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9 Common Ecommerce SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Last Updated on 28th May, 2024 | Ecommerce

common ecommerce seo mistakes

Ecommerce SEO Mistakes and Solutions to Fix Them

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial for ecommerce businesses to drive qualified traffic to their online stores. With proper SEO implementation, ecommerce sites can rank higher in search engines, gain more visibility, and boost conversions. However, many ecommerce businesses commit costly common Ecommerce SEO mistakes that hurt their search rankings and traffic. By avoiding these common SEO pitfalls, ecommerce sites can achieve sustainable growth and revenue.

What are the Importance of Ecommerce SEO

Increased Site Traffic

SEO can drive surges in organic traffic from search engines. By optimizing your ecommerce website for relevant keywords, you improve your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). This increased visibility leads to more site visits as potential customers discover your products or services while conducting searches. As your site attracts more visitors, it also enhances brand awareness, helping your business gain recognition among a broader audience.

Higher Conversion Rates

SEO traffic tends to convert better than other channels. Visitors who arrive at your site through search engines are often actively searching for the specific products or services you offer. This intent-driven traffic means these visitors are more likely to make a purchase or engage with your content, resulting in higher conversion rates. Optimizing your site to meet searchers’ needs ensures that you attract and retain these valuable visitors.

Better Branding

Ranking for your brand name and relevant keywords builds credibility and trust in search engines. When potential customers see your site consistently appear at the top of search results, it reinforces your brand’s authority and reliability. Best ecommerce SEO practices help establish your brand as a leader in your industry, fostering trust among consumers and encouraging them to choose your products over competitors.


SEO provides a higher return on investment (ROI) compared to paid channels like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. While PPC can deliver immediate results, the costs can quickly add up. SEO, on the other hand, involves an upfront investment in time and resources, but the benefits are long-term. Once your site ranks well, you continue to receive organic traffic without the ongoing costs associated with paid advertising, making SEO a cost-effective strategy.

With proper execution, ecommerce SEO provides manifold benefits, from unlocking growth to establishing authority. A strategic SEO plan not only drives more traffic to your site but also ensures that the traffic is of high quality, leading to better conversion rates and a stronger brand presence.

Top 9 Ecommerce SEO Mistakes That Hurt Your Ranking

1. Ignoring Keyword Research

Keyword research lays the foundation for an effective SEO strategy. It provides insights into:

  • Search terms people use to find your products
  • The intent behind those searches
  • Keyword difficulty and competition
  • Related long-tail variations

You need to understand keyword demand and intent to avoid targeting the wrong terms in your SEO. Some common keyword research mistakes include:

Failing to Understand the Audience Search Intent

Keywords represent the first intent indicators from searchers. For example:

  • “Buy Nike shoes online” – Transactional intent
  • “Nike shoes review” – Informational intent
  • “cheap Nike shoes” – Commercial intent

If you target “buy Nike shoes online” for an informational post, it leads to poor user experience and high bounce rates. Always align keywords to searcher intent.

Targeting the Wrong Keywords

When launching new ecommerce sites, it’s common to focus on high-level generic search terms like “shoes” or “watches” to attract a large volume of traffic. However, this approach often results in irrelevant visitors who are not likely to make a purchase.

A more effective strategy is to target long-tail search terms such as “noise cancellation headphones under $100.” While these terms may have a lower search volume, they attract more qualified leads and are more likely to result in conversions. By focusing on specific, detailed search terms, ecommerce sites can increase the likelihood of attracting visitors who are ready to make a purchase.

Missing Valuable Keyword Opportunities

When conducting keyword research, it’s beneficial to analyze your competitors’ strategies and related search terms to identify high-value keywords that they might have overlooked. Utilizing tools like Google Keyword Planner can provide valuable insights and uncover untapped opportunities in your niche.

2. Thin or Duplicate Content

Optimizing product pages with good content is vital for ecommerce SEO. Each page must offer a unique value proposition to searchers.

However, some sites provide thin or duplicate content across product pages. This leads to poor search rankings, user experience, and higher bounce rates.

Lack of Unique, Valuable Content on Product Pages

Many ecommerce sites list product features and specifications. But searchers want more information like:

  • Detailed product analysis and reviews
  • Comparisons with competing or related products
  • Pros and cons, key benefits, and use cases
  • Buying advice, guides, and recommendations

Such in-depth, educational and user generated content ranks well in search engines. It also builds trust and engagement.

Failing to Differentiate from Competitors

If your competitor targets a lucrative keyword, do not copy their page content. Offer something new like:

  • Own test results and benchmarks
  • Unique opinions, advice, and tips
  • Original images, videos, and comparisons
  • Helpful FAQs, visual guides, etc.

Create better content that gives searchers more reasons to visit your site.

3. Poor URL Structure

A website’s URL structure directly impacts its search engine visibility. Only optimized URLs can support SEO efforts.

Complex or Dynamically Generated URLs

  1. URLs like these are hard for search bots to decipher


  1. Instead, use clean, static URLs with keywords


Unclear URL Structure for Users and Search Engines

Structure ecommerce URLs logically around key product categories and subcategories:


This makes it easy to understand the page content.

Also, do not use excessive dynamic parameters like sort, filter, page, etc. in URLs.

4. Slow Page Speed

Site speed is a ranking factor in Google. Fast-loading pages enhance visitor experience and conversions.

Slow-loading Pages Leading to High Bounce Rates

Research shows that site speed significantly affects user behavior:

  • 47% of users expect web pages to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of users will abandon a page that takes over 3 seconds to load.

These statistics highlight the critical importance of optimizing your site to load within this 2-3 second window. When pages load slowly, users are more likely to leave your site without interacting further, resulting in high bounce rates. High bounce rates not only signify a poor user experience but also negatively impact SEO.

Neglecting Performance Optimization Techniques

To ensure your site loads quickly, it’s essential to implement various speed optimization techniques, including:

  • Compress images and enable caching: Large images can significantly slow down page load times. Compressing images reduces their file size without compromising quality. Additionally, enabling caching allows your site to store parts of your web pages, such as images and scripts, on the user’s device, speeding up load times for repeat visits.
  • Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML code: Minification involves removing unnecessary characters, such as spaces and comments, from your code. This reduces the file size and allows your site to load faster.
  • Use a CDN to distribute resources: A Content Delivery Network (CDN) distributes your site’s static resources, such as images and scripts, across multiple servers worldwide. This means that users can download these resources from a server geographically closer to them, reducing load times.
  • Reduce server response time: Server response time is the amount of time it takes for your server to respond to a user’s request. This can be improved by using faster hosting services, optimizing your database, and ensuring your server is properly configured.
  • Optimize page weight by removing unnecessary elements: Every element on a web page, including images, scripts, and styles, contributes to its overall weight. By eliminating unnecessary elements and reducing the number of requests your site makes, you can significantly improve load times.
  • Lazy load of non-critical resources: Lazy loading defers the loading of non-essential resources, such as images or scripts, that are not immediately visible to the user until they are needed. This means that above-the-fold content loads faster, improving the user’s initial experience.

5. Neglecting Mobile Optimization

With growing mobile usage, having a responsive and fast mobile site is key for ecommerce SEO.

Providing a Poor Mobile User Experience

A non-mobile-friendly site leads to several issues that can significantly hinder your ecommerce success:

  • Slow load times due to unoptimized resources: Mobile users expect websites to load quickly, but unoptimized images, scripts, and other resources can slow down load times. Slow loading frustrates users and often results in them leaving your site before it fully loads.
  • Difficult navigation and checkout on smaller screens: Mobile devices have smaller screens, which can make navigation and the checkout process challenging if your site is designed for something other than mobile use. Buttons, links, and forms that need to be optimized for touchscreens can be hard to use, leading to user frustration.
  • High abandonment rates due to bad user experience: When users have a poor experience on your mobile site, such as encountering slow load times or difficult navigation, they are likely to abandon your site. High abandonment rates not only reduce conversions but also negatively impact SEO. Search engines take user behavior into account, and high abandonment rates can signal that your site is not meeting user needs, which can lower your search rankings.

Missing the Growing Mobile-First Consumer Segment

Studies show that the mobile-first approach is becoming increasingly crucial for ecommerce:

  • 60% of searches happen on mobile devices: With more users searching on mobile devices than ever before, having a mobile optimized ecommerce website ensures that you are visible to this significant portion of potential customers.
  • 90%+ of time spent on mobiles is in apps: While a lot of time on mobile devices is spent in apps, users still rely heavily on mobile browsers for searches and shopping. Ensuring that your site performs well on mobile browsers captures this important segment.
  • Conversion rates are 30% higher on mobile sites: Mobile users are not just browsing; they are also converting at higher rates. A well-optimized mobile site can lead to increased sales and customer satisfaction.

Catering to mobile-first users is vital for ecommerce growth. Failing to do so hurts SEO visibility, as search engines like Google prioritize mobile-friendly sites in their rankings. A mobile optimized site ensures that you capture and convert the growing number of mobile users.

6. Ignoring Technical SEO

Technical errors, such as broken links, security issues, duplicate content, and more, affect site crawling, indexing, and ranking.

These issues can create significant roadblocks for search engine crawlers, impacting your site’s visibility and performance:

  • Page 404s and redirects: When users or search engines encounter a 404 error, it means the page they’re looking for doesn’t exist. Redirects should be properly set up to guide users and crawlers to the correct pages, maintaining the flow of link equity and user experience. Additionally, it’s important to optimize 404 error pages to provide useful information or alternative links, helping to retain visitors even when they land on a missing page.
  • Unreachable page resources like images: If images or other resources are not accessible, your pages may not render fully. This affects user experience and how search engines perceive the content and quality of your pages.
  • Duplicate page meta titles and descriptions: Duplicate metadata can confuse search engines about which page to prioritize. Unique and relevant meta titles and descriptions for each page ensure better indexing and relevance.
  • Pages blocked to search bots via robots.txt: The robots.txt file controls how search engine bots interact with your site. Misconfigurations can prevent important pages from being crawled and indexed, leading to a drop in search visibility.

To avoid these issues, it’s crucial to monitor and address crawl errors regularly. Tools like Google Search Console can help identify and resolve these problems, ensuring smooth indexing and crawling of your site.

Improper use of Canonical Tags and other Directives

Correct implementation of technical elements is essential for effective SEO:

  • Canonical tags to solve duplicate content: Canonical tags help indicate to search engines the preferred version of a page, preventing duplicate content issues. This ensures that link equity is consolidated to the primary page.
  • txt directives for search bot crawling: Properly configured robots.txt directives guide search bots on which pages to crawl and index, helping to manage the crawl budget efficiently and prevent indexing of low-value or sensitive pages.
  • XML sitemaps to surface new URLs: XML sitemaps provide a roadmap of your site to search engines, highlighting important pages and updates. This helps ensure that new or updated pages are discovered and indexed promptly.
  • Structured data markup for better indexing: Structured data provides additional context to search engines about your pages’ content. This can enhance how your site appears in search results through rich snippets, improving click-through rates and visibility.

7. Lack of Internal Linking

Internal links distribute authority across your ecommerce site for better SEO. But often, internal linking is overlooked.

Missed Opportunities to Distribute Link Equity

Link important site areas like:

  • Category and product pages from site-wide navigation
  • Related products from product descriptions
  • Blog content from main site pages
  • Brand and company info from footers

This spreads relevant signals for search bots to follow while crawling.

Creating Orphaned Pages

Internal links are an essential aspect of search engine optimization. They play a crucial role in preventing the creation of isolated “orphaned” pages that may rank poorly in search engine results. By strategically linking related pages within your website, you can improve the overall structure and visibility of your content, ultimately enhancing the user experience and organic search rankings.

8. Overlooking Image Optimization

Images on product pages establish context and improve user experience. However, unoptimized images can negatively impact ecommerce SEO.

Failing to Use Descriptive Filenames and Alt Text

Images on site should have:

  • Descriptive file names with keywords: Utilize filenames that clearly describe the image content and include relevant keywords. For example, instead of a generic name like “image1.jpg,” use something more descriptive like “blue-Nike-shoes-for-men.jpg”.
  • Alt text summarizing image content and context: Alt text is crucial for accessibility and SEO. It provides a textual description of the image, helping search bots understand the content better for improved indexing. For instance, an alt text for the picture above could be “A pair of blue Nike running shoes designed for men”.

Neglecting Image Optimization for Accessibility and Context

Optimize images for:

  • File size: Compress large image files to reduce their size without compromising quality. This improves page loading speed, which is a critical factor for both user experience and SEO.
  • Dimensions: Ensure images are appropriately sized to fit the page layout and content width. Avoid using excessively large images that need to be scaled down in the browser, as this can slow down loading times.
  • Format: Choose web-friendly image formats such as JPEG and PNG. JPEG is typically best for photographs due to its compression capabilities, while PNG is ideal for images that require transparency or have text.
  • Contrast: Ensure that images have sufficient color contrast to be accessible to all users, including those with visual impairments. Good contrast helps all users perceive the image content clearly.

Provide contextual visuals to boost SEO and conversions. Visuals that are relevant to the content and context not only enhance user engagement but also aid search engines in understanding the page’s subject matter better.

9. Not Monitoring Performance

Regular tracking provides insights to optimize and boost ecommerce SEO results. But often, analytics is overlooked.

Inability to Identify Areas for Optimization

Monitor metrics like:

  • Rankings for target keywords: Regularly track how your site ranks for your chosen keywords. This helps you understand which keywords are performing well and which ones need more focus.
  • Traffic from search engines: Analyze the amount and quality of traffic coming from search engines. This can reveal how well your SEO efforts are driving organic visitors to your site.
  • Clicks per page and position: Evaluate the click-through rate (CTR) for your pages in search engine results pages (SERPs). This data shows how appealing your content is to users based on its title and meta description.
  • Site crawl stats: Review site crawl statistics to identify any issues that might be hindering search engines from indexing your site effectively. These include broken links, duplicate content, and slow-loading pages.
  • Link-building progress: Track your link-building activities to see how many backlinks you are acquiring and their quality. High-quality backlinks are crucial for improving domain authority and rankings.

Monitoring these metrics helps identify pages and strategies to refine and improve for better SEO performance.

Missed Opportunities for Growth and Improvement

Analyze data to explore opportunities like:

  • New keywords based on search trends: Use analytics to discover emerging keywords and trends in your industry. This enables you to create SEO friendly content that targets these new opportunities before your competitors do.
  • Link-building prospects through competitors: Examine the backlink profiles of your competitors to find new link-building opportunities. Identifying sites that link to your competitors but not to you can highlight potential targets for outreach.
  • Website enhancement opportunities: Utilize data to pinpoint areas of your website that could be enhanced for better user experience and SEO. This could include improving page load times, enhancing mobile usability, or updating outdated content.
  • Issues hurting conversions: Identify and address issues that may be negatively impacting your conversion rates. This could involve analyzing user behavior on your site to uncover obstacles that prevent visitors from completing purchases.

Ongoing analytics is key for sustainable SEO growth. By continuously monitoring and analyzing your site’s performance, you can make data driven decisions that drive long-term improvements in your ecommerce SEO strategy.

Final Thoughts

Ecommerce SEO has nuances that distinguish it from regular SEO. By avoiding common mistakes like poor content, technical issues, and the need for optimization for mobile users and local searches, ecommerce sites can build sustainable SEO strategies.

Monitoring keywords, rankings, links, and other performance data is crucial to refinement and progress. Ecommerce SEO is an ongoing process that enables online stores to gain visibility amidst stiff competition.

By fixing technical flaws, optimizing for conversions, and constantly innovating content, ecommerce businesses can achieve dominant positions in their niches. The result is substantial traffic, revenues, and competitive differentiation for long-term success.