WooCommerce SEO: Guide to in 2023
Positioning and optimising your shop on WooCommerce is a task that requires knowledge, web development experience (e.g. to work with technical SEO) and at least basic analytical skills. This will enable you to properly scout your competitors and select the right key phrases (valuable in terms of sales). If you want to learn how to position and optimise your WooCommerce shop – read this article.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is one of the most popular plugins used to build online shops. It is based on the WordPress CMS platform and is used to seamlessly integrate a website with an online shop.
According to Similartech‘s ranking, the WooCommerce plugin is currently the most widely used e-commerce solution. More than one million online shops are based on it. The second place goes to Shopify (640,000 online shops) and the third place to Squarespace Commerce (382,000 online shops).
It should also be mentioned that WooCommerce is an open source platform (based on open source code). This allows you to comprehensively optimise your online shop in terms of, among other things:
responsiveness and visual stability.
WooCommerce and SEO – what does it look like in practice?
WooCommerce is a very SEO-friendly solution. All thanks to hundreds of optimisation possibilities and dozens of practical plugins (often free), which can be used, among other things, to automate individual processes (e.g. adding meta tags to product pages).
How to optimise a WooCommerce online shop for SEO in 7 easy steps?
Here is how to optimise your WooCommerce online shop in 7 easy steps.
Install the Yoast SEO plugin
Installing Yoast SEO is the first step to start optimising for search engines. It makes it easier to optimise and add an XML sitemap, identify the meta tag structure and implement any changes more efficiently. It is also a good solution in terms of implementing crumb navigation (breadcrumbs) and automatic editing of canonical tags.
To download the above plugin, enter the phrase “Yoast SEO” in the WordPress directory. It can also be purchased via this address: https://pl.wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/.
The paid version of the plugin is not required for basic SEO optimisation. An alternative to Yoast SEO can be the All in one SEO Pack.
Ensure correct URL structure
URLs should be user-friendly, i.e. short, with the relevant keyword for the subpage (but this is not a rule), without unnecessary characters. It is best to use the following formula: “website.com/category/category-name”.
To edit the URL structure, go to “Settings” → “Direct links”.
Add SEO-optimised titles
The page title, a.k.a. the row one (H1) header, is now one of the most important on-site (inside the website) elements influencing SEO. Include the most relevant keyword in terms of sales for that sub-page. Do this for each subsequent page.
Settings for product titles can be found under “Search engines” → “Entries” → “Entries”.
To set category and tag titles, go to “Search engines” → “Archives” → “Archives”.
Complete the meta description
The meta description is the page description that appears in the search results (under the page title). It should be concise, compelling and contain the most important information about the content of a particular sub-page.
The recommended length of the meta description is 120-156 characters including spaces. It is advisable to include keywords in order to better match the search intent of internet users. The meta description has no effect on SEO (the meta title does). The page description should additionally encourage action. You can use a call to action phrase for this (e.g. “Click here”, “Check out”, “Read today”).
Implement sub-headings (H2-H5)
The implementation of sub-headers (H2-H5) is also important as the optimisation of the H1 header. A keyword must be inserted here as well. This activity can be somewhat automated by filling in the headings from the following formula: product name + price/reviews/application and much more.
Remember that the H1 is the most important. The lower the headline, the less it means in terms of SEO. Use the right keyword (one or two words) in each one. As for long-tail phrases (consisting of a minimum of 3-4 words), these can be used in the content (not recommended for headings).
Secure your online shop with HTTPS
An SSL certificate is one of over two hundred ranking factors (source: webfx.com). But that’s not the only reason why it’s worth implementing HTTPS into WooCommerce. It’s primarily to improve the user experience by reassuring users that the site they want to purchase from is secure. The Really Simple SSL plugin can be useful in this case, which causes a so-called green padlock to be displayed, but does not indicate that HTTPS has been implemented. You have to do this yourself by installing it on the server hosting your WooCommerce shop. Afterwards, go to “Settings” → “General” and then define the primary URL for WordPress and the site.
Add the sitemap in XML format
The sitemap in XML format (sitemap.xml) can be enabled by going to “Yoast SEO” → “General” → “Features”. The generated link to the map must be added to Google Search Console. With a correctly implemented sitemap, Google robots (so-called crawlers) will be able to index extended sub-pages more efficiently.
WooCommerce positioning – tips
If you want your online shop to be aligned with the latest SXO (Search Experience Optimisation) standards, i.e. SEO and UX, you should first and foremost:
- optimise it for Core Web Vitals;
- ensure the performance of your website
- only use the necessary plug-ins;
- add ALT attributes to images
- optimise the path to purchase;
- use long-tail phrases
- ensure the responsiveness of the website
- build external links
- monitor results.
We discuss the details in the following paragraphs.
Core Web Vitals
By optimising WooCommerce for Core Web Vitals, your site will become more efficient, interactive and visually stable (then there will be no shifting). To achieve full site performance, pay attention to the core metrics: LCP, FID and CLS.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – this indicator measures the time it takes from the moment a user clicks on a link to a page until the largest element (usually an image, headline or text) appears on screen. An LCP of less than 2.5 seconds is a good result.
First Input Delay (FID) – a measure that examines the amount of time that elapses from when a user makes the first interaction on a page (e.g. clicking a link or button) until the browser responds to that interaction. The FID should be less than 100 ms.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – determines the extent to which elements on a page move or reposition themselves as the site loads. The lower the value of the indicator, the less unpredictable the shifts, thus improving the user experience. A CLS below 0.1 proves to be a very good result.
The above metrics are very important to improve the quality of the page loading and increase usability for users. To measure LCP, FID and CLS, use a Google Chrome add-on (e.g. Web Vitals) or opt to perform a comprehensive Google PageSpeed Insights test.
The results from Core Web Vitals measurement tools are based on the device of the person taking the test. They turn out to be dependent on the speed of the internet connection, the performance of the processor and the amount of RAM. If your customer has a weaker smartphone or computer, they may have a negative experience using your website. To avoid this, optimise Core Web Vitals as best you can.
The performance of a website depends, among other things, on its level of technical optimisation. In this case, we recommend compressing the HTML and CSS code of the website – the code then takes up less space on the server, allowing specific data to be sent to users more quickly . This process will be facilitated by tools such as HTML Minifier or CSS Minifier. A good programming solution is also Gulp or Grunt (these are mostly used during the website building process).
Responsiveness of the website
Based on statista.com research, more than 50% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Consequently, making sure your website is responsive is an absolute must-have in order to reduce the bounce rate and dramatically improve conversion rates. By choosing to create a responsive website (adapted to phones and smartphones as well as tablets and laptops), you can start selling more in a short period of time. The micro conversions associated with a properly responsive website will manifest themselves in, among other things:
- newsletter sign-ups,
- completed contact forms,
- shared content on social media
- product pages viewed,
- products added to a shopping basket.
If you don’t use a particular plugin – simply remove it. Otherwise you will reduce the performance of your site.
ALTs have an impact on SEO (if they have a keyword), but they also have an impact on UX, as they provide support for the visually imp aired who can understand the content of the image with the right tool.
Once customers enter your online shop, they should have an easier buying process. To achieve this, take care to eliminate unnecessary elements that “distract” the internet user from the main goal (i.e. maximising conversions). As far as contact forms are concerned – simplify them as much as possible and do not request sensitive data from users. The fewer steps to the goal, the greater the likelihood of completing the conversion.
Long tail phrases
Long tail expressions are very important from a sales perspective. With their help, you will attract regular and determined customers. Long tail SEO keywords have more than a 5% higher click-through rate compared to general phrases (consisting of 1-2 words) (source: smartinsights.com).
A good solution for increasing the number of long tail SEO phrases is a company blog, as well as category and product descriptions.
External link building
If you want your website to be visible in organic (natural) search results, you should take care of every detail – both content optimisation, technical optimisation and link acquisition, otherwise known as link building.
Building a link profile allows you to increase the value of your site from the point of view of crawlers. The most common ways of link building include:
creating viral content – which will interest and excite users, prompting them to share the content or comment on it;
providing contributions to articles from the trade press – if you are an expert in a particular field, create a post in collaboration with another creator and then ask them to link your shop next to the author’s signature;
creating sponsored articles – in this case, go for the highest quality combined with high content value (a sponsored product with a link in the content should take up the smallest part of the article).
Given current standards, relinking is also an excellent option. This is nothing more than verifying your competitors’ links (e.g. using Majestic SEO) and then linking to similar sources that appear valuable.
Successful SEO of a WooCommerce shop should be supported by regular monitoring. This will help us find out whether a particular strategy is delivering the expected results. To verify the effects of optimising your WooCommerce shop, use any SEO tool (e.g. Senuto) and then check the achieved positions in the organic (natural) search results.
If, on the other hand, you want to verify conversions, go into Google Analytics 4 and select “Events” or “Goals”. This will provide you with the most important information on the actions taken by internet users. It is also worth tracking the percentage of scrolling using Google Tag Manager. With GTM, you can check whether a customer has reached the “Offer” or “Contact” section. If not – it is likely that the purchase path has been incorrectly optimised.
Shop optimisation on WooCommerce – summary
Optimising and positioning your WooCommerce shop is quite a demanding task. Remember that your efforts must not “go to waste”, so in addition to applying all the tips mentioned in this article, you should develop a proper SEO strategy that takes into account keywords (general and long tail phrases), as well as the frequency of SEO audits, based on which you will determine the effectiveness of your efforts. Also plan link building in order to acquire valuable links – among other things, you will be able to establish yourself as an industry leader in the future.
It takes time to achieve high positions in the organic (natural) search results – often as long as 12-24 months. After this period, on the other hand, WooCommerce SEO will have a high return on investment, which will certainly make you happy and guarantee motivation for months or even years to come. Thank you for reading this post and we wish you the best of luck in optimising your WooCommerce shop!
FAQ – the most common questions and answers
What are the most common questions and answers about optimising your shop on WooCommerce?
1. What is WooCommerce SEO about?
WooCommerce positioning is an optimisation effort that includes on-site SEO and off-site SEO. By implementing individual changes, you can achieve a more responsive, efficient, interactive and intuitive online shop that will rank on Google (and other search engines i.e. Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo or Yandex) for many relevant key phrases for your business.
2. What plugins will make WooCommerce optimisation and SEO easier?
Among the most popular plugins, we can highlight Yoast SEO (for comprehensive SEO optimisation), AMP for WP (a plugin that improves the performance and responsiveness of the website), and Really Simple SSL (a plugin that facilitates the implementation of the ‘green padlock’), among others.
3. How much does it cost to SEO a shop on WooCommerce?
Positioning a shop on WooCommerce usually costs no less than £1,000 net per month. A lot depends on the competitiveness of your industry, the specifics of your business, the type of key phrases to be positioned, as well as their ‘caloricity’. The length of the SEO contract is also important. The most cost-effective contracts are 12- or 24-month contracts.
4. Why invest in optimising your WooCommerce shop?
Optimising your shop on WooCommerce is primarily associated with the possibility of higher visibility in organic (natural) search results. This, in turn, results in more traffic to your site and additional recognition for the brand you own. WooCommerce positioning also allows you to develop a competitive advantage (even within 6-12 months) and acquire only regular and determined customers distinguished by a high probability of purchase.
5. Who should opt for WooCommerce positioning?
WooCommerce shop positioning is beneficial for businesses selling their products through online shops based on the WooCommerce platform. It’s also great for owners of local stationary shops who want to expand their offerings nationwide or internationally, while promoting the local location.
If you want the SEO activities for your Woocommerce-based website to be handled by professionals contact SEOgroup:
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