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5 Technical SEO Issues On Large Ecommerce Sites & How To Solve Them

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5 Technical SEO Issues On Large Ecommerce Sites & How To Solve Them


Wish your product listings could rank better on search engines?

Feel like your success is as limited as your crawl budget?

Effectively ranking thousands of products, hundreds of categories, and millions of links requires a level of organization that can sometimes feel out of reach.

This is particularly true when the performance of your ecommerce site depends on a limited crawl budget or disconnected teams.

For large ecommerce sites, it’s an immense challenge.

In this post, you’ll find proven solutions for some of the most persistent technical SEO issues plaguing sites like yours. You’ll learn how to tackle issues around crawl budget, site architecture, internal linking, and more that are holding your site’s performance back.

Let’s get to it.

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1. Crawl Budget Is Often Too Limited To Provide Actionable Insights

Growing your ecommerce business is great, but it can lead to a massive volume of pages and a disorganized, outdated website structure.

Your company’s incredible growth has likely led to:

  • Extensive SEO crawl budget needs.
  • Lengthy crawling processes.
  • High crawl budget waste from easily-missed, outdated content, such as orphan and zombie pages, that no longer need to be crawled or indexed.
  • Difficult-to-follow reports filled with repetitive fundamental technical errors on millions of pages.
  • Incomplete and segmented crawl data, or partial crawls.

Trying to solve SEO problems using partial crawls isn’t a great idea; you won’t be able to locate all the errors, causing you to make SEO decisions that may do more harm than good.

Whether your crawl budget limitations are from website size or desktop-based crawling tools, you need a solution that allows you to review and understand your full website, as a whole — with no limits.

The Solution: Use Raw Logs Instead Of Crawl Reports

To overcome the issue of slow, limited crawl budgets, we recommend using raw logs instead of crawl reports.

Raw logs give you the power to:

  • Monitor crawling, indexation, and detailed content analysis at a more reasonable price.
  • Understand which pages are impacting your crawl budget and optimize accordingly.
  • Eliminate critical errors right after a product update.
  • Allow you to fix issues before Google bots discover them.
  • Quickly identify pages with 2XX, 3XX, 4XX, and 5XX status codes.
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Screenshot from JetOctopus, November 2021

Using a raw log tool also gives you the exact picture of a site’s SEO efficiency.

You’ll be able to pull reports that show the number of pages in the site structure, the pages getting search bot visits, and the pages getting impressions in SERPs.

This gives you a clearer picture of where structure and crawling issues occur, at any depth.

5 Technical SEO Issues On Large Ecommerce Sites & How To Solve ThemScreenshot from JetOctopus, November 2021

For example, we can see there are more than 4 million pages in the site structure above.

Only 725,161 are visited by search bots.

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And only 29,277 of these pages are ranked and getting impressions.

24,189,025 pages visited by search bots that aren’t even part of the site structure.

What a missed opportunity!

How To Discover & Solve SEO Crawl Issues Faster With Raw Logs

Implement a no-limit SEO analysis tool that can crawl full websites of any size and structure.

Blazing fast, JetOctopus can crawl up to 250 pages per second or 50,000 pages in 5 minutes, in order to help you understand how your crawl budget is affected.

Simply:

  1. Create an account at JetOctopus.
  2. Access the Impact section.
  3. Evaluate your Crawl Ratio and missed pages.

In seconds, you can measure the percentage of SEO-effective pages and know how to improve the situation.

5 Technical SEO Issues On Large Ecommerce Sites & How To Solve ThemScreenshot from JetOctopus, November 2021

Our Log Analyzer tracks crawl budget, zombie and orphan pages, accessibility errors, areas of crawl deficiency, bot behavior by distance from the index by content size, inbound links, most active pages, and more.

With its effective visual representation, you can boost indexability while optimizing the crawl budget.

5 Technical SEO Issues On Large Ecommerce Sites & How To Solve ThemScreenshot from JetOctopus, November 2021

How?

Crawl budget optimization is central to any SEO effort and even more so for large websites. Here are a few points to help you get started.

Identify whether your crawl budget is being wasted.

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Log file analysis can help you identify the reasons for crawl budget waste.

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Visit the ‘Log File Analysis’ section to determine this.

Get rid of error pages. 

Review the site’s crawl through log file analysis to find pages that may have 301, 400, or 500 errors.

Improve crawl efficiency.

Use SEO crawl and log file data to determine the disparities between the crawled and indexed pages. Consider the following to improve crawl efficiency.

  • Make sure the GSC parameter setting is up to date.
  • Check if any important pages are included as non-indexable pages. The data in log files will help you locate them.
  • Add disallow paths in the robots.txt file to save your crawl budget for priority pages.
  • Add relevant noindex and canonical tags to indicate their level of importance to the search bots. However, noindex tags do not work well in the case of multimedia resources, namely videos and PDF files. In such cases, use robots.txt.
  • Look for disallowed pages being crawled by search bots.

2. Managing A Massive Internal Linking Structure Can Be Complicated

Internal linking is one of the best ways you can inform Google of what exists on your website.

When you create links to your products from pages on your site, you give Google a clear path to crawl in order to rank your pages.

Google’s crawlers use a website’s internal linking structure and the anchor text to derive contextual meaning and discover other pages on the site.

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5 Technical SEO Issues On Large Ecommerce Sites & How To Solve ThemScreenshot from SearchEngineJournal.com, November 2021

However, creating a crawl-friendly internal linking structure is tough for large-scale websites.

Keeping up with internally linked products that constantly go in and out of stock isn’t always sustainable on a large ecommerce site.

You need a way to see where deadends happen during a Google crawl.

Why Internal Linking Structure Matters

Google relies on internal linking to help it understand how visitors can quickly and easily navigate through the website.

If your homepage ranks well for a specific keyword, internal links help in distributing PageRank to other, more focused pages throughout the site. This helps those linked pages rank higher.

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The Solution: Find Crawl Dead-Ends With Interlinking Structure Efficiency Tools

Our Interlinking Structure Efficiency solves this issue by giving you a clear view of your site’s internal linking health.

  • On the dashboard, go to Ideas -> Structure Efficiency.
  • This screenshot shows the list of directories that are present on the website, the pages in this directory, the percentage of indexable pages, the average number of internal links to a page within this directory, the bot’s behavior here, SERP impressions, and clicks. It clearly reflects SEO efficiency by directories to analyze and multiply the positive experiments.
5 Technical SEO Issues On Large Ecommerce Sites & How To Solve ThemScreenshot from JetOctopus, November 2021

Check out how our client DOM.RIA Doubled Their Googlebot Visits by experimenting with it.

3. Troubleshooting SEO Issues On JavaScript Websites Is Difficult

JavaScript is the cornerstone of responsive website design, enabling developers to improve interaction and complexity in their applications. This is why large marketplaces like Amazon and eBay use it.

However, JavaScript sites face two issues:

  • Crawlability: JS content limits a crawler’s ability to navigate the website page by page, impacting its indexability.
  • Obtainability: Though a crawler will read a JS page, it cannot figure out what the content pertains to. Thus, they will not be able to rank the pages for the relevant keywords.

As a result, ecommerce webmasters cannot determine which pages are rendered and which aren’t.

The Solution: Use An Advanced Crawler That Can View JavaScript As Googlebot

Traditionally, SEO crawlers weren’t able to crawl JavaScript websites. But JetOctopus is one of the most advanced crawlers, with JavaScript rendering functionality.

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In JS Performance, you’ll find insights regarding JavaScript execution – namely First Paint, First Contentful Paint, and Page load – and the time needed to complete all JavaScript requests.

It also shows the JS errors.

Here’s how to put this feature to work for you:

  • Go to JS Performance in the Crawler tab.
5 Technical SEO Issues On Large Ecommerce Sites & How To Solve ThemScreenshot from JetOctopus, November 2021
  • View your website as Googlebot with JavaScript. This GIF shows the process.
5 Technical SEO Issues On Large Ecommerce Sites & How To Solve ThemScreenshot from JetOctopus, November 2021

4. Few Tools Offer In-Depth Insights For Large Websites

Core Web Vitals and Page Speed are significant technical SEO metrics to be monitored. However, few tools track these page by page.

The Solution: Use One Tool That Gives You True Priority Tasks

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SEO

How Data Is Reshaping The SEO & Digital Marketer’s Landscape

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How Data Is Reshaping The SEO & Digital Marketer's Landscape

There is a new data revolution happening, and it’s sweeping across the industry so quickly that many SEO and digital marketers are struggling to make sense of the insights and intelligence at their disposal.

To utilize this opportunity, marketers need to evolve their mindsets and use technology to analyze multiple data formats and understand the new opportunities it can bring.

SEO marketers of today and digital marketers of tomorrow will need to extract, structure quickly, and manipulate data to drive the most critical business outcomes.

Data has always been mission-critical to digital decision-making.

The Economist, back in 2017, declared it the world’s most valuable resource.

Fast forward to today and the future, and we can see that the exponential growth of data fuelling this revolution is staggering.

According to the IDC, the amount of digital data created over the next five years will be greater than twice the amount of data made since the advent of digital storage.

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Think about that for a second!

Flash drives, for example, were introduced in 2000.

This means that in the next five years, marketers will have to analyze and make sense of 2x the data created in the last 22 years!

The Data Revolution Means More Sources & Complexity For SEO

The data revolution has gone on for some time now, and it’s changed our concept of what counts as “data,” rightfully so.

In the past, we thought only numbers mattered.

But, in this new digital world where everything is converted into ones and zeros, data is broader and contains text, audio, and visual information – all bits waiting to be processed!

  • Machine-based and human-generated data are growing at a rate of 10x faster than conventional business data.
  • Machine-created data is increasing exponentially at a 50x the growth rate. This data revolution is primarily marketing-driven and consumer-oriented who are “always on.”
  • In just the last 18 months, the volume of site processing data we have been generating at BrightEdge has increased by 11x!
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As a result of these increasingly demanding trends, SEO and digital marketers need to adapt and become more like data analysts and scientists in approaching the extraction of structured data insights and business intelligence – without adding more manual work.

Fortunately, SEO is well-positioned to take advantage of this new data revolution.

  • Increasing your keyword universe – More keywords mean more data points to look at with reporting and fuelling insights. While focusing on conversion rate metrics is very important, it wouldn’t be possible without opening the scope of your audience and getting more people in the door. SEO has drifted away from writing for a primary dedicated keyword and is now way more advanced with advancements in search engines like Google’s understanding of intent of searches through RankBrain and BERT.
  • Increasing your search footprint – will also help you discover unexplored of informing your future content strategy or ideate new keyword ideas. However, sometimes you might miss the boat, like the transition of Content Management Systems slowly turning into “Experience Platforms” as they offer more functionality to meet the needs of today’s webmaster or marketer.

Read More On SEJ

Data Is The Currency Of An Accelerated SEO & Digital Age

By 2025, Worldwide data will reach 175 zettabytes.

But unfortunately, the human brain can’t process, structure, and analyze all that data.

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So technology engines have to help, and digital marketers should be the driver.

There is a massive opportunity for companies that can utilize data to create more engaging experiences.

A recent study showed that 95% of business leaders recognize this as their biggest growth lever over the next three years, which means there’s plenty at stake here!

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Robust data analysis ensures decisions are evidence-based and have more accountability.

Drawing on existing and new data sources to fully integrate business acumen and analytical skills into decision making, sourcing, managing, and analyzing large amounts of unstructured data will ensure continued use and success.

SEO began with data and has evolved.

From the introduction of real-time SEO in 2019 and Page Experience Updates in 2021, SEO’s future lies again with data and the creation of intelligent systems. Here marketers can leverage combined data sources that structures data for them.

As a result, they can achieve business objectives and stay ahead during all data and digital transformation stages.

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Technology & AI Are Helping SEO Evolve

Advancements in technology and, in particular, AI and Natural Language Processing has meant that SEO and digital marketers can become data analysts without having to become an actual data scientist.

This is key to unlocking structured insights from your company’s big data to make more precise predictions about what is coming next based on existing information.

Digital marketers can evolve, understand key trends, and learn in new areas such as:

  • Predictive modeling of future trends and forecasting based on multiple types of data.
  • Real-time identification of opportunities and intelligence.
  • Digital research at scale with both historical and real-time data.
  • Leveraging automated visualizations for various stakeholders.
  • Improved data security and compliance.
  • Market and business intelligence at a macro level.
  • Consumer behavior at the most granular level.

SEO and digital marketers can learn critical skills such as statistics, data analysis, data visualization, and strategy.

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AI, NLP, and machine learning are helping them do this without needing expertise in computer programming and software applications.

What digital marketers must do is combine their communication skills and analytics skills with stakeholders who cannot think outside of the advertising box.

Read More On SEJ

Data Analysis & Intelligence As Competitive Advantage

The application of technology will be the driving force behind the next generation of data analysis technology.

Therefore, SEO and digital marketers of today should learn how to better utilize insights from data analysis.

It’s becoming more apparent that the marketing platforms of tomorrow will require the capabilities of data analysis and science infrastructure at their core.

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The future of marketing will blend technological know-how, business sense, and an understanding of data analysis.

The next generation of SEO will touch all components of marketing, from video, email, and voice, to digital performance of content.

SEO and data science will converge into one evolved discipline that drives omnichannel acquisition and democratizes data.

Marketers who embrace this new era of SEO will be well-positioned to succeed in the years to come.

Data is reconfirming its role as the new competitive advantage, and as SEO and digital marketers, you must evolve if you want to be part of the future.

More resources:


Featured Image: ra2 studio/Shutterstock

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