Real Life E-Commerce SEO Case Study: Part 1 – The Site Audit

The first in our series of a real-life SEO case study for an E-Commerce website.  Showing you our step-by-step approach

SEO is a complicated beast.  Our clients trust us to optimise their site and deliver more business, but exactly how do we do it?  This the first part of our blog series on a real-life, actual e-commerce website – a site trading astrology and personalised pagan-themed items.

The SEO Site Audit

The first action we take is to run an SEO site audit.  This allows us to assess how the site is technically built, how it performs, and what major errors we will need to concern ourselves with.  Without knowing how good a site is now, we can’t improve it.  Site Audits also give us a marker, a staging post, just to know how effective our SEO efforts have been.

First SEO Impressions

seo site audit 1

Scary graphs!  Our site audit looks complicated and technical but breaks down into easy-to-use sections.  Everything is split into errors, warnings, and notices.  Some of the numbers may look large (this site has about 400 pages) but if there’s one error on every page, it will count things 400 times.  It soon adds up.  We can also use our own experience to know what is important what is not.  Despite the numbers, 77% isn’t that bad for a first run.  We’ll break this down.

SEO Errors – the big hitters

seo site audit - errors

The 68 SEO errors split out to:

  • Duplicate title tags – these are pages with the same page title, a bit SEO no-no as the search engines won’t know what page(s) to index for which topic
  • Slow load speed – the faster a page loads the higher it will rank, simple
  • Duplicate content – Google hates duplication, each page should have rich unique content
  • Broken Links and 404 errors – sites won’t rank well if they are broken, so these errors will need to be fixed

SEO Warnings and Notices

As we get further into the audit, the items become less important.  However, for good SEO rankings, we should attend to as many things as we can.

seo site audit warnings notices

Yikes!  So we have a lot of information here to look into.  The main areas of concern are:

  • Low HTML ratios and page content – pages with small amounts of words vs text aren’t going to rank as well as rich, detailed pages on other sites
  • Duplicate tags – again as with Errors, search engines hate dupes for SEO, including the godly H1 tags
  • Redirections – a startling number of pages redirect, which is bad as the search engines don’t know which pages to list
  • 3 clicks or more – a golden rule in SEO land is that a page must be easy to find.  If it takes lots of clicks to get to it, that is an SEO no-no

How fast is your site?

The next step in our audit is page speed.  The faster a site loads, the more likely it is to rank for SEO, especially on small screen devices.  We use a variety of tools, and often these run in parallel with the issues above.  For this site, we have 87% on desktop and 44% on mobile.  Mobile indexes are usually primary with SEO, due to the devices being preferred to desktops for most industries.


The Next Steps for good SEO

So, knowing what is wrong with a site, we need to come up with a plan of fixing the issues with it.  These combine technical, creative, and content strategies which we will cover in Part 2 of this series.