You want to build a store that shows your products off on the first page of Google’s search results. But, can a WooCommerce store be made SEO friendly? Additionally, what can you do to make your site rank high?
WordPress and WooCommerce are SEO-compliant by default. But you need to optimise your site and content to rank high. Content optimisation encompasses a list of tasks added to your workflow that are designed to help Google understand your store. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most impactful SEO techniques that you can use to help you reach your goals.
TL;DR: Every aspect of your site needs to be optimised for a search engine, including images, text, and code. An SEO plugin like RankMath will help reduce that workload and automate some optimisation tasks. Additionally, we recommend backing up your site with BlogVault.
If you have a store selling fishing supplies, your products will not show up during a search for dog shampoo. And nor do you want it to. For Google to show your products to a user, the products need to be relevant to the search query. Your site must also provide a pleasant experience for the consumer and be easy to navigate. All SEO tips are ways for your site to meet these three criteria. With that in mind, let’s dive into all things SEO and WooCommerce.
Is WooCommerce good for SEO?
We answered this briefly, earlier on in the article. But, if you’re unfamiliar with WooCommerce, you might want to know what makes WooCommerce SEO compliant.
To be SEO compliant means that your site meets Google’s standards for a site. Meeting those standards are necessary to even show up on the 5th page of the search results WordPress is, by default, SEO compliant. WooCommerce is a plugin that turns your WordPress site into an online store. So, WooCommerce is ipso facto SEO-compliant. But this doesn’t mean that your WooCommerce site will rank in the first page. That’s where optimisation comes in.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into how you can optimise your WooCommerce store for search engine results.
15 WooCommerce SEO tips and tricks
In this section we’ll cover all aspects of your site from content to site structure. The goal is to have a site that is easy to understand by Google search bot and a great consumer experience.
1. Keyword research
Keywords are essentially the cornerstone of SEO. They help Google understand what your page is about and decide if your product is a relevant answer to a query. If you sell red boots, for example, some popular keywords could be:
lace up boots for women
These are words that customers are searching for and words that your boots store should be using in product titles and descriptions, among other places.
Check other e-commerce platforms to find out what words are relevant to your site and products. You can also use keyword research tools like SEMrush, or Ahrefs to do so.
URLs have to be clear, simple to read and easy to identify. In WordPress, they are automatically formatted in a certain way, and sometimes this can have a lot of unnecessary characters. We also recommend setting up Permalinks in the Permalinks Settings menu on your wp-admin dashboard. They are shorter, more aesthetic URLs, which indicate what a page is about. They are also used by Googlebot to recognise where the page fits within the site structure. You can also customise to display which folder that page is in. This is good for users to be able to understand where they are, in your site. It also helps SEO analysts identify a page from looking at the URL on an analytics console.
For individual posts and pages, you can customise the slug from the post editor page.
3. Site structure
Structure is key for a search engine to crawl your site and for customers to be able to easily browse your shop. It’s important to have categories that are logical and hierarchical. If we take the red boots example again, your store could have a category hierarchy as follows:
apparel > shoes > boots
So, if a customer was on the apparel category page, it’s an obvious identifier of what the page is about. Customers are also able to filter out what they don’t want to scroll through. Even adding breadcrumbs, while not strictly necessary from an SEO perspective, can be a good way to help navigation. Breadcrumbs show exactly where a particular page is located within a site structure.
A product or page title is the biggest identifier of what a page is about. It needs to be easy to read, easy to understand, and use focus keywords. It has to sound natural and describe what the product is in human terms. Take for example the following two titles of boots
Amazon product titleAliBaba product title
The Amazon one sounds more normal and is descriptive of what the product is.
Images increase the time it takes for a page to load. So the key is to find the balance between keeping the quality and compressing your images. It’s important to have a small resolution, reduced size, and lighter format for speed. We recommend using JPEG formats because they minimise loss when compressing.
The same rules apply to descriptions as they do to titles. They have to be able to convey what the product is to both Google and your customer. They also have to use relevant keywords to describe the product.
7. Meta description
The meta description is the short piece of text that comes up below the title in a search engine result. It’s a description of what the article is about. It’s usually auto-populated by Google. But, you can use an SEO plugin to add a custom one with relevant keywords. If the meta description is picked up by Google, you have an opportunity to give users a sneak peak of the article’s contents.
Schema is code that gives search engines more information about your site. You can either install an SEO plugin or add the schema manually. A very popular example of schema is a rich snippet. A rich snippet is the additional information that a search engine provides about a search result. The image below is an example of what we mean.
9. Internal links
If you can picture all the pages on your site as entities, internal links are the relationships that connect them. THey’re hyperlinks that connect to a different page of your site. You’ll notice we use internal links to connect you to other articles that you might find helpful. Adding them keeps traffic on your site for longer. Another example, from an e-commerce perspective, are the related products section as seen below.
10. Faceted Navigation
Faceted navigation is essentially the ability to filter your products by categories, brands, colours, etc. This is important for customers to have a good shipping experience. A good shopping experience means that Google ranks your site higher.
11. Duplicate content
Duplicate content causes cannibalisation. Cannibalisation occurs when the same site has two or more pages that use the same focus keywords. This causes Google to be confused which page to rank higher. This often results in pages you didn’t mean to rank, to rank higher.
There is a long-standing myth in SEO circles which says that Google penalises sites for duplicate content. While this is not strictly true, Google does filter out pages which have identical content, as this does not give their users a good experience. So effectively, this is a penalty for some of your pages. Google does impose a penalty for sites that attempt to manipulate search engines and duplicate content can be used to do this. Overall, we recommend removing any duplicate content.
12. Choose the right theme
The right theme is one that is not only aesthetically beautiful, but doesn’t slow down your site. There are lots of themes that have light, optimised code for your WooCommerce store. Astra is a great example because their themes are built by reputed developers. Good developers also ensure other factors like customer experience and frequent updates are taken care of and more likely to be compatible with popular plugins. We recommend you check reviews of the theme to find out if it is a good theme or not. But, if you’ve already chosen a theme, we recommend installing Airlift. It’s a plugin that is designed to optimise your site for speed.
13. Site speed
While we’re on the topic of speed, let’s talk about how to optimise it. A slow website is notorious for driving traffic away from your site. It’s also bad for SEO because Google doesn’t want to show a site that is slow. The speed of a site directly tied to the code that is involved in the site’s functioning. This includes plugin, theme, and image code. Use Airlift, a speed plugin that optimises the code, to make your site significantly faster.
Backlinks are links on other sites that lead to your site. You can list your products on affiliate programs, for example. You can also link to your site and products from your social media. The improve credibility because it tells Google that you are trusted by other platforms.
15. Prioritise security
As we’ve established, Google only showcases sites that offer a good experience for traffic. Part of a good experience is ensuring that your site doesn’t have malware. Imagine a hacker sends out a phishing email posing as you to your customers, and some of them end up giving up personal data because they trust you and your site. Or a customer comes onto your site to buy a product, and is whisked off to an online pharmacy or a one with unsavoury content. None of these experiences are your fault, but you can rest assured your brand will take a hit.
This is why we recommend installing a plugin like MalCare. MalCare is a complete WordPress security solution that scans for, cleans, and protects your site from malware. As a side note, we would recommend every WordPress site install MalCare, no matter what type.
Another aspect of security is HTTPs. It’s a website with an added layer of security called SSL. Your site will need an SSL certificate and it’s usually provided by your website host. You can tell a site has HTTPs fro the lock icon in the URL. This helps Google know your site is secure and is especially important since WooCommerce sites handle transactions and sensitive data.
What are our WooCommerce site management recommendations?
Apart from a security plugin, what are some other site essentials? What is required to manage your store well? Here are our top 3 recommendations:
BlogVault: BlogVault takes real time backups of your WooCommerce site. This means every single product, inventory change, order, new customer, and invoice is saved throughout the day.. Even if your site crashes, you can restore all your data immediately with a BlogVault backup.
Page builder plugins: Page builder plugins are great tools to designing the perfect site. You can use the drag-and-drop interfaces to build the perfect product showcase, without needing to write a single line of code. Use Elementor to build your WooCommerce site, or check out other page editors like Divi, Gutenberg, WP Bakery, and Beaver Builder.
Payment gateways: If you are selling products or services, you need a way to get paid. Payment gateways take away the immense hassle of creating your own payment mechanism and integrating with various banks and payment processors. Choose a payment gateway that works best for your audience. We also have tutorials on setting up Stripe, PayPal, and ApplePay.
These 15 tips are a comprehensive starting point, but they are just a starting point. Once you set yourself up with all the tools to provide SEO insights, you will get the best results if you maintain these processes. This could mean revamping titles or reworking content in order to improve rankings and distribution via search. It may be an effort, but it is definitely is worth it.
How to optimise your WooCommerce SEO?
Create keyword-friendly content, optimise your product images, create a great site structure, and make sure the site is fast and secure. These are the top ways to optimise your site for a search engine.
Which is the best SEO plugin for WooCommerce?
The best SEO plugin for beginners is AIOSEO but check out this article comparing some of the top SEO plugins for a WooCommerce site.
What are the best SEO practices?
We recommend having a fast site, adding a lot of internal and external links, using keyword-friendly content, optimising your site structure, and keeping it secure as some practices that make your site SEO-friendly.
The post WooCommerce SEO: The Easy Guide to Ranking Your Store Better appeared first on Malcare.