An e-commerce website’s success largely depends on the optimization of the product pages. Using search engine optimization to drive searchers to a user-friendly and striking homepage plays a key role in driving interest and engagement … but it’s the effectiveness of e-commerce SEO on product pages that turns browsers into buyers.
As digital adoption continues to increase, more and more buyers are online searching for products. According to a Google survey, 49% of shoppers from around the world use the search engine to find or discover new items or products. This means that if e-commerce sellers want to capitalize on and grab the attention of the millions of searchers looking for products, they’ll need to optimize their product pages.
Securing the coveted first-page spot for e-commerce products can be a challenge, as you’re competing for prime real estate with countless other brands. To ensure that your products have a fighting chance at ranking, here are a few key dos and don’ts to follow.
Don’t optimize low-volume keywords
Many brand owners make the mistake of optimizing keywords that are specific to their brands. For example, if their product has a unique name that would not be familiar to the everyday consumer, using that name as the keyword for SEO optimization could hinder the product from appearing in search results.
The product and meta description should contain keywords with a medium-to-high search volume and low-to-moderate competition. A company that sells a desk that they’ve named the “Bauhaus desk” and uses the name as a keyword will lose out on sales, as that keyword only has a volume of 100-1,000 monthly searches on Google. Instead, the company could optimize for a high-volume keyword such as “writing desk” that drives a flood of traffic since the monthly search volume is around 100,000.
Do optimize title tags and meta descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions play an important role in how an e-commerce website’s products are displayed in search. When optimizing title tags and meta descriptions, it’s critical to include the most essential information, written with the potential customer in mind as opposed to what the brand feels is most important.
E-tailers must make every effort to include customer-relevant details, such as the brand name, the product name and the model number. In addition, many popular online outlets use structured data that allows the product’s description to include pricing information, as well as customer reviews and ratings. Search engines reward websites that are information-rich and helpful to searchers. Therefore, getting a handle on title tags, meta descriptions and structured data will give an e-commerce product the best chance of ranking well.
Don’t automate optimization
Allowing a plug-in, software or content management system to dictate and automatically input the optimization for a website’s product pages may seem like a business hack, but in reality it could do more harm than good. Automated optimization will limit the product page’s ability to obtain a favorable ranking, as it will mean that the page contains only the product name and brand name in the title tag.
In addition, automated optimization will come across as untrustworthy to searchers.
As time-consuming and tedious as it may seem, manually optimizing pages for SEO is always in an online shopping platform’s best interest from a traffic-driving and revenue-generating perspective.
Do include informative and relevant content
A largely overlooked way to snag a top spot on a search engine’s ranking page is by including informative and relevant content on each product page. The more engaging and customer-centric the content is, the better. For example, successful e-commerce sites often incorporate a frequently-asked-questions section on their product pages, which can be a major driver of traffic. Or a site could instead include a guide or instruction manual that takes the prospective buyer through the ins and outs of how the product was manufactured, how it works and how to use it.
This additional product page content should be unique to the retailer’s website. Duplicating the product manufacturer’s content will likely not have the same effect as crafting unique content, as the manufacturer’s content will likely not be optimized for engagement. Failure to include content that is useful to customers will cause the product page to see high volumes of drop-offs, resulting in a high bounce rate, lower sales and poor search engine rankings.
Don’t remove out-of-stock product pages
After taking steps to ensure that a product’s page is optimized and selling out of all the item’s inventory as a result, you might be tempted to remove the page. But taking down an already optimized out-of-stock page that has high rankings and traffic is a huge mistake. Instead, e-commerce sites should keep the URLs on all out-of-stock pages live, especially if the items are going to be restocked. The traffic generated from these pages can be used to drive users to a waiting list or boost the visibility of similar products.
E-commerce vendors also should make sure that their out-of-stock pages are clear and honest, letting customers know if and when the product will be restocked and pointing to comparable in-stock items. Removing these out-of-stock pages will redirect prospective customers to a 404 page that may cause them to leave the site without having made a purchase.
Effective product page optimization = more traffic and sales
The more effort and thought that is put into e-commerce SEO for product pages, the better an online business will do. Making sure that all SEO best-practice tactics are implemented on every product page will yield significant results: the product’s ranking will be elevated, the website’s traffic will soar and the sales rate will skyrocket. Taking shortcuts by doing the bare minimum when it comes to optimizing a product page might achieve limited short-term success, but taking the time to do due diligence on a product page will lead to long-term growth and offer e-tailers a greater chance of scaling their business.
Robert Jacobi is the director of WordPress at Cloudways, the multi-cloud managed application-as-a-service platform from DigitalOcean. Robert leads the WordPress business unit at Cloudways in community engagement, strategic partnerships and product.
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