eCommerce 101: Why Product Optimizations Are Important
In the world of eCommerce search marketing, often times marketers focus their efforts of optimizing category pages (pages that hold products of a given category) because the relevant search terms for these pages are generally searched more and will bring in the largest amounts of traffic. This is a great on-page SEO strategy that should be a foundation for any eCommerce search engine marketing campaign, however product level optimizations are often overlooked. It's important to know that product level optimization can have equal or greater impact in terms of generating revenue, which, after all, is the reason why you're in the eCommerce business.
Product optimizations are an essential part to any eCommerce marketing campaign because they allow you to reach a different market – consumers who are further into the buying process and have already selected a product. Rather than being the best eCommerce website for the consumer to browse products, product optimizations allow you to rank well for product-related terms, allowing your webpage to be one of the first options for people to buy the product from online.
5 Easy Ways to Optimize Product Pages
So all this talk about the eCommerce SEO benefits of optimizing products is great, but how can a product page be easily optimized? Product pages are often overlooked by many and because of this, several simple optimizations will generally allow you to rank your product pages better for a larger variety of keyword variations.
Better rankings and for more keyword variations? Sounds like a win-win situation to me.
When its time to optimize your product pages there are five simple strategies or processes that focus on clearly defining your pages, optimizing the pages for a higher conversion rate and offering unique value on your product pages (in comparison to your competitors. Here are simple 5 processes to optimize your product pages:
1. Keyword Research – Finding different terms that are applicable to your product is essential because you are expanding the net of potential terms that can bring traffic to your product pages. These terms need to be highly relevant to your product so that you are not sending unqualified or non-converting traffic to your product pages. These types of “negative terms” can create the risk of decreased page performance in terms of pages per visit, average visit duration and bounce – three website engagement factors that are used in Google’s algorithm for ranking. When doing your keyword research, limit yourself to highly relevant terms so that engagement metrics are not affected.
When doing your keyword research, there are several tools that allow you to find search volumes as well as find alternative terms, variations and trends related to keywords within that product niche. We use a variety of tools for this, but some great free tools for the general public to do this include the Google Keyword Planner, Google Suggest and Google Trends. From there you will also want to analyze the online competition for these terms to see if your website has an authority that is likely going to rank for these terms.
2. Custom Product Copy – This part of the eCommerce website optimization process is key because it allows you to write content that will not only help search engines understand the page, but you are offering a unique value to the shopper in comparison to your competitors that likely use manufacturer product descriptions. In writing the copy for products, we have found that offering the benefits of the product first, followed by the product’s features has been the highest converting content structure. The copy for these products does not have to meet a minimum word count, and should rather be written in the most concise format while still communicating the product’s benefits and features.
3. List of Features – Not all online shoppers take the time to read the product copy that communicates the benefits and features of a product, so it is important to have product information that these people can easily read. Writing out the features in a bulleted list is often the best way to communicate product information to these “skimmers” and also provides a product feature recap for those who actually read the written out product description.
4. Product Reviews – TThese are essential for increasing your eCommerce website's conversion rate. These conversion metrics generated by converting customers once communicate to search engines how your product is perceived, liked , disliked, etc. These customer reviews are much more powerful in communicating the feedback of the product because they allow people to get insight on the product from other people, which they trust more than manufacturer or store reviews. Reviews are often most compelling when they have a star rating of some sort in combination with a written review of the product. These reviews can be taken to the next level when combining them with the next product optimization process.
5. Schema Markup - Schema is a markup language that is supported by all search engines and clearly lays out product attributes or information in the coding of the page. This markup can be used to label and communicate different things about products such as the product type, price, aggregated reviews/ratings, product stock, and much more. A full list of the type of markup you can use on product pages can be found here. Schema markup not only clearly defines code and page contents for search engines, but it can also have positive benefits for your page listing on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Schema will allow you display many of these product attributes and elements in the SERP to help increase the click through rate of your page and essentially the number of people visiting your page. Commonly, marketers and webmasters will use schema to show prices, color options, reviews and more to create a more compelling search result.
Now that you know these simple processes and benefits of optimizing product pages, applying these strategies and principles to your pages is relatively simple. While you may not hit the ball out of the park with your first product optimization, sticking to these principles and applying them to your most important product pages will result in positive performance gains of your key product pages.