Selling online is becoming ever more competitive. Existing retailers are becoming more tech-savvy, and new entrants to the eCommerce space are launching each day.
To succeed online, digital retailers need to have an effective and strategic plan to drive traffic and sales. Sites such as Google and Bing can be a great source of high converting traffic. To rank well on search engines like these you need to optimise your product pages. However, SEO can often be a complicated process if you are not an organic search expert.
To make this process a bit easier, we have put together our top tips to carry out SEO for eCommerce product pages.
How to optimise your product pages for organic search
Identify your target keywords for product SEO
Before you begin your SEO product page optimisation, you need to understand which keywords you should target. You can use tools such as AHREFS and SEMRush to identify which keywords are most relevant for your products. Try to pick keywords with a relatively high search volume, moderate to high cost per click, and low keyword difficulty. You are essentially trying to choose keywords that will convert, which are not too challenging to rank for in search engines.
Include the main keyword in your product name
Online stores will often use product names as the anchor text for internal links to product pages. Including your keyword in your product name means that you will have keyword-rich anchor text on many on your internal links to your product pages without having to do anything else.
Use your product name in the page title tag
Use your product names in the title tag of each product page. Suppose you followed the previous tip and included your main keyword in the product name. In that case, you will be optimising your title tag for your product name and your primary keyword.
Write compelling meta descriptions for clicks
Search engines often use meta descriptions as the description in search results. By optimising your meta description to compel searchers to click, you can increase your click-through rate and traffic to your website. Think about what your ideal customer wants. Do they want free delivery and returns? If so, include that in your meta description. Do not forget to include your main keyword in the meta description too.
Ensure you have SEO friendly URLs
You should use SEO friendly URLs for all of your pages. Your URLs should include your product names, and if possible, your primary keyword. Words should be separated with hyphens and only use alphanumeric characters.
Each product page should have unique content
If you are selling products manufactured by another company, do not just copy their product descriptions. Product pages with the same content as other pages on the web are likely to get flagged as duplicate content and may not appear in search results. Make sure that each of your product pages has well written, unique product descriptions.
Use the main keyword and supplementary keywords in your product description
Your product descriptions should include both your main keyword and your supplementary keywords. Try to have as many as possible, but do not sacrifice your content’s readability to include more keywords.
Prioritise UX and conversions
Google tracks user behaviour. Suppose visitors arrive at your store from Google search results and immediately click back to the results and click on another website. In that case, this indicates to Google that your website did not answer that searcher’s query. To combat this, you want to try and reduce bounce rates and improve the UX of your pages. Ensure that your content answers your visitors’ queries and provides strong calls to action to get them to take further action on your site.
Use structured data for rich snippets
Structured data helps search engines better understand the content of your website. Some structured data can also result in you appearing in search results with rich snippets. Rich snippets can help make your search results stand out from the crowd and drive more clicks.
Many types of content can benefit from structured data. The most common for eCommerce sites will be product structured data. You can find out more about product structured data here.
Make sure your product pages are mobile-friendly
Google rolled out mobile-first indexing for the entire web in 2020. Mobile-first indexing means that your website’s mobile version is the version that Google will use for indexing and ranking purposes.
To ensure that mobile-first indexing does not negatively impact your product pages, you need to make your website mobile-friendly. You should make sure that your site loads quickly on mobile. Your website should also be easy to use on mobile devices, and the content you want to use for ranking purposes appears on the mobile version of the site.
Redirect product pages you remove
If you remove any products permanently from your store, then generally you should 301 redirect that product’s page to another relevant page on your website. Doing this will ensure that any link equity to the old product page is not lost and that visitors do not end up on a 404 page.
Before doing this, you should also consider the alternatives. Suppose you want people to know that the product is no longer available instead of redirecting to a different page and causing confusion. In that case, you could either let the URL 404, or you could leave the product page live with a message stating that the product not stocked anymore.
Include customer reviews
Customer reviews can be great for social proof and conversions. Include product reviews if possible to drive up engagement and reduce bounce rates. Improving your UX in this way will benefit your SEO as search engines will see your website as answering visitors’ queries.
Customer reviews are also great, keyword-rich user-generated content. Lots of reviews laden with your target keywords will increase your product page’s relevance for your target keywords.
Optimise images and video
Images and video are brilliant ways to engage and convert shoppers. These two media types are also beneficial for SEO.
To optimise your images, include your keywords in your file names as well as within the image alt attribute. Remember not to spam your keywords. The alt attribute’s primary purpose is to describe the contents of the images for people that cannot view the image.
To optimise your video, you can add a transcript for any speaking or text displayed in the video. The text of the transcript will be crawled by search engines and help boost your product page’s relevance. You should also add VideoObject structured data and submit a video sitemap to give your video the best chance of being indexed.
Make sure your pages load fast
Page speed has been an organic search ranking factor for many years. Slow sites provide a poor user experience. Search engines such as Google want to avoid sending their visitors to websites with poor UX.
You can use tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test your product pages and identify areas for improvement. A significant change is coming later in 2021 – Core Web Vitals rollout as a Google ranking factor. These web vitals are three metrics used to measure user experience. Two of them, FID and LCP, are related to page speed. Ensuring your site is optimised to load fast will stand you in good stead to rank well once Core Web Vitals go live.
Use HREFLANG if you have more than one version of the page targeting multiple languages and regions
Many online stores have versions of their sites available in different languages and targeting multiple geographical regions. If you set up your site like this, make sure that you are using HREFLANG to indicate all of your product pages’ alternate versions to search engines. HREFLANG helps search engines like Google understand which pages should rank for speakers of different languages in each country.
Internally link to your product page from other relevant pages
Internal links are essential for helping search engines find your content. Relevant articles and categories should link to your product pages. Where possible, you should use keyword-rich anchor text for these internal links.
Monitor Search Console and analytics
Once you have completed your eCommerce product page optimisation, you need to monitor the results. You can use Google search volume to track your clicks and impressions from Google organic search listings. Your click-through rate is crucial as it will let you know if optimising your title tag and meta descriptions has resulted in a more compelling search result for your audience.
Analytics tools will be vital for tracking what is happening on your site. Monitor your bounce rates and conversions. Ideally, after improving the UX of your product pages, you should see a reduction in bounce rates and an increase in conversion rates.
Now you have read through our list of eCommerce product page best practices, you should now have a plan to SEO your product pages. Let us know in the comments below how you get on.
If you have any questions and would like us to help you optimise your eCommerce site for search engines, you can contact us about our SEO services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.