If left untended, things fall apart. It happens to everything – including eCommerce stores.
Without regular upkeep, links can break, content can become out-dated, and categories can end up disorganised. This can result in frustration for your customers, and you may well see your traffic and SEO ranking start to drop.
Fortunately, a little bit of maintenance here and there can keep things on track, and you’ll find that looking after your store as you go involves a lot less trouble than trying to patch up a site left to languish.
Here’s our checklist of SEO tasks site owners should undertake on a monthly basis to keep your store in tip-top shape.
- Check for broken links
No one likes a 404 page. Make sure your store is free of them by using Google’s Search Console to check for “crawl errors”.
Tabbing to the “Crawl” subsection will give you a list of URLs that are no longer working – perhaps they’re links to products that have been removed, sales pages that have been taken down, or even links from before you transitioned to your Kong site.
Once you have your list, you can update or remove your outgoing links accordingly. If you’re an advanced user, try using Screaming Frog to unearth broken links.
- Look for duplicate tags
When you run an eCommerce store, chances are you’ll be selling products with similar names or writing blog posts about similar topics.
This makes it all too easy to unwittingly duplicate page titles and metadata descriptions – something that can affect your search rankings.
In Google’s Search Console, head to “Search Appearance” and then “HTML Improvements”. You’ll find a list of pages with title tags or meta descriptions that are duplicates, or that are too long or too short.
Now all you need to do is go in and make some tweaks to fix them up.
- Proofread for typos
Typos happen, even – or perhaps especially – in the age of autocorrect. They might seem like small fry, but typos and spelling errors can affect branding, SEO and even traffic conversions.
Use CheckDog to run a spellcheck on your store. It’ll highlight typos, and can also be taught to ignore or “learn” certain terms or phrases.
- Monitor your inbound links
Sure, we all google ourselves, but keeping an eye on your inbound links is actually a good idea.
It’s a good way to see what people are saying about your store – letting you share around praise or take action accordingly – and it’ll also help you weed out any unwanted or spam links that might be affecting your store’s SEO.
- Try to speed things up
Slow-loading websites frustrate users and aren’t much liked by search engines, either.
Kong users won’t have to do anything here, as our team regularly makes speed-boosting tweaks to platform’s code. But if you’re not a Kong user, look at adjusting your site for speedier load times. Image compression, good quality hosting and streamlined code can all help.
- Check for repeated content
You’ve already looked for duplication at the meta level, but spend some time checking for doubled up content elsewhere on your site.
URLprofiler.com is a handy tool for seeing whether you’ve repeated yourself in your product descriptions, or you can opt for a manual approach by using a simple Google search.
Note that many Content Management Systems automatically create duplicate content – if this is the case for yours, you’ll need to keep on top of it.
Internal duplication can be easily fixed up, while external duplication – other sites using your content – can be reported.
- Hunt for blank pages
A blank page doesn’t have much in the way of SEO value, so you’ll want to weed these out or add content to them.
Use ScreamingFrog to identify blank pages on your site store – you’ll usually find that category pages are the culprits – or search your site for empty <div> tags.
- Study your analytics data
Your analytics data will give you valuable insight into your traffic trends. If certain pages are showing a drop in traffic, then it’s worth investigating why. Perhaps you’ve removed any links to them, or something has happened to result in a search engine penalisation, or the page has been removed altogether.
- Clean up seasonal content and landing page
If you’re adding new pages for seasonal or one-time promotions, you’ll find that your site can grow at a rapid clip.
Problems can occur when your site is flush with no longer relevant seasonal pages, or if you’re running a Pay-Per-Click campaign linking to these pages long after their use-by date.
You can keep on top of these issues by monitoring your store’s sitemap and making adjustments as needed.
- Update your sitemaps
Often sitemaps are automatically updated, but if yours aren’t, ensure that your latest version has been submitted to Google – this will help Google’s bots know to crawl your site to index any new content.
They say that a stitch in time saves nine, and that’s definitely true for an eCommerce store. Taking a little bit of time out each month to tend to your site will work wonders for your SEO, and will ensure that your site remains orderly and well-maintained.