A Checklist for Improving Branded Online Content in Search

For all the brands looking to improve their online presence, here is a checklist of 50 SEO tips that briefly cover everything from SSL certificates to schema to search-friendly URLs and much more. Note: If you are looking for an online reputation checklist click here

Site structure

Marketers should keep a close watch on the structure of their website and the SEO strategy they will implement. Below is the rundown of 19 tips linked to the construction of your site.

  1. HTTPS. The security of your site is an important consideration. It’s a good idea to migrate HTTP sites to the HTTPS protocol. In an attempt to protect customers and crucial business information, you, as a startup owner, should improve the trust factor of your site by investing in a cheap SSL certificate. Given the fact that HTTPS sites enjoy slightly better Google rankings, it pays for e-commerce startup owners to activate their SSL certificates. This move towards web security will enable visitors to transact on your site confidently.

  2. Fast Site. You must also ensure that your e-commerce site responds quickly to customer clicks. Site speed is another element that can dictate the success of your e-commerce SEO. Reduce page load times to reduce the bounce rates of your site. 

  3. Internal linking tells search engines how to index your site. The further a page is from the home page, the less important it may be. That doesn’t mean pages should have a lot of links. It just means that content should be organized logically and that every page on the site should have at least one link to it. 

  4. Backlinks. Everyone pretty much knows this, but we’ll repeat it anyway. The basis of off-page SEO is and has always been links. So start building superior-quality backlinks.

  5. Mobile Friendly. Research suggests that, on average, > 50% of web traffic comes from mobile searches. To stay in sync with technology, e-commerce owners should capitalize on this tendency by optimizing the site for mobile displays. While doing this, care should be taken to compress the images to less than 70KB so that mobile pages load faster. Search for “Google site speed tool” to find a great tool for testing the speed of your site on mobile screens.

  6. Home Page Status to Category Pages. You also need to grant ‘individual home page’ status to category pages with respective content and keywords. A well-organized category-level navigation is another important factor that can boost success.

  7. Meta descriptions play a significant role in increasing your CTR (Click Through Rate). Efforts should be directed towards writing compelling Meta Descriptions so that visitors will be compelled to see what you have to offer. One great way to find the best meta description formula is to test them using Google Ads. Test a few versions as ads, see which are clicked on most often, and use that text as the basis for your meta description. 

  8. Image SEO is another tip that e-commerce startup owners might find useful. When web content is supported by images, it can make for better visitor engagement and also causes the page to be returned in image searches. Such content-supportive images should come with ‘Alt Tags’ and if possible, ‘Title Tags’. These tags enable both normal and visually-impaired visitors to access your site easily.  

  9. Title Tag. You must optimize your Title Tag by ensuring that it contains a string of 60-70 characters. Long-tail keywords can deliver enhanced organic searches you may not have thought of. Adding the keyword to the Title Tag is another sure shot to attract visitors’ attention to your website. How to find the right Title Tag? The AB testing method mentioned above using Google Ads can help. 

  10. Chat / Chatbots. You can include live chat on your website. Remember that you need someone available to respond to live chat, though. Chat “bots” have become a thing lately, though, and can programmatically answer visitor questions when a human isn’t present. 

  11. Breadcrumb navigation is another navigational aid used in your structure. Through breadcrumbs, visitors can navigate between the numerous product lines, categories, and information pages of your website. Google recommends breadcrumbs as a way to organize information. It is advisable to use Breadcrumbs on all your product categories, product sub-categories and product pages.

  12. Social Integrations. You can allow visitors to share your pages through social integrations. Provide such an option on all your product pages

  13. 301 Redirects. When a product or page is discontinued, use the permanent 301-Redirect URL. This way, instead of a dead page, users are automatically redirected to a live page. It also lets search engines know that the page has moved, so you don’t lose any of your hard-earned links. 

  14. Header Tags. Incorporate header tags on all your product pages. The most important headline should be an H1 tag. You should have only one H1 tag. Then, add H2 tags to sub-headings. You can have many of these. Within H2 headings, you can nest H3 or H4 tags. This helps search engines organize content on a page level.

  15. Canonical Tags. You should also use a canonical tag. This URL tag avoids the issue of duplicate content, which every website experiences. When a search engine finds content in two or more places on your site, it has to decide which one to show in search results. The canonical tag lets them know the right one.

  16. URL Structure. Pay attention to the structure of your URLs to strengthen product categories. Website.com/category/ should be the URL of your category page. Similarly, you can represent the sub-category page using the website.com/category/sub-category/ URL format. Additionally, the product page can be represented as: website.com/category-sub-category/product-name. These URL naming formats are not only user-friendly but can lead to more traffic because search engines and users can get a better idea of what your page is about from the URL itself.

Brand awareness online

Now for brand awareness.

  1. The best way to improve your brand’s presence is to allow buyers to share their reviews and recommendations on your e-store or website. This will not only increase the web content of your product pages but will also provide social validation. 

  2. Initiate a guest blogging strategy where 3rd parties create content for your site. In fact, this very post is the result of a guest blogging effort. This can not only drive more traffic to your e-store but will also enhance the presence of your brand amongst online shoppers. 

  3. Paid search like Google Ads can pave the way for enhanced brand awareness, eventually leading to an organic sale. Does PPC improve SEO? No. They’re not connected. 

  4. E-store owners can also look at inserting aggregated star-based reviews next to their products to support an organic search. This can make stars appear in search results next to your products and services. Aggregated reviews are a form of “schema”. You can learn more about schemas at schema.org.

  5. You can also bank on the power offered by rich snippets, which are meant to provide additional information to the visitor who lands on the home page of your e-store. They can help your site occupy “position zero” in search results. The most common e-commerce-rich snippets are availability, reviews and ratings, events, and pricing. You can add rich snippets by implementing Schema Markups.

  6. You can initiate an affiliate program by asking bloggers to express their views about your online products. This tip generates more sales and will increase the backlinks to your e-store, at least, as long as they like your products or services.

  7. Another marketing tip that can work is to look for local events in the industry space and sponsor them. 

  8. If done very subtly, you can also participate in Reddit forums linked to your product line. But be warned, Reddit users do not respond well to overt marketing. Use this strategy at your own risk. 

Along with all the above-mentioned tips linked to three different heads of e-commerce businesses, you can also check out a host of helpful tools that can positively impact your organic traffic. Below are some SEO tools to check out.

  • Google Shopping is a tool that may come with a lower ‘cost per click’ and higher conversion rates when compared to other PPC alternatives.

  • Google Trends can give you insight into what is trending in your industry, giving you ideas as to where to invest content and SEO resources on your site.   

  • The Crazy Egg tool promises to make your website better instantly.

  • Google Search Console is a tool to improve the performance of your site by enabling you to quantify search traffic data. This one is considered a “must-have”.

  • You can check out Adwords Keyword Planner to identify compelling keywords. It’s not perfect though, while popular – the numbers sometimes don’t add up.   

  • Readable improves the readability of your web content. Well, it doesn’t do it; it shows you how to. 

  • If your e-store has visual content that needs to be shared amongst visitors, you can use Canva to create amazing graphic designs.

  • Quick Sprout says you can learn how to grow your traffic, improve your website, and increase your conversions. Sounds great!

  • You can also check out the responses given out by users on Quora. A question-and-answer platform, Quora helps you plug the gaps between helpful user insights and the deficiencies in your products.

  • SEMrush is an awesome tool for identifying the keywords that are being used by your competitors. 



What are the top SEO site improvement structures?

Change site security from HTTP to HTTPS, speed up your site (Google Page Speed Insights), link internally, get more backlinks, make your site mobile friendly, improve meta descriptions, optimize images, optimize title tag, set up breadcrumb navigation, make sharing easy.

What are the top things to improve brand awareness online?

Get buyers to share reviews, set up guest blogging on your site, try paid search like AdWords, insert star-ratings schema into web pages, get rich snippets, set up an affiliate program, sponsor local events, and participate in Reddit forums. 

How do you optimize a website for mobile?

Compress images to less than 70 KB so that mobile pages load faster. Search for google site speed tool to find a great tool for testing the speed of your site on mobile screens.

How do you write compelling meta descriptions?

Test them using Google Ads. Test a few versions as ads, see which are clicked on most often, and use that text as the basis for your meta description.

What are the top SEO tools?

Google Shopping, Google Trends, Google Search Console, Adwords Keyword Planner, Canva, Quick Sprout, Quora, Ahrefs, and SEMrush are all great SEO tools.


About the author

Kent Campbell is the chief strategist for Reputation X, a San Francisco Bay Area-based online reputation management services firm. He has over 15 years of experience with SEO, Wikipedia editing, review management, and online reputation strategy. Kent has helped celebrities, leaders, executives, and marketing professionals improve the way they are seen online. Kent writes about reputation, SEO, Wikipedia, and PR-related topics.

Tags: Reputation Management.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Get in touch with our team and we’ll take the first steps toward making you look better online.

Talk with Us