areas of SEO affect 95% of websites:
• Accessibility & Indexation
• Site Architecture & Duplicate Content
• On-site Optimization
By not implementing SEO best practices, your potential customers will be buying from your competitors.
Accessibility and Indexation
If Google cannot access or index your website, then Google and search engines will be not be able to rank your website for key terms and pages. Using Google Webmaster Tools, you are able to identify the number of crawl errors and therefore limit the number of issues reported to Google and preserve your authority.
In Google Webmaster tools you will find the following report under Health and Crawl Errors. As a webmaster, your goal will be to reduce these crawl errors to zero. With zero crawl errors, Google will have no issues in finding your website.
Once you have reduced the number of crawl errors found on your website, Google will find and index your website. Having your website indexed by Google means that your website or webpage will be listed in the search results.
Case Study: Improve web traffic by making the site accessible
SuperOffice, Europe’s leader in CRM launched a new global website in January 2012. The launch led to a huge increase in crawl errors reported by webmaster tools. By fixing the issues, such as 404 pages and broken links, web traffic has increased by more than 64%.
Site architecture and duplicate content
Best practice SEO suggests that key content such as products should not be more than three clicks away from the home page. By making sure your website and URL structure is user friendly, web visitors are more likely to buy from you.
Ecommerce stores more often than not implement overly-dynamic URL structures. Overly dynamic URLs are not user friendly and commonly result in duplicate content due to multiple versions of a product or numerous entry points. Below is an example of an overly dynamic URL and duplicate content:
This means that Google is not sure which page to display in the search results. In order to identify the number of duplicate content issues found on your website, you can find the following report in Google Webmaster Tools under Optimization and HTML Improvements.
To address duplicate content for your Ecommerce store, you can implement rel=canonical. By doing so, you are clearly specifying to search engines which pages to display in the search results.
Case study: Increase organic traffic by making the URL structure user-friendly
In July 2012, Atoll Paradise implemented a more user-friendly URL structure instead of displaying sessions ID’s. The result was immediate with organic web traffic increasing by more 350% and an increase in conversion rate by 30%.
On-site optimization plays a key part in any website. By following best practice you are able to tailor your website for searchers and capture high quality traffic. On-site optimization consists of the following (in order of importance):
• Title tags
• Header tag (H1 tag)
• Image ALT tag
• Meta description
As a webmaster, you need to make sure each page on your website is unique and not penalized for duplicate content. In the example below, all key on-site optimization elements would need improving.
If you do not make your content unique, the search engine page result (also known as SERPs) will be chosen by Google.
Case study: Improve online sales with on-site optimization
Human translation platform, Gengo recently reported a 200% increase in organic traffic and sales by optimizing their website that included improved page titles, Meta descriptions and keyword targeting. Making your website easy to understand and navigate through is a proven method for online success.
BONUS: Web Analytics Tracking
It is important that you track your data accurately. According to Experian, 92% of business believe that some aspect of their data is flawed.Tracking your online data accurately includes:
• Implementing web analytics (Google Analytics)
• Goal tracking (newsletter sign ups, form completions)
• Event tracking (PDF downloads, video views)
• E-Commerce tracking (order purchase, revenue)
Getting started with Google Analytics is simple and being able to track your online activity allows you to monitor what works for your business. Once you understand how to acquire new business, you can invest more and increase your customer base.
The above recommendations could lead to a potential increase in your online revenue by fixing a few basic best practices. By having a business value, you can now prioritize and get senior management on board for your SEO strategy.
Is there anything else that may have been missed when it comes to addressing key problem areas on a website? Feel free to comment below.
About Steven: Steven Macdonald has been working with online marketing since 2005. Experienced in online gaming and travel, Steven is currently working on global SEO with SuperOffice CRM and regularly contributes to the Tribes blog.