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SEO 'Hidden benefits of an SEO audit'

When was the last time you or someone from your team thought about your online store's technical SEO condition? The purpose of this post is to show you the hidden areas of an e-commerce SEO audit, see the bigger picture, and understand how an SEO audit can benefit your online store’s traffic and conversion rates.

Investing in a variety of support services for your e-commerce store can be akin to fire-fighting, you’re laser focused on urgent tasks while de-prioritizing the rest of your environment. Your to-do list is long with pressing tasks like hiring new staff, onboarding them to the team & processes, renegotiating prices with suppliers and delivery partners, handling customer inquiries and creating content and marketing strategies… Everything you must do to keep your head above the water in this post-pandemic world.

This post talks about the hidden benefits of an e-commerce SEO audit, let’s start with the obvious question:

When was the last time you or someone from your team thought about your online store’s technical SEO condition?

You are probably aware of the approximate share of traffic that comes from organic - but as the paid traffic invoices keep coming in month after month, optimizing that channel for ROI ends up as priority. We’re making the case that investing in organic should be next on the list.

E-commerce Technical SEO Audit

One of the purposes of this post is to help you understand the areas we are focusing on during the audit process. We will help you to see the bigger picture and understand the direct and indirect benefits of a quality SEO audit which will benefit your online store’s traffic and conversion rates.  

Let’s analyze, detect, understand and suggest meaningful improvements for improving your qualified organic traffic and customer acquisition.

Technical SEO and the state of an online store.

Search engines (like Google) are the UI’s and apps users depend on to show and rank query results. If search engines have trouble finding and understanding your content, the chances to get quality traffic decrease with every site crawl.

To attract quality traffic and improve conversion rates, you need to do your best to make search engines’ life easier. You will do that by bringing your store's state of technical SEO in ship-shape.

What does that mean? While auditing your online store, we are making sure we check if it can be easily discovered, crawled, understood, indexed - and ultimately ranked by search engines for specific user queries.

Things like: Google Analytics organic traffic check, duplicate or thin content issues check (internal site search results, canonicals, meta robots...), robots.txt, on-page SEO, structured data markup, XML sitemap, Core Web Vitals…

Now that you have a basic understanding of the areas we are looking into while doing a technical SEO audit of your store, we can uncover some common areas where we often find a lot of areas for improvement.

Main Navigation

We’ll be listing some of the main questions whose main goal is to put a spotlight on the important areas of your online store:

  • What are your most visited categories? Are your most important categories there?
  • Are your most important categories placed less than 3 clicks away or are they dug somewhere deep, making it hard for users and search engines to find them?
  • Is there unnecessary duplication that leads to keyword cannibalization and duplicated content in general?

Duplicate content won’t get you penalized but it definitely makes search engines' job hard to decide which version is more relevant to certain queries. It also dilutes the visibility and strength of duplicated URLs.

Layered Navigation

  • Which attributes & attribute values are available there?
  • Are the layered navigation results hidden from search engines?

Most of them should be hidden. Otherwise, you may end up with thousands of URL combinations causing duplicate content.

  • Out of all the attributes, is there maybe a certain attribute whose category + attribute combination URL should be visible?

If a high volume of related queries for a specific combination exists, you should start planning to push those URLs in front of search engines…and we can help you with that.

  • Does the usage of the available attributes make sense from UX and search engine’s perspective?

Having side navigation, often times people just force using attributes there, while in some cases adding subcategories instead would make much more sense.


  • Is your online store using breadcrumbs?

If not, these should definitively be added because breadcrumbs serve as second-level navigation, making users understand your site better and navigate easier.

Once you’ve added breadcrumbs, you should spice things up with the breadcrumb markup so search engines and users get another indicator for understanding the page's position in the site hierarchy.


  • Is your sitemap clean from URLs that are redirected to some other URL, 404 pages, or empty categories?
  • Are all your important URLs properly crawled and indexed?

Product Page Indexing

  • What types of products do you have (simple, configurable, grouped…?)
  • What about product variants? Do they vary by an important attribute that is a game changer in users' eyes? Or are the variants by themselves aren’t that searched for? How are you handling canonicalization in this case?
  • Do you even know how popular product + attribute search queries are? Our SEO audit output might give you a clear hint if you need to invest time in keyword research.

Product Feed and Google Merchant Center Account

  • Have you set up your Google Merchant Center account?
  • Have you set up and submitted your product feed?
  • Are you utilizing the ability to push your products through Google Shopping organic results?

Even if you are not running PLA’s (Product listing ads or Google Shopping), your results can still appear in unpaid results under the “Shopping” tab. This is an opportunity that you need to take.

Core Web Vitals

  • It's been a while since these became official ranking factors. Have you been working on improving these metrics to please your users & Google?
  • SEOs in most cases don’t actively work on improving the CWV metrics. But their suggestions and guidance that they offer to developers often lead to synergy and save precious time. Different tools that SEOs are using often help in collecting data for lots of URLs in one go. On top of that, advanced SEO tools aggregate the results and present them in such a way that you can spot potential problems in an easier way. That saves resources and helps developers put their focus on potential low-hanging fruit.

Quality SEO audit requires a holistic approach. We don’t just crawl your site with some of the tools that are on the market and export the final, oftentimes a generic list of recommendations for fixes.

We observe your store both from search engine and users’ perspectives. On top of SEO and UX best practices, we include our years of experience in e-commerce tailored to your vertical while taking into consideration platform abilities & limitations. We’ll provide our recommendations for improvements and support you in implementing and optimizing for success.

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Founded in 2011, IM Digital is a full-service e-commerce agency for D2C, B2B, and retail brands ready to become a household name.

IM Digital helps bold brands become big with a combo of technology, strategy, and creativity.
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