Without a doubt, online sales are leading the way. What started as occasional shopping for better prices online has flat-out expanded to even ordering groceries online. Having that said, online stores pop-up all the time. Whereas a physical-location store competes in its own region, an online store has to worry not only about competition in their vicinity – but about almost any store selling similar items online. That is the reason why any business owner has to pay sound attention to professional e-commerce website audit.
Where to start with website audit?
A surprising amount of online stores manage to function without any sense of marketing direction, aside from gaining clicks through Google AdSense or similar platforms. And this perhaps is the main reason why their existence is short-lived.
Since there’s no point in following their footsteps, let’s approach e-commerce from a more analytical perspective.
Start with an SEO audit
Regardless of whether you receive your traffic from paid search engine marketing or organic search results, a thorough and frequent SEO audit will allow you to cut down on unnecessary spending. Moreover, you will be able to pinpoint keywords and phrases, which give you the best ROI. SEO audits can be broken down into two parts: the technical and context-oriented.
The technical part of the website audit requires some SEO knowledge. Here is a list of things to verify:
- meta tags on all product pages
- proper mobile and desktop rendering
- speed of page rendering
- utilizing cache and minifying scripts
- proper sitemap.xml
- choosing canononical URLs
- submission to Google Search Console
The context-oriented part focuses more on what’s inside the page: text, graphics, keywords and etc. A good idea would be to start with the following:
- eliminating non-converting, paid keywords from SEM
- utilizing Keyword Planner (from Google) to analyze and select better keywords for SEM and future articles/blog posts
- checking up on product descriptions and tags – make sure none are missing!
With all these in mind, a basic SEO checkup, especially when conducted frequently, will allow us to optimize our store.
Analyze your competition
If you’re competing against a larger company, there’s a high chance that they’ve done their homework when it comes to general trends and digital marketing. It never hurts to learn a thing or two.
Consider analyzing the following:
- What is their niche?
- What is their demographic target?
- Why would someone purchase from them, rather than from you?
- What could you do in order to keep your customers loyal to your store?
- Seasonality: for example, do you notice certain items sold at specific intervals?
Having that said, it might be a good idea to create a SWOT analysis for yourself versus the competition. This will allow you to better see where you can fill in the gap when it comes to your online offer. As it is visible, the competition's website audit should be your priority.
Finish by analyzing your own content
It’s common knowledge that engaging users with proper content bring traffic to the site. However, not all traffic is equal. Consider the following:
- Does your blog bring traffic to your website?
- Do your texts bring actual conversions?
- Where does your traffic originate from?
If you are not able to answer the questions above, it might be a good idea to get acquainted with Google Analytics, Matomo or Yandex Metrica. The platforms outlined above will allow you to pinpoint whether your blog is bringing in the right traffic: who is reading your texts, how your potential customers are interacting with your site, and most importantly – what makes them purchase a product from you. Conversely, you might want to check behavioural patterns and see what causes your visitors to leave your store. Sometimes it might be a small aspect which you can correct in just a few clicks. That is why not only the website audit is needed- check your blog with due care and remember- content is the king!
Combine knowledge & implement changes
With all the analysis complete and SEO checkup done, it’s time to implement what we’ve learned.
- Utilize new keywords from Keyword Planner in your product descriptions and blog posts.
- Target your customers with a unique, niche offer based on analysis.
- Expand your organic traffic by conducting regular SEO audits & adjustments.