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SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’ts

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SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do's & Don’ts

Ecommerce is expected to grab even more of the retail pie, with a projected growth of nearly $11 trillion between 2021 and 2025.

An increasing number of ecommerce sites want a piece of this pie, making it critical that your search strategy delivers.

Add to this the fact that advertising costs are reaching the realm of prohibitive, only to often see sinking results, and smart SEO practices become more urgent than ever.

10 Do’s Of Ecommerce Product Page SEO

Here are 10 steps to take and 10 to avoid for a successful SEO strategy.

1. Fine-Tune Your Keyword Strategy

Keyword research is the foundation for product page optimization.

When conducting keyword research, always use product-focused topics that users are searching for. Don’t fixate on volume. Instead, think about relevancy and what will actually convert.

If you have data from other channels like paid search, use it in your keyword and topic research and incorporate ad copy with high click-through rates (CTR) into meta descriptions.

Product pages have transactional intent, so make sure your landing pages are optimized for searchers ready to buy.

Someone looking for a specific product like “Series S60l & Expression E52 paintbrush” strongly indicates they are ready to purchase it due to the detailed nature of their search.

Make it easy for them to take that next important step.

2. Optimize Titles And Meta Descriptions

Title tags and meta descriptions are very important in product page optimization.

Make sure you include details such as:

  • The brand of the product, including your proprietary brand.
  • The name of the product.
  • The model number.
  • Other important information (e.g., dimensions).

3. Mark Up Product Pages With Structured Data

Having the correct structured data type can help your brand appear in rich snippets.

All product pages should have product schema and review schema, which can:

  • Drive more impressions and clicks.
  • Improve your CTR and drive more sales.

4. Add Clear And Helpful FAQs

High-quality content that meets the users’ needs is key to ranking high in SERPs.

If users do not find your content useful, your bounce rates will be high, and customers may decide not to buy from you.

Most category and product pages are light on optimized content and do not have an FAQ section that is marked up with FAQ structured data.

Instead, they tend to rely on user-generated content (UGC), which is a mistake.

Suppose I have a question about a product and do not want to talk to a chatbot or call customer service.

If the brand in question has built an FAQ section with answers to questions that users commonly ask, I can easily find the information I’m looking for, and so can other customers.

That, in turn, helps the brand sell more products.

5. Always Write Unique Product And Meta Descriptions

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen an ecommerce site use the same product description for all products. This is a huge opportunity lost.

Each item can rank for branded and non-branded keywords and should therefore include a unique description to take full advantage of SEO.

Give consumers helpful, meaningful information to encourage them to click on your listing, thereby driving more traffic and sales.

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’tsScreenshot from search, Google, August 2022

6. Share Real Testimonials And Customer Reviews

Product pages with customer reviews see conversion lifts of 52.2% more than their review-free counterparts, so this should be a no-brainer.

Genuine testimonials from customers, who have tried your product, speak volumes to in-market consumers trying to figure out whether or not to buy from you.

That’s why it’s so important to let customers share their experiences with your products and how they’ve helped solve problems.

But there are other advantages, too.

Reviews help build trust – especially if you have an endorsement from a carefully vetted celebrity or famous influencer.

They also provide the fresh, unique content Google craves. Just be sure to mark them up with the review schema.

Share Real Testimonials And Customer ReviewsScreenshot from zoya.com, August 2022

7. Test Landing Pages To Find The Best

Tools like Optimizely and Google Optimize provide an intuitive way to test even the slightest variations within product pages, which you should absolutely do to figure out the ideal configuration.

Changing the location of your call to action, for example, could drive more conversions.

Test your page layout options to see how they can best support sales.

8. Use High-Quality Video And Imagery

One of the drawbacks of shopping online is you cannot physically touch or test the product you are considering.

High-quality images and videos can fill that gap by providing end users with the information they need to feel confident in their purchases.

Recently, my search for a cordless drill led me to the Home Depot site. The company’s site ranks very high for this term, and its landing page is filled with powerful content that includes:

  • Videos that answer common questions.
  • Q&A with other customers.
  • The imagery of what a particular kit includes.

This was a great user experience because I wanted to know how many batteries came with the drill and if it came with a bag.

Use High-Quality Video And ImageryScreenshot from homedepot.com, August 2022

9. Minimize Page Load Times

Your product pages must be optimized for mobile. More and more consumers are conducting their online searches this way.

Fast-loading webpages will get your content in front of your target audience more quickly and provide a better user experience.

That, in turn, helps increase sales, revenue, and pages per session. Plus, it gives you a leg up on the competition.

It also decreases your bounce rates.

Aim for three seconds or less.

10. Audit Your Product Pages For Technical Issues

Product pages can often be duplicated because of faceted URLs, which can cause a lot of headaches for SEO, such as:

  • Duplicate content.
  • Wasted crawl budget.
  • Split link equity.

To avoid these issues, audit your pages to see which technical and content elements need to be optimized, if any.

Problems to watch for include:

10 Don’ts Of Ecommerce Product Page SEO

1. Don’t Use Product Descriptions From The Manufacturer’s Website

This is one of the most common mistakes I see in optimizing product pages.

Many manufacturer descriptions are not compelling, lack all the information a customer needs – and are not optimized for search.

It’s worth taking the time to write more informative and engaging descriptions. The more detailed information, the better. This may very well be the difference between being found and being invisible.

Also, remember that you do not want duplicate content, which will hurt your SEO efforts.

2. Don’t Kill Your Seasonal Pages Once Peak Is Past

This is a common mistake I see brands make.

While removing seasonal pages after the peak period may seem sensible, doing this will leave you with the same uphill battle every year, once again, trying to regain the authority your site needs to rank for seasonal terms.

And by the time you do this each year, it will likely be too late.

If you have a seasonal product page that has built up rankings, traffic, and sales over time, do not eliminate it.

Amazon is a great example of how to do this well. They have a dedicated Black Friday URL that only gains authority over time.

Amazon can then update the page as the peak Black Friday season approaches.

3. Don’t Use Automated Optimization

Dynamically populated product pages with the product’s name as the title tag, followed by brand and nothing else, is not a best practice.

Also, using automated descriptions and changing just a few variables could negatively impact your CTR.

Instead, include important information in the titles that you cannot automate. This can help your site rank for targeted keywords.

All titles and meta descriptions should be unique.

4. Don’t Pull Out-of-Stock Pages

Sometimes products go out of stock, especially when supply chains are stressed.

But if the product is temporarily unavailable, you should keep the URL live, especially if the page has rankings and traffic.

As with seasonal pages, this can seem counterintuitive.

In fact, a more profitable strategy is to keep these pages live and provide links to other relevant products until the item is back in stock.

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’tsScreenshot from karmaloop.com, August 2022

5. Don’t Use The Wrong Type Of Structured Data – Or None At All

Structured data (i.e., reviews and product data) can help your site rank in the rich results and drive more traffic and sales. Having product data can help your site rank for rich snippets.

Many brands use the wrong type of structured data or do not implement any structured data. Both hurt your site rank.

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’tsScreenshot from Google Search Console, August 2022

6. Don’t Use Weak Calls To Action – Or Omit Them Entirely

Oftentimes, many brands do not have strong calls to action (CTA), but clean and easy CTAs are a must-have for any site.

Remember that the main job of your product page is to drive revenue and sales.

If it takes users too long to find how to purchase your products, they will instead visit your competitors’ sites. Make it easy and convincing for them to buy from you.

7. Don’t Optimize For CEO Keywords And Keywords With No Volume

Often, when a CEO asks an SEO specialist, “Why are we not ranking for XYZ keyword?” The answer is that XYZ has no search volume.

Think like a customer, do your research, and use data to inform your decisions about which keywords to use.

For example, if I’m optimizing for “lego spice girls back in stock,” it won’t be worth it because users are not really searching for this term.

Once I rank for it, I won’t get many sales because of the low volume.

8. Don’t Miss Opportunities For Internal Linking And Backlinks

Links still matter for ecommerce.

Often, brands build links to their homepages and category pages but forget about product pages.

But these pages can rank, especially for long-tail keywords that have high purchase intent and can dramatically increase revenue and sales.

That’s why you should always support product pages with internal links and even paid social to improve visibility and performance.

SEO For Ecommerce Product Pages: 20 Do’s & Don’ts

9. Don’t Charge The Wrong Price

Not having the right pricing strategy can cause consumers not to buy your products and possibly not to trust your brand.

This is especially true when prices spike on products high in demand, as we experienced during the baby food shortage.

We all know the laws of supply and demand, but paying 20% more for baby formula is crazy. Luckily, states are cracking down on price gouging.

10. Don’t Forget Mobile Optimization

To appreciate just how important it is to optimize for mobile shopping, consider that more than 60% of online shoppers in the U.S. shop via mobile devices. And more than one-third are mobile-only shoppers.

Not having a mobile-friendly product page can cause users to not even consider buying products from your site.

Wrapping Up

By sharpening your SEO strategy, you’re also burnishing your brand.

Giving consumers the best information there is on a product (and quickly), a compelling reason to buy, answers to their anticipated FAQs, and genuine third-party thumbs-up, you’re giving them reasons to return to your site.

Brand building is a long-term commitment. Even when it doesn’t immediately lead to a buy, it’s an assurance to customers that they can trust you.

And being vigilant about your SEO is an important way to build that trust.

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New Google Ads Feature: Account-Level Negative Keywords

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New Google Ads Feature: Account-Level Negative Keywords

Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin has announced that account-level negative keywords are now available to Google Ads advertisers worldwide.

The feature, which was first announced last year and has been in testing for several months, allows advertisers to add keywords to exclude traffic from all search and shopping campaigns, as well as the search and shopping portion of Performance Max, for greater brand safety and suitability.

Advertisers can access this feature from the account settings page to ensure their campaigns align with their brand values and target audience.

This is especially important for brands that want to avoid appearing in contexts that may be inappropriate or damaging to their reputation.

In addition to the brand safety benefits, the addition of account-level negative keywords makes the campaign management process more efficient for advertisers.

Instead of adding negative keywords to individual campaigns, advertisers can manage them at the account level, saving time and reducing the chances of human error.

You no longer have to worry about duplicating negative keywords in multiple campaigns or missing any vital to your brand safety.

Additionally, account-level negative keywords can improve the accuracy of ad targeting by excluding irrelevant or low-performing keywords that may adversely impact campaign performance. This can result in higher-quality traffic and a better return on investment.

Google Ads offers a range of existing brand suitability controls, including inventory types, digital content labels, placement exclusions, and negative keywords at the campaign level.

Marvin added that Google Ads is expanding account-level negative keywords to address various use cases and will have more to share soon.

This rollout is essential in giving brands more control over their advertising and ensuring their campaigns target the appropriate audience.


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Google’s Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedIn

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Google's Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedIn

Google Analyst Gary Illyes offers guidance on large robots.txt files, the SEO impact of website redesigns, and the correct use of rel-canonical tags.

Illyes is taking questions sent to him via LinkedIn direct message and answering them publicly, offering valuable insights for those in the SEO community.

It’s already newsworthy for a Google employee to share SEO advice. This is especially so given it’s Illyes, who isn’t as active on social media as colleagues like Search Advocate John Mueller and Developer Advocate Martin Splitt.

Throughout the past week, Illyes has shared advice and offered guidance on the following subjects:

  • Large robots.txt files
  • The SEO impact of website redesigns
  • The correct use of rel-canonical tags

Considering the engagement his posts are getting, there’s likely more to come. Here’s a summary of what you missed if you’re not following him on LinkedIn.

Keep Robots.Txt Files Under 500KB

Regarding a previously published poll on the size of robots.txt files, Illyes shares a PSA for those with a file size larger than 500kb.

Screenshot from: linkedin.com/in/garyillyes/, January 2023.

Illyes advises paying attention to the size of your website’s robots.txt file, especially if it’s larger than 500kb.

Google’s crawlers only process the first 500kb of the file, so it’s crucial to ensure that the most important information appears first.

Doing this can help ensure that your website is properly crawled and indexed by Google.

Website Redesigns May Cause Rankings To Go “Nuts”

When you redesign a website, it’s important to remember that its rankings in search engines may be affected.

As Illyes explains, this is because search engines use the HTML of your pages to understand and categorize the content on your site.

If you make changes to the HTML structure, such as breaking up paragraphs, using CSS styling instead of H tags, or adding unnecessary breaking tags, it can cause the HTML parsers to produce different results.

This can significantly impact your site’s rankings in search engines. Or, as Illyes phrases it, it can cause rankings to go “nuts”:

Google’s Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedInScreenshot from: linkedin.com/in/garyillyes/, January 2023.

Illyes advises using semantically similar HTML when redesigning the site and avoiding adding tags that aren’t necessary to minimize the SEO impact.

This will allow HTML parsers to better understand the content on your site, which can help maintain search rankings.

Don’t Use Relative Paths In Your Rel-Canonical

Don’t take shortcuts when implementing rel-canonical tags. Illyes strongly advises spelling out the entire URL path:

Google’s Gary Illyes Answers Your SEO Questions On LinkedInScreenshot from: linkedin.com/in/garyillyes/, January 2023.

Saving a few bytes using a relative path in the rel-canonical tag isn’t worth the potential issues it could cause.

Using relative paths may result in search engines treating it as a different URL, which can confuse search engines.

Spelling out the full URL path eliminates potential ambiguity and ensures that search engines identify the correct URL as the preferred version.

In Summary

By answering questions sent to him via direct message and offering his expertise, Illyes is giving back to the community and providing valuable insights on various SEO-related topics.

This is a testament to Illyes’ dedication to helping people understand how Google works. Send him a DM, and your question may be answered in a future LinkedIn post.


Source: LinkedIn

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Everything You Need To Know

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Of all the many, many functions available in Google Ads, I have a few that are my favorites. And sitelink assets – previously known as sitelink extensions – are at the top of my list.

Why? Because they’re so versatile. You can do almost anything with them if you think through your strategy carefully.

For example, you can use the mighty sitelink in your advertising to:

  • Promote low search volume themes.
  • Push lagging products out the door.
  • Maximize hot sellers.
  • Highlight certain product categories.
  • Answer common questions.
  • Handle PR problems.

And that’s just a start! Sitelink assets can almost do it all.

Best Practices For Using Sitelink Assets Extensions

If you truly want to get the most out of your sitelinks, you need to think about your intention.

To help you with that, I’m going to lay out a few sitelink guidelines.

1. Get clear on your objectives. Before you start, you need to think about your goals. What are you trying to achieve with these assets? Are you advertising products or services? Will the asset work well with both branded and non-branded keywords? Your answers to these questions will help determine if your sitelinks are versatile and useful to the searcher.

2. Use sitelinks as part of your larger strategy. Don’t think of your sitelinks in isolation. You should also consider the accompanying ad, landing page, and other assets. Make sure they all work together in service to your overarching strategy.

3. Use a mix of sitelinks. Sitelinks can serve multiple purposes, so make sure you’re using a variety. For example, you don’t want to use every sitelink on an ad to promote on-sale products. Instead, use a mix. One could promote an on-sale product, one could generate leads, one could highlight a new product category, and one could direct prospective clients to useful information.

4. Create landing pages for your sitelinks. Ideally, you want to send users to landing pages that tightly correlate with your sitelink instead of just a regular page on your website.

5. Track sitelink performance and adjust. It’s not enough to set up sitelinks. You should also track them to see which links are getting traction and which ones are not. This doesn’t mean that all sitelinks should perform equally (more on this below), but it does mean they should perform well given their type and objectives.

Why it’s Better To Use A Mix Of Sitelink Assets

Let’s dive deeper into this idea of using a mix of sitelinks by looking at an example.

In a new client account, we created four different types of sitelinks:

  • Two sitelinks are product-focused (as requested by the client).
  • One sitelink connects users with an engineer to learn more about the product (“Speak to an Engineer”). It has more of a sales focus.
  • One sitelink allows users to learn more about the products without speaking to an engineer (“What is?”).

The “What is?” sitelink is outperforming the “Speak to an Engineer” sitelink when we measure by CTR. While we need more data before making any changes, I predict we’ll eventually swap out the sales-y “Speak to an Engineer” sitelink for something else.

The fact that the educational link (“What is?”) is performing better than the sales-y link (“Speak to an Engineer”) isn’t too surprising in this case. The product is a new, cutting-edge robot that not many people are aware of, yet. They want more info before talking to someone.

sitelink extensions - performance exampleScreenshot by author, January 2023

By using a mix of sitelinks, and assessing the performance of each, we gained a lot of valuable information that is helping to guide our strategy for this account. So going with a mix of sitelinks is always a good idea. You never know what you’ll discover!

Sitelink Assets Examples

Now, let’s look at some specific examples of sitelink assets in Google Ads.

Example 1: Chromatography

Sitelinks extension - Chromatography exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

Application Search: This ad is for a highly technical product that can be used in a wide variety of applications. (Chromatography is a laboratory technique for separating mixtures.) So putting “application search” in a sitelink here might make sense. It helps prospective clients find what they’re looking for.

Sign up and Save Big: A good sitelink for lead generation and potential revenue.

Technical Support: I’m not a big fan of putting technical support in sitelinks. Tech support seems more targeted to current users rather than prospective users. But who knows, maybe they really do want to help current users get tech support via their advertising.

Guides and Posters: Again, this sitelink is a bit unusual, but it might be appropriate for this product. Perhaps people are downloading branded posters and posting them in their workplaces. If so, it’s a great way to build brand awareness.

Example 2: Neuroscience Courses

Sitelink Extensions - Nueroscience courses exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

I love everything about these sitelinks! The advertising is using them to reach people in all phases of the buyer journey.

For people not ready to commit:

  • Study Neuroscience: This sitelink is broad and informational. It’s helpful to people who have just started to explore their options for studying neuroscience.
  • Get Course Brochure: This sitelink is also great for people in the research phase. And while we mostly live in an online world, some people still prefer to consume hard-copy books, brochures, etc. With this sitelink, the school is covering its bases.

For people getting close to committing:

  • Online Short Course: This is the course the school offers. It’s a great sitelink for those almost ready to sign up.

For people ready to sign up:

  • Register Online Now: This is the strongest call to action for those ready to commit. It takes people directly to the signup page.

Example 3: Neuroscience Degrees

Let’s look at another example from the world of neuroscience education: this time for a neuroscience degree program.

Sitelink extensions - neuroscience degree exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

In contrast to the previous two examples, the sitelinks in this ad aren’t as strong.

Academics Overview: This sitelink seems more appropriate for a broad term search, such as a search on the school’s name. If the searcher is looking for a specific degree program (which seems like the intention based on the term and the ad), the sitelinks should be something specific to that particular degree program.

Scholarships: Just as with the above sitelink, “Scholarships” doesn’t seem very helpful either. The topic of scholarships is important—but probably doesn’t need to be addressed until the person determines that this school is a good fit.

Example 4: Code Security

Next, let’s look at two Google search ads for code security products.

Sitelink extensions - code security exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

 

The sitelinks in these two ads look like typical assets you’d find for SaaS, cloud-based, or tech companies. They click through to a lot of helpful information, such as product plans and success stories.

I particularly like the Most Common Risks sitelink in the second ad. It leads to a helpful article that would be great for engaging top-of-funnel leads.

On the flip side, I’m not a big fan of the Blog sitelink in the first ad. “Blog” simply isn’t very descriptive or helpful.

Still, there are no right or wrong sitelinks here. And it would be interesting to test my theory that blog content is not a top-performing asset!

Sitelink Assets Are More Than An Afterthought

I hope I’ve convinced you of the usefulness and versatility of sitelinks when created with specific objectives that align with your broader strategy.

So don’t create your sitelink assets as an afterthought.

Because if you give them the careful consideration they deserve, they’ll serve you well.

Note: Google sitelink assets were previously known as sitelink extensions and renamed in September 2022.

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