You can’t get by in the eCommerce digital marketing landscape without constantly improving your strategy. Every day, companies find new ways to distinguish themselves from their competitors, so being on top of these new trends is your best bet at survival in any competitive industry.

How do you stay on top of these trends? With website and marketing strategy audits. Audits will tell you what you’re doing well, what your competitors are doing better, and what you could improve on.

And when you get an audit from an experienced digital marketing agency, you’ll get actionable recommendations of exactly how you can improve.

Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi is a Utah-based outdoor apparel company. It is a relatively new company, only starting back in 2014, but they’ve already made an impact on the industry with their grand entrance. Their business model is hyper-focused on sustainability and improving the human experience through their clothing and charitable donations. We decided to take a look at their website and strategy to see how this rising company can climb even higher.

The Audit

We analyzed several key touchpoints on Cotopaxi’s website to create a truly holistic SEO and website audit. But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s quickly summarize what we found:

According to our research, Cotopaxi has held a trend line of steadily growing traffic since 2015, a year after the company was founded. 

We also observed a substantial growth of organic keyword rankings from January 2017 to June 2018. However, their keyword rankings have been on the decline since 2018, going from 27,000 total ranking keywords in 2018 to 14,000 in 2021. Additionally, Cotopaxi’s keywords are highly relevant to their industry.

That’s the gist of Cotopaxi’s ranking and traffic trends. Now, let’s focus on the finer details of their site and eCommerce SEO strategy through nine different categories.

1. Strategies and Goals

Cotopaxi’s website is highly brand-centric. That focus informs the site’s keyword usage—basic SEO practices are well-utilized for their main topic pages but lack focused keywords on less-trafficked pages. 

Meanwhile, we’ve determined that their main KPIs are hyper-focused on eCommerce. This was determined by their email lists, which include “exclusive offerings” and “first dibs on new products.”

2. Site Architecture

Cotopaxi’s website is easy to navigate. A few factors help them achieve this: 

  • URLs are descriptive and easy to understand
  • Internal navigation and link structure works well
  • 98% of their pages can be accessed within three clicks
  • No dynamic URLs

We believe that Cotopaxi could further improve their site architecture and navigability. Addressing things like internal links and categorization options could greatly enhance the user experience.

3. Crawling and Indexation

Crawling and indexation is a technical tricky aspect of SEO, but Cotopaxi seems to have done a nice job making sure their pages were indexable.

  • Sitemap is well organized and has few issues
  • The site is secure
  • All versions of the homepage redirect to the canonical version of the homepage
  • No index bloat
  • Non-indexable pages on the site are canonicalized

A couple of issues that we found:

  • 110 4xx errors
  • A subdomain, aventuras.cotopaxi.com, appears on Google’s index but is not operational (could be spam)

4. Content Optimization

Cotopaxi’s content is somewhat lacking. Their articles don’t cover very many topics, and they don’t seem to include many details that add credibility to their content. They could also do a better job of properly formatting their articles and webpages to match SEO best practices. But there is a strong foundation that they can build upon.

5. On-Page User Experience

Things like review schemas, canonicals, and externals links contribute towards Cotopaxi’s quality on-page user experience. However, several things could improve the experience even further, which we will talk about later in the Takedown.

6. Off-Page User Experience

The off-page user experience largely involves a brand’s online reputation and its backlink portfolio. Cotopaxi knocks this part of the audit out of the park.

  • Backlinks appear to be natural and from relevant websites
  • Link velocity has steadily increased for several years
  • 2,700 referring domains
  • 69/100 URL Rating score
  • 71/100 Domain Rating score

7. Local SEO

Cotopaxi only has a handful of retail locations, but each one has a listing that includes the store’s address, phone number, and hours of operation. Their website even has a “map it” button that makes it easy to find the store on Google Maps.

Each Cotopaxi retail location maintains a generally positive rating in their reviews, though some additional reputation management could be beneficial. Otherwise, store owners have done a decent job of responding to negative reviews in a polite and timely manner.

8. Conversion Rate Optimization

While we cannot access Cotopaxi’s current conversion rates, we feel that more could be done onsite to optimize conversion opportunities. One example is their discount offering for signing up for their mailing list. A small box on the bottom right of the webpage offers 15% off next purchases, but changes to 10% when you click on it. Unifying this discount offering could generate better conversion rates.

Cotopaxi could also improve the CTAs in their content. As of right now, the CTAs are mostly geared towards making charitable donations. Instead, CTAs could encourage people to go outdoors or take an adventurous journey.

9. International Optimization

Outside of the U.S., eu.cotopaxi.com appears to be the only dedicated website. However, the language tags of that website are currently only targeting English. Cotopaxi should target every language of European countries to better optimize their international reach.

Five Top-Priority Takeaways

Overall, Cotopaxi has done a decent job of maintaining its website and has a firm grasp of basic SEO principles, but there’s always room for improvement. Here are four things Cotopaxi can do to better their website and digital marketing strategy:

1. Improve Blog and Resource Content

Their current blog content appears to be focused primarily on charitable donations and charitable projects. We recommend tailoring content that better targets their audience personas by:

  • Adding more content to target more keywords and improve rankings
  • Optimizing title tags (193 pages currently have unoptimized title tags)
  • Implementing meta descriptions (139 pages are missing meta descriptions)
  • Better utilizing keywords on their core web pages
  • Optimizing image sizes by compressing them to be less than 100kb
  • Adding alt text attributes to images

2. Restructure the Site Architecture

While Cotopaxi has done a great job of structuring their website, we do believe there are a few improvements they could make to optimize their site architecture even further:

  • Adding more in-content internal links
  • Adding more filter options into their eCommerce store including color, size, etc
  • More categorization on their “Sales” page
  • Allowing those filter categories (color, size, etc) to show in URLs

3. Conduct Additional Keyword Research

Cotopaxi could benefit significantly from targeting more keywords and topics centered around their products and mission. Doing so can get their foot in the door on a variety of topics, the same topics that Cotopaxi’s competition is ranking for. This can help Cotopaxi generate more qualified organic search leads since online shoppers will be more likely to come across Cotopaxi’s content. 

4. Test to Optimize Conversions

Cotopaxi’s website currently has many conversion-friendly elements, but additional testing could be done to improve conversions. After all, one report found 50% of companies feel that conversion rate optimization is a critical part of their digital marketing. Some ideas for Cotopaxi include:

  • Adding exit intent pop-ups
  • Fixing the discrepancy on their 10-15% coupon offer for email list sign-ups
  • Making prices more attractive with mark-down prices

Improvements to Cotopaxi’s user experience could also help optimize conversion rates. Here are ways they can do that:

  • Fix redirect chains (we found 20 chains that had two or more redirects)
  • Fix broken internal links (we found 90 on the website)
  • Fix coding errors (including the 110 4xx errors)
  • Improve field data (the site currently does not pass the Core Web Vitals assessment)
  • Remove unused JavaScript and CSS
  • Enable text-compression
  • Eliminate render-blocking resources

The Core Web Vitals assessment is particularly noteworthy, as it shows that Google is paying closer attention to the user experience. Currently, the three main categories of the assessment include:

  • Website speed
  • Responsiveness
  • Visual stability

5. Grow Positive Reputation

Cotopaxi generally has a good reputation, but it takes a lot of work to maintain that. It’s estimated that 91% of online shoppers trust online reviews, so every company should root out negative reviews that may dissuade new customers. We suggest protecting their reputation by creating review campaigns to garner more positive reviews for their retail locations.

Improve Your eCommerce SEO and Marketing Strategies

It’s estimated that worldwide eCommerce retail revenue will hit $6.54 trillion by 2023. And with current shopper trends, online shopping could account for 22% of all retail purchases. That means a lot of companies will gravitate towards eCommerce, which also means more competition. So, if you want to remain competitive and attract your audience to your eCommerce store, it’s time to get to work.

Reach out to Big Leap today to find out how to improve your digital marketing strategy. We’ll perform an audit as thorough as this Cotopaxi marketing takedown and help you with detailed and actionable tasks.

Jack Greaves
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