Technical SEO for Ecommerce: Strategies for Online Retailers in 2024

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The decision to undertake an SEO strategy for an e-commerce store is an investment in the future. As a long-term channel, it will bring measurable results for a long time.

It is worth noting that organic traffic is often one of the main traffic channels for a website, and marketing activities related to website optimisation can only help attract even more potential customers.

The constantly changing search engine algorithms are improved in order to provide users with the best possible results for their questions. Technical SEO for e-commerce is starting to gain a stronger expression thanks to the increasingly intensive use of artificial intelligence. AI is revolutionising the look and feel of search engines while forcing website owners to adapt.

An additional factor is the growing competition, which also contributes to the importance of creating an effective strategy for technical optimisation.

In this article, we will focus on the most important SEO technical optimisation techniques and what elements are worth paying attention to when planning an effective and modern technical optimisation strategy for e-commerce.

Understanding Technical SEO for Ecommerce

Many e-commerce websites neglect technical SEO, focusing only on content and backlinks. Indeed understanding the technical nuances of the website, the elements, and how they work is a difficult task for a specialist without a technical background. This can be also many times an advantage over the competitors – by excelling in technical SEO, you can gain a competitive edge over others in your niche.

Enhanced visibility and better user experience are advantages that we don’t even have to mention, but it all transfers to a significant increase in traffic, heightened user trust, and ultimately, higher conversion rates. When an e-commerce website is optimised for technical SEO, search engines can more effectively crawl and index the site, ensuring that potential customers can easily find your products in search results.

In addition, technical SEO allows you to enhance site security, which is not only crucial for protecting customer data but is also a ranking factor. It reassures users that their information is safe, which is especially important for e-commerce transactions.

Lastly, technical SEO helps ensure that your analytics data is accurate, allowing you to make informed decisions based on reliable data. A proper technical setup allows for better tracking of user behaviour, helping to understand customer preferences and optimise accordingly.

Key Technical SEO Strategies for Ecommerce

Don’t Forget About the Basics of Technical SEO

Technical SEO is a mandatory element of technical optimisation of every website, not only e-commerce stores. To improve the most important elements, you should focus on:

  • Website security – SSL and HTTPS technologies work together to establish a secure connection, encrypting the data exchanged between the browser and the server. This encryption safeguards the information from being intercepted by third parties. If a server lacks an SSL certificate, the data transferred between it and the browser is vulnerable to unauthorised access.
  • URL structure – Friendly URLs are those that clearly define the content of the page and are easy to understand and remember for Internet users and search engine robots. Addresses should be short, containing key phrases (representing the content of the page), constructed in lowercase letters, without diacritics and unnecessary parameters.

  • Header optimisation – Proper heading structure is essential, and must follow a specific order. Headings cannot be used randomly; they need to be organised systematically. Start with the main title as the h1 heading, followed by h2, h3, and h4 headings in descending order. This correct hierarchy is crucial for effective website positioning. Ensure the primary idea of the content is included in the h1 heading.

  • Meta tags optimisation – Meta tags are elements placed in the header section of a website’s HTML code, containing information about the site’s content. Although invisible to users, meta tags are utilised by web browsers and search engine robots to gather essential information about a page. Well-crafted meta tags can entice users to click on a website link in search results. Optimising meta tags involves appropriately defining them by including keywords, calls-to-action (CTAs), and maintaining the proper character count.

  • Sitemap – A sitemap is a file created in XML format that contains basic information related to the URLs within a given website. It is a list of URLs important for a given brand, which allows the search engine to understand the structure, and find subpages, and then index them. A valid sitemap file should meet several basic requirements, i.e. it must contain URLs under the correct domain and protocol, it should not contain duplicate URLs, the map file should be saved according to the UTF-8 system, URLs should return code 200 and should not have a canonical tag set pointing to another URL. Moreover, in the sitemap we do not list URLs that have a noindex meta tag or are blocked in the robots.txt file.

  • Pages blocked from indexation – Every website has a set of pages that should not be indexed. When it comes to technical optimisation for e-commerce, pay attention to all login pages and customer accounts. Also, take a look at product filters – many filter combinations often create thousands of indexed pages, which, through duplication or low quality, can lower the website’s ranking. If you do not want a specific subpage of your website to be indexed by Google, you have several ways to achieve this goal. You can place the appropriate code in robots.txt or use the tag.

  • Canonical tag optimisation – The rel=canonical tag is a crucial optimisation tool that helps search engines determine the primary version of a page to index. Using this tag correctly prevents issues with duplicate content and mitigates the negative effects of duplicate pages on your search result rankings. Including a canonical tag in the section makes it easier for search engines to clearly identify the canonical URL.

E-commerce Site Architecture

Modern customers value the ease of making purchases, which is why solutions that aim to improve the purchasing process are welcome.

One of the most important elements of UX and technical optimisation for e-commerce is the website architecture and store navigation. Appropriate website architecture plays a critical role in enhancing both user experience and search engine visibility. It involves organising the website into a clear hierarchy that logically flows from the homepage to category pages, subcategory pages, and individual product pages.

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Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Our Tips for Creating an Effective Website Structure for an E-commerce Shop

In the SEO for e-commerce websites focus on creating a logical tree of categories and subcategories. Remember that creating subcategories and optimising them allows you to expand your targeted keyword phrases and the store’s offer.

An internal search engine with the option of filtering results not only makes it easier for customers to find the right product but also a valuable source of information about users’ interest in the offer.

One of the most important elements in creating a perfect website structure is the breadcrumb menu, which tells the customer where they are and allows them to easily return to previous sections.

Additionally, the “back to top” button is ideal for multiple products on a category page. The final, clickable logo is a must-have element that many users use.

Allow Your Customers to Have the Best Experience on Mobile Devices

In the technical optimisation of an e-commerce store, it is crucial to adapt a website for mobile devices. Catering to mobile users and incorporating mobile shopping into your e-commerce web design or site rebuild is essential. Mobile should be a key part of your digital marketing strategy.

Currently, half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, and 56% of all online sales are made via mobile, a figure that continues to grow annually. At least 79% of smartphone users have made online purchases using their devices. 80% of shoppers use their mobile phones in physical stores to look up product reviews, compare prices, or find alternative store locations. Ignoring mobile optimisation means neglecting half of your potential customer base.

In addition, Google primarily uses the mobile version of a website for ranking and indexing purposes. This approach is known as “mobile-first indexing.” Therefore, mobile optimisation of your website will significantly impact your rankings and traffic. This is due not only to the increased mobile usage mentioned earlier but also because it ensures consistency in search results, regardless of whether the user is on a mobile device or a desktop.

Moreover, emphasising mobile-first indexing motivates website owners to optimise their sites for mobile users, ultimately enhancing the overall quality and accessibility of the web.

Our Tips for Adjusting Your E-Commerce Shop to Mobile Devices

There are several options for creating a mobile website, but we strongly encourage you to choose a responsive design. A responsive website automatically adjusts its appearance to the screen size of the device on which it is displayed, without needing changes to the HTML code or URL.

One major advantage of a responsive website is that all content is accessible under a single URL, reducing the risk of content duplication and ensuring a very good user experience (UX). It is the best solution for SEO optimisation for e-commerce.

Your Customers Want Fast Website Interaction

Website loading speed is a key factor affecting user experience and SEO for e-commerce. Statistics show that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to render. This means that if your site takes too long to become interactive, you risk losing visitors, resulting in lost transactions and revenue. For optimal conversion rates, a load time between 0-4 seconds is ideal.

If you want to learn more about how to increase your conversion rate, make sure to check our article on How To Increase ECommerce Conversion Rate: Data-Backed Tips.

Additionally, website loading speed impacts your positioning in search results. In 2023, the average page loading time was 2.5 seconds on a computer and 8.6 seconds on a mobile device. The faster your website loads, the better your visibility in search results will be.

Our Tips for Improving the Site Speed of Your E-Commerce Website

One of the essential elements of technical SEO for e-commerce is the optimisation of graphics on the website. Images significantly impact page loading times, so it’s important to optimise their size and format to ensure faster loading.

Another useful strategy is compressing CSS and JavaScript files, which influence the appearance and functionality of the website. Excessive use and large file sizes can slow down loading times, so compressing these files to reduce their size is beneficial.

More advanced steps include minimising the number of server requests. Each user interaction requires multiple resources to be transferred from the server to the browser. The more queries the server has to handle to display the page, the longer it takes to load. To mitigate this, you can combine CSS and JavaScript files and use caching.

An important aspect of website performance is selecting fast hosting, as the quality of your hosting service directly affects your website’s performance. Evaluate your hosting options and choose a plan that ensures fast page loading.

Improve Your Results on the Search Engine and Attract More Customers

Schema Markup, or microdata, helps search engines understand the structure and meaning of content on a website. For website owners, it allows them to define content types that are understandable to search engines, providing a clearer picture of the website’s content and making it easier to index and present in search results.

In e-commerce stores, microdata can display enriched search results, such as product prices, photos, and reviews. This can be a crucial element in the purchasing process for potential customers. These enriched results stand out and often achieve higher click-through rates (CTR). If you have a blog section, you can use schema markup to include the author’s name, publication date, or category.

Adding Microdata Is Straightforward. There Are Three Methods.

  • Microdata: Uses existing HTML tags to define content types.
  • JSON-LD: Allows for defining more complex data structures.
  • RDFa: An XML-based format that integrates with HTML to define content types.

The most important structured data types for technical implementation in e-commerce stores include:

  • LocalBusiness
  • Product
  • Review
  • HowTo
  • FAQPage
  • BreadcrumbList
  • WebSite
  • VideoObject

How Technical Errors in SEO Can Impact E-commerce Stores?

Mistakes in technical SEO can significantly impact an e-commerce store, leading to decreased visibility in search results and reduced website traffic. One of the most common problems is improper optimisation of page loading speed. Slow page loading can discourage users, increasing bounce rates and leading to missed sales opportunities. Additionally, search engines like Google consider page loading speed as one of their key ranking factors. Pages that are not optimised for speed may lose their position in search results, which directly translates into fewer visits and lower conversions.

Another critical mistake in the technical SEO for e-commerce is the lack of website optimisation for mobile devices. With mobile traffic often surpassing desktop traffic, an unresponsive website can lead to usability problems such as difficult navigation, slow-loading elements, and an unfriendly interface.

Google uses mobile-first indexing, meaning the mobile version of a website is the primary version used for indexing and ranking. Therefore, lack of mobile optimisation can negatively impact a website’s positioning in search results, reducing its accessibility and attractiveness to users, ultimately leading to lower sales revenues.

How Can AI Be Used in Technical Optimisation for E-commerce?

Artificial intelligence has revolutionised SEO by providing deeper insights into user behaviour, enabling precise content adaptation to user needs, and optimising positioning strategies in real-time. The process of technical optimisation for an e-commerce website using AI becomes more precise, effective, and time-efficient.

Image of computer chip placed on top of motherboard, key component for computer functionality.
Photo by Igor Omilaev on Unsplash

So, what technical elements in an SEO e-commerce store can AI help improve?

  • Mobile Search: AI algorithms can analyse and test the page on mobile devices, identifying structural or responsiveness issues that need improvement. This ensures a seamless mobile user experience, which is crucial given the increasing mobile traffic.

  • Website Structure and Accessibility Analysis: AI can suggest enhancements for user accessibility and analyse the website’s structure to identify areas for improvement. These tools can recommend changes to the information architecture, promoting better crawling and indexing by search engines.

  • Error Detection and Correction: AI can detect various errors, such as 404 errors, server errors, incorrect redirects, or canonical tag issues. Beyond detection, AI can also suggest or automatically implement solutions, streamlining the error resolution process.

  • Duplicate Content Detection: AI can easily spot and highlight duplicate content, helping to prevent penalties from search engines. Additionally, AI-powered content creation tools can address and resolve duplicate content issues comprehensively.

  • Page Loading Speed Analysis: AI tools can quickly analyse factors affecting website performance, such as image compression and CSS/JS code optimisation. These tools provide actionable insights and recommendations to improve page loading speed, enhancing both user experience and SEO rankings.

  • Link Analysis: AI enables automatic analysis and recommendations for internal links that can improve positioning. It can also identify product pages with high traffic but low conversion rates, suggesting improvements. For external links, AI can identify broken links that negatively impact user experience and SEO, offering solutions to fix them.

By leveraging AI, technical SEO for e-commerce stores can achieve a higher level, leading to improved search engine rankings, better user experience, and ultimately, increased sales.

Conclusion

What you should already learn from the article is that technical SEO is crucial for e-commerce websites to enhance visibility, user experience, and search engine rankings. These factors collectively increase traffic and drive sales, which is typically the primary goal of any e-commerce store.

Key strategies for optimising SEO for e-commerce remain constant, such as improving page loading speed, ensuring mobile responsiveness, structuring the website effectively, and implementing schema markup. However, it is vital to stay updated with the latest trends and updates. Google frequently releases new improvements, and taking advantage of these opportunities is essential to maintain a competitive edge. Neglecting these updates can lead to a loss of position to competitors.

Technical optimisation for an e-commerce store is an ongoing process that cannot be neglected. Nowadays, AI plays a significant role in enhancing technical SEO by analysing mobile performance, website structure, and accessibility. AI can detect errors, prevent duplicate content, and suggest optimisations for page speed and internal linking. Effective technical SEO ensures better crawling and indexing, which leads to increased traffic, higher conversion rates, and overall improved performance of online retail stores.

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