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8 On-Site SEO Problems That Can Hurt eCommerce Store Rankings & Traffic

Ricky Hayes
Published on Jan 20, 2021

Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify - free Shopify theme, helping drop shippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies, and mentoring programs.

8 On-Site SEO Problems That Can Hurt eCommerce Store Rankings & Traffic

It’s common for online businesses to think that search engine traffic will start rolling in if they merely display the right products on their e-commerce website. Unfortunately, the reality is quite far from how SEO works.

Your work for months or even years to rank for relevant keywords on search engines may become futile because of SEO problems. To make things even worse, you could end up losing years of consistent, hard work in seconds. Why? Because of the failure to resolve the SEO problems on time.

These problems might look very trivial at first. You may think that the decrease in referral traffic isn’t something to worry about, and maybe every site suffers from it, especially those with better search results. 

100% agreed!

However, if you don’t handle it now, it could grow to a point when your Google Analytics data starts crawling downward.

Now, if you’ve already started to worry about all the things that aren’t right with your SEO, let us show you how to fix 8 of the most common mistakes you might make right now, which are hurting your e-commerce store ranking and traffic.

1. Duplicate Content

Google defines duplicate content as,

 “Substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely matches other content or are appreciably similar.”

According to research, the most common SEO issue affecting websites is duplicate content, which more than 50% of analyzed sites have.

Printable pages, archives, tags, and other miscellaneous pages should not be indexed by Google and must be marked disallowed in robots.txt. It’s essential to do so, as your e-commerce website can get sanctions because of duplicate pages.

Firstly, having duplicate content on your website will make you lose your capability to choose which pages you want to rank. Search engines won’t know which pages to display in SERPs (Search engine result pages). 

Secondly, search engines aim to make the web a better place for users, where both search engines and users highly appreciate valuable and unique content.

Use robots.txt to block areas that create duplicate content such as archives, tags, and even category pages in some cases. Use the canonical tag to indicate the search engine bots which pages of your website you want to index.

2. Lack of Product Descriptions

The majority of the online stores make the mistake of not adding a product description to their listing. Unfortunately, failure to add a text description of the product minimizes the chances of the page being in the top 10 of a search engine query, even in the case of low-frequency queries. 

No doubt, pictures are essential for an e-commerce store. However, do not skip the product description. The pictures are for your customers to make up their mind about making a purchase. However, search engines do not rank pages because of the images. They read the text on the website and display it on the result pages.

An example of a detailed product description on Sephora’s website.

More than 18% of the websites crawled (when search engines use bots to browse the websites’ web content for indexing) usually have a low word count on some pages. Word count is a complicated SEO metric. There is no minimum word count limit for a page. But, Google ranks the pages with higher and longer content.

Make sure you don’t copy content from other websites. Create your unique content and add the keywords in the description to make your pages rank higher on search engines.

3. Lack of Product Reviews

About 70% of buyers check for product reviews on an online store before buying it. So, if your e-commerce website has no such reviews, you miss a large chunk of the audience.

Besides, it is easier for pages with reviews to reach the top search results than product pages.

Reviews help to generate feedback from customers and also improves customer relations. Therefore, make sure that you allow users to post reviews on the website.

4. Missing Alt Tags

Pictures are as crucial for an online store as oxygen is for humans. An online store has to use clear, relevant, and detailed images of its product.

As much as the owners pay attention to upload good quality pictures, they often overlook the Alt tag’s importance. An Alt tag works as a textual description for the product, enabling the search engines to categorize them. Many brands fail to insert the keyword phrases in this tag.

SEMrush’s research concluded that approximately 45% of sites have images with missing alt tags, and around 10% of them have broken internal images. Both of these can aggravate the e-commerce on-page SEO problem. To avoid this, make sure the alt tag contains the SEO keyword phrases. 

Furthermore, ensure that your page has no broken images. It can prove to be a dead-end for the search engines and users.

5. Non-Unique Titles

Search engines use title tags (page titles) to determine the substance of each page. The title tag appears at the top of search listings. They also help web users decide either to click your link or not. 

Title tags are one of the most important SEO elements on your page. If you correctly optimize your title tags, it can positively impact your rankings.

We understand that creating unique title tags for every page can be quite challenging. It is natural to repeat the same keywords over and over again. Search engines are aware of this occurrence; therefore, you should focus on making your title tags unique.

To create unique titles, use the formula “brand-product-model” to structure your title tag. For instance, “Chanel Floral Affair Perfume 005.”

Log onto Ubersuggest to learn more about unique titles.

Use Ubersuggest to learn more about unique titles.

6. Internal and External Broken Links

Broken links can cause havoc and lead to an onsite SEO problem. As your site expands and resources are updated, a link or two may break, which isn’t a big issue. But, what if these broken links count up to 10? Or 100? Broken links can be a potential danger for SEO. 

Firstly, if a user sees a 404 page instead of the information they wanted to access, it leads to a traffic dropdown. Additionally, users will think of your website as a low-quality one.

Secondly, broken links are a waste of your crawl budget. Because each time search engine bots visit your website, they do not crawl the entire site but rather a certain number of pages.

If your e-commerce store has many broken links, it minimizes the pages being crawled and indexed. It diverts the bots’ attention from your pages, which matters.

Research from Search Engine Watch showed that 35% of crawled sites had broken internal links that returned lousy HTTP status codes.

7. Numerous On-Page Links

Linking is not an easy affair. Maybe that’s why more than 15% of the websites have too many on-page links, which causes SEO problems.

Even though Google has dropped its requirement to keep the number of links on a page under a specific number, an optimized page means having natural, relevant, and high-quality links.

An abundance of links can lower your page’s value and drive away most of your traffic. However, if those links have relevance and a purpose, then your site will still rank well.

To solve an on-page link issue, make sure you perform a link audit that all links on the page are useful and add value. If the links are not helpful, then get rid of them immediately to improve your on-page SEO.

8. Failure to Optimize Product Pages on Search Demand

To improve your website SEO, keep in mind the demand and search keywords that people are typing into the search engines. Make sure you include those keywords when you write headlines, title pages, and product descriptions on your product page. 

Failure to do so will create a situation where you are promoting something that no one is interested in searching. Stores with different items often make this mistake.

For example, a person mistakenly makes a page that has:

  1.   The Title Tag
  2.   H1 Heading
  3.   Image Alt Tag

Let’s suppose you optimize these tags for the keyword phrase ‘Red Lipstick.’ The keywords mentioned in the tags are not specific. Instead, using the keyword phrase ‘MAC Ruby Woo Lipstick’ would be a better idea for optimizing the product.


It doesn’t matter if you have a few SEO issues or tons of them; you should try and solve them one by one.

Google endeavors to provide the best and useful experience to its users. Therefore, to improve your SEO, make sure your online store is convenient and valuable for customers to achieve their respect. Treating and respecting your customers’ needs will make Google rank your page higher on the result page.

Make sure you figure out all the SEO issues that your site might be facing. Take your time to do it, but don’t ignore it as it will further deteriorate the situation.

If you’re unsure where to start, consider having experts do the heavy lifting for your business. Pacific54’s SEO experts can audit your website, find SEO problems, and develop a strategy to not only fix them but to improve your SEO and rankings. Contact Pacific54 today to get started!

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