Product page SEO is not just about SEO. As weird as this may sound when doing SEO for eCommerce product pages, you need to take into account other factors that go beyond traditional SEO practices.
A product page that offers an excellent experience for the users will not only rank higher, but it will also generate more sales and conversions.
Your overall goal is to create a product page that is user-friendly, optimized for conversions, but at the same time, SEO friendly and easy to crawl by search engines.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to SEO your eCommerce product pages.
The SEO tips presented below are applicable for all types of eCommerce platforms including WooCommerce, Shopify and Amazon.
Product Page SEO
These are the steps to follow to SEO your product pages:
- URL Optimization
- Product Title SEO
- The Product Page H1 Tag
- Meta Description Optimization
- Optimize Your Breadcrumb Menu
- Product Description Optimization
- Image Optimization
- Video Optimization
- Product Schema Markup
- Open Graph meta tags
- Product Reviews and Ratings
- User-Generated Content
1. URL Optimization
The first element that needs your attention is the product URL.
Although it’s not the most critical ranking factor, having correctly optimized product URLs is recommended for several reasons.
- It’s easier for search engines to understand
- It’s easier for users to understand
- It’s useful for readability purposes, especially in cases when you (or someone else) posts a URL of your products in a forum or a comment.
It’s easier to understand that this URL:
will lead to a product page about a 256GB Macbook Pro than this:
How do you optimize your product URLs?
Everything that is recommended for an SEO friendly URL it’s also applicable for product URLs, with some variations that are specific for eCommerce websites.
To be more specific, your product URLS should be:
- Short and descriptive without unnecessary characters
- Use “-” to separate the different parts of the URL
- Use only lowercase characters
- Avoid using stop words like “a,” “an,” and “the.”, in the URL.
- Include attributes and product characteristics like the brand name or color.
- If you have to include extra characters that are needed by your CMS, try to have those at the end.
Here is an example of an SEO optimized product URL:
And an example of a non-optimized product URL from Amazon!
If you are wondering why Amazon doesn’t optimize their URLs, the answer is simple.
First, they don’t have to do it because SEO optimization is not their priority, and second, they have a massive website with millions of products, and it might be technically impossible for them to do this change.
With that being said, if you have a lot of products or it’s too difficult to change them, don’t spend time with optimizing the URLs, there are more important changes to do to your shop (as you will read below).
If you are up to the job, then make sure that for each product page you change the URL, you add a 301 Redirection so that the old URL is redirected to the new URL.
2. Product Title Optimization
The next step is to work on your product titles. This is one of the important optimization tasks you can do for your product pages.
In my SEO Tutorial, I have added several examples on how to SEO the titles of your blog posts or pages, and while these are valid, when it comes to eCommerce SEO, you need to take into account a few more things.
Why 60 characters or less? Because this is what is shown on average in the search snippets, without breaking your title.
See the two examples below. The first one is 60 characters (excluding the site name), and it shows as is, while the second one is more than 60 characters, so Google breaks it up.
How do you combine product names and keywords in the title?
Let’s see some examples to understand how to have both your product names and keywords in the same title.
The first step is to refer to the results of your keyword research.
Having a clear idea of what search terms people type in the Google search box is essential.
Let’s say that you are selling shoes, and you know from the keyword research that people search for “men’s running shoes.”
Your first action is to optimize your category page for that term.
It’s a general term and a great candidate for category optimization.
Within the category, you can optimize your product names like the examples below:
Notice the format of the title, which includes the brand name, model, and keywords i.e., Men’s Running Shoe or Racer Women’s Shoe.
For example, look at this product title from Etsy. The keyword “boyfriend gift” is at the beginning of the title, and this makes the title more optimized.
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget that each product page of your eCommerce website needs to have a <title>, and this has to be unique across your site.
3. The product page H1 Tag
It is very common for the H1 tag of the page to be the same as the title.
While this is ok (and the default configuration for many CMS), if you want, you can change it to be friendlier for users (since you can safely use more characters). Also, it’s another opportunity to enrich your page with related keywords.
Besides that, the other thing to check and ensure is that your page has only one H1 tag, and this is located high on the page and above the different headings (h2, h3, etc.).
Product Page Headings
When it comes to other headings (h2, h2, etc.), use them according to best practices.
4. Meta Description Optimization
Google guidelines for meta description optimization state the following:
- Provide a unique description for every page of your website, and that includes product pages.
- Write descriptions that accurately describe the page content in 160 characters or less.
If you don’t provide for a meta description that meets the above guidelines, Google will pick up the text from the page and show it as a meta description.
The problem is that on many occasions, the text shown by Google as the description is not interesting for the users, and thus you lose clicks (and potential customers).
So, it’s better to take advantage of meta descriptions and make your search snippets exciting and inviting for the users to click and visit your product pages.
What to include in your product meta description?
A description needs to include the product name and keywords.
As you can see in the examples below, Google highlights the keywords from a description that matches the user’s query.
Other than that, you can add benefits like free shipping and returns, money-back guarantee, and additional information that can differentiate your snippet entry from the rest.
The snippet from Amazon below is an excellent example of an optimized meta description.
5. Optimize Your Breadcrumb Menu
In my eCommerce site structure article, I have explained why breadcrumb menus are essential for user-friendliness and the usability aspect of an eCommerce website.
What is necessary to highlight again is that besides making your website user friendly and SEO friendly, breadcrumbs can contribute to higher CTRs (click-through rates), because they enhance the presentation of your snippet in the SERPS.
To take advantage of this, breadcrumbs need to have the proper structure data (schema) so that Google can understand them.
Look at the example below and see how Google is using the breadcrumb information in the snippet (for both desktop and mobile), instead of showing the product URL.
It’s more relevant and can contribute to better CTRs.
6. Product Description Optimization
Optimizing your product description is one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks, especially if you have a lot of products in your eCommerce store.
From experience, it’s also one of the tasks that most eCommerce owners get it wrong.
Let’s see what we mean by product description optimization.
Google is looking for exclusive, high-quality content to show in the search results from high-quality websites.
If your product description is an exact copy of what is already available in other eCommerce websites on the Internet that has a higher domain authority and Google trust, it will simply ignore your product pages.
An eCommerce website that has a lot of pages with duplicate content is considered a low-quality website, and the chances of ranking high for competitive terms are minimum to none.
So, the first thing that you need to do is to ensure that your product page description is unique.
Uniqueness is not limited to websites across the web but to your website too.
In other words, every product of your shop needs to have a unique description and not the same description as another product within your shop.
There is no golden rule as to the number of words your product description should be, but it is proven that long-form content ranks higher in Google, and is shared more frequently in social media.
Of course, your goal with eCommerce websites is to make sales so your product descriptions should primarily serve that purpose.
The added advantage of providing for long descriptions is that with the proper On-Page SEO techniques, you will have the opportunity to blend keywords into your text and make your product pages both search engine friendly and interesting for the users.
Look at any product on Amazon. They have a ton of content related to product usage, product short and long description, customer reviews, Q & A related to the product and a lot of other useful information.
Amazon is not doing this for SEO purposes, but because it helps users to make a purchase decision.
Here is an example of a product short description shown above the fold
And the product long description is shown towards the bottom of the page:
Many eCommerce owners worry that having too much content on the page will break the design, but that’s not the case.
You can follow the same pattern as amazon, i.e., have a short description above the fold and a long description below the page.
Almost all modern eCommerce CMS (WooCommerce, Shopify, etc.), have this kind of functionality build-in into their systems.
While writing your product descriptions, don’t forget about optimizing your content.
The best way to do this is to go back to the results of your keyword research and make a list of keywords that are related to the specific product.
Use those keywords in your headings and text naturally without doing keyword stuffing.
Mentioning your target keyword 3-5 times in the text is enough, and using related keywords from your list in the headings will help Google understand what the page is all about.
You can link to related products within the text, but be wise; you don’t want to drive people away from your product page.
Your goal is to keep them as much as possible on the page so that they eventually take the next step, which is to proceed with a purchase.
7. Image Optimization
Images are necessary components of your product pages. Regardless of the type of products you are selling, your product pages must have images.
Some tips to optimize your eCommerce product images
Avoid the use of bad stock images – using images that are not of good quality can drive customers away.
If you cannot create original images of your products, then make sure that you select high-quality images that look real and authentic.
Pro Tip: Using the real photo of you or your team can increase trust in the cases that you are selling services or intangible products.
Use meaningful file names – I’ve mentioned many times before that image filenames are NOT among the most significant SEO factors, but having proper filenames has several advantages:
- It’ easier for you to manage the (possibly) hundreds of images in your store.
- When other websites use a URL to one of your images, it will be meaningful.
- You increase your chances of ranking in Google image search.
Let’s see some examples of meaningful and not meaningful image file names. Consider this image:
Which is more useful to you, this:
Try to use keywords naturally in your image filenames.
Optimize your ALT Text – ALT TEXT (or alternative text) is one of the most important elements of image optimization.
Alt Text has two primary purposes:
- It is shown in the browser until the images are fully downloaded and sometimes on mouse hover
- It is essential for SEO since it’s through the ALT text that search engines can understand what an image is all about.
Tips for optimizing the image ALT TEXT
- No keyword stuffing.
- Use natural language – plain English as you would explain to a friend what the image is all about
- Use a short caption below each image to give search engines and users more information for the image (see example C above).
The size of the images does matter. Smaller images are faster to download, while large images may slow a website down.
Before uploading your images, make sure that you optimize their size. If the largest image size you need is 1200×650, don’t upload images that are bigger than that size (even though your CMS will automatically resize them).
Use tools like image optim to optimize their size without sacrificing quality.
If you have a lot of product images, consider using a CDN so that images are delivered by a network of servers and not from your server.
8. Videos Optimization
Where possible, try to use Videos to make your product content more engaging. People love videos, and good original videos can differentiate your shop from competitors and increase conversions.
You can use videos from the product manufacturers (if available), but the best approach would be to create your videos.
Whichever the case, here is your video SEO checklist:
- Do not upload videos directly on your server, instead use a dedicated video hosting service like Youtube or Vimeo. Once uploaded, there are various ways to embed the videos in your product pages.
- Wrap your videos with Video Schema markup
- Create a video sitemap and submit to Google.
9. Product Schema Markup
What is Product schema?
In simple terms, product schema or structured data is a way to highlight specific data items from your product pages (such as the name of the product, price, availability, reviews, and ratings), so that search engines can read and understand this information more accessible.
By highlighting, we mean adding specific lines of code to your pages that provide this information to search engine crawlers.
Why add schema markup to your product pages? For two main reasons:
- It’s a great way to help search engines understand more about your product.
- It’s another way to enhance your snippet in the SERPS and get higher CTR (click-through rates).
When product schema is configured correctly, your search snippet will include the price of the item, reviews, and stock information, as shown in the example above.
How to add product schema?
It depends on the eCommerce platform you are using. Most modern eCommerce CMS (like Shopify or Woocommerce) have product schema built-in.
The first thing to do is to go to the structured data testing tool and enter the URL of one of your product pages. If your product schema is configured correctly, you should see something like this:
Notice that it shows no errors or warnings on the top right.
If your product pages are missing structured data, then the best way to add them is to use the JSON-LD format.
This is how the code looks:
Now, this is a part that may require more reading, and it needs technical knowledge.
If you don’t feel comfortable messing with code, then it is highly recommended to hire a developer to do this for you.
- Product schema information on Google’s site
- Product Schema definition (schema.org)
- What is Schema markup
10. Open Graph meta tags
Open graph meta tags are similar to product markup. They are used so that any information shared with social networks is accurate.
When visitors click a LIKE or SHARE button to publish your page in social media networks, you want to have the correct picture and information shared, and this is achieved by having the right open graph tags defined.
Note: Open Graph meta tags will not help you with SEO as they don’t have any direct or indirect effect on rankings. Still, they are essential for the proper representation of your brand and products on social media.
The good thing about open graph meta tags is that they are easy to implement.
Open graph meta tags are used by Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest and Twitter Cards by twitter.
How to check open graph meta tags?
To check that your implementation is correct, you can simply share one of your product pages on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram and monitor how it looks.
To find out and troubleshoot specific problems, use the following validators:
11. Product Reviews And Ratings
Product reviews are among the ‘must-have’ components of successful product pages.
- It is statistically proven that users are more likely to convert if they see other people converting.
- Product pages with real, positive reviews are more likely to have higher conversion rates than product pages with no reviews.
How to use Reviews?
#1 – Add Star Ratings and total reviews below your product title. See the example of Amazon below.
When clicked it should go to the “Reviews” section at the bottom of the page.
#2 – Make sure that your product reviews are on the same page as your products (don’t use a different review page for each product).
#3 – Avoid having reviews in a tab that is not always visible. Google mentioned many times that they consider content in tabs (that are not active) less important than content in always-active tabs.
#4 – Have the latest reviews shown first. People like to read reviews that are valid for the product they are viewing and not for older products.
#5 – Try to provide as much information as possible about the reviewer. If possible, have their real picture and name to accompany the review.
Visitors can read the review together with the image and name of the person. They can also click on the link to see where the review was posted.
#6 – Don’t make the mistake of adding reviews without proof. Users can easily spot fake reviews, and this can generate the opposite results.
Product review schema
To take advantage of product reviews and improve your presence in Search (or AdWords Ads), you need to have the product review schema implemented.
Product reviews structured data works in precisely the same way as product schema, i.e., you add certain tags in your HTML code to help search engine crawlers extract review information.
I have mentioned above that you need to make every effort to make your reviews look real.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to make use of a third-party review system.
Reviews posted publicity on third party sites are more trusted by the user (and Google) because they cannot be manipulated.
Depending on your business, there are review systems dedicated to specific kinds of products. Here is a list of the most popular review systems you can use.
- Google Customer Reviews
- Google My Business Reviews
- Facebook Reviews
- Better Business Bureau (BBB) Reviews
12. User-Generated Content
One of the ways to have unique content on your product pages is “user-generated content.”
User-generated content is what the name implies i.e., the content generated by users, usually in the form of questions and answers.
Amazon does a great job in this. Below each of the product descriptions, you will see a section called “Customer questions and answers.”
There are a few things to note about user generating content from an SEO perspective.
- Make sure that you nofollow any links in the answers or better disallow users from entering links (allow only text). The last thing you want is for spammers to fill out your pages with spammy content and links.
- Monitor all replies before publishing. Publish only questions and answers that are highly relevant to your product.
- Don’t fill your page with Q& A content. Show 4 or 5 questions, and then for more questions, redirect the user to a dedicated page (or to a hidden tab).
“User-Generated Content” is not always easy to achieve. You need to have popular products and a system in place to email existing customers questions your potential customers have.
Nevertheless, if you can have this feature, it will be helpful for your SEO and customer support.
Giving users cross-selling options besides assisting in generating more sales, it’s also a great way to add internal links for your product pages.
If you go to any popular online store, you will notice that below each product, they have sections displaying matching products or what other people have purchased that is related to the viewed product.
Here is an example from a shoe store:
Product page SEO is not as difficult as it sounds, and as mentioned in the introduction, it’s not just about SEO.
When SEO optimizing your product pages, you should have four things in mind:
- Your Users (usability)
- The representation of your brand and products
- Conversion Optimization
- Search Engine Optimization
To have a fully optimize product page, you need to work on:
- Optimizing your product URLs
- Optimizing your titles and description
- Correctly formatted breadcrumbs (with schema information)
- A well-structured page with proper h1 tag and headings
- Unique, meaningful and in-depth product descriptions
- Great looking and unique images
- Product schema implemented and verified
- Open Graph meta tags and Twitter Cards
- Product Reviews (with correct schema)
- Cross-selling options