An ecommerce SEO checklist: 15 must-have search optimization basics for online stores

If you run an ecommerce store, but aren’t seeing the organic search traffic and conversions you expected, it may be time to review some ecommerce SEO fundamentals. Optimizing your on-page elements lays the foundation for ecommerce SEO success.

Key takeaways

  • Product pages need engaging copy and media along with on-page SEO optimizations like meta titles and descriptions.
  • Conduct thorough keyword research and focus pages on high-potential search terms.
  • Optimize for mobile shoppers with fast loading, easy checkout pages.
  • Implement structured data like product schema to help search bots understand your inventory.
  • Produce ongoing valuable content like comparisons and customer interviews to answer buyer questions.
  • Build relationships with other brands to gain authoritative backlinks and increase trust signals.
  • Stay on top of emerging algorithm changes and SERP features while continually improving on-site elements.

Follow this comprehensive 15-item ecommerce SEO checklist to ensure your online store nails the search engine optimization basics:

1. High-quality product pages

Your product pages do much of the heavy lifting for ecommerce SEO. Ensure they follow SEO best practices with:

  • Descriptive page titles – Include your target keyword if possible. Keep under 55 characters.
  • Optimized meta descriptions – Accurately summarize the product in under 155 characters using keywords.
  • Compelling product copy – Focus on useful details, benefits, advantages, features, and specs. Use keywords appropriately.
  • Calls-to-action (CTAs) – Include clear CTAs telling visitors what to do, like “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now.”
  • Media – Include high-quality images, videos, audio, etc. Optimize alt text and file names with keywords.
  • Unique selling proposition – Communicate what makes the product special compared to alternatives.

Following SEO standards for product pages gives you a better chance of ranking well and converting searchers into buyers.

2. Keyword optimization

Conduct thorough keyword research using tools like SEMrush. Identify terms aligned with searcher intent, and optimize pages for keywords driving significant search volume and conversions. Use keyword difficulty metrics from tools like SEMrush to identify the keywords that are easiest to rank for.

3. Compelling meta descriptions

Meta descriptions summarize what the page is about. Good descriptions boost click-through rates. For maximum impact:

  • Accurately represent the page content using keywords
  • Avoid being overly promotional or gimmicky
  • Write an interesting “preview” rather than just listing what’s on the page

4. Quality backlink profile

Earn high-quality backlinks from relevant sites to support rankings. There are lots of tactics for earning backlinks, but here are some of the most useful:

  • Guest blog on relevant, authoritative sites and link back to your own pages from the article or author bio.
  • Probably the most difficult, but possibly the most effective method – create linkable assets. Essentially, create content so great that people can’t help but link to it.
  • Outreach to other website and ask for a link to relevant content on your website that would be useful for the other website’s audience.
  • Ask websites that mention your brand but don’t link to add a link to your website.
  • Provide comments to journalists through HARO (Help A Reporter Out). If your comment is included in an article, you will often receive a link back to your website.
  • Do digital PR and distribute newsworthy content via press release distribution channels and also directly to journalists.

5. Mobile optimization

With over 60% of shoppers accessing ecommerce sites from smartphones, mobile optimization is an absolute necessity:

  • Use a responsive design with clear CTAs and product images
  • Aim for page load speeds under two seconds on mobile devices
  • Ensure easy mobile checkout with auto-fill and stored payment

6. Local SEO

For brick-and-mortar stores, local SEO builds visibility with nearby searchers. Key optimizations include:

  • Create a Google Business Profile with complete information
  • Prominent address, phone number, and directions onsite
  • Schema markup for business info like opening hours and location
  • Posts showcasing products, events, offers, etc on your Google Business Profile

7. Structured data markup

Adding structured data markup enables search engines to better understand your products. Implement schema standards like:

  • Product (for individual product pages)
  • LocalBusiness (for physical store locations)
  • Review (to display star ratings in SERPs)
  • Video (for video content you may have, such as product review videos)
  • Personally, I like using JSON-LD for implementing schema markup, but there are other formats if you prefer

8. Fast page speed

Site speed strongly influences conversions, bounce rates, and SEO. Use these tips to optimize speed:

  • Enable caching and compression
  • Optimize image file sizes
  • Minimize HTTP requests
  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript
  • Migrate to faster web hosting if needed
  • Test site speed on both desktop and mobile using Google PageSpeed Insights

9. Compelling headlines and introductions

Most readers will skim your post and decide whether to stay or bounce in seconds. Strong opening lines keep them engaged. If users bounce back to the search results it will send negative signals to search engines about how well your content matches the search query.

Incorporate your target keywords for maximum impact.

10. Image optimization

Optimizing your visual assets can boost online visibility, particularly for products that derive much of their value from their aesthetics:

  • Incorporate target keywords in file names and alt text
  • Compress files to enable fast loading
  • Include images in your sitemaps

11. Customer-focused content

Informative content that answers customer questions and solves problems serves SEO and conversion goals. Identify relevant themes around your products. Create content that adds value rather than just pitches products.

Some winning ecommerce content formats include:

  • How-to guides and tutorials
  • Comparison reviews of your product against competitors
  • Expert recommendations for complementary products
  • Interviews with customers describing real-world usage

12. Sitemaps and robots.txt

Create XML sitemaps as they help search bots discover new URLs. The robots.txt file indicates accessible vs blocked pages, allowing you to specify which URLs should be crawled. Doing this will prevent you from wasting crawl budget. Keeping these updated ensures bots reach all site content.

13. Publish regular fresh content

Search engines favor frequently updated sites. Maintaining an active blog or resources section with regular new posts will support improved crawling and rankings over time. Share ecommerce tips, product highlights, company updates, etc.

14. EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust)

Google is ever focusing more on EEAT. Essentially, websites should show that they are experienced, experts, authorities, and trusted with regards to the topics they are trying to rank for. Here are some tips to optimize for EEAT:

  • Experience – publish content that shows the actually use of your products, as well as customer reviews
  • Expertise – display association memberships, years operating, include years of experience and credentials in author bios
  • Authority – acquire links from relevant authorities in your niche
  • Trust – display business addresses, contact details, terms of service and privacy policies on your web pages

15. Ongoing optimization

Don’t treat SEO as a one-time project. Continually refine on-page elements and pursue new link-building and content opportunities.

Stay on top of algorithm updates from Google. Go beyond keywords to tap into semantic search, featured snippets, people also ask boxes, and more emerging SERP features.


What are the most important on-page elements to optimize?

Focus on optimizing your product and category pages first. Ensure you have strong page titles, meta descriptions, headers, copy, media, structured data, etc. These have the biggest SEO impact.

Should I optimize for voice search?

Yes! Voice usage is rising fast, so ensure you target long-tail natural language keywords like “Where can I buy organic cotton sheets” as well as singular keyword terms.

How often should I publish blog content?

There is no specific frequency at which you should publish blog content as it is relative to your competition. Ideally, you will publish content that is better than your competition more often than they do. More frequent content keeps your site fresh and gives search engines more quality pages to index and send traffic to over time.

How important are site speed optimizations?

Incredibly important! With Google using site speed as an official ranking factor, you should continually test and improve page load times. Faster sites also convert more visitors.

Wrapping up

Optimizing an ecommerce site for search engines takes considerable effort. But perfecting your SEO foundation drives steady organic growth over the long term. Use this comprehensive ecommerce SEO checklist as your roadmap for launching and refining your online store’s search strategy.

About the author

Daniel Lee

I am an SEO expert with 14+ years of experience. I create custom SEO and content marketing strategies for ecommerce businesses of all sizes, from startups to industry giants. My background includes a Master's degree in International Marketing (University of Law) and business coaching training from Cambridge Univerity's Møller Institute. This unique blend allows me to deliver strategies that drive significant growth and a competitive edge for my clients.

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