In a competitive online selling ecosystem dominated by corporate behemoths wielding million-dollar budgets whose sole mission is to win at all costs, it may not feel like a fair fight.
We don’t brush off the challenges facing small and medium-size businesses. Price, brand recognition and economies of scale may be clear assets of the big guys, but SMBs can still compete in the battle for online search supremacy.
Digital marketing tactics have evolved rapidly and allow brands to connect with consumers through rich on-site experiences. Robust homepage themes and custom landing pages can be tailored to a group of customers, but an a product page optimized for search engines is vital to ecommerce performance.
Product pages are the most specific landing pages at the very bottom of the sales funnel and include the all-important “Add to Cart” button.
Bottom line: An optimized product page will provide customers the confidence to make purchases, but a sloppy product page will not attract visits or convert sales.
Product SEO Best Practices
Product page SEO optimization serves two important purposes: providing the customer detailed information about a product’s features and allowing the search engine to crawl keyword-rich content.
Since product optimization is indexed by search engines and a crucial ranking factor to appear prominently in search results, a properly optimized product page will satisfy both the human and search engine’s need for information.
Opportunities for optimization include the following aspects of an ecommerce product page:
- Meta Title
- Meta Description
- Product image
- Product image alt tag
- Header text
- Product description
Additional elements of an ecommerce product page can include customer reviews, apparel size charts, demonstration or unboxing videos of the product and more.
Keyword Guidelines for Product Page Optimization
With multiple fields to customize for each product, it’s important to remember product pages are the most detailed URLs on the website.
The goal of a product page’s URL, meta tags, image and description is to convey why the page exists on the site and what sets it apart from other products.
Start the product page SEO process by generating a list of two- and three-word phrases that accurately describe the product. Long-tail keywords may not have the most search volume but will communicate to shoppers the unique aspects of a product.
Keyword ideas can include the following:
- manufacturer’s product number
- product make
- length and width options
- product materials
Whatever factors make this product warrant its own page should be included on the page’s description and within its vital SEO fields.
It’s OK to include some broader keywords on product pages, but don’t prioritize generic terms. Ecommerce sites generally utilize a broad to specific category structure, and the keywords on each page should reflect that level of specificity.
Using non-descriptive keywords on a product page will only confuse search engines and prevent the page ranking for very specific customer searches, which generally have the highest conversion rate.
Generally, there’s going to be less competition for product-level searches, and those customers are closer to making a purchasing decision versus a customer researching with broad category level queries.
Optimizing each product page will give the greatest opportunity for individual products to show up in the search results and make a new sale.
How To Optimize a Product Page Basics
The anatomy of an ecommerce product page consists of fields that appear prominently on search engine result pages and the website. The best product pages blend optimization for human shoppers and search engine crawlers.
It’s important to keep in mind why this page exists and what makes it unique. With that in mind, you can focus your priority on the following fields for well-optimized product pages:
Product Page URL Text
A concise tag that’s included in the official product URL is ideal for product page URL optimization. It needs to be accurate but not too long with unnaturally stuffed keywords.
Usually, the product name will be appropriate in this scenario, or a color and material option can be added to the product name to further define the product page URL.
Meta Title Tag
The Title tag is the overarching title for each product page. While the Title does not appear to the customer on the page itself, the first 600pixels (50-60 characters) of each tag render on the top blue line of a Google search result and impacts the page’s rank.
Make sure the product details are communicated in this field and can be understood by a human when read left to right.
It’s usually best to start with the product name and include additional product features or attributes. No need to go overboard and list every product option or feature; instead, prioritize what makes the product unique in the title tag field.
Meta Description Tag
Similar to the Title tag, the meta description does not appear on the product page but is displayed beneath the meta Title tag on search results pages.
Meta descriptions are one or two short sentences that make the case for why the reader should click on that link over the rest of the search results on the page. Highlight the important features of the product and why customers should shop on the site.
This field is truncated after 920 pixels (between 120-160 characters), so make a quick case for the shopper’s click with a strong call to action.
Once you’ve decided which keywords to include in the SEO fields, you’ll also need to add the key phrases in the products on-page description.
The on-page description should include conversion-focused content, mentioning specific value propositions and benefits of the product. Properly optimized product page text should make a compelling case for why customers should purchase the product.
Questions to answer in the description include the following:
- What does this product offer that’s unique?
- How does this product make a customer’s life better?
- Are there features included that the competition doesn’t have?
- What unique incentives does your store offer?
Remember, each product page needs to make a clear case why the shopper should buy your product. Use the appropriate technical language and industry jargon your shoppers will understand. If the page is missing important information, customers will look elsewhere.
Advanced Product Page SEO Tips
The previous section covers the most important fields to optimize but there are additional opportunities to highlight products to the customer and search engines.
Product Photo Optimization
When it comes to online shopping, having crisp, high-quality product images are vital. The main product photos and additional images are often what the customers see first, and they can boost your brand and help shoppers better understand your product.
In order to get the most out of the images, make sure to accurately name the image files using plain English or the manufacturer’s product code. Reinforce the image file with a photo alt tag that describes what the product is. It’s OK to use the product’s name or title tag in this field as the image is the product.
Be sure to optimize your product images for fast loading speeds to keep shoppers and search engines happy. Crop, resize and compress images to reduce file size without compromising the quality.
A more technical product might necessitate a longer, more detailed description. Use content header tags (H1, H2, H3) to add structure for long-form product descriptions.
These tags are visible on the description and will communicate what information is in each section of the text. The singular H1 header tag should be the most general tag on the page, then use subheadings to introduce more specific content about the product.
For example, it’s usually appropriate to use the product name as the H1, but the H2s can include “Product Uses”, “Benefits”, “Features” or “Warranty Information”.
Search engines will make a correlation between the header’s theme and text, allowing human visitors and search engines to more easily find the information they need.
Humans and search engines are similar in that they both seek assurance the product will do what it has promised. Most shopping cart software has built-in customer review tools that allow previous shoppers to leave a review and rating.
If you read customer reviews before making a purchase online, you know how important it is to have credible product reviews. Not only do product reviews reinforce your product description accuracy; product star ratings can also appear on the search results and influence rank.
Implementing a post-purchase product review campaign is a great way to connect with customers and build positive product reviews.
While some customers prefer to look at images and read robust descriptions and customer reviews, other shoppers value video.
Embedding a video on a product page is a great way to communicate product features, show a product unboxing or demonstrate how to service the product over time. Videos give each shopper confidence they will be satisfied with their purchase and are a great way to stand out from the competition.
What To Do About Manufacturer-Provided Descriptions
By now, we know product pages must include unique keywords and the page’s description needs to be conversion focused, but descriptions also need to be 100% unique to improve SEO.
This means manufacturer-written product descriptions are not sufficient for maximum search visibility. While it’s tempting to use generic descriptions provided by vendors to save time,those product descriptions will not stand out versus the competition.
For a properly optimized product page, we recommend you take the time to rewrite manufacturer descriptions and build an FAQ section that includes details about the product and why it should be purchased on your site.
Search engines and humans crave unique content and information. Providing fresh and thorough product descriptions will help your site stand out to shoppers.
Writing unique descriptions for your product pages may seem daunting but is worth the effort. Start writing descriptions for the top visited products or pages with the best margins first, then work through the remainder of the website pages.
Bulleted product features, size charts or specs may be difficult to rewrite, so leave those technical items as-is. Instead, bolster the straightforward product features with unique content that’s truly beneficial to the shopper. Unique content is not only helpful to organic search performance but can also improve PPC and Shopping Ad performance.
Examples of Properly Optimized Product Pages
The Sausage Maker runs an ecommerce site selling DIY sausage equipment and prints catalogs for commercial accounts. This high-end dry curing cabinet has a well-crafted URL, meta Title, meta description and a robust product description highlighting the benefits of the chamber and its features.
The on-page description is longer than some ecommerce descriptions due to the list of features and higher price point. Charcuterie lovers can practically taste the delicious cured meats that can be enjoyed with the meat chamber.
The meta tags and product description include unique text and highlight the following keywords: “meat curing chamber”, “large-capacity digital dry aging cabinet”, “curing cabinet”.
They also mention product attributes “stainless steel interior” and “anti-microbial membrane”. These phrases will allow the product to appear in related customer searches for digital dry curing equipment.
This product page also includes a link to the instruction manual, 5-star product reviews, multiple high-quality images and a YouTube video embedded on the page.
While the product is not available for online orders yet, the page includes a Wishlist button and steps to contact customer service for pre-orders.
Manly Bands caters to men and women shopping for a memorable and unique wedding band not found at your local jeweler. The website allows customers to browse bands by style, material or collection, but their product pages are truly impressive. Here’s a link to the really, really, really ridiculously good-looking Blue Steel ring.
The creative product name is included in the product’s URL and Meta Title, but the company does a nice job of reinforcing the ring’s material and color details in the all-important Title tag. This allows Google to understand more about the band’s attributes and appeals to shoppers searching for tungsten blue inlay rings.
The robust product page includes multiple high-resolution images of the band at several angles, positive customer reviews, a YouTube product unboxing, wedding band size guide and this entertaining quote that hilariously plays to the Blue Steel name:
BE THE BLUE STEEL Whether you are already a fashion icon or plan to be, remind yourself of your downright sexiness with this secretly blue wonder.
Does Product SEO Change Depending on My Ecommerce Platform?
Ecommerce SaaS platforms help level the playing field and allow entrepreneurs and businesses to design, build and manage stores even with limited technology experience.
We hope you’re motivated to improve product page experiences to more effectively communicate to shoppers and search bots. No matter what a SaaS is selling you, there’s no single platform feature on Shopify, Magento, 3DCart, WooCommerce, etc. that supersedes the well-rounded product page optimization approach covered in this post.
Prioritize unique and useful content that helps real-life customers. Frontload the description with the most important information as there’s no guarantee customers will read the entire page. The description must flow naturally with the rest of the page elements instilling confidence in the purchase.
Good product page SEO is just as much about technical keyword targeting as it is about the psychology behind a user’s intent to purchase.
Do you need help with your product page SEO? Get in touch with Studio today for a complimentary audit of your product-level SEO.