Regardless of your industry/niche, reaching the upper echelons of the search rankings is vital in our search-centric consumer world.
According to Optify, “websites ranked number one received an average click-through-rate (CTR) of 35.4 percent; number two had a CTR of 12.5 percent; and number three had a CTR of 9.5 percent.”
When you break it all down, having the number one spot will essentially bring you the same amount of traffic as spots two through five combined. That’s pretty incredible!
To prove the importance of SEO for Ecommerce even further, just consider the fact that 44 percent of people begin their online shopping experience with a search engine.
It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s a surefire way to gain a wealth of information on a product or service to make a better-educated buying decision.
I should also point out the fact that 30 percent of all traffic to Ecommerce sites comes from search engines.
By examining these statistics, one thing becomes abundantly clear. It’s incredibly important that you have a sound understanding of SEO for Ecommerce and that you apply some key principles when creating your product pages.
Here are some specific techniques that will allow you to optimize your Ecommerce product pages so that you can maximize your traffic and increase conversions.
Begin With Keyword Research
Because the keywords you choose will affect multiple other areas of SEO such as URLs, tags, descriptions, etc., it’s important that you take time to perform some thorough keyword research.
Trying to rank for broad keywords is usually futile because of the immense level of competition you’ll be up against.
Besides this, the visitors you do receive may quickly leave your site because it may not have what they’re looking for.
This is obviously problematic because it’s likely to result in a high bounce rate and low conversion rate. Neither of which are good.
That’s why I suggest aiming for longtail keywords that are highly relevant to your product.
Although they’ll receive fewer searches, these keywords tend to have much less competition, which gives you a realistic chance of ranking favorably.
You’re also likely to have a lower bounce rate and experience higher conversions, which means you’re fully capitalizing on the traffic you drive to your site.
The three main factors you’ll want to focus on when selecting keywords are:
- Search volume
- Ranking difficulty (level of competition)
Google’s Keyword Planner is a free and effective tool for performing your keyword research and has all of the features you’ll need.
Once you’ve selected your keywords, you’ll want to start from the top and create a simple URL that’s easily understood by both search engines and humans.
Let’s look at an example.
A company called “A Wild Soap Bar” sells organic soaps and salves, and one of their products is called Sunflower Soap.
On the product page, they use the following URL:
Notice that it’s short, sweet and to the point.
If they used something much more complicated such as the following, it’s going to cause confusion and just looks ugly.
The bottom line here is that your URL should include your keywords and be clear enough that it’s understandable by search engines and humans.
As you may already know, title tags play a considerable role in SEO and help search engines understand what content is about.
That’s why you’ll want to ensure that your primary title tag includes your keywords.
As you can see here, the keyword “sunflower soap” is used as the title tag.
H1, H2 and H3 Tags
You should also try to include your keywords in these tags as well. While this doesn’t carry as much SEO weight as a title tag, it can still have an impact.
Be sure that you only use one set of H1 heading tags per URL.
Creating an Epic Product Description
In my opinion, product descriptions are one of the most underutilized aspects of Ecommerce product page SEO.
Not only does a product description provide you with another opportunity to weave in your targeted keywords to appease search engines, you can really sell your product to potential customers.
Many times, compelling copy can be the catalyst for making a conversion.
But one trap that businesses fall into is using the manufacturer’s product description simply because it’s easier to do this than to create their own.
This is problematic for two reasons.
First, search engines may deem this as being duplicate content, which can result in penalties.
Second, it can come across as sounding generic and may lack the gusto it takes to motivate leads to buy.
I think that the product description for A Wild Soap’s “Sunflower Soap” is rock solid.
It’s descriptive, flows well, includes the keyword “Sunflower Soap” and doesn’t sound too sterile.
Adding Product Reviews
I think we can all agree that social proof is an integral component of gaining the trust of consumers and for getting solid conversions.
In fact, “nearly 70 percent of U.S. Internet users sometimes read reviews before making a purchasing decision.”
On top of this, “a 2012 study found that positive customer reviews made 58 percent of consumers trust a business more.”
I know that I usually spend a minute or two checking out a few reviews before I go ahead and shell out money for a purchase.
Having product reviews on your Ecommerce store kills two birds with one stone because they can influence your consumers’ decision making, and search engines enjoy them as well.
Because Google loves sites that are frequently updated with fresh content. As more product reviews trickle in, Googlebot will keep returning to your site and continue to index it.
The bottom line here is that it’s ideal to have the option for customers to leave product reviews.
Additional On-Site SEO Factors
Now that we’ve covered the major points, I would like to discuss a few other elements that can impact SEO.
This should be short, concise and include your targeted keyword phrase.
Due to the fact that Google will leave out words that exceed 160 characters, it’s important that you don’t go beyond this length.
According to Moz, roughly 155 characters is ideal.
Don’t get in the habit of using duplicate meta descriptions for similar products. Meta descriptions are free advertising that Google gives you in the SERPs. Take time to craft meta descriptions that will get visitors to click on your result.
Images are obviously important for showcasing a product’s features and can help increase conversion rates.
And by incorporating keyword rich alt tags, is yet another way of showing search engines what your content is about.
When I show you these snippets of HTML code – don’t get scared. To check this out for yourself, just view the source of your webpage (right click and view source usually does the trick). Then just do a search on the page (find) for “alt” or “.jpg” to locate your images. If the alt tag is missing, you’ll know right then and there you need to include them.
You may also want to include a video that demonstrates your product in action.
This helps potential customers connect the dots and “increases your visitors’ understanding of your product by 74 percent.”
“It also increases the likelihood of your visitors purchasing your product by 64 percent.”
Just make sure to include your keywords in the title, tags and description of your video.
Social Share Buttons
I love social share buttons.
One way that I judge the validity of a blog post, article, etc. is to simply see how many social shares it has received.
If it has a lot, the chances are good that it’s a piece of content that’s worth my attention.
And by all accounts, having social share buttons on your Ecommerce product pages is beneficial.
That’s because they help search engines understand how popular your product is. Having plenty of social shares basically serves as a digital thumbs up and increases the likelihood that your product page lands in a favorable position in SERPs.
Kissmetrics summarizes it quite nicely by saying “having a lot of social signals tells Google that people find your website and brand valuable.”
This graph highlights the specific value of each social signal and as you can see, Facebook shares have the most value.
And let’s not forget that this is going to have a positive impact on your conversion rate as well.
When shoppers see that your product has a boatload of social shares, this serve as a tangible affirmation that it’s a quality product.
That’s why I strongly suggest installing social share buttons on your product pages.
Last but not least, let’s talk about speed.
Once you’ve addressed the nuts and bolts of SEO, it’s time to take a look at just how fast your product page loads.
In fact, speed may play a bigger role than you think, and “40 percent of people abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load.”
If your site is anything less than lighting quick, you’re going to need to take measures to speed it up.
To determine just how fast your site is, I recommend using the Pingdom Website Speed Test.
It’s free and will let you know within a matter of seconds of what you’re working with. If your speed is less than ideal, consult this post about making your site insanely fast.
There is no doubt that numerous variables determine just how well your product pages end up ranking. As a result, it can seem a little overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the game.
By addressing the right aspects of SEO, you can cover all of the bases and maximize your visibility in search engines, while simultaneously providing an awesome user experience.
What do you think are the most important elements of SEO for Ecommerce product pages?