October 15, 2018
Building an ecommerce website these days is tricky business, especially if you want to do it yourself.
That said, there are still tools out there that are designed to help make this process a little easier.
WooCommerce is one such tool.
In this article, I want to take a deep dive into what WooCommerce has to offer, how they can impact your SEO and some tips that will help you boost your online store’s traffic.
So to get started, let’s look at what WooCommerce has to offer your business.
Simply put, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that allows you to build optimized and user-friendly product pages that will help you grow your online store. Unlike dedicated store platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, WooCommerce acts as an addition to your website.
That means that it is going to tie overall performance to how good of a job you’ve done building your WordPress website. That can be a little more tricky.
But it also means there’s much more flexibility, which is probably why they’ve been downloaded more than 50 million times. They also boast a diverse client base, selling everything from mattresses to cupcakes.
They claim to have built the platform itself with best practices in mind.
And with a broad variety of extensions, WooCommerce is a good platform to integrate with inventory management, sales tracking, and even payment processors.
So if you have a pre-existing brick-and-mortar operation, you don’t have to change everything up to add on a mobile site. That’s a huge plus for many brands.
Here’s a good video overview of everything that you can do with the WooCommerce platform:
So to sum everything up, WooCommerce is easy to install, flexible, and free. You’ll only need to pay for extensions and other tools that allow you extra capabilities when growing your online store.
But now for the tough question – can WooCommerce get you to the top of the search results on Google or Bing?
The short answer to this question is “yes.”
The longer answer is that the WooCommerce platform is custom-built for SEO, but it’s only as good as your overall e-commerce SEO strategy. The coding WooCommerce uses is a great start, but you still need to do quite a bit of legwork to be at the top of the different search engines.
And from a big-picture view, going with WooCommerce for SEO is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it makes up a staggering 35% of the entire Internet.
So if any platform is going to be simultaneously good and bad for your SEO, it’s WooCommerce. It’s very good at what it does, especially for Ecommerce SEO. Hence, everyone uses it.
And since everyone uses it, the competition is that much higher. Shopify boasts fewer sites but more in the top 10,000.
Don’t let that dissuade you from using WooCommerce though.
They’re still arguably one of the best, most customizable online store builders on the web, and they could very well be your best option.
So if you do decide to use them, you’ll want to keep these five tips in mind as you build and refine your website.
Since you’re using WordPress to build your site, you have the distinct advantage of getting to use powerful plugins to add functionality to your site.
One of the best of these is the Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin, which consequently is one of the top 10 most downloaded WordPress plugins.
For good reason, too.
Out of the box, WooCommerce has a solid SEO structure, but there’s still plenty of work you can do. The Yoast plugin will allow you to easily cover most potential SEO pitfalls with your online store, which makes it worth every penny.
In short, it helps ensure that you don’t forget details like your meta descriptions, keywords, and other vital SEO elements. As a bonus, it also takes care of your sitemap, so updates get sent to Google quickly and with minimal effort.
One of the most basic SEO tips that every ecommerce store should follow is to create good headlines for their product pages.
Headlines are a well-documented part of SEO. In one study, a brand was able to climb three spots on Google by merely optimizing their headline. That’s a lot of reward for not much of a change.
So when you’re creating a headline for your product, take time to make sure that it’s unique, attention-grabbing, and different enough from your competition to stand out.
Using a tool like CoSchedule’s headline optimizer is a great way to generate creative headlines if you hit a creative roadblock.
You can also check out more of our headline tips to help inspire and direct your efforts. It may not seem like much, but every inch is essential for SEO.
It’s tempting at times to try to be a little lazy when it comes to your product descriptions. After all, how different do the descriptions for similar products that you own really need to be?
That type of thinking leads to duplicate content, which can very easily hurt your SEO.
When you have duplicate content on your site, Google has to decide which is the original.
And when it decides on an original, that’s the only one that’s going to have a shot at being ranked. If the products are different, that’s a huge problem.
Your best line of defense against this is to ensure that you have unique, engaging copy on all of your product pages. This lets Google see that you’ve got a broader variety of unique products, and increases the chances that you’ll get a better ranking.
Since you build WooCommerce off your WordPress website, you’ll have more control over every aspect of how you develop and execute your final product. That can be a double-edged sword though.
When you build a site, especially for ecommerce, you need to think about the overall site structure. This defines how a user flows from one page to the next in a logical way.
If the site isn’t logical, then it’s going to be very easy for your visitor to get lost. If they can’t get from your homepage to their desired product in just a few clicks, then they’re not going to buy from you.
So taking the time to make sure that your pages flow logically without too much friction is vital. The same structure applies to any content that you create also.
And a big part of that is using a URL structure that mirrors your site’s overall navigation scheme as well. Thankfully, you can use a plugin like the WooCommerce permalink manager to help with both of these efforts.
Last but not least, if you want to stand out with WooCommerce, you need to utilize rich snippets to help Google users find your product page with ease.
Rich snippets are elements of your page that you want to appear in the search engine results page. That means you can add details like reviews and images that help entice viewers to click.
The backend of this can get very technical, too, so your best bet to keep it simple is to use a plugin like All In One Schema Rich Snippets. This will let you create rich snippets, track them to see what’s working, and then edit as necessary.
It’s also worth mentioning that you may not see rich snippets for quite some time after you create them. According to Google, it could take “a month or so.”
But SEO is a long-term effort, so you should still take the time to use rich snippets for your WooCommerce product pages.
A recent study showed that a one-second delay on your site will net 7% fewer conversions on your website. If you have a high-traffic site, that could translate to losses in the millions over the course of a year.
So site speed is important, both on a normal web browser and for mobile sites. Thankfully, if you sell through WooCommerce with a WordPress site, you have a wide variety of options to help make your site faster.
Start by assessing your website to see how you are currently performing. A tool you can use for that is the free WebPagetest site.
This will give you a baseline to make changes and improve site speed with.
Next, you’ll need to research and find ways to improve your site’s overall speed. There are a whole host of changes you can make to speed up a WordPress site, such as:
And that’s just a few options. There are plenty of plugins, tricks, and tips that can help you optimize your speed and stop losing your traffic or conversions.
When you’re building an SEO strategy, most businesses focus most of their efforts on building backlinks (or inbound links). While these will help your authority and rank in Google’s eyes, they’re only one piece of the puzzle.
When you’re crafting the copy on your blog, homepage, landing pages, and product pages, you need to consider how you want Google to read and follow the links you include on those pages.
That’s why internal links are so important. They signal to Google what you value internally on your site, which can help them weigh and rank your most important pages accordingly.
John Mueller from Google put it this way:
“So position on a page for internal links is pretty much irrelevant from our point of view. We crawl, we use these mostly for crawling within a website, for understanding the context of individual pages within a website.
And by emphasizing the right pages, you can dictate to Google with products and pages need to stand out.
Using this method, you have a little more say in your overall SEO strategy and can impact Google’s interpretation on your site. Otherwise, Google just has to guess, which isn’t as good for you.
When someone comes to your site or sees your product on a search engine, one of the first elements that they’ll notice is the image you use.
If that image is grainy, poorly shot, or not representative of the final product, there’s a good chance that will drive visitors away from your site. Like it or not, visuals are essential for building traffic.
So when creating images to put on your site, keep some of these tips in mind:
And if you’re not a practiced photographer, or if you lack the equipment, hiring someone to take product photos can be a great investment. You’ll lose more from bad images than you pay to get good ones.
One final consideration with images is to ensure that the size doesn’t negatively impact your SEO. Depending on what type of file you use when you add an image, it could drastically impact how large the final page ends up.
Whenever possible, use the smallest file size available. When you couple a small-sized image with a high-quality photo, your SEO will be much better off.
WooCommerce makes up more than one-third of the Internet, so you know it can be a great way to build your online store.
With plenty of plugin options, tons of flexibility, and an excellent SEO potential, it’s hard to see where you could go wrong with WooCommerce.
Start by installing the Yoast SEO plugin for WooCommerce. This will act as your first line of defense for SEO and can fill in the gaps as you learn what works best for your site.
You should also take the time to optimize your headlines and create unique product descriptions that Google and its users will want to read.
It’s also a good idea to ensure that your site has a logical structure that allows users to flow through and convert as easily as possible.
Be sure to utilize rich snippets that entice visitors to click on your product pages and see what you have to offer. When paired with increased site speeds, you can see more traffic and better sales over time.
Adding internal links is also a great way to boost your WooCommerce SEO, as this gives crawlers a better idea of what you think is important.
And finally, make sure that you use quality images with small file sizes. This will help users see your products and not leave from slow load times.
With all of these tips and tools in place, you’ll be better situated to win traffic and convert them into customers in the long-term. Your SEO will be off to a great start, which is exactly why WooCommerce is such an appealing platform.
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