SEO is an integral part of any website, whether the purpose is to inform, persuade or sell. SEO, short for search engine optimization, is an all-encompassing term that’s used to describe a wide variety of on- and off-page tactics including but not limited to meta tag optimization, content creation, community partnerships and linkbuilding.
When done correctly, SEO ties in perfectly with other strategies such as paid search or social media to form a well-rounded marketing campaign designed to improve search visibility, brand recognition and conversions.
Because your ecommerce store’s success depends largely on conversions, one of the most important first steps to optimizing your site is creating compelling product pages.
- Set yourself apart from your competition
- Drive relevant traffic to specific pages
- Help search engines understand your intent
- Create important differentiating factors between products
Three Reasons Why Your eCommerce Store Desperately Needs Optimized Product Pages
Setting yourself apart from your competition isn’t a simple task and it can take time, but one of the easiest things you can do to lay the groundwork here is to offer customers something the competition isn’t.
Sometimes that’s as simple as a more comprehensive product description that makes the purchasing decision easier for the customer; use simple fonts and a structured format to create a concise overview at a glance, and proactively answer any questions about the product that could arise.
Driving relevant traffic is a cornerstone of a good SEO campaign. Seeing a traffic increase in your Analytics reports is a great indicator that you’ve started to gain some web presence, however, if your traffic isn’t converting you’re likely capturing the wrong audience.
Optimizing your product pages with the relevant search phrases and content will ensure you’re marketing yourself to the right crowd.
Better Indexing & Crawlability
Search engines are becoming increasingly intelligent and efficient, however, without the proper context clues they’re prone to misinterpreting things. When bots crawl your site, they index links, text and images to piece together a complete picture of your site.
If your site is unoptimized and contains limited content, you run a strong risk of remaining undiscovered and misunderstood by search engines.
Six Ecommerce Essentials for Effective Product Page Optimization
Optimized product pages provide a great stepping stone for additional marketing tactics. When optimizing your products, keep your focus on these components:
- Meta title
- Meta description
- H1 tag
- Product description
- Image alt tag
Optimizing Meta Titles
The meta title is the first thing users see in the search results, but it’s incidentally also the first bit of information search engines will gather about each page.
Your meta title should therefore ideally be a perfect combination of natural language and relevant keywords. Your meta title should be concise, keyword rich and utilize both competitive as well as niche keywords that describe what you’re offering on that page.
Titles should be kept around 55-60 characters, in order to be displayed fully in the search results.
Pro Tip for Meta Titles
Pipes ( | ) in meta titles signify “or” to search engines. When using a pipe, read your meta title back to yourself, but replace your “|” symbol with the word “or”. If the title no longer makes sense, nix the pipe.
Optimizing Meta Descriptions
While meta descriptions don’t improve your search ranking, they’re an essential component of an optimized page. Consider your meta description a quick pitch for your product.
Meta descriptions should be no longer than 150-160 characters, and contain pertinent information that informs a customers decision to buy. You can further improve click-throughs by including additional enticing information such as a free shipping message or an announcement for discounts.
Crafting Effective H1 Tags
H1 tags are not ranking factors, however, they can provide additional insights regarding the structure to a page. This will help both users and search engines understand more about each page at a glance, which is particularly helpful for pages with a lot of content.
Creating Good Product Descriptions
A good product description is essential. In addition to the title, the description provides meaningful information to users and search engines about your product. Write a description that’s unique, informative and optimized with targeted keywords that are naturally interwoven.
Tips for Writing Product Descriptions
- Honor your band voice in your content
- Write for the user first, optimize later
- Use simple fonts and clean paragraph structures
- Proactively address common questions about the product
- Use numbers or bullets to break up bulky, hard to read content
The product URL is also not a ranking factor, however, an optimized URL is just one more component of helping search engines understand your site. Optimize your URL with the appropriate key terms and use your URL to establish a site hierarchy. No matter what your hierarchy looks like, take care to be consistent in how you structure your URLs.
Creating Effective Image Alt Tags
Without an image alt tag, there’s very little search engines can glean from an image embedded on your site. Image alt tags are particularly important if your products are highly visual because users tend to utilize Google’s image search more often for these. However, adding an image alt tag is also highly beneficial for visually impaired internet users, who rely on your image alt tag to learn more about your products.
An image alt tag will help differentiate a sage two-ply wool v-neck cardigan with cuffed sleeves and a small side pocket from an olive single-ply wool v-neck pullover with a silver rivet closure, important details for those looking for specific products or those who cannot otherwise see your product.
Optimizing Shopify Product Pages
Adding these important key elements of SEO to your Shopify products is easy. Simply open the admin page of an existing product or add a new product using the “Add product” button.
Shopify Product Titles
Use the title field at the top of the product admin page to insert a descriptive product title.
Any title you add to your product will display above the product’s image on its respective live page. The title will also automatically be added to your source code in the form of an H2 tag.
Additionally, your product’s title is duplicated within the SEO section of your product page to automatically generate a meta title.
Changing the meta title manually within the SEO section does not retroactively affect the title you’ve given your product.
Titles are also automatically copied to the Open Graph meta tags embedded in your source code. These tags are used by social media platforms such as Facebook to determine how to display your content.
Since Twitter has its own meta tags, aptly called Twitter cards, you’ll find a separate twitter:title tag in the source code for each product page.
Shopify Product Descriptions
The product description field, located underneath the title, can be used to add plain text, styled text or html.
Since product pages do not automatically generate an H1, you may manually code it into the description by first using the “< >” symbol to toggle into html mode, and then entering your preferred title surrounded by the opening and closing H1 tags.
For example, <h1>Green Wool Sweater for Women</h1>.
Any information you add to the description field, including additional title tags, will be added to the source code under the og:description tag. Similarly to the title tag, the description will be used to create a snippet of information for your social posts.
Shopify Product Images
Adding an image to your product is essential for conversions, and an alt tag is recommended to help search visibility.
Adding an alt tag is easy: simply navigate to your product’s image section under “Media”, directly under the description. Click Add Media and select an image from your computer. Once the image has been added, click it to add its alt tag.
An image alt tag should be descriptive and provide relevant information such as size, color, materials, details, features and textures.
Pro Tip for Img Alt Tags
When writing an alt tag, imagine you’re describing the image to someone who has never and will never see it.
Shopify Product SEO Fields: Page Title, Description & URL
At the bottom of the product page within your admin, you can add the meta title, description and the url.
These fields are automatically written into your source code for search engines to index, and will be visible to users in the search results.
Optimizing your product pages will help both users and search engines better understand your product offering. If your inventory is large and you’re having trouble prioritizing your to-do list, we recommend starting the process of optimization by creating unique and relevant meta title tags for each page on your site.
Then, to further provide context and information that boosts conversions, revisit each page and add a robust description.
Descriptions can be organized with the help of Header tags, paragraphs, numbers and bullets, and should use consistent fonts. Finally, be sure to circle back around to add a compelling meta description, a URL that reflects the hierarchy of your site and a vivid image alt tag.
Together, these components will paint an accurate picture of your site for search engines, help direct relevant traffic to your site and ultimately boost your conversions.