eCommerce SEO: How to Optimize Product Pages
January 25, 2019
When optimizing product pages on your eCommerce site, you’re always striving to find the perfect balance between creating engaging content and pleasing the Google ranking gods. You want to compose unique, on-brand product descriptions, but if you get TOO creative they won’t be SEO-friendly.
The reality is, optimizing product pages for search engines is becoming increasingly difficult. eCommerce businesses are constantly struggling to find ways of standing out from their competitors. At the same time, many online retailers may offer similar products and services, creating additional competition for higher ranking search engine results.
What’s a resourceful eCommerce marketer to do?
In this post, we’re taking a holistic approach to product page SEO. Our goal is for you to develop an intimate understanding of what your audience wants and how to increase web traffic and conversions on your eCommerce website.
Increase Organic Visibility with SEO for eCommerce
SEO for eCommerce offers a few challenges which can make it trickier to master than SEO you’d compose for a non-commercial website.
For starters, you may have limited space for optimizing your eCommerce content. The product pages on your web store may consist of only a title, merchandise description, and accompanying photo. Consequently, you may have multiple products and pages which begin to look very similar to one another.
Another difficulty associated with SEO for eCommerce is you may be selling products which are identical – or nearly identical – to what your competitors are offering. This added factor can make writing unique descriptions even more difficult.
If you find yourself facing these types of challenges, don’t worry. Even if you’re facing down a mob of similar eCommerce businesses, there are steps you can take to stand out in the search rankings.
The following SEO tactics can help increase the organic visibility of your eCommerce product pages, helping them stand out in today's crowded digital marketplace.
Optimizing Your eCommerce Website Product Pages
Your product pages are a critical part of the equation when it comes to achieving a successful online retail presence. Enabling SEO for your eCommerce website provides an opportunity to boost your online presence while increasing revenue at the same time.
The good news is you don’t have to be an SEO expert to begin making an impact. All you need to get started is the willingness to learn and a healthy dose of patience while testing your new SEO initiatives.
1.Know Your Market
In eCommerce, online competition is too fierce for you to simply make assumptions about your audience. Devote the necessary time to your market research and this will lay the foundation for a winning SEO strategy.
First off, optimizing your product pages doesn’t necessarily start with keywords. The process begins by developing an understanding of your target audience and identifying the unique benefits your products have to offer.
You won’t know which search terms to optimize for until you know what your potential customers are searching for. Additionally, understanding what your customers want allows you to generate appealing, targeted content which in turn motivates them to make purchases.
To better understand your market segment, ask these questions:
- What problem(s) are your customers trying to solve?
- What past solutions have (or haven’t) worked for them?
- Where are your customers searching for solutions?
- What terms are they using to search for solutions?
- How does your product solve their specific want or need?
- What makes it better than your competitor’s solutions?
- What was the deciding factor(s) which made customers choose your product?
- What positive things have past and current customers said about your product?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be prepared to research SEO keywords relevant to your audience. These keywords can then seeded into your content, highlighting the specific product benefits your audience has been searching for.
For example, your business sells wholesale party supplies and you learn potential customers are searching for lower prices and faster delivery, things which your competitors don’t offer.
Instead of a generalized statement such as “We have the coolest party supplies around!”, a better approach would be “Buy wholesale party supplies at half the price of other party supply stores” or “Fast delivery on party supplies, no matter the size of your order”.
Identifying and addressing specific customer needs in your page content also applies to your keyword development. Instead of a keyword like “party supplies”, use focused wording like “affordable wholesale party supplies” or “affordably priced wholesale party supplies”.
2. Conduct Keyword Research
The success of your SEO efforts will largely depend on which terms or keywords you choose to target. Some eCommerce website owners make the mistake of only targeting obvious, short-tail keywords associated with their products, such as “party supplies” or “ wholesale party favors”.
If you have conducted thorough market research, you may discover these are not the best terms to implement. You can confirm the strength of a keyword by using SEO keyword research tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs which display the search volume for specific terms.
These tools will reveal how many users are searching for a given term as well as the competition over its use. Ideally, you want to shoot for target terms which have a high search volume and medium-to-low competition.
How to Find the Best Keywords for Your Product Pages
Your primary goal here is to get your product in front of the eyes of your potential customers. To accomplish this, you’ll need to first get inside their heads, determine what they’re searching for, and apply what you find to create attention-grabbing content.
Finding the right terms to target on a product page requires you conduct keyword research for each product. Using your chosen SEO keyword tool, search for an obvious term associated with your product, like “long blue dress” or “white wedding gown”. You can experiment with a few different combinations to see which ones work most effectively.
The keyword tool will generate a list of terms related to the product you offer. Select the terms best matching what your target audience would use to conduct a search for your product.
Finally, do a quick Google search of your target terms and see what results come up. How are other retail sites talking about these products? What other terms are they using? Could these terms be put to work for your own product pages?
A note on branding: Don’t forget, product branding can play an important role here. If users are typing in your brand name – or the product’s brand name – in their searches, don’t shy away from including these keywords in your SEO strategy.
3. Follow eCommerce SEO Best Practices
Once you’ve established which keywords make sense for your product pages, it’s time to start incorporating them into your page. The following SEO best practices will help you compose engaging, keyword-rich content without going overboard on search terms.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Your product page’s title tag and meta description should each contain the primary keyword, preferably near the beginning of the phrase. These are what show up in search engines as a sort of “preview” for what the page content is about.
Google crawls for both title tags and meta descriptions, so having the focus keyword present in each are important ranking factors. Additionally, you want to make these elements both readable and engaging so consumers are inclined to click on them.
Including internal links to other pages on your website encourages users to explore your site further. The longer visitors are engaged, the more likely they are to make a purchase. Internal links also make it easier for search engine bots to crawl your site which can help boost your SEO ranking.
Include Descriptive Headers
Ensuring your page is populated with unique, engaging content is a central component of a successful SEO campaign. Although your product pages may offer limited space for content, make the most of what you have available.
It’s not enough to simply describe what the product does. You want to include info points such as benefits, specs, and features. Include headings and descriptions containing relevant keywords whenever possible to reinforce your messaging.
Never copy a description from another site or from the original branded product page. You want your content to be as unique as possible for your target audience. If you find writing difficult, we recommend hiring a professional copywriter experienced in product page content.
Use Rich Snippets.
Rich snippets let search engines understand what information is contained on each of your web page. In turn, this helps your product descriptions feature higher in search engine results as well as increasing click-through rates. You can find a wide range of options at Schema.org with popular rich snippet choices featured for reviews, prices, and product availability.
If you’re unfamiliar with rich snippets, a web developer or SEO expert can help you choose and enable the most effective choices for your product pages.
Add Image Alt Text
Every image on a product page should include optimized image ALT text which describes said image to e-reader users. Google now penalizes websites which don’t have ALT text enabled or are otherwise inaccessible to users with disabilities.
Ideally, ALT text should be brief, makes sense, and is descriptive, all at the same time. For example, “Golden shovels breaking ground at a construction site” or “An elderly man potting plants in the yard.” Alt text can also present a good opportunity to add a keyword if it’s relevant to the image.
For more information on following SEO best practices for your eCommerce store, check out this post from the Magento blog.
4. Add Images and Video
Images and videos have the opportunity to rank in the search results, so having these can help improve your overall SEO. Quality visual media captures the attention of customers and communicates to them the value of your products from all new perspectives. The same can be said for product tutorials which offer a visually immersive product experience.
Overall, it’s definitely worth investing in high-quality images and videos as they will significantly raise the level of customer engagement on your product pages.
5. Optimize Calls-to-Action
Calls-to-action (CTAs) shouldn’t be an afterthought as they’re your last real attempt at getting users to buy. This is why the CTAs you use should be hyper-focused on the user needs and the specific actions you want them to take.
Challenge your imagination and get a bit more creative than simply telling customers to “Buy now” or “Sign Up”. Some ideas include “Check Sizing”, “Check Bulk Prices”, “Schedule a Free Consultation”, “Buy [Product] Here”, and “Sign Up for this Exclusive Offer”.
6. Test Performance
SEO is not simply a set-it-and-forget-it initiative. You need to continually check your eCommerce analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t. Your goal is to develop a data-supported SEO strategy which will evolve over time.
You can split test different product headlines and direct traffic to both to see which one has the highest conversion rate. Look at Google Analytics to see which of your pages are getting the most traffic and conversions.
You can also conduct competitor research to see which keywords other eCommerce sites in your niche are ranking for and see if these make sense for your site.
Final Tips for Optimizing Product Pages
Your eCommerce SEO strategy is based on your unique target audience and the products you provide. This is why you won’t find a definitive SEO guide offering you all of the information needed for optimizing your site.
SEO is an ongoing process requiring you to periodically test your strategy to ensure peak performance. However, this guide offers a great starting point when it comes to optimizing your product pages. With time and effort, you may begin to see improvement, allowing you to tweak your SEO strategy from there for even better results.
Below are some additional tips for optimizing your product pages:
- Add positive customer reviews to the page to improve conversions
- Integrate social sharing so users can promote your products across platforms
- Make sure your website design is visually balanced with intuitive navigation to create an enjoyable user experience
- Optimize website load speed so your site loads quickly to keep users engaged
- Create search-friendly URLs including the product category, name, and features if possible. Example: /dresses/nordstrom-floral-high-low-dress-violet
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly with readable text and easily engaged navigation features.
- Keep outdated product pages live as they’ll still generate web traffic and can be used to direct users to related products.
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