Product Page SEO: 12 Do's and Don'ts for optimizing your store
It’s pretty easy to put together a basic product page. Add the information, add some images, and you’ve got a functioning page customers can buy from. Creating a really great product page, however, isn’t quite so easy. Not only does it need to be visually appealing, it needs to have all the information different audiences need, and it needs to be well optimized for SEO.
Today we’re going to make things a little easier on the SEO side of things and break down 6 do’s and 6 don’ts for creating an optimized, SEO-ready product page. Plus, many of the things that are good for SEO will also be great for your UX and build a better customer experience.
Let’s get started!
Do - Add a selection of high quality images
When you shop in-person, you can physically see a product you’re considering buying - touch it, see it from all angles, get a sense for its size, and so on. When shopping online, you can’t do any of this, and instead are relying on whatever images the brand provides to make a decision. That’s why images are so important - 75% of customers rely on images to make purchasing decisions.
Providing a selection of high quality images makes for a much better user and customer experience, as well as improving bounce and conversion rates. If a customer wants to buy a piece of furniture and is only provided with one or two images, it may not be enough for them and they’ll leave the site. Improving your user experience with better imagery will contribute to your store’s SEO, as you’re giving them the kind of useful content they’re looking for.
As for the number of images, it will largely depend on your product. Some will require fewer, and others will benefit from more. Generally speaking, merchants should aim for a minimum of 2-3 images. Consider what the customer may want to see from your product images that would help them make an informed purchasing decision. With something like a t-shirt, for example, they’ll want to see what it looks like from different angles, and perhaps how it fits on different body types. Another example might be furniture - Neighbor sells outdoor furniture and their customers will want to see what exactly their products look like both for dimensions, and context.
Neighbor provides plenty of images as well as video content to give the customer a full picture of what the product looks like. This will benefit their SEO, as their content is more useful and relevant to their customers’ needs.
Don’t - Forget to optimize for size and alt tags
Those amazing images you add will need to be well optimized to make a real difference to your SEO. Image size, for example, can contribute to page speed - large files slow down load times, which is bad for SEO. It makes for a poorer user experience, and also leads to higher bounce rates as customers don’t want to wait - 70% of customers admit that page speed affects their willingness to buy from a retailer.
Optimizing your images doesn’t take much effort, and there are even image size optimization tools you can use to do the job for you. Simply add this step to the list of tasks that need to be completed when a new product page is being created. If your store is built on Shopify, you can also resize images directly on the platform as you upload them.
Another optimization to consider is image alt tags. These are bits of HTML that give a description of the image and any other relevant information. This is useful for a few reasons, all of which contribute to good SEO. The first is that search engines can’t physically see images, so alt tags give them clues about what the images actually look like. You can add keywords to your image alt tags giving you additional keyword opportunities on your product pages. This also means that the image may be more likely to rank higher in Google Image Search Results.
Alt tags are also useful for accessibility, as screen readers may use them to describe an image to someone with a visual impairment. Improved accessibility is great for both uses and for your store’s SEO, as it means the content can be consumed by as many users as possible. Accessibility is a ranking factor, so improving this is a solid step forward for your SEO.
Do - Write a concise, keyword-rich product description
The power of a good product description can’t be underestimated. Images are just half the story, and product descriptions complete it. These summaries give customers vital information about the product they’re viewing, as well as giving you additional SEO opportunities.
Product descriptions should be kept concise, sticking to your most valuable keywords and the top level information about the product in question. It should summarize the product, its benefits, and how it works. It should give new customers enough information to determine if it’s a good fit for their needs, without overwhelming them with too much information. Equally, it should be able to give the kind of information a more knowledgeable customer would want to know.
Add enough information that makes sense for your product. As with images, some products don’t require as much description for example a pair of socks. Whereas something like a skincare product may require a little more detail so the customer understands what it is. Ensure you include your primary keywords for the product, as your product description is a key SEO opportunity. This balance of information and keywords will ultimately make sure the page content is ready to attract more customers through search.
Don’t - Keyword stuff or write an overly lengthy description
It’s just as easy to write a poor SEO product description as it is to write a great one. There are many traps that merchants can easily fall into when trying to optimize their descriptions, so let’s talk about how to avoid them.
The first trap is keyword stuffing. This is where lots of keywords are added and repeated in order to attempt to manipulate search engine bots to improve ranking. Adding keywords to your product descriptions is essential, but it needs to be done in a way that’s genuine and fits with the rest of the text. Keyword stuffing will damage your store’s SEO, and it’ll be obvious to customers also.
Here’s an example of what keyword stuffing might look like:
“Our custom embroidered sweatshirts are made with high quality materials. We take care with your order to ensure your custom embroidered sweatshirt is made to a high standard. If you want more information about our custom embroidered sweatshirts, you can visit our FAQ.”
The text is clunky, unnatural and isn’t offering enough valuable information to the customer. It’s purely focussed on adding a keyword as often as possible.
Another trap to avoid is overly lengthy descriptions. There is a lot of advice online that longer content is always better, but this isn’t always the case in ecommerce. You may have a lot to say about your product, especially if it’s something more technical or requires more explanation. However your customers don’t have time to trawl through lots of text just to get the key details. Keep things short and sweet in the description - as mentioned, it should summarize the product. You can expand on the benefits, ingredients/materials, and use cases further down the page. That way customers can find that additional information easily, should they need it.
Here's a good example from Facetory of a product description that's informative and keyword-rich. It's an appropriate length for the product type, while still giving useful information and including all the keywords their target audience will search for.
Do - Add additional information about shipping, technical details, etc.
Most of us know that there’s more to making a purchasing decision than just the product. After all, there’s a reason why customer experience is so important in ecommerce. Customers want to know what more your brand offers beyond the product - shipping, returns, technical information, customer support, and more. There will also be other information they want to know based on the product. For example if it’s customizable, then customers will want to know about the process for that - how long does it take? What’s included? How does it work? This extra information will be good for your store’s SEO also, as it’s giving more information that’s valuable and useful to users. You can include the most important information close to the top of the page as an expandable menu, as icons, or as their own sections on the product page.
Don’t - Add an unnecessary amount of information
And on the other hand, as with product descriptions, there is such a thing as too much information. Product pages work best when they’re clear and easy to follow, and that means being concise and uncluttered. Clogging up a product page with too much information will overwhelm the customer, and make it difficult for them to find the information they actually want.
For instance, if you offer free shipping then you may want to include this somewhere on the page. What you don’t want to do is give every little detail about your shipping and delivery information. Add a summary such as “Free Shipping on Orders Over $40” on the product page, and link to the full shipping information section in your FAQ. This provides customers with a more positive user experience, which is great for SEO. Having some of the information on the page also helps SEO, as if customers are searching for “hiking boots free delivery” then your page may be deemed more useful and relevant by search engines.
Here’s a quick example - Neighbor has an FAQ section on their product pages with some quick answers to common queries. They don’t however have every single possible question from their FAQ on the page - they link instead to the full FAQ.
Do - Include a reviews section
Reviews are an ecommerce staple and for good reason. They help customer purchasing decisions by giving relevant opinions and insights on the product they’re considering from other fellow customers. According to one report, 99% of customers read reviews when shopping online, and in another report 49% said that they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
They’re also valuable for your SEO, as glowing reviews prove to search engines that your products are worth recommending to search users. If the reviews on your site are backed up by reviews on sites like Trustpilot, even better! Reviews also have the potential to flag up keywords that you may not have considered. These will be the language and vocabulary used by your target audience, making it potentially more likely for other similar customers to find your products in SERPs
Don’t - Make it difficult to find customer support
A great support experience is essential to your customer experience - 83% of customers say it’s the most important factor to purchasing decisions outside of price and product. Customers don’t have the time or patience to go searching for how to contact your support team. So, make it easy for them.
Give customers the information they need about customer support on product pages. This includes contacting your support team, self-service support options, and any other options you offer. This will allow them to quickly and easily resolve any issues they can’t figure out based on the information on the product page. This improves the customer and user experience, and satisfies customer needs, which can contribute to positive SEO.
Include clear and obvious ways to access support. It might be a link at the top of the page, a primary navigation link, or a chatbot widget. Consider including some FAQ information on the page itself about the product, with a link to the full FAQ or a customer resource portal.
Do - Check that the mobile experience is just as good as on desktop
Online stores are usually built and managed on a desktop computer, making it easy to overlook the importance of the mobile experience. However, Google has been moving to a mobile-first index for a long time now, and mobile friendliness is an important ranking factor. This makes sense when you realize that close to 60% of global website traffic comes from a mobile device. That means your customers expect to be able to easily browse and navigate your site on mobile.
Developing a separate mobile experience is the best way to improve both your customer experience and SEO. That means looking at the needs of customers when they’re shopping with a mobile device and making adjustments to your mobile storefront. Some ways to enhance the mobile experience include simplified navigation, shortened forms, more concise page layouts, and adding express checkout options. The more you do here, the better for both your customer experience and SEO.
Don’t - Forget to speed test your product pages
While you’re making all these content changes to your site, don’t forget to test for speed! Changes you make no matter how small can have some impact on speed, which is a major ranking factor. Plus, 70% of customers say page speed influences their willingness to buy from a retailer. Fast stores make for high ranking search results that convert.
Speed testing can be done quickly using tools like PageSpeed Insights, which will also give you some helpful clues as to what you can improve. With product pages, there are a few things which may cause slower load times such as large image file sizes, minifying code, and utilizing browser caching. You may also want to review any apps you have installed and assess their impact on speed versus the benefit of having them as part of your tech stack. The good news is that if you’re browsing apps on the Shopify App Store, then the app listing will let you know if the app will affect your store’s speed. Some apps also leave code behind even when they’re uninstalled, so you may want to check if this is the case if you notice slow load times unrelated to other factors like active apps and file size.
Do - Implement Structured Data
Standing out in SERPs can be difficult when every link looks the same! One way you can differentiate your product pages is to optimize for snippets by implementing structured markup/data. This is additional information called schema contained within a page’s code that tells search engine crawlers more about that page. In ecommerce, this is usually things like the price, availability, and reviews.
This extra information may then appear in search results, and will typically look like the below example.
How it appears in search results is more likely to catch the attention of search users over links without this added information. Plus it can also help to reduce bounce rates - users will be able to see things like price, availability, and ratings before they even click the page so if a product is out of stock then they won’t click the page.
Structured data can be easily implemented using a tool like SEO Manager for Shopify, where the code will be automatically added.
Don’t - Miss out on optimizing product page meta data
Speaking of standing out in SERPs, you can’t always rely on snippets but your links will always have meta information to display. Meta titles and descriptions are what’s used to give search users a preview of your links. This is your product’s first impression with many potential customers, and will be what compels them to click on a link.
If it isn’t manually set, then Google will simply use the H1 tag for the page as the meta title, and a selection of text from the page’s content. The downside to this is that you can’t make sure it has the right keywords, or even that your brand name is included in the title. However, you can actually control and alter the metadata for a product page, to ensure it’s both keyword rich and eye-catching.
Meta titles should be concise, unique, and clearly state the product name. It should describe the product, and include your brand name. Meta descriptions should expand on the information given in the title tag, summarize the products main features, and include target keywords. Remember - this is your first impression with search users so treat your metadata like a sort of elevator pitch to customers.
Have a large catalog? Or just want to make this task a little easier? You can also use tools like SEO Manager to manage metadata automatically when a new product is created using a template you create.
Your store’s product pages are the star of the show. They give customers the information they need to decide to click “Add to Cart”. However if they aren’t well optimized for SEO, then those ideal customers may not find your products in search results. By following some simple do’s and don’ts, you can ensure your product pages are ready to make the right impression and welcome new customers to your brand.