Did you know that 95% of Ecommerce sales come from product page SEO?

Ok, that’s probably not true….

But optimizing product pages for search traffic is still really important.

In fact, someone may be performing a Google search for the item you sell at this very moment.

And while you’re off reading SEO articles, maybe they clicked on a site that’s not yours!

Eh…. probably not. At least, hopefully, that’s not the case. Regardless, follow the recommendations below and you’re likely to be the one stealing search traffic from the competition.  Better yet, these 17 Ecommerce SEO tips will improve conversions, as well as keyword rankings.



Ecommerce SEO for Product Pages

1. Start with Solid Keyword Research

Product page content needs to be supported by research on how consumers are searching for the product. Keyword research is critical for SEO. Before you optimize your product page, know the search term(s) that will yield the most search traffic. Determine the strongest keywords and phrases for your product using a few main considerations:

Relevancy

Search Volume

Competition (Ranking Difficulty)

Some Quick Methods for Identifying Those Target Keywords

Google Search Console: Identify Top Search Queries

  1. Go to Search Traffic>Search Analytics
  2. Filter Pages to select the product page you are optimizing
  3. Select “Queries”
  4. Uncheck Clicks and Check Impressions
  5. Sort by impressions to see which queries are currently winning your page the most eyeballs

Google Search Console Product Page Impressions

 

SEMrush: Competitor Analysis

  1. Search your product in Google
  2. Locate the current top ranking product page
  3. Plug that page’s URL into SEMrush
  4. Use the Organic Research section
  5. View the top organic keywords that are sending traffic to the product page

SEMrush Competitor Keyword Research

Google Search: Auto Complete

This one is definitely the best “quick hack” for gathering user search behavior insight…

  1. Start typing your product name into the search bar
  2. Note top variations, phrases, and adjectives that pop up with your product

Google Autocomplete Search

Keywordtool.io

Take your auto complete research one step further and actually run those top search phrases you found with a handy extension like Keywordtool.io.  This tool offers lots of “book-end” ideas to help with long-tail keyword ideas.

KeywordTool.io Keyword Research

Google Keyword Planner

There are multiple methods of finding product page keyword targets using Google Keyword Planner. Here’s the most basic if you’ve never used Keyword Planner before…

  1. Choose the option to “search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or keyword”
  2. Enter a slew of relevant search terms that you’d like to compare for your product/service
  3. Set your target parameters
  4. Compare volume and competition results for terms you put in as well as keyword planner’s relevant suggestions

Keyword Planner Example

2. Optimize Product Name

The product name has a large impact on your search rankings. However, the impact will vary based on how your CMS displays and utilizes product names.

Now that you’ve identified your strongest key terms, integrate those into a descriptive product name. The name of your product needs to clearly state what customers can expect to find on your page. Titles should be to-the-point and include any necessary descriptors that you learned customers might be searching for.

Strong Product Name

 

Weak Product Name

3. Craft a Quality Product Description

Quality product descriptions can be very beneficial for SEO. But don’t think SEO. Think value-added. Start by thinking what your customers would want in a product description.

When writing the actual description copy, you’ll want to include:

  • Key Features & Specs: Your actual product description needs to cover the key features and specifications for your product as well as tell readers what value it brings them.
  • Keywords: Continue to revisit your target keywords when you can.  Using synonyms, model numbers, brands, and keyword variations helps.
  • A Healthy Handful of Words: Descriptions should be informative but not long winded–around 200 words will do in most cases (employ bullets and lists when appropriate).
  • UNIQUE Text: Most importantly, your product description must be unique. Common (bad) practice is to copy>paste a description from the manufacturer or competitors, creating duplicate content on your site and sending your page into the digital abyss. Write something of value from scratch every time.

4. Nail Your Page Title

Page Titles are still a huge ranking factor for SEO. And not only do they improve your rankings, they can also help boost click thru rates.

Product page titles are the big links displayed in search results…

Page Title

Page Title Considerations:

  • Keywords: Use keywords like your product name
  • Unique: Each page needs a unique title
  • Start w/ Primary Keywords: Main keywords towards the front of title
  • Length: Stay under 65-70 characters in length
  • Keyword Stuffing: Avoid repeating the same keyword (2x max if needed), aka “keyword stuffing”
  • Use Brand: Brand names are usually a good thing

5. Optimize Meta Description

Unlike with page titles, using keywords in your product’s meta description won’t directly impact rankings.  However, it’s still SEO best practices to write unique meta descriptions for product pages. Any unique offerings or selling points can entice more clicks. And naturally inserting keywords and formatting with numbers and symbols can help click thru rates here, too.

Meta Descriptions are the snippet of text displayed in search results…

Meta Description

Meta Description Considerations:

  • Keywords: Use keywords like your product name, categories, etc
  • Detail: Explain what’s on the page so users know what it is they’re clicking on
  • Unique: Each page needs a unique meta description
  • Length: Stay under 155-165 characters in length
  • USP:  Use your brands unique selling points to entice click throughs
  • Formatting: Feel free to use things like Price, other numbers, and other characters that make you stand out

6. Write Clean and Descriptive Product URLs

Clean, keyword-friendly URLs are good and can effect search rankings. Different e-commerce platforms offer various means of controlling category and product page URLs. Some are better for this than others. Just make sure that if you’re optimizing URLs, that the old URLs get redirected to the new URLs with a 301 permanent redirect.

Construct your product page URLs in a user-friendly manner.  URLs appear right under your title in the search engine results, so it’s important that they’re clean and descriptive. Rules of URL writing:

  • Keep Them Short: Less is more.
  • Use Keywords: Should look quite similar to the product name you’ve decided on.
  • Clean Unnecessary Elements: You probably don’t need dates, “product,” or “category” in the URL. 
  • Lower-Case: URLs are one of the few places you get to IGNORE the proper noun rule.
  • Sub-Folder Usage: A subfolder, like site.com/category/product can be helpful.  Just keep in mind the overall length. If multiple sub-folders are making your product URLs super long, then trim them down.
  • Dynamic Parameters: Say NO to dynamic parameters in your product URLs (i.e. category=54)

Ex: Two product URLs for the same item: Saucony Grid 8000 CL, but Sneakerfreaker.com does a much better job employing a clean, description product URL.

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/ca/en/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=35663145&category=SALE_M

https://www.sneakerfreaker.com/sneakers/saucony-grid-8000-cl-premium-pack/

7. Format Content with Headings

Consider breaking your content (product description, features, reviews, etc) with formatted headings and sub-headings.  Headers are great for users and helps with SEO.  Be sure to include keywords, synonyms, and related terms in headings whenever it makes sense.

Heading Tags (h1, h2, etc…)

Though it’s not a huge ranking signal any more, it’s still SEO best practices to wrap your headers in Heading Tags.  <h1> for your product name.  <h2> for sub-headings, and so on…

Heading Tags

Header Formatting and Readability

Avoid big blocks of text that no one wants to read.  Formatted headings improve readability and can help shoppers find product information much quicker.

Ex: Verizon’s well-formatted Fitbit product description with good use of spacing, headings & sub-headings


Well-Formatted Product Description Headings

Ex: Dick’s Sporting Goods’ weaker product description lacking strong headings

Weak Product Description Formatting

Ex: Nordstrom’s weak product description formatting…where are the breaks??

Product Description, No Headings

8. Consolidate Any Cannibalized Product Pages

If you have similar products across your ecommerce site, it’s possible you’re housing many weak or duplicate pages, all competing for the same search term.  This type of product or keyword cannibalization will reduce overall search traffic potential.

A Single QUALITY Page > Multiple THIN/WEAK Pages

For instance, maybe you have 10 products, each with their own URL/page.  And the only difference between them all is color.

The result?

10 weak product pages

The fix?

Turn into 1 strong product page – where all product info, description, images, user reviews, links, and social shares combine to make a single product page that has potential to rank #1 in Google.

What This Looks Like

In many situations, the best solution is to combine very similar items into one product page.  And if needed, allow users to simply choose product options to select variations of that item.  Lastly, set up redirects so all URLs point to just the one product page.

Example: Pier1.com has (4) “Round Rug Pad” pages. Instead of having 4 low-quality crawlable/indexable pages….

http://www.pier1.com/round-rug-pad/PS63732.html

http://www.pier1.com/3%27-round-rug-pad/2930290.html

http://www.pier1.com/6%27-round-rug-pad/2930300.html

http://www.pier1.com/8%27-round-rug-pad/2930325.html

… consolidate into one decent-quality Round Rug Pad page, and let me choose the size in a dropdown.

Consolidate Cannibalized Product Pages

9. Interlink Pages and Related Products

Internal links (those that point to other pages on your site) are great for SEO. They help spread link flow or “link equity” in a relevant manner. This can help Google learn more about which pages are most important on your site, and help improve accessibility and indexation of your pages. Internal links can also help reinforce the context of a page.

If you get the opportunity to mention another similar or supplementary product that you offer, link to that product page with some relevant anchor text. Many sites focus so much on external link building, they overlook the power of relevant internal links.

Ex: The Human Solution – Nice job of linking internally between product pages

Interlinking Product Pages

Seek Out Internal Linking Opportunities

If this product is important, scan your own site for mentions of this item.  You can then add hyperlinks to point to the item, which is both beneficial for SEO, as well as the user.

You can quickly scan your site for product mentions with a Google search: site:yoursite.com product name

Here’s another example from pier1.com

I’m not raggin on pier1.com on purpose, lol — just the site I’m looking at as I’m writing this

To Pier1 SEO Guy: not trying to get you fired, promise! 🙂

It’s great that pier1.com has related items set up, like on this Capella Island Sofa Dining Collection.

Internal links via related items is great.  But adding manual internal links can have a far greater SEO impact.

The description of the Sofa Dining set mentions pieces of the set, which pier1.com also carries.  I’d recommend cross-linking within the product descriptions themselves.  I’d do this sitewide, and whenever applicable.

Internal link opportunity – Dining Set, to individual pieces of the set

Internal Linking Product Pages

 

Surely there’s a decent place in the Armchair description to mention (and link back to) the full dining set.  Again, valuable for the user, as well as SEO.

Internal link opportunity – Armchair piece, to full Dining Set

Link Internally Product Description

 

Related Item Links

As mentioned above, having dedicated sections that link to related or corresponding items offer an effective way to link equity.  This can also increase avg. page visits, and improve on-page SEO. All e-commerce site should be incorporating this in some way.

10. Leverage Consumer-Generated Content

User-submitted product reviews are a gold-mine for SEO.  They add unique, relevant, and helpful content to a product page, which can considerably boost your search traffic.  Better yet, consumer-generated content can also boost revenue and consumer trust!

Product reviews boost revenue per online visit 62% – Internet Retailer

Set up a Product Reviews section (where the text will be crawlable) and ask users to engage.

And don’t worry if your customer reviews aren’t all five stars, having a bit of variance in your feedback legitimizes your reviews sitewide.

How to Get Those Reviews

Incentivize user interaction by offering discounts and raffles for those who provide feedback. Reach previous users with an email follow-up after their purchase (just make sure you aren’t spamming their inboxes).

Or you can use a platform just for this to help speed things along like Trust Pilot, or Yotpo.

Ex: Kohls – unique, user-generated content on product pages including reviews and product questions

User-Generated Content on Product Pages

11. Add Images & Videos for SEO and Conversions

Compliment your unique text, keywords and subheadings with quality images of your product and how-to videos.  Images and video can help boost your traffic and your sales.

Large, High Resolution Photos

It’s already difficult to feel confident about an online purchase when you can’t see the item in person. Multiple, high-resolution product photos can help make up for much of this.

67% of consumers consider image quality “very important” when making a purchase online – BigCommerce

Optimize Image File Name and Alt Tag

Like your content, you want these images to be unique to your page and you want to label them with a descriptive image file name and alt tag.

Use descriptive keywords in image file names, and separate with dashes.  Image Alt Tag should be very similar to your product name.

File Name: honda-pcx-150-scooter.jpg

Alt Text: Honda PCX 150 Scooter

Honda PCX 150 Scooter

 

Use More Images, and Even Consider Videos

Zappos does a great job of showcasing their items online.  They show off their footwear by providing shoppers with the shoe in different angles and in every color.

Whatever it is you’re selling, providing multiple images will help the buyer know what is is their buying.  Show different angles, colors, product assembled, un-assembled, product in use, product with white background, whatever else you can come up with.

Product videos can help in the same way.  Videos can increase average order value (AOV) by 50%.  And Zappos says they found sales increase from 6% – 30% when they began adding their product videos.

Ex: Zappos – showing product images of every color in every angle, plus a product video

Helpful Product Images & Videos

Image & Video Sitemap

You can submit an image sitemap in Google Search Console to have product images crawled in a faster and more effective manner.  Same with videos. This will increase the discoverability of your product images and videos, giving you a shot at increased traffic and potentially extra links from those using your media.

12. Markup with Schema.org Structured Data

We’ve seen massive CTR improvements using structured data markup. Employing markup can get you things like those shiny gold stars under your title in the SERPs, which can be very powerful.

If you aren’t familiar with structured data, look into what types of content you can mark up. Just make sure you follow markup guidelines or Google may ping you for “spammy” behavior.

Ratings/Reviews & Price in SERPS

13. Improve Organic CTR (Click-Through-Rate)

So you have solid SEO and your products are rankings in Google…

Now what?

Whether you rank #1 or #10, there’s an expected click through rate (CTR) for that ranking position. Once you  improve the expected CTR, you will not only receive more clicks, but you’re also likely to start ranking even higher.

Advanced Web Rankings expected click through rate graph

Expected Organic Click-Through-Rates by Position

Check out our comprehensive guide on increasing your organic click through rates


14. Categorize Breadcrumbs

Website breadcrumbs are the links you often see at the top of the page. Breadcrumbs are very effective for helping shoppers quickly browse and locate products.  They’re also helpful for eCommerce SEO.

Ex: BestBuy.com does a solid job offering navigation points with their massive catalog

Product Page Breadcrumb Navigation

15. Highlight a Prominent Add-to-Cart Button

Don’t lose sight of the end goal: To have customers add your product to their digital shopping cart…..  and proceed to give you money.

Invictus by Paco Rabanne – Not only do I personally own this… but it’s become my favorite men’s cologne.  Just sayin.

Ulta does a nice job on their product pages, highlighting the Add To “Bag” button above all other elements on the page.

Ex: Ulta’s hard-to-ignore bright pink “Add To Bag” button

Prominent Add-to-Cart Button

16. Make it a Mobile-Friendly Shopping Experience

The importance of having a mobile-friendly eCommerce site can not be underestimated.  The mobile trend is no longer a trend, but rather a movement.

Mobile accounts for 70% of time consumers spent on a retailer’s site, and for 20% of sales – Internet Retailer

Mobile Retail Sales Up 25%

 

In March 0f 2015, mobile internet users exceeded desktop users – Comscore

Mobile Internet Users Surpass Desktop Users

Google took notice of the mobile movement early on, and has been making changes ever since

April, 2015: Google unleashed “Mobilegeddon”, an update to their search algorithm to rank mobile-friendly websites higher.

May, 2016: A 2nd iteration of Google’s first mobile-friendly update, in an effort to continue improving the mobile user-experience.

?, 2017: Google’s Mobile First Index.  Google announced late 2016 their plans to index and rank pages based on the mobile version of a web page, as opposed to the desktop version.

Responsive Web Design for Mobile-Friendly Shopping

A responsive design means that the elements on your web page will adjust and resize appropriately on all screen resolutions across all devices.

Ex: Overstock.com, shows navigation options, core information on the item, and price all above the fold

Mobile-Friendly Product Page

Don’t Hide Content on Mobile

With Google’s upcoming rollout of the Mobile First Index, you’ll want to make sure you’re not hiding content on mobile.  Anything on your product pages showing on desktop, should be displayed on mobile as well.

17. Check Your PageLoad Speed

A slow-loading product page will reduce your conversions and your keyword rankings.

Still, 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load (Kissmetrics)

How long should your product page take to load?

4 seconds or less.  Okay, to be honest, I wouldn’t worry too much about 5 or 6 seconds even.  But if it’s taking 8, 9, 10 seconds or more for your product page to load, you’ll want to make some improvements.

Tools to Test Your Pageload Speed

The Power of Your Optimized Product Pages

Product pages will often times have the most landing page potential for your eCommerce site.  Especially with larger online catalogs.

Go see what these seemingly small changes can do for your site health. And, as with all things SEO, make sure you are tracking your target phrases, changes, and user performance metrics so you know what results your efforts bring you.

What if I told you, you can increase the click-through-rate of your organic search results by 30%?  Sounds great, right?

Now, what if I said you’d be rewarded with higher search rankings, in addition to the extra clicks?

It’s true.  Growing your expected organic CTR will improve clicks and SEO.  But first, let’s understand what we’re really talking about here, and explore the difference between PPC and organic CTR.

What is Organic Click-Through Rate? (PPC vs Organic CTR)

Most hear the term Click-Through-Rate (CTR), and think of PPC or Paid Search ads. After all, CTR is a key metric involved with optimizing PPC ads, and something that’s largely under your control. Lots of testing goes into creating ads that resonate with searchers, ads that gain more click-share, and in the end, increase leads and sales.

Now, when people think of clicks in the organic search results, or the rate at which a user clicks an organic search result, they think this is all simply a byproduct of their current ranking position.  I rank #1, so my CTR is x%…. I rank #3, so my CTR is x%….

The reality is, CTRs can not only be optimized and improved in organic, but they can yield a massive amount of extra clicks if optimized properly. Read more

“Good writers borrow, great writers steal.” – T.S. Eliot

When people search for a particular service, they are more likely to land on a dedicated service page than a generic page that has a bunch of services listed. Creating dedicated pages for each service you offer lends you a lot more SEO opportunities, and will help your site rank higher in search engines when users are looking for your specific service. Read more

What is a Company NAP?

NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone number. Essentially, it’s your basic information across the web. How your NAP appears across the web can affect your ranking in organic search results and very much affects where you rank in Google’s local map results. Below, an example of a lovely NAP…

NAP Example

Perfect Pies Pie Shop
  4567 Elm St.
  Fort Worth, TX 76116
  (817) 987-6543

Your NAP should be listed on your website and social accounts, but it may also appear in online directories, many of which focus on local business data. This includes sites like Yelp, YellowPages, CitySearch, your local chamber of commerce, Super Pages, Foursquare, and even sites specific to your niche/industry.

Each occurrence of your business information on a directory or local listing site is referred to as a “citation” (more specifically a “structured citation“, but we’ll stick w/ using citation for simplicity sake).  You’ll want to keep track of all citations.

Read more

While these SEO tips are certainly effective for all types of websites, I wrote these with the small business owner in mind.   These can all be incorporated in your current marketing initiatives.  They cover a very broad spectrum of online marketing elements — Analytics, Accessibility, Indexation, On-Site, Off-Site, Content, Link-Building, Keywords, Markup, as well as general web marketing practices.

Some of these tips are fairly easy to implement, while others are more time consuming (and expensive).  So I decided to separate it out by how long they take to complete.39 SEO Tips for Small Business Owners Read more

There are many reasons why a company or small business would want to start a blog – brand reinforcement, customer engagement, positioning yourself as a thought leader in the industry.  All of that is excellent, and are actually points I push on clients.  But today I’d like to talk about the SEO (search engine optimization) value of small business blogging and how to optimize for organic traffic to your site.

Most companies and small business owners know what a blog is.  In my experience, most fall into one of these categories…

Blogging for SEO

1)    No Blog – You know about blogs, but you aren’t sure how effective it could be as a marketing tool, so you haven’t tried it

 No Blog

  Read more

What are Links?

Many small business owners have been introduced to the idea of building links or “backlinks” for the purpose of increasing search traffic.  For those of you that aren’t aware, links are part of SEO (search engine optimization) or what determines where your web pages will rank in Google’s search results.  When I say links, I’m referring to the hyperlinks from another site pointing into your own site.

Example – One example would be a Resources page on a website that lists out related websites that are helpful to their users.  Those are the types of links that can affect the visibility of your website in the search results.

External Backlinks

External Backlinks

The total of all the links that point in to your domain is called your backlink profile.

Read more

What are Page Titles?

Page Titles or “Title Tags” are those large hyperlinks that appear in the search results after you search something in Google, or other search engine.  They are used to describe the content of each page.

Page Titles are one of the main SEO (search engine optimization) ranking factors Google uses to determine where web pages appear in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

In the search results, Page Titles look like this…

 Page Titles

Read more