In Search of the Perfect SEO Product Page (Oh, and a hello!)

Hi, there! My name is Mike Pantoliano and I’m the newest SEO consultant working for Distilled in the US. I’m terribly excited to be joining the ridiculously talented team both in the UK and the US, and I’ve already learned a great deal from the bright minds with which I’ve surrounded myself. I hope to provide this blog with contributions that are in line with some of the stellar work written by my new colleagues. You can read my full bio over at the Distilled US site, and you can find me on Twitter @MikeCP.

Establishing a successful eCommerce shop in any semi-competitive niche takes time, SEO know-how, marketing ability, and more. Building links to an eCommerce site is hard enough, so it’s important to make sure your on-page SEO elements are in place so that any links that you do grab provide the most benefit possible. To help with this, I’d like to discuss the key on-page elements to arguably the most important page on an eCommerce site: the product page.

Title Tag

No shocker here. The title tag matters...a lot. For most product sets, having your CMS generate a title tag along these lines - {Manufacturer} {Product Name} {Variation or SKU} | {Web store name} - is a good start. Unless your web store has become almost synonymous with your industry, there isn’t much of a reason to have your store anywhere near the front of the title.



Title tag storefront image

Just sit back and watch the traffic roll in

Consult with your favorite keyword research tool here to help in product naming. The first 3 or 4 words of your title tag are crucial, so if your seed phrase is finding its way towards the end of the tag, you may want to adjust your formula.

Bonus: If there’s room in the first 70 characters for your unique selling proposition, go for it. Your title is the clickable link from the SERPs, so if you’re the only one in town offering free shipping then you’ll want the searcher to know.

H1

Your product name should be your H1. The H1 won’t be all that different from the title, but don’t worry. Not only is the right move for the search bot, but it continues the scent for the user who has an expectation coming from the SERPs.


Electric Scissors

H1 of Whizzers or Cordless Power Scissors. I cant decide!

 

Breadcrumbs

Don’t forget about breadcrumbs! They are a fantastic way to reinforce your site hierarchy and keyword strength. Once again, you’re doing right by the engines and the users here. Remember that a flat site architecture ensures maximum crawlability, so your breadcrumbs should go back 2 or 3 levels at most.

Images

Every image should have an alt attribute, no exceptions. Setting the product name to automatically populate as your image alt is a nice fallback. Even better, your CMS would allow for a modifier in the case of multiple images (i.e. {Product Name} - Front, {Product Name} - Back).

Product Description

Put simply: write a completely unique description for EVERY product on your site. This is your best opportunity to tell the search engines that your site is relevant for more than just the exact product name. In other words, if you want long-tail traffic, this is where you can get it.

The thought of having to write this much content could be frightening, especially for large sites, but it’s worth it. Set a goal of getting 20 done per day, hire a writer, have your kid do it for you, whatever it takes. Just get it done.

Descriptions should be at least 150 words. They can be a product review, a fleshed out set of product specifications, a heavily modified version of the manufacturer’s description, an amusing anecdote about the product, etc.

Write naturally and the keyword density should be just fine. Your product description is a great place to make use of alternate phrasing where search volume dictates. An example: “Dog door” and “doggy door”. Use the higher search volume keyphrase (dog door) as the product name and title, and sprinkle the product description with your lower search volume terms (doggy door).

Allow me to demonstrate:

Let me tell you a little bit about electric scissors: A long time ago in a far away place...

yadda yadda yadda.

“These scissors just saved my life!” he said.

blah blah blah.

And that’s why you need electronic scissors in your life!

The URL

Do not go out of your way to include as many keywords as possible in your URL. The formula - domain.com/category/(subcategory/)brand-product-name-sku/ - works well. A long URL isn’t necessarily an SEO no-no, but it can be a turn off for the user and acts as a sharing deterrent.

User Content (Reviews)

Implement the ability for the customer to write reviews and rate products, but make sure that these contributions are rendering on-page in static HTML. If the reviews are javascript there’s a good chance the engine bots will be unable to spider them, and your site will receive no SEO benefit. If the reviews are static, they should appear when you view the page source.

Aside from the conversion rate benefit of reviews, they also help to keep your product pages fresh and updated. The search bots will visit more frequently and reindex all of the wonderful new content supplied by your customers. Reviews also provide the benefit of increased keyword usage, yet another plus.


Tuscan Whole Milk Review

A glowing review - And keyword dense!

 

Blog Tie-In

You do have a blog for your eCommerce site, right? Thought so! Include a link to any of the blog posts that have mentioned the product either in the description or a separate call-out. Much like the breadcrumbs, linking to related content on the same domain from your product page increases the perceived relevance for both the user and the search engine.

A note about “boiler plate” text:

Including shipping and sizing information on the product page is a great idea, because that is where the user is most likely to desire that information. However, it can add up to a substantial bit of identical text appearing on a shed load of pages. I think a great compromise here is to link to these assurances via a call-out, and lightbox the content in to the page. Your user gets their question answered and stays on- page, and the search engine doesn’t read the same text on 5,000 different product pages.

In Conclusion

One thing I like about developing a good SEO’d product page template is that almost everything done for the purpose of improving on-page SEO also provides conversion rate benefit.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog post here at Distilled!

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Mike, Great kick off to your blogging on Distilled. There's a lack of good info on SEOing product pages, so thanks for the refresher.

    reply >
  2. Hi Mike,

    We have recently just gone live with our site and are just starting to upload products. We are getting a copywriter to work on all our product descriptions and I am slowly changing small things in the website to make it more seo friendly. However the one question I have is - Our product reviews are on a seperate page from our products, would it be better to have a review tabs on our product description page instead so that of the text is within one web page?

    Thankyou

    Glynn

    reply >
  3. Excellent points, these are all very common SEO elements and should not be avoided. Ironically as simple as they are I get to deal with so many sites, which I optimize that totally ignored these basic principles.

    reply >
  4. Thanks Mike,

    There is so much conflicting opinions about good SEO and how to create an SEO friendly page; I will definitely use these tips in the future.

    Cheers,

    Phil

    reply >

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