While smaller websites can also have this issue, large online stores are notorious for it. A redirect chain is when a page redirects to another page, that in turn redirects to the destination page. While people don't set out to create these chains, it is something that can easily slip through the cracks.
For example, let's say you get rid of a certain watch on your store. A few months later, you get rid of that entire brand, but you do have a very similar product people will love. Chances are, when the first watch was removed, the product page was redirected to the brand category page. Once the brand was no longer carried, you redirected the entire category to a similar new category page. Boom, now you have a redirect chain.
Like internal duplicate content issues, this is something that can be discovered while performing a technical audit on the site. Once found, fixing this one is straightforward.
5. Improper Robots.Txt File Setup
Earlier we mentioned how some duplicate content could be caused by having dynamic versions of the same URL indexed. This is just one of the many issues that could be avoided with a proper robots.txt file setup.
Another issue common to online stores is "pricing bots", which are simply crawlers built to go through your site and pull in product pricing in bulk. Explicitly defining which bots can and cannot access your site can prevent this from happening. In addition to pricing bots, your site could also have "scraper bots" harvesting your images, content, and other site information to syndicate on their own sites. There are many examples of potentially harmful bots that can be blocked in the robots.txt file if you know where to look. Taking some time to educate yourself or working with someone well-versed in proper robots.txt setup for online stores can have an incredible impact upon how well your store performs.
Just as leaving out important directives can be damaging, including erroneous directives can also cause a major headache. On many occasions, web developers, SEOs, and other online marketing providers have left pages as 'no-index, no-follow", what's worse, sometimes it takes months for this error to be noticed!
Like the earlier issues, a solid technical audit will identify silly mistakes like this that would otherwise destroy your sites ability to rank.
Just like a car mechanic isn't an expert in every vehicle, not every SEO agency has the experience and capabilities within their team to execute a proper ecommerce SEO strategy.
A qualified web developer, an experienced technical SEO analyst, and a content strategist must all work together seamlessly if you want your online store to succeed.
Do your homework, watch out for the mistakes above, and remain vigilante if you want your store to turn into a profitable, long term venture.
About the Author: Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a content marketing and SEO firm specializing in outreach link building. Content placement, blogger outreach, and editorial brand mentions are just a few ways the Stellar SEO team can help. Connect on Twitter @theseoproz.