How to you optimize the SEO on your product pages so that you can rank in search engines and get that organic traffic that all ecommerce websites want?
There is no magic bullet for this unfortunately but I will show you the steps you can go through in this post to increase the chances of your product pages ranking higher in search engines, that will hopefully generate your more traffic and more sales!
- 1. Do Keyword Research
- 2. Optimize the Product Title
- 3. Write a Custom Product Description
- 4. SEO Product Images
- 5. Optimize Product Images
- 6. Create a Unique URL
- 7. Write a Custom Meta Description
- 8. Enable Customer Product Reviews
- 9. Make Sure Structured Data is Correct
- 10. Make Sure Your Site is Fast and Loads Properly
1. Do Keyword Research
The very first step in doing SEO for your product pages is to find keywords that you want the page to rank for and without doing this, the rest of your product pages SEO will suffer.
Just guessing the keywords people might be searching is a recipe for disaster, instead, you want to find out what keywords people are actually searching for, so that you can implement these in different parts of your page.
For Example – This post is targeted at you, someone who is looking to SEO their product page and I have spent time finding out not only what you are likely searching for but also what kind of competition I am going up against. And they keywords I chose are a balance of good levels of search volume with along with a higher chance of ranking due to the level of competition.
When it comes to finding keywords that you can target, there is no tool out there that can give you exact information (although many claim they can!), this is because no company or tool has access to all of the search data in the world.
The best thing that they can do is give you an idea of what the estimated search volume is combined with the competition for this keywords. But they are a useful source of information, just use the information as a guide, some of these tools include:
- Google Keyword Planner (Free)
- Semrush (Paid)
- Ubersuggest (Paid)
- Ahrefs (Paid)
- Moz (Paid)
Ideally you want to find results that have decent search volumes but low competition as it will be easier to rank for these. Gearing your content towards keywords that have high competition will take far longer to rank for.
1.1 Find Long Tail Keywords
When you are doing Keyword Research, you want to look for Long Tail Keywords as you not only increase the chances of ranking for these but from an ecommerce perspective, there is a higher chance of converting these visitors into buyers, for example:
- Diamond Engagement Ring
- A very, very competitive search term but there is little to no buyer intent. The person searching this could just be doing research, looking for images or just browsing for ideas for when someone proposes to them.
- Handmade 18ct White Gold Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring
- A far more focused search term as the person searching this knows exactly what they are looking for, meaning they are much further along in the buying process and if you can provide the right product, the chance of the converting into a buyer is considerably higher.
With long tail keywords, there is also a chance of you ranking for similar or associated search terms, this is because you are giving search engines more information as to what your page is about.
But How Do You Find Long Tail Keywords?
All of the tools above will give you some similar search terms but sometimes these can be pretty useless! Fortunately, there is a very simple method to finding these using Google Autosuggest.
To do this, simply go to search engine such as Google and start typing what you think someone might type when looking for your product.
As you can see in the image above, it starts presenting different search queries that people have placed in the past but this can give you ideas for keywords that you want to use on your site. Some of these may be for your product listings but others may be for other content you could add to your site such as blog posts.
A modification of this method is called Alphabet Soup, which involves entering your basic keyword which is this case would be Diamond Engagement Ring and then type the letter A to see what they suggest, you then begin working through the alphabet until you have a good list of keywords.
Another source of potential keywords can be found at the bottom of any search page, under the Related Searches section. All of these are searches that have been done recently and may include some keywords that you may not have thought of.
For each product page, you want to create a list of relevant keywords that you want your product to rank for.
Just for Reference – A lot of the examples etc for this post are jewellery related as my ecommerce business was in the jewellery industry. I also live in the UK, which is why all of the suggested terms above include UK.
2. Optimize the Product Title
Now you have got a list of keywords, it is time to start putting them to use and one of the most important parts of product page SEO is the product title as this is the first thing that people are going to see in search results, below is the Google SERP result for EcommerceGold and the most eye catching part of the SERP is the title.
Crafting a good product title takes a little bit of work and while it may be tempting to try and stuff keywords in the product title this is often counterproductive. Instead, stick to the main long tail keyword that you want that product to rank for.
A good product title will contain a targeted long tail keyword but will also read organically.
It is also a best practice to try and keep the product title to less than 60 characters as this is what most search engines will display, longer titles will often be cut off.
3. Write a Custom Product Description
The product description is the largest chunk of content that is on a product page and it is very important from an SEO perspective as this is what helps search engines understand what the product is.
The item description in the example above, accurately describes the product but also includes many of the keywords that I would want this product to rank for, such as:
- 18ct White Gold Diamond Eternity Ring
- 18ct White Gold Diamond Half Eternity Ring
- White Gold Handcrafted Diamond Eternity Ring
- 18ct White Gold Eternity Ring Jewellery Quarter Birmingham
There are many more keywords and phrases that this product would rank for. I have also included some words that will help to sell the product by evoking some desire and emotion, this is very important as facts and information alone won’t encourage someone to buy.
Now it does depend on the ecommerce platform that you are using as to how much space you have on the page to put copy. Some platforms like the one in the picture above, only have space for a small item description.
When this is the case, you want to keep the paragraph to 2-3 sentences and then list the most important information in a few bullet points. This makes the information easy to digest for the person reading it.
Other platforms will allow you to have a small description like the one above and a full description that is below the image. In this case, you want to use the short description in the same way and then use the full description to add more information as long as it is relevant to the product.
In the full description you don’t want to overload your visitor with big blocks of text, instead keep it simple. Use small paragraphs and bullet points to make the information easy to read and consume (similar to how this blog post is laid out!)
4. SEO Product Images
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of people make is that they don’t make the most of their images. Yes, you may have high quality, beautiful images but are you getting the most from them? Two things you should do with every image are:
- Name them properly, ring1.jpg is of no use to anyone. handmade-1ct-solitaire-diamond-engagement-ring.jpg is much better and will have a positive impact on your SEO
- Use the alt tag. This is where you describe what the image is and it helps search engines to know what the image is about.
I always try and name my images and write the alt tag similar to the product title. This way you are ranking the image for the same query as the web page. You can get lots of visitors from places like google images.
5. Optimize Product Images
As the point above is about product images, this one follows on quite nicely.
For this point, I am talking about optimizing them for performance as images are often the largest element that needs to be loaded from a product page and one of the main causes of a slow loading product page is images that haven’t been optimized.
Now most hosted ecommerce platforms will have some form of built in image optimization but there are still things you can do before uploading them to your website:
5.1 Upload the Correct Image Size
A common cause of slow pages is using images that are much bigger than they need to be, for example, if your product images only display 600px x 600px, then there is no point uploading a 2000px x 2000px image. I personally use images that are slightly larger than the display size, so for a 600px display size, I would use a 700px or 800px image.
5.2 Use the Right Image Format
Images can be uploaded in a variety of formats, with the most common being PNG or JPG.
In many cases, PNG images are much larger and often not required unless you need a transparent background for the image but for most images a JPG will be perfectly fine.
However, there is a new image format that has been specifically designed for images on the web, known as WebP and although it is still relatively new, there is a good chance that this will become the default image format in the future.
5.3 Use Optimized for Web Images
Not all images are the same and it is worth saving images that have been optimized for use on websites and this can be done in a couple of simple ways:
- Use the Save for Web function in Adobe Photoshop or similar function in other photo editors
- Upload the image to Canva and then download it as Canva images are web optimized
Doing this will mean that the image optimizer on your platform has less work to do and will generally increase the performance of your product page.
6. Create a Unique URL
As all URL’s on your website need to be different anyway, you might as well make the most of this and use it to your advantage and add some keywords to it to help your pages SEO.
Whenever you are creating a URL for a page, it is always good practice to try and make it match the title of the page as closely as possible and using the diamond ring example above, something along the lines of:
Would work pretty well as a URL, this is because it contains the keywords that I want the page to rank for and also matches up with the rest of the content on the page and would work much better than something like:
I have also seen websites add numbers to the end of URL’s to make them unique, such as:
These types of URL have no benefit to SEO and should be avoided, instead, spend a little bit of time to craft a URL that actually benefits your website.
7. Write a Custom Meta Description
Meta descriptions are becoming less relevant to SEO, this is because on some occasions, search engines will select text from your product description to place in the SERP result if they feel it matches the search query better what has been created intentionally.
But this doesn’t always happen and it is still worth creating a custom meta description for your products.
If you are unsure what a meta description is, it is a very short description of the product and is usually just one sentence and ideally no longer than 160 characters as this is all that search engines such as Google show, below you can see the meta description for the EcommerceGold homepage:
The meta description can be a great place to add secondary keywords that you may not have been able to add to your title and sometimes a small call to action such as buy now can show users that it is a product page and available to purchase if it is what they want.
8. Enable Customer Product Reviews
Many people think that having customers leave product reviews is just a way to help increase conversion rates via social proofing but these reviews can also give you a helping hand when it comes to SEO.
This is because when product reviews are schema enabled, there is a chance that these ratings will appear in search results, just like in the SERP below:
These product reviews also let search engines know whether the product is good or not and a product with lots of positive reviews is more likely to appear higher in search results than one with lots of negative reviews.
But PLEASE don’t use fake reviews to artificially increase the rating of a product, only use genuine reviews!
9. Make Sure Structured Data is Correct
As I mentioned Schema above, it is also worth talking about Structured Data for products as it plays a big part in SEO, this is because this structured data helps search engines know what your page is about, which in turn helps them know when best to show your product in search results.
As you can see in the snippet above, the listing contains a lot more information than a standard search result and this is because this page has been schema optimized and includes:
- Schema type (product)
- Brand type and name
All this information allows the search engines to know exactly what the page is about and in turn, when to make it appear in search results.
Now it does depends on the ecommerce platform that you are using as to which mark up data you can include but most are pretty good an include most of the fields required.
Google Search Console is a very useful tool when it comes to checking whether you are missing an product schema mark up and will let you know what information is missing and will rate your page as either:
- Having Errors (red)
- Valid with Warnings (yellow)
- Valid (green)
And below is an example of a page with warnings:
For some types of products, you won’t be able to include all of the information required to take it into the valid section as not all products include a global identifier but it is always best practice to include as much schema information as possible.
This is because many ecommerce website owners don’t understand schema and how important it can be and any edge you can get over your competition is something you should go for!
For more information on product schema, check out Google’s Product Schema Page as it contains lots of useful information.
10. Make Sure Your Site is Fast and Loads Properly
How well your site performs has always been an important part of technical SEO but search engines such as Google are starting to put more emphasis on websites loading quickly and also correctly, especially on mobile devices as they have introduced core web vitals to their Page Speed Insight tool.
Now, as with the Schema mentioned above, it very much does depend on the platform you are using as to how well your website is going to perform and with some hosted ecommerce platforms, your options are very limited.
If you want to see how well your ecommerce platform performs, take a look at my Fastest Ecommerce Platforms post, where I test all of the main platforms including them on Google Page Speed Insights.
But some elements such as optimized images and using a fast and responsive theme can make a big difference to your sites performance.
In general, it is much easier to optimize a site for desktop than it is for mobile but as mobile traffic now makes up for around 50% of traffic to ecommerce websites (and growing!), it is important to see if there is anything to improve the site experience for mobile users and you should focus on usability rather than aesthetics.
So that is how you SEO a product page and I bet there was more to it than you first thought!
It can seem daunting at first but if you work at it one step at a time, you will find it becomes easier with each product you do and you will also start to develop your own process when you start seeing what works and what doesn’t.
You will also start seeing what others are using and not using when doing things like keyword research and this will help to give you an indication as to whether you will be able to outrank some of your competition.