Basics of SEO for e-commerce

Basics of SEO for e-commerce

SEO has long become too complex for me to offer it as a full service to my clients, but certain basic principles remain intact. In response to a client question last week, I wanted to share the five pieces of advice I shared with them that will give them a solid start on their SEO journey.

1. Make product titles keyword rich

Let’s work with a product I’m reasonably familiar with: a “Golf Club Groove Sharpener” – both the name of the product and the four words we’ll focus on for SEO. In this case, that product name will be our page title and we’ll back that up with secondary keywords in the subtitle – maybe ‘Useful tool for golf club maintenance’. So I’m speaking to both the name of the product and its purpose.

2. Back up the product title in key places

I would make sure that those keywords are also at the front of the URL structure. So, in a typical WooCommerce URL set up, the full URL might be: /products/golf-club-groove-sharpener. The URL being a key part of what search engines will look for when determining the subject matter of the page.

I would then also want that product name to be the page title – not necessarily what is displayed in the product listing, but the page title that appears in the top tab of your browser window. And further, I’d want those keywords to appear in the opening paragraph of the page.

3. Use the meta description to provide more information

Now, in support of the product title, use the meta description to provide a bit more detail. The meta description is available for display in search results – typically as a couple of lines beneath the page title. Ideally, it’s under 160 characters and gives a fuller idea of the product. For example: ‘The golf club groove sharpener extends the life of your irons and wedges, keeping them sharp and clean – giving your trusted clubs a new lease of life’ which contains further keywords like ‘irons’ and ‘wedges’. But if that page showed up in search results, it’s giving the shopper a bit more information to tempt the click through.

4. Support the product with internal content

As well as the main product listing page, you should look for opportunities to support the product with other content – blog posts, or feature pages. You might write a blog post on how to revive old golf clubs, or how to maintain golf clubs after a trip to the range … whatever it is, and then you can link keywords back to the product page to provide both users and search engines alike a path back to the product. (Remember, don’t link with ‘click here’, link with keywords like ‘golf club maintenance’ or ‘groove sharpener’)

5. Product images should all have descriptive ALT text

ALT text is text that is used when an image is unable to be displayed. This can be due to a temporary server issue, a browser blocking images, or the use of a screen reader for accessibility. In whatever cases an image cannot be displayed, the browser will display / read out the ALT text. Best practice then would be to have different ALT text for each image – and each line of text describing the image on display.

Think accessibility first – so although this is an opportunity for including product data, the main purpose is to provide content for people who need it. So, if I have 3 product images, it would be reasonable to use ALT text like the following:

  1. Golf Club Groove Sharpener – tool for maintaining grooves of a golf club
  2. Golf groove sharpener – how to use a golf club groove sharpener without damaging your clubs
  3. Golf Club Maintenance – handy tool for maintaining the integrity of your golf club

So yes, I’m using keywords in there, but I’m focusing on describing the image for people unable to view it.

The SEO professionals will go into a lot more detail than that and help you create a content plan for supporting your ongoing SEO goals. But if you’re just looking to cover off the basics, the above will help get you started. Best of luck!