Online Store Product Card Optimization
Running an online store entails constant work on its optimization in terms of search engines. As a result, we are able to ensure an appropriate ‘shape’ of our website which will be rewarded by search engine robots in the form of higher positions in search results. Online store optimization pertains to both the page code and the content located on the main page or category subpages. Today I would like to offer several tips and suggest how to take care of product card optimization to enhance online store visibility in response to ‘long-tail’ phrases concerning the store’s specific assortment.
Why a Product Card Optimization Is Worth Investing
Ecommerce Does Not Live by Categories Alone
Specific product subpages in an online store look very similar in most cases. As a standard, such a subpage will feature the name of the product followed by the description, technical specifications, photos, and the ‘Add to cart’ section. Depending on their needs, store owners use it to include additional elements that are designed to support sales. A product subpage is also a place with an enormous SEO potential, which often is not taken advantage of because the entire focus is on the main page and category subpages, which are usually not subject to change.
Product Card Optimization – Your Sales Potential
Products, on the other hand, can change with a different frequency. So many owners assume that there is no point in devoting time to them since they generate organic traffic through category subpages. This may, however, lead to losing a large part of the traffic from long-tail phrases, which can generate sales very well. A user who finds a subpage of a given product while looking for a specific model will most likely be willing to buy it because they have found exactly what they need. This is an important argument that should encourage store owners to invest in optimizing their product cards.
It is also worth remembering that the content placed next to products is often imported directly from the database of a given manufacturer or wholesaler. Therefore, it is not difficult to guess that they will reach the websites of all ecommerce operators that are integrated with a given supplier. What does this mean from the SEO point of view? Nothing else but duplicate content, which is considered to be one of the most important SEO errors and may affect the position of a given subpage in search results.
To sum up, the most important advantages of product card optimization are:
- Increasing the visibility of new product phrases (long-tail),
- Using the organic channel to reach users interested in a particular product,
- Improving the conversion on sales of a given product,
- Elimination of errors that may adversely affect the SEO results.
How to Optimize a Product Card Step by Step
Product card optimization extends to not only the content but also technical issues affecting the SEO. Let us go on to the specifics.
Product Card URL
The URL of a product usually consists of a domain name, sometimes also a category, and finally the product name. In the case of long names, the address itself is also extended, and you can often come across addresses of products that not only have the name, but also additional ID parameters or characters that are not recommended from the SEO point of view. To make a product address user-friendly, it is worth applying the following rules:
- Make sure that long-tail type keywords are present in the address – this will allow search robots to better ‘understand’ the content of the address.
- Avoid using special characters – it will allow robots to ‘read’ the address more easily
- Use short URLs – a URL that is too long will be cut off in the search results (using around 80 character long addresses is recommended).
- Avoid including categories or subcategories in the address – if the product is assigned to another category, we will avoid the need to watch out for address redirections.
- Use hyphens between words instead of underscores – the hyphens are read by robots as spaces, while underscores become invisible, causing the robot to see a sequence of characters that are not separated from each other.
An example of a not user-friendly product address:
An example of a user-friendly address:
From the SEO point of view, it is a very important optimization element and it is worth paying a little more attention to. The product title is usually placed above a photo or product description, and in the category listing, it is usually the only content accompanying the photo. When our store offers many similar products, their names are often very similar, if not identical. For example, there are 10 models of women’s pumps that are included in the same category on our shoe store’s inventory. And so, frequently each one of these models has the same title of ‘Women’s pumps’ because this is how this type of shoes is called. What we are dealing with here is a duplication of content, which can be eliminated by optimizing the title for the purposes of a long-tail phrase.
For example, we can optimize the title of ‘women’s boots’ product to create phrases depending on the characteristics of the product, e.g. color, price, material, or heel height:
- ‘Women’s high heels boots’ (keywords: women boots high heels, search volume – 6,700)
- ‘Red women’s boots’ (keywords: red women boots, search volume – 14,300)
- ‘Women’s ankle boots’ (keywords: women’s ankle boots, search volume – 71,400).
As you can see, the same title can be differentiated using new key phrases, which will not only positively affect the visibility of the store in search results but also eliminate duplication in the content within product titles. In order to have control over the titles that individual products have, it is advisable to collect them in one document, e.g. XML. Thanks to such a solution, we will be able to easily and quickly check whether the new title we are going to add has not already been used.
It is also worth remembering to mark the product title in HTML code with the <h1> tag, i.e. the most important heading.
The next step is to ensure that the product description is correctly optimized. If the descriptions are imported from an external database, I recommend creating them from scratch, taking the keyphrases into account. Many online store owners can now shout in horror, especially those whose product database is counted in the thousands. I realize that such a task can be extremely difficult, time-consuming, and costly to perform, but it is an investment that will certainly pay off. To start with, we should choose 10-20 key products for our sales, e.g. those that are typically seasonal or where we have the highest margin, meaning products most profitable for us in business terms. If you do not have a copywriter on your team or a person who could write such product descriptions, it is worth commissioning the services of an experienced SEO copywriter who will be able to skillfully incorporate keywords into the text. We can also prepare descriptions on our own using Ubersuggest – a tool that allows us to search for keyword suggestions.
What to Include in a Product Description?
It is worth repeating the key phrase used in the title in the product description, as well as using 2-3 additional long-tail phrases containing. For example, information about the color, material, style, the occasion they are suited for or the name of the manufacturer, etc. An example of a set of phrases for red stilettos can be as follows:
- ‘Fall women boots’ (7500)
- ‘red women boots’ (12500)
- ‘leather red boots’ (3500).
It is also worth applying selected key phrases using synonyms or changing the word order or construction pattern, e.g. ‘Fall boots for women’, ‘boots for ladies’, as well as using question keywords, which can be successfully used in an additional subheading. The use of questions will also be beneficial due to the voice search which is gaining in popularity. Moreover, it can help us in the transition to voice commerce, the future use of which is becoming increasingly real.
I usually suggest preparing 2,500-3,000 character long descriptions. Yet, making them longer is not a problem. We also do not need to publish a solid text on the webpage. From the user’s point of view, a better solution would be to divide it into smaller blocks, placing them on the entire product page. In such a case, each block can be provided with an additional subtitle marked with an H2 tag in HTML code, which will also be an additional location for placing a key phrase.
It is time we optimized the metadata section, which will have a positive impact on the attractiveness of our product in search results. The following tool can be helpful: seomofo.com/snippet-optimizer.html. It allows us to check if our title and description are of the right length and how they will appear in the search results. The title should contain a text strictly informing about the product. It is worth including a key phrase within it, preferably at the beginning. Whereas the description itself should be a type of advertisement meant to encourage potential customers to click precisely this result. So remember to include a CTA in it, e.g. order online, check out our special deals, buy at a special price, etc.
As in the case of product titles and descriptions, metadata should also include unique content.
Example of metadata:
While discussing the website presentation in search results, it is impossible not to mention the implementation of rich snippets which will allow us to make the result more attractive and thus make it stand out against the competition’s offer. In turn, this is a simple way for CTR improvement. In the case of a product subpage, it is worth using the following data:
- user opinions,
- stock levels.
Therefore, our result will stand out and even if it does not take the highest position, the chance it will attract the user’s attention is increased.
A functionality allowing customers to add product reviews is a great way to increase the volume of content on the website and bring it up-to-date. Next to the SEO-related advantages, product reviews can speed up the decision-making process of a potential customer considering a purchase. In addition, other users’ ratings can then be displayed in the search results as one of the elements of rich snippets.
Product image optimization is of great importance for building visibility in graphic search results. The ‘alt’ attribute should be completed for each photo of a given product. However, this is not the only element of graphics that is worth optimizing. My experience shows that the graphic file name also has an impact on the display of the graphic search results. If we include the name of the product which also contains the key phrase, we will increase the chances for a higher position of the photo on the result list. In this case, we should also remember that words should be separated from each other by dashes, not by underscores.
If there are several photos for a given product, we can differentiate them by adding a sequential number at the end of the name, e.g.:
It is also more often said that photos should be unique. It is worth investing in them not only from the SEO point of view but also from the point of view of conversion optimization. Apart from statistical graphics, it is worth investing in 3D images and videos. However, in order to fully realize their SEO potential, they also need to be properly described.
It is an element of essential significance for the entire online store. So you should not overlook it in the case of a product page. Each product card in the service should be provided with a link. This is usually done automatically by assigning a product to a category. But for some reason, a product may be left without a category and thus it has no link from any other subpage of the store. Such a product address is called an ‘orphaned link’. It is a good idea to check all the URLs using a crawling tool. Then eliminate orphaned links by assigning an address to a given category and updating the sitemap.xml.
As far as internal linking is concerned, it is worth considering creating a store mechanism that automatically links products to each other. For example by using a popular solution such as ‘Other customers also bought’ or ‘Other products in this category’. This will ensure that search engine robots will follow the links and thus make it easier for them to index new products.
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Using the so-called Breadcrumbs is an excellent way to bolster internal linking in ecommerce. It is a navigation path that makes it easier for both users and search engine robots to navigate through particular sections of the website. In this kind of path, all the elements except the last one, which in this case is a product card, are links.
Product Card Optimization – Your Way to Increase Conversion
As you can see, thanks to a few simple, but sometimes time-consuming actions in regards to product card optimization, you can significantly increase the SEO potential of your ecommerce. As a result, you can increase not only the organic traffic volume but also sales. This is also a great way to build an advantage over competitors. Especially those offering similar or the same products, already at the search engine level. Moreover, it is worth knowing that many long-tailed keywords are often characterized by a higher conversion rate. So I believe you will heed my advice on product card optimization!