In general, you can optimize an online shop for search engines just like any other website. But there are a few additional SEO techniques that you can use with your WooCommerce shop to achieve top rankings on Google & Co.
Basically, it’s very simple:
You have to get as many users as possible into your online shop, the users have to stay there for as long as possible and, if possible, not return to the Google search. If you then manage to get visitors to visit your online shop again, you are guaranteed a top ranking in the search engines. It’s pretty easy, isn’t it?
Let’s see how you can do this.
At the beginning of every SEO, the journey is keyword research. You should do this research even before the texts for your product pages are written. You need to know which search terms potential buyers use on Google and Co. to search for comparable products.
Even if the functionality of many free keyword tools is now very limited, keyword research can still be carried out free of charge.
Regardless of whether you use a free or a premium tool for your search for the right keywords, you should consider the following when defining your keywords:
You should use so-called long-tail keywords for your online shop. These are keywords with low SEO competition. It is therefore easier to rank well for these types of search terms. However, these search terms also tend to have a lower monthly search volume. Nevertheless, it is advisable to focus on long-tail keywords in SEO. Because it is better to appear on the first page of Google for a keyword with a low search volume than on the fifth page for a high-volume search term.
Here is the crucial difference from normal websites: For your online shop, you need keywords with a high purchase intention. The words “buy online” do not necessarily have to be attached to a search term. Google is now very good when it comes to interpreting the user’s search intention.
Here’s an example:
Which of these keywords has the highest purchase intent? We hope your answer is number 3. In this example, you will notice that the search terms with a high purchase intention are also long-tail keywords. For this reason, you should focus on exactly these types of keywords for your WooCommerce shop.
How do prospects get to your online shop? By offering relevant content. What does relevant content mean? The content on your WooCommerce shop must match the search query.
The search engine takes the first step: It scans your content (crawls) and its search algorithm decides for which search queries your content is displayed in the search results. The use of keywords and keyword synonyms helps with the initial classification of the content. However, they are only one of many factors that contribute to determining the ranking.
If you have managed to achieve a good positioning on the search results page with relevant content, then continue with the next step. You need to get searchers to click on your content preview (snippet). The keyword here is rich snippet optimization. What does this mean for the products in your online shop or for the associated product pages? You should use standard SEO techniques here. This means that you should use the previously defined keywords in the most important elements of your product pages:
In order to encourage the user to click on your search result, the main keyword must appear in the product title (page title of a product page). In addition, the product title should be designed to be as appealing and exciting as possible. Online shop operators like to add signal words (magnet words) to the product title, such as cheap, offer, discount, free return, etc., in order to achieve an even higher click rate.
You should be careful with terms like offer and discount. Strictly speaking, an offer is a temporary promotion. This means that you would also have to adjust your title and/or meta description regularly.
Both the product description and the meta description should be peppered with your keyword (variations). The meta description is of greater importance here, since it is displayed in the search results, and the keywords/search terms contained are highlighted in bold. This also encourages the user to click on the search result.
You can use the meta description e.g. B. Simply add via an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO.
An online shop has a different URL structure than normal websites. A possible URL could e.g. B. look like this:
Since Google prefers short URLs, you should make sure that the category name (or category tag) is as short as possible and, if possible, do it without a subcategory. The product name should only contain the main keyword in the URL. You can rather use the long-tail keywords in the title, the meta description, and the product description.
Possible optimization of the URL design could also be to completely remove the categories from the URL. You should optimize the category pages on your online shop separately for the search engines.
This makes sense if you z. B. additionally use breadcrumb navigation, which is also displayed in the search results.
On my test shop “solarshopus.com” I wanted to find out what influence the display of the stars in the search results has on the monthly traffic. The result after 2 months without stars showed no significant deterioration in Google’s traffic. Is the power of the stars overrated? Personally, I think that the star ratings are eye-catching and, together with the rest of the snippet optimization, they help to increase the click rate over the long term. For better SEO in your WooCommerce shop, you can easily activate or deactivate reviews:
Especially with products, it is important not only to appear in the general search but also in the image search. For this, your images must have a size of at least 320 pixels, which is usually the case when using WooCommerce. Also, don’t forget to include your keywords in the images. These belong in the alt text, the title, and even the filenames of your images.
The medium of video can help you in several ways to increase traffic in your online shop. On the one hand, videos are often shared via social media, so your shop can look forward to more social signals, which are also included in the Google ranking. On the other hand, by publishing your videos on YouTube, you can generate traffic from the second largest search engine in the world to your shop. It is therefore worthwhile to create videos for or about your products in several ways.
Tip: Google loves up-to-date content. Therefore, you should update the content of your online shop regularly. It is important not to change the content but only to supplement it. You could e.g. B. formulate the product description of your most important products in more detail, start running a blog that matches the shop, answer the most important questions about the products (FAQs), etc.
If you manage to integrate the right emotional triggers into your shop, you will increase visitor engagement. Indirectly, the time spent in your online shop is extended and Google receives the signal that the information on your site is valuable and suitable for the search query.
But not only emotional and informative content is crucial for engagement, but also an optimal technical basis for your WooCommerce shop. Fast loading times and good user-friendliness (usability) are very important for an online shop.
In addition, below you will find a few tips on how to increase the usability of your online shop and thus extend the time people spend on your shop.
No pages without added value
When tagging your products, make sure you only use tags that can be applied to multiple products. Otherwise, WordPress creates separate pages for the tags, which may only be associated with one product. Such pages have no added value for the user and also consume the crawling budget of the search engines unnecessarily. The same is also true for the attachment pages in WordPress. As soon as an image is uploaded to WordPress, WordPress creates a separate page for it with the attachment URL. However, you should forward this page to the associated media page. An easy way to do this is with the help of the Yoast SEO plugin.
Make sure that each page of your online shop can be reached with a maximum of 3 clicks from the start page. Incidentally, this usability rule applies to all types of websites, not just online shops.
Excellent navigation is even more important for an online shop with many product and category pages than for a normal website. Visitors need to be able to find their way around easily and get to the desired product without any problems.
The proven techniques from UX design are suitable for this, which would be:
Facet Search is the name of the search function that you can view on the Amazon site. It’s the detailed search on the left sidebar. Such a search function naturally contributes significantly to usability. Because the user can get to the product they are looking for almost “playfully” and at the same time, the time they spend in the shop is extended. However, this type of search is only suitable if your online shop consists of several products and product variations.
As already mentioned, by regularly updating your content, you can not only please the search engines. With successful content marketing, you can also offer your visitors real added value. With FAQs, field reports, and additional information about your products, you address visitors looking for information in particular and thereby automatically increase the length of time they stay in an online shop.
But beware! One should not make the mistake of wanting to extend the “time on site” with the most complicated possible delivery and payment conditions. As crazy as it sounds, this tactic could even have a positive effect on the length of stay. But the primary goal of a shop operator should be conversion, i. H. turning shop visitors into customers. It is doubtful whether he will succeed in doing so since prospective customers have to torment themselves with opaque terms and conditions.
In addition, a top ranking is always an interaction of several indicators and a low conversion rate has a negative effect on the user signal back to the SERP rate, which plays a decisive role in the following project.
How do you make sure your visitors don’t return to Google Search? Through conversion or conversion optimization. Top prices, positive and numerous customer reviews, smooth payment processes, and different payment methods can lead to higher sales figures in your online shop. However, conversion does not necessarily mean that visitors buy your products immediately. There are studies that show that prospects visit a website up to seven times before making a purchase.
That’s why statistics are understandable that say that returning visitors have a higher interaction than new visitors. This increased interaction is reflected both in clicks on advertisements and in the direct purchase of the products. You should therefore try to keep the rate of returning visitors within a healthy range, for example by integrating a newsletter. Unfortunately, there are few reference values from the industry as to how high a good returning visitor rate should be. But it is enough to examine the influence of your own returning visitor rate on conversion and to continuously optimize it.
And always remember: You can only optimize the conversion rate if you know the current status. Therefore, an analysis tool such as Google Analytics, for example, is a basic prerequisite for always having an overview of the most important key figures of your shop.
As you can see, there are a few things you should be aware of specifically when it comes to WooCommerce SEO. As is so often the case, it’s the supposedly small things, such as B. the use of suitable magnet words, which can have a major impact on the ranking of your online shop. Finally, we would like to emphasize that search engine optimization is a continuous process. Make your SEO assumptions, also with the help of the tips from this article, analyze the results and make adjustments to improve the ranking of your WooCommerce shop in the long term.