In this post I will discuss how to run a short SEO Audit for Boohoo.com, a fashion online store. You can also run a more detailed one by following a complete Health SEO Audit. In this case, I was inspired by a blog post on how to perform a site audit in 15 minutes. I left out Google Analytics as I cannot access the site and any tool that do not offer a free option. All the remaining steps that I will be describing here are totally free.
1. Start crawling
A spider software such as Screaming Frog is able to crawl a site in a similar manner to Googlebot and therefore will be able to identify eventual site’s structure errors that might prevent the search engine from indexing the site. According to Screaming Frog results, there are 2 sites blocked by robots and 8 pages with 404 status (not found).
2. Page Source Analysis
Page source can provide a lot of information regarding on page SEO such as:
- An optimized clickable title, which contains emotional and niche-related keywords
- Presence of headers (H1 tags) and sub-headers (H2, H3 and H4)
- Meta-tags such as title, description and keywords that provide SERPs and encourage clicks
The site Homepage source
The Headline (H1) is still an important ranking factor and therefore a particular attention needs to be paid when choosing a title that helps to ranks well and attracts users. If you are looking for ideas, please read How to make headlines SEriOusly great. Interestingly, Boohoo has chosen to use the brand logo as headline. This is a good approach as:
- The headline makes clear that the page is about Boohoo
- It contains a brand statement “24/7 fashion”
- The image has an alt tag that replaces the logo when the image cannot be displayed
- We might add an image description to increase SERP
The sub-headlines (H2) is present and has been made well use of:
- Sub-headers divide the page into logical sections
- They are styled to make an immediate impact
- They provide clear, useful information to elicit conversion
- They contain specific keywords (Basics, Petite, Tall etc.)
The Meta-tags for the homepage:
- The title-tag corresponds to the page main goal (online fashion) and page-URL
- The description-tag well describes the site’s identity (women online fashion) and includes even its (unique selling point) USP (100s of new styles daily)
- The keywords-tag could be optimized with long-tail keywords such “latest trends”, “street-style”, “eclectic modern fashion” which could replace some repetitions such as “clothes/clothing”
3. Product Page source
An internal page, such as “New In Dresses” shows:
- A title-tag that contains the page URL (New In Dresses) and the brand name (Boohoo)
- The description-tag could be optimized to reflect the page content, for instance “Get the latest trends in women’s dresses from boohoo.com selection. Shop affordable women’s clothing, from maxi to mini dresses”
- The keywords-tag could be optimized as previously indicated. In specific, it would be great SEO practice to design keywords-tags which are related to the page niche. In this case, keywords should include dress-related terms such as “Mini-dress, Summer-dress, Cocktail dress, Gowns etc.”
- Single product page opens when clicking on a single item/dress. Again, the meta description-tag is too generic. A better solution would be to use the style notes description as meta description-tag.
4. Google test: Unique Content
As indicated in the previous paragraph, single page product could be optimized with a better meta description-tag, for instance by using the style notes as meta-description in a manner that each product page has a unique description. Another issue is often a poorly optimized page that contain thin or duplicated content; for instance the product page contains either a very short description or something that has been copied from the supplier.
- The styles notes are too short. A longer description would provide a better user experience. A product description should aim for at least 200 words.
- When searching for a specific product in Google, Boohoo comes up as first result, which is a great SERP result.
- Suggestion: instead of providing a generic “You’ll also like…” I would provide two sections: the first one “Complete the look” with a link to the remaining items shown in picture and another one called “Similar looks” to provide alternative solutions.
5. Google test: Brand search
When searching for the brand name in Google Chrome, Boohoo.com homepage is the first result, as expected from a site that has not been penalized. In addition, third, forth and fifth results are respectively the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, suggesting a strong brand presence on the main social platforms as expected by a brand that aims to become a leader by leveraging on social media exposure.
6. Google test: Keywords search
Unless a visitor is specifically looking for Boohoo.com, they more likely will type keywords that best describe their type of search. Keywords that best describe the site’s identity are “Online clothing store”, “affordable fashion”, “Buy fashion trends” and so on. As keywords and long-tail keywords a site aims to rank for should be listed as meta-keywords, are the meta-keywords selected by Boohoo helping the site to rank well? Boohoo keywords are: “Women fashion”, “clothes shop”, “women clothes”, “women clothing”, “fashion online”, “men fashion”, “men clothing” and “online clothes shopping”. According to Google search engine results, Boohoo ranks high at every search term, it is either 1 or down few positions.This result shows that Boohoo could be optimized for specific keywords as ranking at position 2 causes 50% of traffic loss.
There are two possible solutions:
- Change keywords completely; for instance Boohoo ranks at position 2 for “clothes shop”. Instead of using “clothes shop”, focus on other terms such as “women fashion” that ranks well.
- Try a different combination to increase the chances to rank higher. Use long-tail keywords, such as “affordable clothing shop”, “fashion clothes store” or “online clothes store”.
7. Google test: The “Site” Operator
Searching for site:www.boohoo.com on Google Chrome, Google returns with 469,000 results. This result needs to be compared with the effective number of pages on the site to identity eventual issues in the indexing. First, have a look at Google Webmaster Tool under Crawl > Crawl Errors to determine if Google is reporting any issues with crawling the site. If Google is reporting 404 (not found) or 403 (access denied) errors, these need to be addressed. According to our previous Screaming Frog analysis, there are 8 404 errors. If they belonged to old pages, no longer available, the best solution is a 301 re-direct.
8. Backlinks Audit
As explained in a previous post, bad backlinks could hurt your site reputation, ranking and finally traffic. On Google Webmaster Tools it is possible to download a complete list of all the sites linking in. Each site could be checked for reputation by simply manually searching for them on Google search engine. If they look suspicious, they could be disavowed as indicated by Google guidelines.
9. Site Speed
The best tool to identify if a site is loading efficiently, is Google Speed Insight. When the Boohoo URL is entered in the free tool, the result shows a site that could perform better both on mobile devices (53/100) and on desktops (67/100). The best approach is to start applying the recommended solutions and then check the site speed again. The site has also been optimized for mobile devices; however some buttons are too small to work well on mobiles and need to be optimized (in particular if they could make the navigation more difficult or preventing conversion).