The Comprehensive eCommerce Website Audit Guide
Running an eCommerce website comes with a huge amount of logistical and administrative duties:
- Keeping an eye on SEO
- Ensuring the checkout process is smooth
- Making sure your website is mobile-friendly
- Checking your conversion rates to ensure visitors become customers
- And so much more
With so much to keep track of, we at JobHouse decided to put together a comprehensive guide that eCommerce companies can use to audit their website and make sure everything is up-to-speed.
How to Use this Guide
This guide is broken up into four sections. Each highlights a different aspect of your website that you can audit. And they are meant to each stand alone so you can do each audit individually, rather than having to do the entire thing at once.
We appreciate how little time you have, so our goal is to make this guide in a way that you can open it, work through one section and then come back later when you have time to continue. But we want each section to provide value in itself so every small step improves your website.
The Purpose of this Guide
The goal of this guide is to help you do two key things for your eCommerce website:
- Increase the amount of qualified traffic that comes into your website, and
- Increase the conversion of visitors into engaged customers
A note about the two bolded words. We want to emphasize that our goal is to get you qualified traffic, not just random visitors who will bounce away and hurt your SEO. There are many “hacks” and “shortcuts” that can drive traffic. But in the end they will hurt you more than help.
As to engaged customers, we want you to not only make a sale, but to make a sale that will lead to additional sales.
Those two aspects are critical in understanding our guide.
With that said, let’s begin.
Section 1: Mobile-friendly Audit
One of the quickest wins for your site is to make sure it is mobile-friendly. With the vast amount of browsing (and shopping) being done on smartphones, if your site doesn’t work well on mobile, then you are leaving money on the table.
Plus, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly makes Google like you more. So mobile design impacts SEO as well.
With that said, let’s jump in.
Related Article: How to Determine if Your Website is Mobile Optimized
Step 1: Determine Your Score
Enter your website URL and click “ANALYZE”
Make sure “MOBILE” is selected, and check your score in the center of your screen.
If your score is:
- RED: Then continue with the Mobile-friendly audit, you’ve got some serious issues to tend to
- YELLOW: You should probably do the audit, especially if you are below 80.
- GREEN: Continue with the audit if you have free time, but it isn’t probably worth your effort if there are other pressing needs.
Step 2: Checking Your Weak Points
If you scroll down, you will see a list of issues under Opportunities and Diagnostics that are causing your site to run slowly on mobile devices. You can expand any section and click Learn more to get details on how to fix the issues. Speaking of which…
Step 3: Getting it Fixed
This next step is completely dependent on your website setup. If you are savvy enough to edit your own website, refer to the Learn more links listed above and get started.
If someone else is responsible for the nuts and bolts of your website, than shoot them this email:
Put the following email template into a callout box.
Hi [name of person responsible for your website],
I just ran our website through Google’s tool at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
A few issues popped up when I did it. Could you go to the link above, run the test, and then let me know what you think it would take to resolve the issues?
End callout box
And there you go. Your website is now on the path to the mobile friendliness.
Section 2: SEO Audit
In the world of eCommerce, SEO can make you or break you. Doing a comprehensive SEO audit is a guide in and of itself. This goal of this section is to identify any glaring technical errors on your website that will negatively impact your SEO.
Step 1: Get SEO Tool
We recommend Screaming Frog as it has a free version that can get you started (and the paid version isn’t ridiculously expensive). You can download the tool here: https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/
Step 2: Run the Crawl
Enter your web URL and click START
Note: The free trial only covers up to 500 pages. Which may be good enough if you have a small site or if you just want a quick review. But if you have a larger site just know you’ll have to go with the paid version to get the full utility.
Step 3: Check for Errors
The first place to score some quick (and often overlooked) wins is to go to the images tab. Screaming Frog show you which images are too large, missing alt text, or has alt text that is too long.
Once you check your images. We recommend checking the following:
- Meta Keywords
- Meta Descriptions
- Page Titles
- Internal (looks for broken/dead internal links)
- External (looks for broken/dead external links)
These are the most accessible things that you can fix.
Note: You can bulk export all of the issues by using the Bulk Export option at the top. This comes in handy if you want to hand off the work to your web person.
Step 4: Fix The Issues
Unfortunately there is no magical tool for this. If you have someone responsible for tending to these things, then you can export the list (mentioned above) and hand it to them. Otherwise everything is dependent on your website design and CMS. A quick Google search should yield the results. (Though we hope to create additional guides in the months to come.)
>>Need help? Sign up here to get a free audit on us!
Section 3: Internal Search Audit
If people have a hard time finding products on your site, they aren’t going to buy. This section is about checking and improving your internal search bar.
Also, as an added benefit, you will find out more about what your site visitors are looking for, not just what they are buying. And insights like those can help guide your product offerings.
Step 1: Ensure Your Search Bar is Mobile-Friendly
In case you skipped section 1 and jumped straight to this section, we need to point out that your search bar needs to be mobile friendly. If it isn’t, grab whoever is in charge of your website design and tell them to get it done. (Unless it is you…in which case buy yourself your preferred caffeinated beverage of choice and get to it!)
One thing to note, it is often advantageous to put the search bar front and center on your site. Unlike other websites, people often immediately look for the search bar for eCommerce sites. The faster they find it, the faster they buy.
Step 2: Make Sure You are Tracking what People are Searching
No where in the world can you get a better, more convenient source of data about what your customers really want than from looking at the analytics for your website’s internal search feature.
We are going to presume that you are using Google analytics for your website’s analytics. (Because free is hard to beat.)
If that is the case, the fastest path to tracking the internal searches is by following this article by Google: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1012264?hl=en
As mentioned before, if you aren’t savvy with Google Analytics, just send the above article to the person tasked with managing your website and let them handle it.
Step 3: Act on the Analytics
All of the actions you can take on the analytics could be a comprehensive guide by itself (let us know if you’d like it!). That said, we recommend starting with one specific thing:
- Look for your top 10 highest searches
- Pick the one with the highest bounce rate (i.e. the person search, looks at the products, and then leaves without buying)
- Determine WHY
Unlike many of the fixes mentioned in this guide, the corrections here are often as simple as a better or different product description.
While this step seems simplistic, we have found many clients often overlook it.
Section 4: Content Audit
If you have a blog connected to your website, this audit will help you dust it off and make it a lead-generation machine!
Step 1: Find out What Works and What Doesn’t
The first thing you need to do is check engagement of your blog. If you are using a tool like Hubspot or WordPress there are built in-tools to do that.
With Google Analytics you simply need to go to Behavior> Site Content > All Pages. If you do, you’ll get a page similar to this one:
You can sort by page views to get the pages with both the highest and the lowest. Set the time frame for the past year and then determine your highest traffic blog posts and your low-to-no traffic post.
Step 2: Say Farewell to Your Underperformers
Contrary to popular belief, having lots and lots of blog posts doesn’t give you credibility with Google. In fact, Google actually rewards you for:
- Quality over Quantity
- NOT having duplicate content on many pages (having 20 posts on practically the same topic will hurt your SEO, not help it)
- Periodically updating pages
What does that mean for you? It means your low-performing blog posts should probably go away.
Though there are many approaches, given the nature of blogs it can be as simple as just deleting the pages. If you can, make sure to put in redirects to your higher-quality posts pertaining to similar topics.
Deleting and redirecting not only clears out the clutter, it lets Google know that you run a high-quality site worthy of high-quality rankings.
So time to get Mari Kondo on all though joyless no traffic posts! Speaking of joy…
Step 3: Give You High-Traffic Posts the Attention They Deserve
During step one you not only determined which posts were bad, you should have noted which posts were the best. Maybe you had some awesome posts or maybe your best posts were still not that great. Either way: you need to give them a make-over.
Giving your top posts an update isn’t just a superficial thing, it tells Google that you are the type of company that maintains your website and that you keep your information up-to-date. With the every expanding volume of pages on the Internet, Google nows gives priority to pages that are updated while turning the cold shoulder to pages that haven’t been touched in years.
To benefit from that aspect of how the Google algorithms work, give those top performing pages an update. Here are some tips:
- Update any stats
- Double-check any links to make sure they work; if not, kill them and find suitable replacements
- Add new sections to the posts
- Remove or replace less useful sections
- Add a “update” section to the top where you can point out lessons learned since the posts was made (this strangely make articles more “authentic” to readers, even in B2B)
All in all the better you make the article the more Google will reward you in SEO. So make something epic.
Speaking of keeping posts up-to-date, that’s our goal with this post! So make sure to bookmark this post so you can keep it handy.
Running an eCommerce website is no easy task, and we at JobHouse hope that this guide can help you jumpstart an effort to make your great website even greater.
October 30, 2019
October 22, 2019