No matter the size of your online store, having good search engine optimization is critical to your success. Brick-and-mortar stores can count on location to win over their customers, but online competition presents a much larger challenge. Although this post is focused on boosting ecommerce SEO with the WooCommerce plugin, many of these tips can be used for any online store.
1. Write a solid product description
Many WooCommerce users neglect product descriptions. Often their descriptions are too generic or too short. For example, Google favors content that is over 300 words, so making your descriptions long enough is important.
Your online store visitors need to learn enough about the product to feel favorable about it, which then leads to conversions.
The same goes for the content itself. Feature your products’ unique features. When writing content for your online store, think about what your ideal customer would need to know throughout their search process.
Pro tip: Don’t use the generic manufacturer description. Other sellers are probably using it, too, so you could get dinged for duplicate content (more about that later).
2. Optimize your images
Quality, professional images are a must. Consider the search value of your images. Make sure the titles are descriptive and not a series of numbers, which often is the case with digital images from your DSLR or smartphone.
Pro tip: Keep your image titles as relevant to the product as possible, and don’t forget to use them in the ALT text of your images as well.
3. Make your links happy links
When you are creating links to products throughout your site, make sure the anchor text is both unique and keyword-rich. Instead of using generic terms like “check this out” or “buy this,” return to those keywords.
Pro tip: If you’re linking to the same page in several places on your site, switch up the keywords used as anchor text. Too many links with the exact match keyword can have a negative impact on your site performance.
4. Avoid duplicate content
Duplicate content can be dangerous to your site and your search results. On many ecommerce sites, especially large domains with hundreds of products, there is a tendency to use the same descriptive words over and over again.
Take the time to analyze your products and find creative descriptions so they don’t all end up sounding the same.
Pro tip: In the same way you use keyword planning tools for PPC campaigns, give it a whirl for your product descriptions. Suggested keywords are incredibly helpful here.
5. Take advantage of inbound links
Link building is critical to the success of your online store, and your options are more diverse than for other sites on the web. Take advantage by using a blog to create posts on specials, new product features, comparisons and product announcements.
Pro tip: Consider turning testimonials into customer stories on your blog, where inbound links will fit easily and naturally within the content.
6. Easy navigation
Make sure people can easily move from page to page in your online store. Not only does this make for happier customers, but a well-structured site is an important part of successful ecommerce SEO. If your customers can find products quickly, it also makes it easier for search engines.
Pro Tip: Make sure the cart can be accessed easily from any page.
7. Use rich snippets
Rich snippets are terms added to your existing HTML that allow search engines to better understand what information is on each product page. This deeper categorization of your product often includes product reviews and other textual information like categories. There are several types of rich snippets that are applicable for ecommerce SEO.
Pro tip: The All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugin for WordPress can help you create rich snippets, as can other plugins and extensions for WooCommerce.
8. Keep track of broken links
Nothing is worse for a user than to click on a product and get a 404 page-not-found error. But your users aren’t the only ones unhappy; Google also does not like sites filled with 404 errors.
How can you make sure you don’t have a site full of broken links?
- Use a plugin like Broken Link Checker to find your internal broken links.
- For broken inbound links, consider using Google Search Console to keep track of them, and use a redirect plugin to send people to a similar product.
- Create a useful, custom 404 page for your site that softens the blow when customers do not find what they expected.
Pro tip: Your 404 error page doesn’t need to be boring! Give your users options like search, additional navigation or other directions to lead them to the product they wanted in the first place.
Keep refining ecommerce SEO to keep customers and Google happy
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ecommerce SEO for your online store. Hopefully it’ll start you in the right direction for finding the resources and support you need to keep both your customers and the search engines happy.