7 Ecommerce SEO Best Practices to Improve Product Page Rankings
All online store owners know how important SEO is to their ecommerce success. It’s why updates on Google’s algorithm immediately become worldwide news: merchants need to know how a change will affect store traffic –– and that means they need to know how a change will alter their search ranking.
Luckily, ecommerce stores have one big SEO tactic working in their favor: lots of content.
At least, ecommerce stores could have that working in their favor. Every single one of your product pages is queried by Google bots and has a ranking within the search engine all its own. Aside from your company blog or homepage, your product pages should be a key driver of SEO goodness.
Optimize your product pages now by following these seven ecommerce SEO best practices to increase your product page rankings and your conversion rate.
Know How Users Search for Your Products by Doing Keyword Research
Sometimes users may search for a product by its model name/number, product ID, popular colors or configurations, and even sometimes by a name that the public in general uses (think Kleenex vs. tissues or Chapstick vs. lip balm). By knowing exactly how people are searching for your product, you can optimize critical on-page elements with higher traffic terms.
Write Unique Product Descriptions
It’s easy to take a manufacturer’s product description and use it as your own, but that will only hurt the value of the page if there are dozens or even hundreds of other sites using the same exact descriptions. To stand out in search and prevent any sort of duplicate content penalties, store owners need to either write their own descriptions or rewrite the ones that they get from the manufacturer so they’re unique to their store.
Create Titles, Meta Descriptions, H1s and Image Alt Tags Utilizing the Best Keywords for the Page
For the title tag, you should also consider placing short CTAs, deal or promotional prices, percentages off, or other phrases that could entice users to click on your search result. Best practices for product page title tags include:
- In the range of 60 characters
- Use action verbs that encourage click through (and thereby improve clickthrough rate)
- Differentiate yourself from the other results. Borrow some elements from similar results, but don’t outright copy.
Use Long-Tail Keyword Phrases
Product page keywords must be specific to the product being offered. For instance, “landscape watercolor painting” works better than “watercolor painting” or “landscape painting.”
Long-tail keyword phrases catch the customer in a later point within the purchasing funnel. They know exactly what they are looking for, down to the details. These customers don’t want just any watercolor painting, they want a watercolor painting of a landscape. Sure, they don’t know which one just yet, but with a long-tail keyword phrase, you’re presenting them their filtered options.
Larger brands focus most often on short-tail keyword phrases that pull in high traffic volume to their site. Because of their recognizable brand name and sizable online presence, Google rewards their short-tail efforts by placing them higher in search results. A smaller ecommerce company won’t receive such a luxury. Instead, compete with the bigger brands by taking away their potential customers. People typing in a long-tail keyword phrase into Google have already browsed a couple options, and likely have already found a few things they like. Now, they are comparing what they know exists to what else may be out there. For smaller brands, this is your time to shine –– and convert.
Again, get specific and descriptive for your product pages.
Product Rich Snippets are a Must
Make sure that your product pages are marked up with product rich snippets. These enhance your search result listing by placing additional information such as ratings, pricing, brand and stock levels. Additionally, industry research has shown that these enhancements increase both click through rates and conversion rates. Some ecommerce platforms, such as Bigcommerce, have rich snippets built in, while other platforms may need to be manually marked up or require the use of a plugin to reach the desired effect.
Supplement Your Product Pages with Additional Content
Oftentimes, product descriptions can be quite short and may not be long enough to compete with other sites in the top 10 of search rankings. To help beef up the content on product pages, store owners can implement user reviews, product guides, how-tos and FAQs about that specific product. Adding these supplemental sources of content to product pages generates more robust content that uses additional variations of keywords and related keywords, which will allow the page to rank for additional terms.
Promote and Engage
Arguably one of the most difficult things about product page SEO is generating backlinks and social media engagement. Bloggers, the press, other website owners and social media users typically don’t link to or mention product pages because they tend to be bland and formulaic, which provides little to no value as a source.
If store owners take the time to supplement their product pages with valuable content, they can increase the chances of someone linking to that product page. But, usually that’s not enough to break into the top 10 of search result rankings, especially if you’re selling a very popular product with lots of competition.
You can increase the likelihood of generating backlinks by promoting your product pages and engaging with users in forums, social media channels (Twitter, facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest), blogs and in the press. The key thing to remember here is to be genuinely helpful or insightful, instead of shoving your product pages in users’ faces by being overtly promotional or by over-linking to your store. This is more about building your brand and establishing yourself as a subject matter expert. The more authoritative you become in your industry, the more likely users are to link to you.
In all, by earning high ranking status for your product pages, you will increase customer conversions near immediately. That said, SEO takes time to build. Be sure you apply these practices across all of your product pages, both retroactively and as you add new items.
Because customers landing on product pages with long tail keywords are in purchasing mode, you should see an increase in sales and revenue as proof your product page SEO is working.
Did you know that you can implement SEO best practices into your product images, too? Learn more with our post on how to optimize images for the web (and more sales).
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