9 SEO Mistakes South African E-Commerce Sites Should Avoid

SEO is crucial for the success of e-commerce businesses in South Africa. However, some common SEO mistakes can significantly impact your site’s performance. Here are the top pitfalls to avoid, backed by statistics, and actionable advice to help you navigate these challenges.

1. Neglecting Local SEO Optimization

Around 46% of all Google searches are for a local business or service​​.

Optimize for local SEO by incorporating location-specific keywords, ensuring your Google My Business profile is accurate, and regularly engaging with your local audience.

Look at our blog on local SEO for more detail.

2. Ignoring Mobile Optimization

In 2023, mobile devices generated 58.33% of global website traffic, and 59% of shoppers find mobile shopping important​​​​.

Make your website mobile-friendly and focus on reducing mobile site speed, as even a 0.1-second reduction can lead to an 8% increase in conversions​​.

Additionally, a 0.1 second improvement in speed on a mobile retail website leads to a 9.2% increase in the average order value of that website.

3. Neglecting Keyword Research

The top Google search result gets about 32% of all the clicks.

Conduct extensive keyword research tailored to your audience. Focus on terms relevant to the South African market and incorporate them effectively into your content.

4. Overlooking Quality Content

90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from Google, and only 5.7% of pages rank in the top 10 search results within a year of publication​​​​.

Produce high-quality, original content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience. Prioritize value over quantity to improve organic traffic and search rankings.

An important action for South African e-commerce websites is to write their own product descriptions. You will never rank number one on Google for a product if you use the manufacturer’s description.

With the help of AI, you can easily and quickly write your own product descriptions that are both unique and helpful.

Spend that little bit of extra time on each product on your website and you will reap the benefits of an increase in sales from organic searches.

5. Inadequate Backlink Strategy

The number of domains linking to a page correlates highly with rankings​​​​.

However, that does not mean causation. We have found that creating great quality content and posting it to your own website consistently is the best way to increase rankings.

If you create better quality content than your competition and more consistently you will outrank them. No matter how many backlinks they have.

That is why we don’t have any backlink building on any of our SEO packages. It simply is not worth the time and effort spent.

6. Not Tracking and Analyzing SEO Performance

A Google Analytics screenshot from our own website.

Regular monitoring of website traffic and conversion rates is essential for successful SEO.

Use tools like Google Analytics to track your SEO performance. Regularly review and adjust your strategies based on these insights.

Google Analytics is an amazing tool that can give you a lot of data. Make sure to connect it to your Google Search Console account to see more detailed SEO reporting.

Google Analytics can help you see how many users visit your website, which pages they visit, how much time they spend on each page, where they start and where they end.

Definitely have this set up on your website as soon as it is built so that you have all the data.

7. Disregarding User Experience

User experience plays a significant role in website rankings and conversions.

Enhance user experience by focusing on factors like website speed, intuitive navigation, and accessible information. This approach will not only improve your SEO performance but also lead to better customer satisfaction.

User experience is one of the most important Google ranking factors. Continually monitor how users experience your website and improve on that.

A great tool for this is Hotjar. It takes a screen recording of how people browse your website, which you can watch. It also gives you a heatmap of pages that user often visit to see where user’s attention is and where they click the most.

This tool can be very helpful for ecommerce websites in South Africa.

8. Using Duplicate or Thin Content

Google penalizes websites for duplicate content, which negatively impacts SEO efforts.

Create original and substantial content that resonates with your audience. Avoid duplication and focus on providing unique value through your content.

9. Avoiding Professional Guidance

Navigating SEO complexities often requires expert guidance for optimal results.

Partner with SEO professionals who specialize in the South African market. Their expertise can help you avoid common pitfalls and lead your business to success.


Avoiding these SEO mistakes is crucial for the growth and visibility of your e-commerce business in South Africa. Implementing these strategies and adapting to the evolving digital landscape can significantly improve your online presence and drive targeted traffic to your site.

FAQ: SEO Mistakes and Strategies for E-Commerce Websites

1. What are the common SEO mistakes?

Common SEO mistakes include neglecting local SEO optimization, ignoring mobile optimization, inadequate keyword research, overlooking the importance of quality content, insufficient backlink strategy, not tracking and analyzing SEO performance, disregarding user experience, and using duplicate or thin content.

2. What are the common SEO mistakes on eCommerce websites?

E-commerce websites often make mistakes like not optimizing product descriptions, neglecting structured data and schema markup, failing to leverage user-generated content like reviews, inadequate internal linking, and not optimizing for mobile and speed.

3. Is SEO worth it for eCommerce?

Yes, SEO is highly beneficial for e-commerce as it drives organic traffic, enhances online visibility, and improves conversion rates, making it a cost-effective marketing strategy.

4. How do I SEO my eCommerce website?

To SEO your e-commerce website, focus on local SEO optimization, conduct comprehensive keyword research, create high-quality and unique product descriptions, implement structured data, encourage customer reviews, and optimize for mobile responsiveness.

5. What is the biggest problem with SEO?

The biggest challenge with SEO is its complexity and the constant evolution of search engine algorithms. Staying updated with these changes and adapting your strategy accordingly is crucial for effective SEO.

6. What are the common SEO mistakes to avoid?

Avoid mistakes like neglecting local SEO, overlooking mobile optimization, failing in keyword research and content quality, not acquiring quality backlinks, ignoring user experience, and using duplicate content.

7. What are the best tools for eCommerce SEO?

Top tools for e-commerce SEO include Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and tools specific to e-commerce platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce for site optimization.

8. How to increase eCommerce sales with SEO?

Increase e-commerce sales with SEO by optimizing for relevant keywords, creating compelling product descriptions, using high-quality images, leveraging user reviews, improving site navigation and user experience, and ensuring mobile-friendliness.

9. How long does eCommerce SEO take?

Results from eCommerce SEO can typically be seen within 3-6 months, but it’s a long-term strategy. Consistent effort and adaptation to SEO trends are key to sustained success.


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