If you already own an e-commerce led business, then perhaps you already know how to get your product pages into great shape, if that’s the case, this guide may not be for you.
But, the chances are you’re here because you know that the product pages are where the money is and you know that they are more likely to make or break a transaction than any other area of the website.
Knowing this information is great, but, unless you know exactly how to turn them into a revenue-generating colossus, you may as well be ignorant of the whole process of e-commerce SEO.
However, since you’re here you may as well learn how to turn your product pages into traffic magnets and money making machines…
Let’s Start with Some Perspective…
We start every good story at the beginning after all.
Recent research by Search Engine Watch shows that websites ranked number one on Google enjoy an average click-through rate of nearly 37%, the second spot receives 12.5% and third place takes roughly 9%. What this means for a company, if it’s ranking number one, is that they’re receiving as much organic traffic as the websites ranking from second to fifth combined.
That’s a big slice of the pie.
Now, let’s think about this from a revenue point of view, using the example of a company selling doors and let’s say their primary keyword is: ‘internal doors’. Internal doors get 90,500 searches a month and since we already know that the top-ranked company is raking in 37% of this traffic, we’ll translate this to a more relatable figure of 33,485 visitor’s, on average, each month.
The typical conversation rate these days is about 3%, so we’ll use this as our benchmark by dividing the visitors by conversion and hey presto…pretend door company now has over 1,000 sales per month.
Not too shabby.
Unfortunately, whilst this is possible, it’s becoming harder and harder to dominate a niche and a large amount of work must be done before dreams of limitless revenue can be achieved.
Since there’s plenty to be getting on with let’s start with your product pages.
We may as well begin from the top and the very top at that.
When it comes to URL structure, the KISS (Keep It Super Simple) principle will keep you on the straight and narrow. Confusing your customers has never been a good idea and confusing Google at the same time is like pushing your website over a cliff.
If your site has any URLs like this:
Get rid of them.
There’s so much wrong with a URL like that. Firstly what does it tell you? Absolutely nothing, that’s what. And if you can’t make head nor tail of it, Google won’t be able to either.
URLs that look like a jumbled mess of words, numbers and punctuation are often generated by the platform that the site is built on. Some software does generate more legible URLs, but they can still look something like this:
Okay, you’re probably thinking that this looks a little better, and sure it does, but there are still some key sticking points to be ironed out here. Your most important keyword ‘men’s blue shirt’ is languishing way in the back. This tells the search engines that it isn’t a priority keyword and the words, ‘men’s’ and ‘brands’ are more important.
A nicely optimised URL should look like this:
Placing your keywords immediately after the domain tells Google that ‘men’s blue shirt’ is what the page is displaying.
This is also an important user experience factor and provides an immediate and clear answer to a user searching for men’s blue shirts.
When you drop into any e-commerce store – take Amazon for example. You’ll often see that there are certain products displayed in a bestsellers section – we’ll use men’s blue shirts as an example again.
So, let’s say the men’s blue shirt is incredibly popular. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that a company might wish to display this quite prominently on the homepage and in the ‘men’s clothing’ category. See below:
It’s a great idea, but on some e-commerce platforms, depending on how your categories and pages are structured, you may see that three URLs are generated:
Here you have a situation where three URLs are pointing to the same product. From a customer point-of-view it’s not really a problem, but when Google spots this, it will view this as duplicate content. In order to remedy this, you need to use a rel=canonical tag to let Google know that is isn’t a case of multiplying the content across several pages.
Cross-selling is a tactic designed to generate further sales by proposing related or corresponding products to a buyer who has already made a purchase. Think about when you go to a fast food outlet and they say, ‘would you like fries with that?’ It’s basically the same thing.
The aspiration of cross-selling is to maximise the value of a purchase, but also to enhance the customers buying experience.
So, for argument’s sake, your company sells high-end printers. If you cross-sell these with the ink cartridges, not only are you increasing your chances of creating more revenue, but you’re also displaying the breadth of your product range, whilst also helping your customer find everything she needs or may have forgotten about.
Breadcrumbs are the links you see across the top of the page, that help navigate through categories, a bit like this:
Creating a trail is good for SEO for several reasons: firstly they help define your internal linking structure by linking to other pages on the site. It’s also good for user experience because customers can ascertain where they are at all times, which is especially relevant for e-commerce sites which house thousands of pages.
Use Title Tags
Another signal of relevance to search engines and users is the title tag. The title tag is a great way of showing everyone what your site is all about without bombarding them with information.
If possible you’ll want your primary keyword to appear at the start, so something like this:
This is an excellent example of a title tag, it clearly explains what the user will find on the other end and offers an enticing reason to click the link. Title tags walk the line between SEO benefit and calls to action.
Create Killer Product Descriptions
Killer product descriptions are key when it comes to helping customers make the decision to pull the trigger and also for sending a little love Google’s way.
If you use the standard text originally created by the manufacturers, there’s not much that will work in your favour. Firstly, as you can imagine, manufacturers certainly won’t create unique content that differs from what they’ve already handed out to hundreds or even thousands of other online stores. And we all know what happens when you rouse the anger from the Panda:
Secondly, manufacturer descriptions are exactly that, they tell you what the product is, its specifications and surely your customers aren’t interested in reading about the process that goes into making a company’s washing machines? Sure, it’s important to include product specifications, but they are looking for a reason to buy from you and not your competitor. And guess what… Google loves to see unique and fresh content.
Include Product Reviews
Research from Search Engine Land, tells us that almost 88% of customers hold online reviews in the same esteem as personal recommendations. Which tells us that it’s a major conversion factor as well as a fantastic trust signal in the eyes of search engines.
The best part about online reviews is that it is free content generated by the user, which means all you need to do is make it’s possible to leave a review on all of your product pages.
You should also add structured data, which shows up in SERP’s as a line of data under each search result and gives the user a little bit more information before they click on a result:
This example shows what structured data could do for your product pages, and as you can see, a prospect is much more likely to click on this, as it provides more information about the product they wish to buy.
You can also add structured data to products, names, prices, stock availability, any special offers and SKU codes. All of which create an extra line of a search result and increase click-through rate.
Include Social Buttons
Obviously, you want customers to buy your products and you must do everything in your power to ensure that you keep them fixed to the page until the credit card information has been inputted. You’d much rather have someone buy your products rather than just sharing them. But, why not have the best of both worlds? Buy and share. Imagine how many people your brand will get in front of if you offer buyers a quick way of sharing directly to one of their social feeds.
Social shares can sometimes be part of Google’s ranking signals and it proves to them that your product is popular, there’s different schools of thought on this, but each share has the potential to bring more traffic back to your site, and if you can get more people buying from you, wasn’t it worth the effort?
It’s a known fact that product images improve conversion, but you can also optimise them for search engines for bigger results.
It’s important to initially start by including image file names and Alt tags that include your keywords. To illustrate an example, ‘mens-blue-shirt.png’ is a much better option than a collection of jumbled letters and numbers.
Alt tags are alternative text that browsers opt for if they are unable to render an image, so optimising for your keywords helps the search engines understand what you’re all about.
Lastly, it’s important to ensure that your image file sizes aren’t affecting the load speed of your site. Larger images slow down the load process and create a scenario where your potential customers bounce off to browse for other options and search engines aren’t going to like that. Check out our blog on 2018 SEO trends for more info on this.
As per this article in Forbes, it is predicted that 80% of the web will be dominated by video in 2019. It also states that 90% of customers are helped by videos when making a purchasing decision.
Can you imagine what that could do for your conversion?
Product videos aren’t just about conversion rates, they also allow you to find a larger audience.
We all know about YouTube right? Sure, you do – it’d be weird if you didn’t. But, once you upload your videos to YouTube and fully optimise them, your video is sitting in front of, potentially, millions of people. Your video also has the power to be found in Google search results too, like this for example:
Well…What are You Waiting For?
If you haven’t got all that many products, it’s probably best to ‘eat the frog’ and get all the optimisation done in one foul swoop.
But, if all of this has left you feeling a little overwhelmed, why not take some time and discuss your needs with us at POD Digital?