How to Boost Your Ecommerce SEO With a Few WordPress Tweaks

 This is a guest post by Catalin Zorzini. 
Oh SEO, the dreaded three letters that make just about every ecommerce webmaster cringe. You look at Google and search for your keywords and realize that all of your sales depend on how well your site ranks on the first page, especially since 70 percent of users never scroll past the first page.

You can grab one of the top notch ecommerce platforms for some nice SEO features, but this usually doesn’t solve all your problems. The key is making those little tweaks, the things that not everyone does to push you slightly above your competitors and improve your sales dramatically.

Everyone tries to optimize their sites, but it seems to be the simple things that help you improve overall and get over those one or two search engine spot hurdles you are yearning for.

Let’s take a look at a few WordPress tweaks to help boost your ecommerce SEO within a few minutes.

Caching and Speed

One of the easiest ways to kill your SEO is by having a slow website. If your product pages take forever to load or you can’t deliver the right content with cached pages, you lose customers and these bounce stats get reported to Google so they can decrease your rankings.

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Start by using the W3 Total Cache Plugin to deliver cached versions of your website, meaning that the plugin basically takes a picture of previous instances of your pages and delivers them a little faster to users.

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Paired with a content delivery network like MaxCDN, you can serve up your data from multiple servers throughout the world instead of putting too much pressure on a single server.

Make Your Most Important Posts into Pages

This is an interesting tip that works well if you are running a blog on your ecommerce site. If you have a blog post that you want to rank really well with a keyword then you should make it into a page, as opposed to a post.

Why? Because your keyword density doesn’t get killed by comments that come in. This also goes for a post that surprisingly became popular. Turn that post into a page to improve its visibility and push more people to your site.

Change Your Permalink Structure

Go to the Settings tab on the left hand side of your WordPress dashboard. Click on Permalinks.

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You’ll see various options to change what your URLs look like in search engines and when people want to type them into browsers. Most of them are incredibly ugly and they tend to hurt your SEO prospects because people don’t like them and they include useless information.

Choose the Post Name option to make your links look clean and readable.

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Think About Removing Stop Words

Stop words are things like “the,” “a” and “and.” They add little value in your URLs and they make them look long and clunky.

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You can always take these out yourself, but an easier way is to install the SEO by Yoast plugin. It automatically removes stop words in your URLs whenever you create a post or page, in turn improving your URLs and making your site more SEO friendly.

Focus Hard on Your Titles

Titles mean just about everything when it comes to SEO. Google says that meta descriptions aren’t factored into your SEO rankings, but the titles certainly help you out quite a bit. That’s why you need to spend a little extra time formulating your titles so that they are user friendly and they tell the search engines exactly what they need.

A simple product title like this is fine, but it’s not great.

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Make sure you include the keywords you want to target, and always put the most important words at the beginning of the title. Why? Search engine look at this first and people have a tendency to read left to right, making it more likely they click on your links.

Automate Your WordPress Titles

The SEO by Yoast plugin also includes a nice little area for you to automate what shows up on your page and post titles. I would highly recommend customizing each title for SEO, but with an ecommerce site it’s tough to cover all the product pages, and it’s better to have something in there as opposed to nothing.

Using the plugin, go to SEO > Titles and Metas so you can customize what automatic text will pull for your SEO titles. This is usually the product or site name depending on the page you are working on.

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Optimize Your Product Images

Shopify offers a wonderful guide for optimizing your images on an ecommerce site. Keep in mind that this is one of the areas that can really put you in front of your competitors, because lots of companies forget about making their images visible to search engines.

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Here are some basic tips for you to follow:

  • Name each file with a keyword, but make it so that the name describes the image properly.
  • Make sure your alt tags include keywords and tell the user what the image actually is.
  • Decrease the sizes of your images for your website so that they don’t slow down your site.
  • Make alt text for thumbnails different than the larger image that goes with it.
  • Keep your thumbnail image file sizes small, because these things drain your site speed.

Create and Send Out an XML Sitemap

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An XML sitemap is basically an outline of your entire ecommerce website structure to help search engines crawl the site and understand its content.

Use the Google XML Sitemaps plugin to automatically create sitemaps for your site and submit them to the largest search engines.

Make it Easy for Navigation with Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are those little tabs you see on websites that look like this: Home > Products > TVs.

They help search engines move around your site, and it’s always easy for people to find items when they have breadcrumbs.

It’s particularly important for ecommerce sites since people can stumble upon your site without landing on the homepage first. If they do, they probably want to figure out exactly where they landed and maybe move elsewhere on the site.

For example, Amazon does a good job with breadcrumbs:

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If you have any questions about improving the SEO on your WordPress ecommerce site then please let us know in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share any other tips you might have for other WordPress ecommerce users out there.


About the author: Catalin Zorzini is the founder of Inspired Magazine, a blog about web design and development. He likes hot soup and hot jazz.

Karol K

Creates content, manages CodeinWP's team of writers and makes sure that every piece of content you see on this blog looks great! / Author of "WordPress Complete" / Professional yerba mate drinker / @carlosinho