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SEO for Ecommerce Sites: Product Page Design

Insights / 06.14.2018

Tyler Trent / Sr. SEO Specialist

Online Shopping & The Ecommerce Era

Online shopping is a massive phenomenon that has impacted every person with access to the internet. In just a couple decades, we’ve shifted from a world where ecommerce was risky and unsafe, into an environment where everyone we know shops online. We’ve witnessed the development of ecommerce website platforms, and the birth of online retailer giants like Amazon. The impact on businesses is also clear—Cyber Monday has generated more revenue than Black Friday for the past two years. Ecommerce has firmly cemented itself in our culture, and it’s not going anywhere.
 
The driving force behind this? Convenience and simplicity. The ease of online shopping is largely thanks to the creation of easy-to-navigate, informative product pages. However, not all product pages are the same, and optimizing ecommerce websites for search engines is not a simple task. To help you get started, we created the following guide to ecommerce SEO, where you’ll find tips on product page optimization, as well as SEO strategies you can implement.

Optimizing the Online Shopping User Experience

As a business, how can you grow as shoppers continue to transition from the physical shopping experience to the expanding ecommerce environment? Build consumer-focused, user-friendly product pages for your ecommerce website.
 
Developing an ecommerce SEO strategy that propels your product pages to the top of search engine results pages is a complex task that requires careful planning. However, with the right approach to ecommerce website optimization, you can improve your product pages and grow your business online. So, let’s get started.

Research ecommerce keyword opportunities

Keyword research for ecommerce websites provides you with an understanding of how users search for your products online. One way to approach and document this research is to build a keyword map. A good keyword map provides a layout of the primary and secondary keywords for your product pages. How do you begin? It’s easier than you think:

  • Make a list of your pages.

  • Plug each page or product name (if the page has not been created yet) into a tool like BrightEdge, SEMRush, or Moz’s Keyword Explorer to discover existing keyword rankings and find new keyword opportunities.

    • Additionally, you can plug competitor pages into these tools to see what keywords your competition is targeting.

  • For each product page, choose keywords with high relevance to your product, high monthly search volume, and low keyword difficulty.

Choosing the right keywords has a significant impact on your opportunity for success. If you choose keywords that are too competitive, it is hard to earn rankings, and your opportunities for organic traffic will be limited. Beyond that, it’s important to know that you shouldn’t optimize every page for the same keywords – this is called keyword cannibalization, and confuses search engine crawlers. When this happens, they will often just ignore your pages and choose a competitor’s more concise page.
 
Once you’ve built your keyword map, consider the content on your website. Identify long-tail keywords that are relevant to your products, but do not naturally fit into product descriptions – these might be great blog topics instead. For example:

  • How-to keywords (and other FAQ keywords) are great for helping visitors know the best ways to use your products.

  • Comparison keywords (“vs”, “difference between”, etc.) help users determine which variation of your product is best for their needs.

  • Product technology keywords can help users get an in-depth understanding of your product’s unique attributes.

Take the time to determine a schedule for how you will write and publish blog posts – this content calendar can help you generate additional organic rankings by consistently publishing fresh, relevant, valuable content on your site.

Optimize ecommerce product pages using known SEO best practices

Use your keyword map as a product page planning and optimization resource. You’ve assigned a primary and secondary keyword to each of your product pages. SEO best practices will serve as your guide to making sure those keywords are appropriately applied to each page. Let’s look at some of the on-page SEO elements where best practices can benefit your rankings and traffic. Keep in mind that these SEO best practices can also be applied to your blog posts, with some variations.

URLs

Use a search-friendly URL that users can easily read and say, using the page’s primary keyword. As a best practice, remember to:

  • Avoid query parameters (?=)

  • Avoid encoded characters (%2E%)

  • Use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_)

SEO Metadata

Create unique SEO metadata that naturally incorporates the primary keywords from your map:

  • Title Tag

    • This should use your primary keywords. Separate additional terms with a pipe bar (|) and make sure your title tag length does not exceed 70 characters.

  • Meta Description

    • This should describe the content on the page. Use secondary keywords and descriptive language. Be sure your meta description does not exceed 300 characters.

  • Image Filenames and Alt Attributes

    • Use filenames that are concise and easy to read. Be sure to separate words with hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_). Image alt attributes should clearly describe the image, can use spaces, and should not exceed 125 characters.

Content

Develop unique content for each product that contains keyword variations to help users make their decision. When creating content for your blogs, be sure that your blog post goes into detail about the topic. Detailed blog posts that provide thorough information and address your customer’s key questions will perform better than simple, short posts that do not dig deep into their respective topics.

  • Heading Attributes (H1, H2, etc.)

    • Write original headings that make use of your primary keywords.

    • Blog posts may have multiple headings to address various aspects of a topic.

  • Body Paragraphs

    • For product descriptions, don’t use manufacturer descriptions or description generators. Search engines can detect this and will ignore your pages.

    • If you have too many products to write unique descriptions for all of them, consider adding a noindex meta tag to product pages without unique content. It is better to focus on promoting those pages with unique content than to flood search engines with thousands of less-valuable pages.

    • For blog posts, be sure to keep paragraphs concise and focused on the topic of the post, and to use internal links to guide users to additional valuable information or relevant product pages.

  • Calls-to-Action

    • Offering a unique call to action that stands out on your page can be the difference in making a sale and being overlooked.

      • Product page CTAs like “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” are good to use, so long as the CTA stands out from the rest of the page.

      • For blog posts, CTAs should drive users to relevant product pages or additional information, and can be included naturally throughout the post.

Internal Linking

Add internal links to product descriptions and blog posts using keywords from your map as anchor text to give users additional valuable information. Consider developing a dynamic feed of links highlighting other popular or relevant products. “Users also purchased” and “Similar Products” are both great ways to give users additional opportunities to purchase products on your site.

Reviews

Give users a chance to share their thoughts by making it easy for them to post reviews on your product pages. This is an easy way to increase the amount of unique content on your product pages. Product pages with reviews convert better than pages without them. Also, remember to mark up all product reviews with relevant schema structured data so they can be included in rich snippets.
 
Additionally, integrate social media sharing mechanisms so it’s easy for your customers to share their reviews of your product pages on social media. Google sees social signals as a measure of a brand and website’s value to customers. Be sure to include links to:

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Instagram

  • Google+

Schema.org Structured Data

Incorporate relevant Schema.org structured data to your product pages to make your page stand out in SERPs with rich snippets. Using basic Product Schema.org structured data gives users information that helps searchers make an informed decision about your product and increase click-through rates. Be sure to include:

Other less-common product schema can help you appear in a wider variety of SERPs by giving users the most detailed information about your product’s attributes. For example:

For blog posts, the blogPosting schema type will help you ensure that various aspects of your article are eligible to be used as rich snippets in search results. When creating blog posts, the following schema can be helpful toward enhancing your blog’s appearance in SERPs with rich snippets:

Next Steps

Improving the quality of your ecommerce product pages is an ongoing endeavor – testing and refining your pages over time is something that you’ll want to be doing as you work toward the goal of a successful ecommerce website. Consistently applying SEO best practices to your ecommerce product pages will increase your organic search engine rankings, traffic, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Furthermore, using tools like Google Optimize or Optimizely can help you conduct A/B testing on your product pages and see what works best with your audience.
 
A great product page makes users happy to buy. In the end, it’s your customers’ perception of your pages that’s important, because their opinions will ultimately determine how your website performs. Taking a customer-centric approach to your ecommerce endeavors will keep you on the path to success. If you have additional questions about the content covered in this guide, or need help optimizing your own ecommerce site, reach out to us and we’d be happy to chat!

Insights,Search Engine Optimization

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