Product page optimisation is one of the most heated topics within the e-commerce industry. In a fast-changing online marketplace with ever growing competition, online retailers and businesses need to make their products discoverable in search. Each year, more and more consumers make purchases after discovering the product via organic search. However, the rapid development of Google algorithms means that a well optimised product page looks different to how it might have done a couple years back. In 2022 alone, there have been two product review updates, two core algorithm updates and a helpful content review update. All this fine-tuning of Google’s algorithms can leave marketers clueless with regards to product page optimisation. So how do you best optimise product pages for SEO value and customer engagement? In this guide, we discuss our Top 12 Tips for Product Page Optimisation in 2023.
An optimised product page is essentially a page containing a product that is designed to be discovered in search engines and convert browsers into buyers. Interested in how you do this? Read on.
Like any page designed for SEO, keyword research is the foundation of product page optimisation. There are billions of products out there, therefore, it is important to use product-focused topics that users are searching for when looking for your product. A common mistake with conducting keyword research for products is to prioritise search volume. However, the focus should be on relevancy to the product and what will actually convert. (Typically longer tail keywords with lower search volumes yield better conversion rates as the user is further down the funnel). Another important aspect of this stage is to remember that product pages have transactional intent, so you want to make sure your landing pages are optimised for searchers ready to buy the product you’re optimising the page for.
Title Tags, Meta Descriptions and your H1 are the bread, butter and marmalade of page optimisation. Google pays particular attention to title tags and H1s in helping it understand a webpage, and then relaying this information to the user in the SERPs. In order to optimise your product Title Tag effectively, you should include details such as:
Beyond the product information, you should also include information that satisfies the user intent. For example, if this is a product you can buy – you should include ‘buy’. (Just remember not to go over the 60 character limit, otherwise searchers may miss some of that important information, as your title tag will truncate.)
While the meta description is not a Google ranking factor, it is displayed directly in the SERPs on organic listings and can have a real influence on whether a user or not clicks through to your webpage. Therefore, it’s what we call an “indirect ranking factor”. It doesn’t affect rankings, but can improve CTR and user engagement (both of which are ranking factors).
With 155 characters, this gives you a real opportunity to include helpful information beyond what can be included in your title tag, as well as adding vital CTAs and nudges. Since product pages have transactional intent, it is recommended you incorporate copy with high click-through rates (CTR) into meta descriptions. Well known trigger words in e-commerce include ‘free’ and ‘save’, so if you offer free delivery and a buyer stands to save on your product, you should probably shout about that.
As for the H1? Like Title Tags, H1s are important for SEO because they directly tell Google what your page is about. For each product, your H1 should be unique and specific to the product. Ultimately, you need to imagine both search engine bots and customers posing the question “what am I looking at?” and “how is this different from other products?”. Answer these questions via the H1.
Structured data (also known as Schema Markup) is a way to communicate information about a web page to search engines. In the context of product pages, this allows search engines to know more about your product, so they can surface your product for relevant queries. This also enables them to publish more information about your product to users, often in the form of rich results (sometimes referred to as rich snippets), such as detailed product information, review stars, offer snippets and delivery time. This all allows you to occupy more ‘real estate’ in the results page (i.e. you take up more space!)
However, the benefits don’t stop there. Other benefits of having this structured data include improving Google bot crawl time on your site, gaining a competitive advantage over brands not implementing this correctly and qualifying your products to surface in the new free Google Shopping listings. The most common and relevant types of structured data for product pages is product schema and review schema. Having this mark up on your page can help drive more impressions and clicks, as well as improve your CTR and drive more sales.
We’ve talked about title tags, headers and meta descriptions. Now it’s time to talk about page copy. Too often, product pages are too thin on content and lack any really helpful information that can be used to inform a purchase. How many times have you seen e-commerce websites use the same product and meta description for all product variants? The answer is too often!
Product descriptions are a great opportunity to explain more about your product, (which is particularly important when selling a premium product). It also provides an opportunity for additional keyword optimisations. Google increasingly wants to surface products that are as relevant and specific to the searchers query as possible. Therefore, forgetting to write unique product and meta descriptions is a huge opportunity lost. Adding relevant and specific information to your product and meta descriptions not only helps your product surface for the correct long tail queries in Google, it also gives users the helpful information they need, encouraging them to click on your listing.
For example, if your product is an item of clothing, you might want to include some of the following pieces of information:
It goes without saying that Google is extremely keen on product reviews. Every few months Google seems to launch a new product review update to fine tune its algorithms to help users find helpful, authoritative and legitimate reviews to inform their product purchase.
According to research, product pages with customer reviews convert on average 52.2% more than those without reviews. Therefore, including product reviews puts you at a big advantage over competitors without reviews. Genuine customer reviews not only help consumers figure out whether or not to purchase a product and build trust. They also provide Google with the fresh, unique content it craves – helping the product page meet relevancy and recency parameters, since Google always wants to present the most relevant, useful results, and crawls pages preferentially based on their rate of content update.
Disclaimer – if you’re thinking of adding product reviews to your webpages, then you probably want to add some degree of moderation, especially if relying on a plugin. User generated content doesn’t always act in favour of the product or retailer. Oh, and don’t forget to use review schema!
The majority of product pages online are light on optimised copy and don’t include FAQ structured data. However, users often have questions about products and don’t want to talk to a chatbot or contact the brand. Having an FAQ section with answers to questions to commonly asked questions, can provide users with the information they need to make a purchase, helping improve product reliability. The thing to remember is that if you’re adding FAQ data to your webpages, you must add FAQ schema for optimum performance.
Landing page design heavily influences a user’s experience on your site. While it may seem trivial, micro changes such as the location of your Call to Action buttons and size of copy can have a big impact on driving conversions. With tools like Optimizely, VWO and AB Tasty, you can test even the slightest variations within product pages to help you find your ideal configuration and layout to encourage conversions.
At Semetrical, we use a range of industry-leading technologies to ensure we are making informed recommendations for the experiences we are looking to improve. In addition to core analytics reporting, we use data ranging from heat mapping and recording tools all the way to AI-driven eye tracking predictions.
As the popular trope goes “a picture tells a thousand words”. Image SEO is a hot topic within e-commerce and retailers should want their images and videos to capture the widest audience. Therefore, adding alt text, including video captions and creating descriptions for the visually impaired are all actions retailers should implement, alongside other optimisations.
Poor quality images put consumers off, particularly when they are yet to see a product in real life. Google is expertly keen on high image quality and recommends that retailers use the highest-quality images for best performance. Google has numerous tips on images for products, including angles, resolutions, file size and more. Be sure to check your images against their guidelines for optimum performance in search, particularly Google Shopping.
The caveat? Using high resolution images on product pages can affect page speed, which in turn negatively impacts user experience. Therefore, make sure you’re optimising your images in a way that doesn’t affect page load time, whether that be compressing your image, using formats like webp or otherwise.
Ever land on a webpage that takes ages to load? It’s annoying, and will usually result in you clicking off the page and finding what you need on another (faster-loading) site. Page speed is a confirmed ranking factor and in a fast-moving competitive marketplace where numerous retailers often compete to sell the same product, you need to have fast-loading webpages. Having fast-loading webpages will get your content in front of your target audience over competitors with slow-loading web pages. It will also therefore provide a better user experience.
While page load times are important, they are not the only technical SEO factor affecting product page performance. The truth is, there are numerous technical issues that can plague a product page and affect its performance in search. Some examples include broken links, thin content, duplicate title tags, missing structured data and temporary redirects. The best way to avoid these issues is to audit your webpages for technical issues. There are numerous SEO tools available to help you do this. For example, at Semetrical we use lumar to detect technical issues that may be affecting our e-commerce clients’ pages.
Often products come with variants. However, too often retailers don’t capitalise on this fact enough in a way that is helpful, clear and beneficial to the users at the discovery stage of buying. Naturally, offering products in different sizes, colours, or with added features, offers more choices for consumers looking to buy. However, the process in making the choice between options should be streamlined.
The easiest way to convey aesthetic changes (in terms of size, colour etc.) is through high quality imagery. However, too often retailers marry up product images to product variants, making it difficult for consumers to work out what variant they are viewing at any time. Sometimes, consumers are compounded by convoluted product variant names – e.g. whether the colour you’re looking at is “sunshine purple” or “daytime mauve”.
This is why linking your images to your product variants is so important, and can help increase your conversions on your product pages:
A common bug bear with product variants is their ability to surface in SERPs. The way you structure URLs when a product is available in multiple sizes or colours plays a big impact on product discoverability. For example, if you choose to include multiple product variants on a single page (meaning, the variants share the same URL), then you may be ineligible for product rich results in search results. This is because the experience is only supported for pages holding a single product. Likewise, experiences such as Google Shopping will not be able to take a user to a specific variant of a product, which could lead to a poor user experience (especially if the shopper already selected the variant they wanted in Google Shopping).
Therefore, if your customers indicate preferences for specific variants, like colour, in their searches, then you might want to use distinct URLs per variant, either via path segment, such as /dress/black or query parameter, such as /dress?color=black.
And there you have it. If you want to optimise your product pages for organic search in 2023, then start implementing some of the best practices we’ve described in this article. In most cases, product pages inevitably get a lot of organic traffic from visitors who are ready to make a purchase, so by not optimising them to best effect, you’re quite literally leaving money on the table. Don’t let that happen!