If you’re looking to optimize an e-commerce website for search, there are plenty of simple ways to ensure that your products are ranked well on search engines. Your ease of implementation will depend on the ecommerce platform you choose as well as the skills of your web developer. If you are choosing an out of the box e-commerce solution, be sure to check that the following elements are implemented, as following these 7 tips will ensure that your product pages have the best possible SEO.
1. URL Structure
This one you may or may not have control of, but when it comes to URL structure, be sure that your product name or keywords are in the URL itself rather than having an obscure numbered URL. For example, you what it to read:
As opposed to:
Also, watch out for canonicalization and duplicate issues that can arise when using categories in your URL. You don’t want separate pages for the same product just because it fits in multiple categories like this:
2. The SEO Title Tag and Meta Description
The SEO title tag is one of the most important elements you can have on your website. It can be up to 65 characters, so be sure to include your product name and applicable keywords.
While the meta description doesn’t help with your rankings in search, it does show up in search results as shown above. The keywords that users search for are also bolded in the SEO title and the meta description. So creating a great description for your products in 160 characters or less will lead more people to click on the search results.
3. ALT Tags
Using the product name and keywords in both the image file name and the ALT tag portion of the HTML code for your image will also help boost SEO. The ALT tag is just a short description of the image which can help Google include rank in their image search results and optimize the page as a whole for the product name and applicable keywords. The benefits of having images on your product pages go beyond just SEO - potential buyers are also more likely to buy products they can see and can share easily on Facebook or Pinterest.
4. Product Descriptions
Writing good product descriptions can help not just SEO but conversions. While a description should have at least 300 words, more text is often helpful for helping potential customers decide on a purchase. Too much text can overload customers, but writing a focused, detailed description will ensure that you’re selling to customers rather to a search engine bot alone.
5. Video Content
Google in particular loves video content - that’s why they acquired YouTube. If you can include any video on your product pages, such as a tutorial, commercial ad, or manufacturer instructions, be sure to do so- having a video thumbnail alongside the article will help your ranking. Having a video about your products can also help potential customers make up their mind about a product.
6. User Generated Content
If you have shopped on Amazon, you’ve likely seen a lot of user generated content on their product pages. They allow people to upload images as well as write reviews - both of which up the content value of the product pages. Again, this is one of those instances where you should use discretion when balancing the SEO value and the customer value. While positive reviews and images from satisfied customers will boost sales potential, negative reviews and images from customers who have had problems with your product will lower sales potential.
7. Quality Internal Linking
Last but not least, you can help search engines easily find your best product pages by linking internally. Without going too overboard (as Google does not like over-optimization), look for opportunities to mention your products within other pieces of content. When you do, link to that product using its name or keyword. Whenever you write a blog post about your latest product, be sure to link to it. If you can offer similar or complementary product listings on your pages, be sure to do so, especially since this can also help boost sales. The possibilities for internal linking are endless!