How To Quickly Identify Priorities For An eCommerce Website
Identifying issues with an eCommerce website are best done using crawlers, such as Screaming Frog or Deepcrawl, and doing this can provide you with insights such as a large number of 404 errors on your site.
Issues that can be quickly identified include but are not limited to:
- 404 errors
- Long title tags
- Missing meta descriptions
- Server errors
If you identify a lot of 404 errors, this means you’ll have to 301 redirect them. However, before doing this, you’ll need to map the error URLs to relevant, clean, working ones, which will help to boost your SEO.
What is a 301 redirect?
301 redirects are permanent redirects from one URL to another. There are many occasions in which you may want to implement a 301 redirect. Perhaps you have changed your website or have created an entirely new domain you wish reroute to.
Or maybe, you wish to cover any obvious spelling mistakes people make while looking for your page; linking typo domains to your active page. This ensures misspellings of your URL still take users to the right place.
There are other types of redirects you can do too, such as 302s, which allow you to temporarily link to another page. 302 redirects can be useful for things such as seasonal changes to your website. It’s important to understand the difference so you know which redirect will work for you.
What are the benefits of 301 redirects for SEO?
Preserving SEO value:
Linking to your new page from a dead page allows you to transfer any SEO value from the old URLs to the back to the active website. Meaning if you had a popular page you had to change, then no value needs to be lost in your new URL.
Improving user experience:
Non-redirected dead URLs can create a bad user experience. This is because customers searching for old links will experience a 404 page (or a dead page). This could affect the length of time customers spend on your site, potentially increasing your bounce rate & lowering your conversion rate too. However, implementing a 301 will instantly take the potential customer to a new page.
When would you need to create a 301 redirect map?
A redirect map can be created in many different scenarios, but the most common ones are:
- Migrations, both cross-domain or cross-CMS
- For 404 errors
- For other errors, including 500 errors (server errors)
- When there are a lot of 302 redirects on the site and the pages aren’t temporary
How do you create a 301 redirect map?
- Identify potential 404s, this can be done through a deep crawl, which will list 404 pages.
2. Once you have the URLs which needs redirecting you have to map them one a spreadsheet. This means finding the new pages you want to link to.
3. Depending on the CMS system you are working on, the programme will ask you to organise your redirection chains in a CSV format. Click to download a template from your CMS.
4. These formats generally require you to put old URLs into left-hand path column and new URLs in the right-hand path column.
- Before uploading your redirection paths make sure your redirect page is up to date, if not, refresh.
6. From here, upload your Excel file as your redirection path and ask for your CMS to upload them as redirects.
Why do eCommerce stores generate so many 404 errors?
One of the common frustrations when running an eCommerce store is the frequency at which 404 pages are generated. This happens with eCommerce sites more than other sites because they aren’t as stagnant.
Site variables that generate 404 errors:
- Products coming in and out of stock
- Seasonal sales pages
- Coupon codes
- Promotional pages that become inactive
- Internal searches
Due to this variability among eCommerce sites, Google indexes pages that we don’t always want it to and it is hard to keep on top of pages that become inactive 404s.
How to slow down the generation of 404 errors:
To prevent the proliferation of 404’s in can help to disallow Google from indexing things such as a customer’s unique search or the parameters on your site.