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How To Do Technical SEO For Ecommerce Websites

Technical SEO is a crucial part for ecommerce stores. Improve your online store's visibility and generate more sales with these SEO tips.

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seo for e commerce

Over the past two years, several businesses have been moving to online models due to changing market conditions.

Competition is heating up quickly in many sectors.

Some businesses performed well with out-of-the-box templates and ecommerce solutions. But with so much competition in search, you need to provide the best user experiences possible.

At some point, you’ll have to wade into the technical side of your website to avoid errors that can hurt search performance, especially if you’re thinking about migrating your site or moving away from out-of-the-box services.

Although you can run even large ecommerce stores on platforms like Shopify, you should still take time to understand the technical tasks those platforms do for you.

A crucial part of this is technical SEO for ecommerce stores, which falls into two areas: technical proficiency and technical optimization.

Website Architecture & URL Structures

I use the term architecture versus site structure, as structure often leads to people focusing on URL structure only.

The idea site architecture should follow that of a standard catalog.

Catalogs have been around for centuries.

If you go back more than 100 years and look at the classic Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogs of the 19th century, very little has changed in how we structure offline catalogs and even our ecommerce websites today.

Years of repetition have effectively trained users into familiarity with this format, so following a simple site structure of:

Homepage > Categories > Sub-Categories > Products

It is something users are familiar with and makes logical sense. It should then transcend into your URL structure, which should be consistent and descriptive of the page (for users).

Products should also sit on their own category agnostic subfolder, meaning you can pull them into various relevant categories without creating product page duplication.

For example:

  • Category Page: example.com/category
  • Subcategory Page: example.com/category/niche-1
  • Product Page: example.com/p/product-name or website.com/products/product-name

From experience, trying to keyword stuff ecommerce URLs isn’t a “needle-moving” tactic.

If you take leading ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Salesforce Commerce Cloud, they force URL structures on you that include subfolders and product SKUs. And these websites can compete just as well with any other.

Sitemaps (XML & HTML) And Google Search Console Setup

An HTML sitemap may not be strictly necessary for ecommerce websites to function, but they’re a good idea. HTML sitemaps can allow for better internal linking to category and subcategory pages. They help track and organize your pages and help users navigate your site.

It’s also not imperative to have an XML sitemap, but they can help Google with URL discovery.

And when you crawl your URLs connected to the Search Console Inspection API, you can also identify potential issues (e.g., a category page only being found via XML sitemap and not through internal linking).

To get better (less filtered) data and more insights into the quality of your pages, you can:

  • Submit structured XML sitemaps to Google Search Console
  • Add a Google Search Console property for each subfolder branch on your website: yoursite.com/clothing, for example.

This data can help you identify whether you need to improve the value proposition and quality of certain category, subcategory, and product pages.

You can also incorporate a form of XML sitemap into your homepage design to provide a natural crawl path to pass PageRank from the homepage to categories and subcategories without spammy lists of links, like this example from the MoneySupermarket.com homepage:

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