If you’re an eCommerce business owner, you know just how much work it takes to set up product pages for your site. Between gathering all of the product information and creating perfectly crafted descriptions, product specs, highlights and more, there’s a lot that goes into this. Not only do you want your product pages to look amazing and read beautifully, you also want to optimize your eCommerce product pages for SEO. Doing so will increase your exposure on Google and other search engines, making them (and you!) easier for your customers to find.
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For anyone who is familiar with SEO, you know that it’s extremely important because it’s earned placement on search engines that’s completely free. There are two ways of getting your product pages to show up at the top of search results: 1) run ads, which you’ll pay for per click, or 2) earn the placement with organic listings, where clicks are free! If you can get something for free vs. paying for it, this is obviously ideal, but these earned placements take time and a lot of work. Your SEO strategy is how you can earn these spots. A big part of this is optimizing the content on your site to be search-engine friendly, and that’s what we’re going to get into today!
[Check out this podcast that I recorded to learn more about the basics of SEO!]
When I first launched DermWarehouse.com, I spent almost a year preparing to launch our website. A good portion of that time was spent writing the content for every single product we’d be selling, which at the time was about 500 (now we’re up to over 2,000). I’d scrutinize every word and try to come up with the most creative and eloquent ways to describe the skin care products we’d be selling. At the time, while I was familiar with SEO and its importance, I hadn’t learned all the tricks for optimizing product pages for eCommerce. Now years later, my team and I are constantly going back to old product pages to enhance these, not only so they sound amazing to our customers, but so they’re written perfectly for search engines as well. The really great thing is that your optimization can be an ongoing process. We’ve made so many changes on our site along that way that have really moved the needle in terms of our search visibility.
Over the years, I’ve done tons and tons of research and experimentation with SEO. While the rules are always changing and evolving, there are certainly some tried and true methods that should be followed:
Optimize Your URL & Title Tag to Reflect the Name of Your Product
The URL is one of the most important ranking factors when it comes to eCommerce SEO. For DermWarehouse, you’ll see how we structure our eCommerce product page URL’s to include the name of the product in the URL string. If you are selling a product from a manufacturer, this is an absolute necessity.
Along with including the name of the product in the URL structure, DermWarehouse also includes it as the main title tag
Let’s say you have a business like HOMAGE that sells vintage shirts. This requires a different strategy than selling from a manufacturer (like DermWarehouse). When you are selling from a manufacturer, the consumer is likely already familiar with the exact product they are looking for. In an instance like Homage, the shopper could have an idea of what they’re looking for but not to the extent that a DermWarehouse customer would have.
A core part of Homage’s apparel is based on former great/retired athletes. Former Ohio State Running Back and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George is beloved in Columbus, where Homage is headquartered. They teamed up with Eddie George to create a shirt. Below you can see how they structured the URL to include “Eddie George” in the URL structure.
Homage could have been a bit more aggressive in the URL structure and made the Eddie George URL structure more descriptive. Below is what I would have recommended:
Regardless, they got the most important keyword (Eddie George) in the URL structure and they rank on the first page of Google for the search, “Eddie George Vintage T-Shirts.”
Create Unique Content
Creating content for eCommerce product pages can be an extremely daunting task. When I was launching DermWarehouse and trying to create hundreds of product pages, I utilized any help I could get. Since we’re a reseller of many skincare brands, I took advantage of the fact that these brands had already created great content for their products and I used a lot of what they had already written. While the information was extremely detailed and very well-written, by copying it onto my website, I was creating duplicate content, which is a no-no in the eyes of Google.
Make sure the content you’re creating is written in your own words and isn’t taken directly from another source. We’ve spent a lot of time over the last year re-writing the content on our product pages to make sure everything on each page is unique to our site.
Use H1’s & H2’s Properly
According to Search Engine Journal, “Google is rewriting title tags for a limited amount of pages in search results, often replacing the text with a page’s H1 tag. It’s known that Google adjusts titles in SERPs by making small tweaks, such as appending a business’s name to the end. But now Google is overriding titles with different text.”
What this means is that your title tags on each page are sometimes being replaced by the H1s and H2s on the same pages. Therefore, It’s important that you utilize strong H1s and H2s, as these can essentially be pulled into Google as the main title of your page. Make sure you’re breaking your product descriptions into different sections and using appropriate headers for each of the sections.
Optimize for User Experience
User experience is extremely important in the eyes of Google. Gone are the days where keyword stuffing meant that you’d rank higher for said keywords. Your content needs to allow the user to find the information they’re looking for in a clear and concise manner. Have a friend or family member read over some of your product pages to ensure they’re intuitive and they make sense to someone shopping on your website.
For DermWarehouse, we made sure to include different sections within our product description based on frequently asked product questions. We added a section about why we love the product to show customers why a certain product may stand out against others. This is extremely important in helping customers make a decision vs other similar products. We made sure to highlight the most important information about the product at the very beginning of the description and we also include a one sentence summary of the product with bullet points at the top of our product pages, so customers can see everything they need extremely easily.
Get Reviews on Your Product Pages
If you look at the example below you can see the review rating from the Park Perfection Instant Eye Lift product page populating in Google’s search results.
The review rating snippet is derived from Schema Markup placed on your site (learn more about Schema).
When you sign up for a service like Yotpo or TrustPilot, you can get review ratings to populate in organic search, PPC Ads and Google Shopping Ads. The price point isn’t cheap for these review softwares (around $500/month). It could be well worth it for your business for the following reasons:
- 90% of consumers look towards online reviews before making a purchasing decision
- We’ve seen an uptick with our eCommerce clients of between 7%-15% (depending on the industry) when they have 10+ reviews on a product page
- Reviews populating in PPC Ads and Google Shopping Ads help increase conversion rate to your product page
- Reviews will make your organic listings better stand out versus competitors who don’t have reviews
Utilize an SEO Plugin
One of the best ways to ensure you’re doing everything right on your product pages is to utilize an SEO plugin. For DermWarehouse, we use Yoast SEO, which will allow you to enter your SEO title and description and also give you an SEO analysis based on the content of your product pages.
As you can see in the examples below, the Yoast plugin tells us if our SEO title and description are the correct character lengths. It also grades us on many other factors. Even on this page, you can see that we can make an improvement by adding more text so that we have at least 300 words. Yoast also recommends that we add an external link, however, this is not something we ever add to product pages since we don’t want to direct customers away from our website.
While SEO plugins are great, you do have to take some of their recommendations with a grain of salt and remember that most important is to ensure the user experience on your product pages is top notch.
Name Images Properly
One very important product page element for SEO are the images, yet many people overlook these. It’s easy to grab an image with a random file name like screen-shot-1.jpg and upload that to your site. This is a big no-no! Over 20% of all U.S. web searches happen on Google Images [SOURCE], so you want to make sure your images are named properly so that you’re taking advantage of all of these web searches! Search Engine Journal had a great analogy when they said, “Not customizing your image file name is like getting a burrito with nothing in it!”
Google uses the URL path as well as the file name to help it understand your images. Consider organizing your image content so that URLs are constructed logically. [SOURCE]
We always make sure to rename our images in the following format: brand-product-name, so for example, the image below is named “clarityrx-cleanse-daily”.
Many of the products that we sell on DermWarehouse.com are sold in many other places, making it extremely hard to rank for these products on Google. Even when we’ve optimized our product page perfectly, if there’s a ton of competition for a product, ours may not show up on page 1. A great trick we’ve learned is to record a video about the product and these videos are often much more likely to show up in search engine results vs. our actual product pages. This is another great opportunity to get onto page 1 in the videos section AND on the video tab on Google. Not only that, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, making it important to have a presence there.
As you can see, optimizing your product pages for SEO is extremely important and it’s very likely that with small improvements, you can see big changes. There’s often a ton of great low hanging fruit that will enhance your product pages and make sure Google loves them!