There is so much information and advice on how a brand that sells physical products can increase its online visibility to ultimately sell more and build a loyal customer base.
With that said, a lot of the focus seems to be on higher-level pages, such as optimising a product category page, sub-category page, hub content, blog posts and even the homepage.
I’m not saying that these aren’t important for eCommerce SEO. They are essential, but I also know the hidden power of product page SEO.
So, here you’ll find SEO tips purely related to improving organic search results and user experience for product pages. But first, let’s answer some frequently asked questions surrounding online product pages. Follow the link if you’d like to jump straight to the ‘how to optimise product pages‘ section.
What is product SEO?
Product SEO refers to things like:
And so much more to increase the chances of your target audience finding and investing in your brand’s offering.
We’ll explain how to utilise product page SEO best practices to increase your chances of online success a little further down.
Is SEO important for eCommerce?
In a word, yes. And the approach you take to these pages isn’t all that different to how you would optimise category or sub-category pages.
The aim here is to get your products to rank as highly in the search engine results and the image search results as possible and to carry out conversion rate optimisation on each page ahead of your competitors.
With so many people vying to be on the first page of Google image search and its main search results page, and the drastic impact that can have on brand revenue and profit, SEO is vital to success.
How long should an SEO product page be?
The length of content you should aim for on a web page as a blanket statement is always difficult. A really niche product page may need to have more content than, say, a toilet paper product page.
My rule of thumb is to:
That means that one product page I write for one client may be vastly longer or shorter than what I would write for another client.
If you want to get really technical, you could carry out some competitor research based on the first page of the search results to see how long their product pages are and deduce from that, but my advice would be to write as much or as little as needed to get your points across succinctly.
There’s also always the option of A/B testing your pages with different content lengths to ascertain what your customers prefer.
Should I use PPC to advertise my products?
There are numerous benefits of utilising paid search like Google Ads alongside your SEO efforts to increase the visibility of your products. These include:
Better site visitor qualification – With Google Shopping, visitors can see exactly what your product looks like and will only click through if they like the look and style and want to know more. This makes them automatically more qualified as a potential customer.
Potentially increased click-through rate – We all know that images are eye-catching, so having high-quality images directly in the SERPs can have a positive impact on your site CTR.
Take up more SERP space – Let’s face it, Google search results are getting busier and busier. The more space your products take up, the better the chance of a searcher seeing it, clicking through and, if it’s well optimised, converting.
With that said, PPC can be costly, and if you have hundreds or thousands of products listed on your site, you likely won’t be able to apply budget to advertising all of your products through Google Shopping Ads.
I am by no means an expert in PPC (I have dabbled but that was a long time ago), so I recommend reading our post on how to get ready for PLAs, which was written by the Boom PPC team, and then getting in touch to speak to someone about whether this approach could work well for your brand alongside your SEO efforts.
What problems are there with eCommerce product page SEO?
There are three main hindrances to fully optimising all of your product pages that I’ve noticed in the eight years that I’ve been working in this industry:
1) The vast amount of them
This is probably why there is so much automation of product pages. If you consider the time cost of asking your agency or in-house team to update hundreds of product pages individually, you may wonder if that budget is better spent elsewhere.
However, it’s important to think about your product pages as the main place you want site visitors to get to. Apart from the check-out page, these are the most important pages for end-of-funnel visitors.
What’s the point in putting so much time, energy and resources into getting users through the customer journey and ready to purchase if you aren’t going to see the process through with a well-written and optimised product page? Susan Giles, our SEO content writer and word obsessive, says this about really thinking about what you want to say on your product pages:
“There are over 600,000 words in the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Finding the right ones to describe each and every item you sell will help customers pick the perfect product for them. You’ll build trust by showcasing your detailed knowledge and reduce churn as customers can identify exactly what they need.”
SEO Content Writer
Even if you have multiple products that are incredibly similar, a great wordsmith can make each one stand out on its own merits to help shoppers find the right option for them.
2) Boilerplate copy
Yup, we all know it and we all hate it. But if you stock products from brands that demand boilerplate copy, then what can you do?
Turns out, plenty! Don’t let that stop you from creating great experiences for your customers.
By carrying out further search term research (also known as keyword research), and adding additional content to your product descriptions, you’ll be reducing the overall percentage of duplicate content on that page.
This will increase the chances of that product being ranked and provide a better user experience – especially if you can incorporate user-generated content.
3) The ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ mentality
Another common reason is that the product page is so precious when it comes to driving revenue that there’s a fear that making any changes will have an adverse effect, or even that if it is already generating revenue, why change anything?
“Even though a brand knows their product pages could be improved and bring in more clicks, purchases and revenue, they are already selling well and therefore can’t see the benefits of risking a proper optimisation.”
SEO Account Manager
However, if there’s one constant truth in SEO, it’s that things are always changing. Google is constantly forcing brands’ hands to ensure the best user experiences via algorithm updates. So, eCommerce companies that have this mentality may find that it comes back to bite them down the line.
To win at SEO, you need to constantly strive to deliver the best customer experience, the same is true of your product pages.
How can I improve my eCommerce website ranking?
The great news is that there is so much opportunity out there when it comes to improving your product performance online. Here are just some of our recommendations, although, of course, we can offer tailored feedback once we get a little more information about your specific setup.
Conversion rate optimisation is an absolute must for your product pages. They should be short, snappy and clear. They should also make sense and be eye-catching enough that users notice them and naturally feel compelled to take the action your brand desires.
Lyndon Carlton-Bull, one of the newest additions to Boom’s team as an SEO Account Manager says:
“Achieve more conversions on product pages by utilising conversion rate optimisation techniques. Prominent CTAs (call to action), product information, and reviews boost conversions. It can be the difference between users converting or heading to your competitors.”
SEO Account Manager
If you’d like to find out more about CRO, you can checkout our beginner’s guide to conversion rate optimisation.
A common problem most eCommerce brands face, particularly online sites that have a comprehensive range is that the number of images held in the back end of the website causes page load problems.
However, investing in high-quality images offers another chance for your product page to rank organically in search engines. Google image search will match your product images to relevant search terms when properly optimised.
And so long as you work to reduce the image sizes and ensure your alt-text is accessibility friendly, having high-quality product images may actually increase the “rankability” of your page, and will certainly help get visitors over the line and convert them into paying customers. If you’re not sure what image optimisation involves, we have a really handy beginner’s guide to image optimisation that you can refer to.
This is a brilliant opportunity particularly if you’re forced to include boilerplate content on your product pages. User-generated content in the form of reviews is an incredibly powerful tool for an eCommerce store, particularly for smaller, lesser-known brands.
Trust is a major factor, whether that be if a search engine bot trusts that you’re going to provide the best product, or if a site visitor trusts that you’re a legitimate business, the answer to both of these are reviews from real people who enjoyed your product so much that they want to recommend it to other people.
Katja Kline, SEO Account Manager and all-round lover of content at Boom Online, says:
“Showing your users that you’ve already got a trustworthy following through user-posted reviews not only helps you gain the trust of new users but can also be a great source of feedback for your business. Showing that you’ve made changes informed by reviews builds further trust and gives your user’s a voice that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”
SEO Account Manager
Uploading customer reviews will not only help potential customers trust your brand and encourage them to invest, but it will also reduce the amount of duplicate content on your page caused by boilerplate content.
Another way to give your product pages a boost is through schema markup. Shoppers won’t see this information but search engine crawlers will use it to get a better understanding of what the page is about.
Product schema can also generate rich snippets and rich results, including prices, star ratings, brands stocked, FAQs (if you implement FAQ structured data) and more, showing all of this information on the search results. This will further qualify any traffic that continues to click through to your eCommerce store, as they will already have gleaned tons of information.
While schema markup is not a direct ranking factor, there are still benefits to explaining to search engine bots what the page is about in a language it understands, meaning it plays an important part in a well-optimised product page.
Natural language processing is an incredibly powerful secret weapon that can level up the impact of your targeted keywords. Claire Brain, Boom’s Head of Copywriting and NLP extraordinaire, says this:
“It’s always important to write unique product descriptions that demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of the items you’re selling. Carrying out NLP (natural language processing) and entity research to support your keyword strategy is a great way to display your expertise.
To do this, you need to go beyond basic keywords and think about the other items and entities that your product is connected to. Consider what it can be used for, and the benefits it brings to potential customers. This is all good practice for writing great descriptions, but it can give your SEO efforts a boost by contextualising your product and the relationships it has with other things. The level of clarity this brings can lead to better rankings.”
Head of Copywriting
NLPs are not a new invention, but many have not yet discovered the amazing impact they can have not only on how your eCommerce product ranks, but how site visitors perceive it.
Going back to the issue we mentioned earlier, about having hundreds if not thousands of descriptions to publish, it may be tempting to copy and paste product descriptions from the manufacturer’s eCommerce sites, but we highly recommend taking the time to write your own instead of using the manufacturer descriptions.
Using content from another site may save you time, but there’s a good chance that these product pages won’t rank because the crawl bots are seeing it as duplicate content.
Claire wrote an entire article about using relationships like NLPs to increase SEO performance for Search Engine Land. If you’d like to read more about using NLP to target potential customers and search engines, we’ve published a piece that looks at how NLP impacts search ranking and a post that looks at free tools for NLP optimisation, to help get you started.
Incorporating conscious consumer-related content as part of SEO optimisation for your product pages is still a relatively new approach but is a great way to stand out from the crowd.
Research from the Global Web Index shows that shoppers are now searching online for environmental information on the brands and products they are interested in. These searches are taking place on the brand and product web pages 34% of the time.
So, adding in information about how sustainable the product you’re selling is, and how to recycle it effectively, for example, is a great way to connect with a target audience that may choose you over a competitor if they know that you’re brand’s beliefs align with theirs.
Accessibility is an incredibly important aspect of an SEO strategy but can also be a tad confusing to get going with. Helen Halfpenny, an SEO Strategist at Boom and international SEO superstar, is incredibly knowledgeable about incorporating accessibility principles into your SEO strategies, and says this:
“One in five people in the UK has a disability. By not making your product pages accessible, you are excluding up to 20% of the UK population from being able to access them and purchase your products.
Web accessibility is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a legal requirement. Whatever actions non-disabled users can complete on your site, make sure users with disabilities, or any users of assistive technologies can complete them too.”
Imagine putting in all the hard work and effort of finding an audience, navigating them down the customer journey and then it being impossible for them to actually make a purchase. All of your hard work and effort have led to nothing except a sour taste in a potential customer’s mouth.
If you’d like to find out more about making your eCommerce website more accessibility friendly, we’ve published a guide on how to create inclusive content for your website that you may find useful.
Cannibalisation is when more than one landing page is being ranked for the same term. This causes a lot of volatility as two eCommerce product pages essentially try to battle it out for a higher position. This can happen particularly if you have different pages for the same product, but each page represents a slight variation.
For example, you may have one t-shirt but five web pages to focus on the white, black, red, yellow and blue versions of that t-shirt.
Perhaps the simplest solution here is to collate all of these products onto the same page and apply filters to help users select the colour and size they want etc. You could also target long tail search terms (also known as long tail keywords) and additional content to help crawlers understand the range of colours available for the one product.
This will also create a cleaner, more organised online store as well as a better ranking for your main eCommerce product, as it won’t be battling with variate pages.
Page titles and meta descriptions can sometimes be the first thing a potential customer sees about your product.
If they have performed a search that your product has ranked for, the user can discover in the 50-60 characters in the page title, and the 150-160 characters in the meta description if it’s something they want to investigate further.
Therefore, finding a way to make these stand out as much as possible is an absolute must for a product page optimisation strategy.
Connor Dowling, an SEO Account Executive at Boom and creative content advocate says this:
“Speaking of title tags! These will be the first thing that your users will notice if they are engaging with you via a search engine, and constitute a variety of creative factors.
Your title tags are not only a constructive way to clearly communicate what you are selling, but also an underappreciated opportunity to display your professionalism – and therefore trustworthiness. This works for both users and for search engines.
Too much faff and you’re not effectively informing users what they are clicking through to, and risk losing their attention at the first hurdle. When it comes to search engines; faff can lead to truncation. Search engines may choose to display an entirely different title tag to the one you’ve tried to optimise – creating what it deems to be a more relevant title from the page’s content, or cut it short to fit into the SERPs better.
Clever and well-researched optimisation (think: keywords, intent, trustworthiness. Not keyword stuffing, “huge deals”, and other clickbaity jargon) is one of the key elements of performing well in the SERPS from both a user and search engine perspective.”
SEO Account Executive
Even though shoppers don’t see a product’s page titles or meta description once they’re on your web page, it can make all the difference when choosing between the options that rank on search engine result pages.
While working on your product page SEO, you have the opportunity to increase your customer’s average order value by recommending additional products available in your online store that they may be interested in.
With a little analysis and site development magic, you can set up ‘people also purchased’ sections that encourage shoppers to add additional, low-priced products to their baskets before checking out.
Depending on which platform your website operates from (Woo Commerce, Shopify etc) it can be a relatively simple yet highly-effective strategy to implement. If your eCommerce website has been custom built, it may be a little more tricky but not impossible with the help of our highly talented web development team.
Another great thing about renovating your eCommerce product pages is that they don’t just serve potential customers who are ready to buy. As Amy Hunt, our creative content and backlink-obsessed Head of Digital PR here at Boom puts it:
“Product reviews, user guides and comparisons are not only a great way to add supporting authoritative content to your product pages, but can also be of benefit from a digital PR and link-building perspective, too.
Other websites will often use and link to them as a resource to add value to their own content. Links are a trust signal and ranking factor, so it’s always worth considering how you might extend beyond the product page itself to fully optimise it.”
Head of Digital PR
So it’s worth keeping this in mind when carrying out eCommerce product page optimisation.
As you can see, there are loads of ways your eCommerce site can be made to work harder and perform better simply by optimising your product pages.
If you’d like to discuss how the team at Boom can elevate your product pages using some of the techniques mentioned above, why not get in touch or book a call back for a no-obligation chat with one of our eCommerce specialists? We love a good natter, especially when it’s an eCommerce SEO natter.