Yesterday, we published the first part of makes a good product page from a SEO perspective, using a Modcloth page as an example. Please note that owing to its market dominance, we refer to Google as the default search engine. Here is the rest of the checklist for your product page SEO.
Breadcrumbs are an important area you can optimize. Breadcrumbs are small links, usually near the top of a page, that help users identify where they are on the site. On Modcloth, you’ll see the breadcrumbs on the top left of the page.
What this tells us is that customers can find the dress by going to the homepage, clicking on dresses, then clicking on the spring and summer sub-category and looking for the Take Mentor Stage Sheath Dress page.
Breadcrumbs not only help remind people where they are on a site, but they also strengthen the relationship between different pages. These links encourage people to explore other areas of the site, which decreases bounce rates and gives Google a more positive impression of your site. Furthermore, you can optimize these breadcrumbs. Much like URL structure, they can help Google understand your site’s hierarchy. While only absolutely necessary for large ecommerce sites, breadcrumbs can decrease bounce rates, increase Google’s understanding of your site, and increase your overall SEO.
When ecommerce retailers build out product pages, they often use the product description given to them by the manufacturer. We know that Google favors unique content, and product descriptions are no exception. While writing product descriptions is a time-consuming process, by foregoing the cookie-cutter product description and writing a unique one, the product is likely to rank higher in search results compared to the same product with the manufacturer’s description. Higher rankings equal greater visibility for you.
Modcloth always writes unique product descriptions in their brand voice:
This description talks about the dress in detail: the colors, the designer, and the lace details, which helps Google understand a little bit more about the product. The description is also a great place to insert target keywords – just make sure you do it in a way that reads naturally to consumers.
Product descriptions aren’t the only way to get unique content on a page; product reviews do the same. No two authentic customer reviews are identical, so when customers leave reviews on your page, that’s content no one else has. Reviews are not only unique but they have fresh content, which Google takes into consideration in its ranking algorithm. Google doesn’t want to serve its searchers outdated or sold-out products, so they rank fresher content higher.
Since customers don’t worry about keyword research, in reviews they talk about products in terms they consider relevant. This can give you additional insight and may help you optimize the page for a previously-unconsidered long-tail search.
Customers also love Modcloth’s reviews, where they get to see what other people thought of the clothing, how the item fit the writers’ body type, and what the clothes look like on actual people.
This sort of review setup goes a long way in building community and brand loyalty as well as helping your search results. Whenever possible, get product reviews on your product pages to add fresh content with additional keywords.
Google says that the number of social shares does not impact your organic rankings. Why should you even care about social for the sake of SEO, then? It’s all about engagement, which does impact your organic rankings.
By having social sharing buttons on a page, you’re encouraging people to share the product, whether that be on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. The more people that click on the shared links, the more engagement there is with the product. Google takes this interest into account in its algorithms and will serve this content higher in search results.
Modcloth does a great job of encouraging people to share by adding social sharing buttons to the right-hand side of the page, although Twitter is conspicuously missing.
While we’ve mainly focused on on-page factors so far, let’s look at something that not only helps Google to better understand your page but also increases SERP visibility – schema markup. Schema markup is code, structured in a specific way, that is meant to help Google understand what your page is about in a way different than <title> and <h1> tags. They have structured schema for many things but of most interest to us, is products.
Product schema markup tells Google that your page is about a product, what this product is, and the details about the product. You can learn more about product schema markup from Schema.org. While this step may seem like no big deal if you’ve already optimized your page tags, URL, description, etc., think again. It influences search result click-through-rate (CTR), which drives traffic to your page and is a signal Google looks at when it considers what to rank.
When you have markup in place, some of those attributes become part of the search result. Take Modcloth, for example, where you see the overall dress rating from product reviews.
While having the structured search result doesn’t increase your ranking alone, it gives your result more visibility. The search result page for “Take Mentor Stage Sheath Dress” illustrates that—the result with the reviews “pops” more than the other results:
When search results are more visible, their CTR increases, thereby increasing your traffic and likewise your page engagement. As we discussed with social media, this increases your chances of ranking well. For this reason, all your products should have product schema markup on their pages.
I’d like to give a shout out here to one of our open source projects at Indix. It’s a web auto-extractor that parses schema.org compliant product pages and converts them to structured product information. Check it out here.
A lot goes into a single product page optimization, but it’s worth it for the rankings and extra visibility which can, in turn, result in more visits, higher conversion rates, and more money for your company. While it may take effort to find the keywords you need to target and to write unique product descriptions, you can take care of the more technical items by having a page template that allows you to put the right keywords in the right places. With a template, you can focus on using the words that will most help Google understand your pages and determine rankings. When Google understands your pages, your customers will be able to find and buy your products more easily.
Also published on Medium.