Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving traffic to a website by ranking it higher on search engines for specific terms (also called “keywords”). You’ve probably heard “SEO” and “keywords” thrown around a lot. In this post, we’ll go over some tips to improve SEO for your WooCommerce store, and two useful plugins to accomplish this.
But first, some terminology:
- SEO: refers to the steps taken for a website in order to rank it higher on search engines (like Google and Bing) for specific keywords. This is primarily done through having useful content and easy site structure. SEO is largely structured around the user experience and quality information on a website.
- Keywords: are specific terms that a site or its pages target to improve search optimization upon. For example, if your store sells leather goods, then you don’t want your website to rank high if people search for diamond jewelry. So your website pages will probably optimize around the keywords related to “leather” goods and products.
Each page of your WordPress website can be optimized for unique keywords relevant to that page. This will help drive traffic to the appropriate page when people search for your site. For example, if somebody searches for your store’s blog, search engines should rank your blog page higher than, say, your WooCommerce product pages.
For WooCommerce stores, here are a few things you can do to improve SEO for your product pages:
1. Keyword selection
Keywords are the building blocks for SEO. Use unique keywords to optimize content for each product. As example, if you sell leather wallets and handbags, then your wallet and handbag product pages shouldn’t just be optimized for “leather”. Instead, make them specific – “leather wallets” and “leather handbags”. This way, when someone searches for “leather wallets”, the handbags page has a less chance of showing up higher than your wallets page.
When you’re brainstorming ideas for keywords, think about what people may search when they’re looking for your products. You can then include these keywords in your content, product description, title, meta description, etc. to increase SEO for that page.
2. Title and meta description
The title of the product page, and meta description are the two major things that appear on a search page. Try to include the keyword for that page in the title and the meta description. This helps rank the page higher for that keyword as it makes it clear for people what the page is about.
Try to keep both the title and the meta description relatively brief so that these appear in entirety on the search results, without the need to have an ellipses appear at the end.
- For titles, try to keep the length between 50-60 characters.
- For meta, try to keep the length between 150-160 characters.
3. Unique product page content
You can help add your brand’s voice to product pages by including meaningful and unique content for product descriptions. Instead of simply copy-pasting the manufacturer’s product description – which is usually boring, and will be given to everybody else selling that product – add your own version of the description that contains the keywords and is more user-friendly.
You can include specifics of your product – like the model number, technical specifications, etc. – but also include more general things that people will search who aren’t familiar with the product.
4. Images and image ALT tags
Make sure to include high-quality images of your products from different angles and from different use cases. An image gallery of a store’s products is probably one of the first things people browse through to get an idea of the product, thereby spending more time on your page. This can have a positive effect on your site’s usability and search ranking.
When search engines crawl through your page, they don’t read any text in the image. This is where ALT tags come in. These are descriptions of the image to give search engines some context as to what the image is about. You can include unique text for each image that includes the keywords for that page to boost SEO.
In addition, the ALT tag is what screen-readers will verbalize in place of the image for visitors with visual disabilities, adding to the accessibility of your store.
5. Product reviews
Reviews can help your store in two main ways. First, people like to see what users of your products have to say about their experience. Reviews are like word-of-mouth that gives potential customers more than just your store’s description of the product. People will tend to spend more time on your product page to read reviews instead of searching for reviews of your products elsewhere.
Second, product reviews help generate unique content that is specific to that product. Each reviewer brings their own voice and opinion of the product.
It can become hard to keep track of implementing the above tips on each page of your WooCommerce store. The free Yoast SEO plugin can help you manage your SEO strategy by building essential backend elements like XML sitemaps and OpenGraph implementation, and providing you an SEO checklist for each page on your store, including product pages.
For each page, you first assign a keyword. The plugin then builds a checklist for optimizing your page around that keyword – including keyword in headings, title and meta descriptions, the character count of title and meta description, keyword density, ALT tags of images, etc. You can also quickly edit the meta description of the page by clicking on the “Edit snippet” button.
In addition, the plugin helps export specific information to social platforms through OpenGraph implementation whenever a link is pasted on these sites. Think of it as creating a rich link that displays relevant information correctly for your page on social sites like the meta description, link image, etc.
The Yoast SEO plugin works for all WordPress sites – including both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.
On top of the free Yoast SEO plugin, you can use the Yoast WooCommerce SEO extension ($49) to further boost product page SEO. This extension also allows you to implement better eCommerce-centered social cards.
Whenever a link is created to your product on Pinterest, Twitter, etc., the extension not only displays the general page elements that the free plugin displayed, but also shows WooCommerce product-specific items like stock status, price, etc.
The search engine optimization (SEO) of your store makes it more discoverable. Better SEO can help increase your sales and build a better reputation for your brand. You can improve the SEO of your WooCommerce store by following a few simple tips. At the core of improving SEO, is the idea of having descriptive, useful, and user-friendly content. Learn more about SEO in Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.
There are a number of things that help increase a site’s SEO – like adding sitemaps to your website, writing useful content, optimizing your pages around specific keywords, etc. But, you don’t have to do all these things piecemeal. The free Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress builds a number of these processes (like the sitemap) in the background, and provides you with a checklist of SEO best practices for each page and product. You can further enhance the SEO for WooCommerce stores using the Yoast WooCommerce SEO extension that adds a number of things, including better social sharing information.
Are there steps that you’ve taken to improve the SEO of your store? Tell us about them and about what has worked best for you in the comments.