WordPress has worked hard to become one of the leading platforms for online businesses. What started as a chance to have a free website has now evolved into a massive platform full of extensions and plugins that allow companies to create a fully-customized eCommerce solution for their brand, no matter what their marketing budget looks like.
Enter WooCommerce, the eCommerce platform that every business needs. This platform, unlike others, offers a variety of customization features and allows businesses to create more of a personalized online store without investing in a full custom-developed solution. This open-source tool can be combined with WordPress and a number of other tools and plugins to create a dynamic solution that will easily boost your revenue in no time. Keep reading to learn more about this platform, what it offers, and how you can use it to make the most of your SEO campaigns.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open-source (free) eCommerce platform. It was designed to work with WordPress sites specifically, and as we mentioned above, it has several of its own plugins and tools available, as well. Most of the online eCommerce solutions that are available today have some type of monthly service fee involved in their use. This is what initially makes the WooCommerce platform so desirable to online retailers.
This platform is responsible for the eCommerce of as many as 30% of the online stores out there today, and that number is only continuing to grow. There are literally hundreds of extensions and using this platform enables you to sell anything from just about anywhere in the world. The highlights of WooCommerce include:
- Provide instant downloads and multiple product configurations and variations
- Sell affiliate goods through online marketplaces
- Customize all payment and shipping options
- Customize the entire site using Storefront
- Track your inventory and access various reports and analytics
- Scale the look of your store from simple to stylish high-end designs
Perks of WooCommerce
There are a number of benefits to choosing this platform for eCommerce. For starters, it’s easy to integrate with WordPress and anyone who has basic developing skills can even perform a manual setup of their store. The fact that this platform is free to install is also an advantage over the competition.
The plugin also allows store owners to maintain all control of their data. With some hosted solutions, businesses worry that they might lose data if the company goes under or something else happens. You won’t have that concern with WooCommerce. You’ll be able to know that your data is safe at all times. Even though some of the extensions that can be used with the platform have their own costs, it’s still one of the most affordable options for those who want more control.
Is it SEO friendly?
Perhaps the biggest benefit of this platform is that, yes, it is SEO-friendly. Not only does it integrate with WordPress seamlessly, but it allows you to use the WordPress editor to edit content, title tags, image tags, meta descriptions, and URLs so that they are optimized for search engines and consumers. Your product pages can be optimized in a matter of minutes.
This plugin is ready to go out of the box, but the great thing is that there are also other techniques and tools that you can also incorporate to further increase the results of your SEO campaigns. The biggest downside here, and perhaps the biggest downside of the plugin entirely, is that you will have to do all of the work yourself. You will have to add product tags, descriptions, images, and other optimization elements on your own, but it is fairly quick and easy to do.
One other option, of course, is to entrust your SEO management to a professional agency that will take care of everything for you. Either way you go about it, though, the plugin itself and a number of other available tools are SEO-friendly and ready to help you optimize your site.
Building out your WooCommerce SEO
When you are setting up all of the SEO on your WooCommerce platform, you’ll want to make sure that you have a strategy in place. Building out your campaign starts by adding the WooCommerce plugin and then performing relevant keyword research. You should also perform an analysis of where your SEO currently stands and use that information to help you plan and strategize for the future.
Make sure that you use strategic keywords in links and anchor text to help drive up SEO rankings. Don’t be redundant, of course, and don’t overdo it, but make sure that if you’re linking, the words you use are chosen carefully. It’s all about providing relevant information and utilizing keywords when and how you can.
One of the biggest steps in building out your WooCommerce SEO is to stop and analyze your URL structure. This is one area that most sites can improve significantly, but most don’t even think to bother. The standard formula for effective, SEO-friendly URLs is:
- Keyword relevant
- Correct length
- Proper format
Here’s an example to show you what we mean:
Could be much more effective if you updated the URL to reflect the product page:
Not only does the second URL give the search engine more to index, but it tells your customer right where they’re going and what they’ll see when they arrive.
Next, you’ll want to use your keyword research to go through and optimize every aspect of your website and store, including:
- All content and product pages
- Product descriptions
- Images and image tags
- Alt and meta tags
- Page titles
- Links and anchor text
There are so many different areas where you can build out your WooCommerce SEO once you implement the plugin. Keep reading to learn more about ranking at the top with the right integration and which tools will be best to add to your stack.
How to rank #1 in your WooCommerce niche
If you really want to rank in the top spot within your specific niche, you need to know how to use the WooCommerce SEO features and plugins to the best of your ability. As an online retailer, there are some differences between SEO for your site and traditional website SEO. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Write Longer Descriptions
Google is a fan of in-depth content. Therefore, if you want to rank better in search engines, you need to provide thorough product descriptions. It’s not about just writing as much content as you can. It has to add value. Get creative and provide people with all of the details so that you can give them more confidence in their buying decisions. At the same time, you’ll be appeasing Google and giving your SEO efforts a boost.
- Include Keywords
All of your product descriptions should include proper keywords and phrases that are relevant to the product. Consider terms that buyers would search for as well as what the search engines rank highest so that you can have a good balance. Remember not to stuff keywords, of course, because less is always more.
- Create Unique, Informative Descriptions
It can be tempting to use the manufacturer descriptions for your products because they’re already there. However, this is the worst thing that you could do for your SEO and your customers. These generic descriptions don’t give people what they want to know. Make it personal and provide a personalized product description for every item in your store.
- Use and Optimize Images
Too often, eCommerce retailers overlook the value of images. The reality is, however, that images are half of the product listing. Not only do people want to see what they’re getting but search engines want to know that you’re connecting people with the things that they need. You need to take advantage of image title tags and alt tags for optimization, as well, but your SEO management team can handle the details for you.
- Simple Site Navigation
While navigation might not seem like something that would be a concern in search optimization, it actually plays a bigger role than you think. First of all, a simple navigation shows search engines that your site is user-friendly. Secondly, it shows users the same thing. One of the best practices is to leave “breadcrumbs”, or provide a backlink to the rest of the site on each page so that there’s a clear picture of the site structure. This allows users and search engines alike to see what your site’s architecture is like.
The best WooCommerce SEO plugins
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, WooCommerce has a number of available SEO plugins and tools of its own. These can help to automate some of the tasks that you typically have to perform on your own, provide detailed analytics, and so much more. If you take the time to explore what’s out there, you’ll find out that there are a lot more tools and customization options than you might have expected.
Some of the top-performing and most-used WooCommerce plugins include:
- Yoast SEO: This SEO tool lets you target a specific keyword for each different page on your website. You’ll also get suggestions for the most effective uses of keywords, and more.
- Broken Link Checker: There are some cases where you’ll want to make a 404 error a little fun. However, there are more often cases where you’ll want to avoid them entirely. With the plugin Broken Link Checker, you can find all of your broken links and reduce your bounce rates. Plus, when you have fewer broken links, it will increase your credibility with customers.
- MonsterInsights: This plugin is all about analytics, giving you powerful information right at your fingertips. You can enjoy all the perks of Google Analytics without leaving your admin area on WordPress, monitor traffic spikes in real time, and run amazing reports right in the tool that provide detailed information on sales, inventory, customers, and more.
- WooCommerce Products Filter: While it’s not directly designed for SEO, having the option to filter products by product tags, price, and other attributes or categories is going to make the shopping experience easier for customers. It will also give you the chance to have more opportunities to work in keywords in setting up the filter system.
- All in One SEO Pack: This is a direct competitor of Yoast SEO, but it is a great beginner plugin that includes a host of basic solutions. What sets it apart is the fact that it can be set up to run automatically with minimal intervention on your part.
- WP Smushit: If you want to capitalize on image SEO, this is the plugin that you need. This tool allows you to compress, optimize, resize, and otherwise improve and modify your images without affecting the quality. It’s compatible with a variety of media library plugins and supports a number of formats.
Doing SEO for product pages
When you get to your product pages and descriptions, how you write them matters as much as how you optimize them. SEO is integral in every aspect of your site, and especially on product pages. You will want to include common keywords and phrases that people might search to find your online store and the products that you sell. You’ll also want to utilize keyword tools to help you find the best ones for your optimization needs.
Why do you need SEO for product pages? Well, not only does it help search engines figure out what the page is about and how to direct people there, but it helps shoppers get the information and insight that they need to make the best purchase. Keep in mind that the same general rules of SEO apply here. What does that mean?
That means that while you should be using keywords and certain phrases in your descriptions and product pages, you shouldn’t be stuffing them all over the place. Your focus should be on providing informational content that your visitors can gain value from and use to help them make a decision. Search engines will pay attention to this as much as your customers will. Your product pages should have SEO incorporated in:
- The product title and meta description
- The title tag and alt tags
- Any images or image tags
- The product description and other content
- The URL
- The navigation elements
Basically, if you can find a way to put a keyword where another word is currently placed, you should take advantage of that. You don’t want to overdo it, but all of the areas above need to be optimized effectively if you are going to get the best results with WooCommerce SEO.
Do you need product tags for SEO?
You absolutely need to utilize product tags in your eCommerce SEO. Tags were created specifically for optimization purposes. It would be remiss not to capitalize on their value. It’s a way that you can insert relevant keywords and phrases into your content directly. You should optimize all of your product titles, tags, images, and image tags to ensure that they are indexed by search engines and easily searched by customers.
Categories and tags also make it easy to organize your eCommerce store, and since every product tag and category that you create has its own page, that means you will have more pages indexed and listed by the various search engines. Remember that tags are specific keywords, such as “semi formal” for a dress listing, whereas a category might be “dresses”– you have to get specific with tags.
The tags also give you a chance to reach a number of queries that you might not have access to without them. For example, you could list a seven inch glass vase with tags that include “vase”, “glass vase”, “7” vase”, and so forth. That way, when the shopper performs a search or the page is indexed, the tags will get the results that people and search engines are looking for.
Tags won’t make or break your SEO with WooCommerce or in any other capacity. However, they can play a significant role in the overall success of your SEO campaigns if you are using them effectively.
A quick tutorial for WooCommerce SEO
Using WooCommerce SEO solutions is a great way to improve your campaigns. However, it’s also something that you might need to spend a little time learning. To help, we’ve created this quick tutorial to walk you through the basic steps of incorporating SEO with the WooCommerce platform. Of course, this tutorial assumes that you already have the WordPress website set up and optimized. Once you have done that, you can move on to the following steps.
- Write SEO Product Titles: In your editor, there’s a place for SEO product titles. Here, you’ll want to utilize relevant keywords to generate titles for every product page and description that are SEO-friendly.
- Add SEO Product Descriptions: Right in the editor, you can type or past in your SEO-friendly product descriptions, which will allow you to again catch the interest of your customer and the search engines alike. Remember the correct way to write descriptions– provide in-depth, informative information.
- Optimize “Slugs”: These are your permalinks, and they are often automatically generated based on your chosen titles. If you aren’t careful, they may not be SEO-optimized automatically. Make sure that you always check your permalinks to ensure they’re optimized and that you change them if necessary.
- Enable Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are essentially a digital trail that can be generated by your website. If you’re using YoastSEO, you’ll find it under the SEO>Search Appearance setting. Other tools may have similar settings where you can enable breadcrumbs. It’s usually got a setting of its own so you just click “enable” and you’ll be good to go.
- Depending on the WooCommerce theme that you’ve chosen, you may need to add a little bit of code to enable the display of breadcrumbs. Fortunately, if you’ve got someone managing your SEO, they can handle this detail so that you don’t have to worry about getting into coding and developing if you aren’t comfortable doing the work.
The last thing that you’ll want to do, even though it has nothing to do with SEO, is to take the time to improve your WooCommerce security so that you can give your customers a safe space to shop. Not only will you have the most optimized site on the web, but you’ll have a safe and reliable solution, as well.
Is WooCommerce the Way to Go?
There are so many different WordPress plugins out there and even just for eCommerce, there are at least a handful that you can choose from. How can you know, then, that WooCommerce is the right solution for your needs? Ultimately, there’s no single right or wrong answer for every SEO need. It’s all about getting what suits your business and your goals for SEO in relation to your eCommerce store. This platform has a lot to offer, and since it’s free to get started with the plugin by itself, it might be the frugal choice for some.
WooCommerce SEO is quickly becoming a hot topic in the industry and is consistently being chosen by more and more online retailers who want a seamless eCommerce experience. This platform offers a number of easy-to-use features, no monthly fees, and plenty of other perks. You may have to pay for additional plugins that you find, but the cost will still be minimal compared to a lot of the eCommerce solutions with high monthly fees. If you want simplicity in your eCommerce SEO success, the WooCommerce platform and its SEO solutions are the way to go.