Digital Artifacts Creative

Fundamental SEO Tips for eCommerce Conversion - Part 1

In the following paragraphs we will dive into analyzing fundamental points focused on SEO, that will help boost your site conversion and in the case of an eCommerce site bring in the desired conversion of users actually placing an order. We will cover a lot of basic knowledge along with some useful do’s and dont’s that will help you implement your strategy and increase your chances for optimal results! Let’s do this!

The importance of SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s un-paid (organic) search results. The earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.

SEO is a critical part of any online marketing strategy and is without a doubt an ongoing process that helps your brand to achieve higher visibility in search engine results pages (SEPRs), leading to an increased conversion rate (CVR).

An appropriate SEO Strategy is necessary to be formed targeting certain keywords, thus increasing the chances that potential customers can find you eCommerce site and your amazing products and convert by placing an order. But along the way of implementing this strategy there are many technical, and not only challenges, that need to be taken care of in the correct way so as to ensure good results.

In the following paragraphs we will dive into analyzing 10 points focused on SEO, that will help boost your site conversion and in the case of an eCommerce site bring in the desired conversion of users actually placing an order. Let’s do this!

Glossary

Index – Google stores all web pages that it knows about in its index. The index entry for each page describes the content and location (URL) of that page. To index is when Google fetches a page, reads it, and adds it to the index. e.g. Google indexed several pages on my site today.

Crawl – The process of looking for new or updated web pages. Google discovers URLs by following links, by reading sitemaps, and by many other means. Google crawls the web, looking for new pages, then indexes them (when appropriate).

Googlebot – The generic name of Google’s crawler. Googlebot crawls the web constantly in order to fetch pages from the web and index them.

SEO – Search engine optimization is the process of growing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results and excludes direct traffic and the purchase of paid placement.

SEM – Search engine marketing is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – A list of results appearing in a search engine in response to a user’s search query.
e.g. “After I searched for ‘buy highgloss paint in bulk’ I noticed that the SERP had both natural listings and paid listings.”

Conversion – The action you want visitors to perform. Examples include eCommerce purchases, form submissions, phone calls, and video views. e.g. “My main goal is for people to book a consultation on my website, but signing up for my email newsletter would also be a conversion.”

Conversion Rate – The ratio of conversions to visits or the given goal i.e. sales, often used to measure digital performance. e.g. “I’m not sure why, but my conversion rate on on this particular product is very low for male visitors as there are not many orders placed from this particular demographic segment.”

1. Page Titles.

Page Title is referring to the HTML title tag, which we also call the page title or SEO title. When you look something up in a search engine, you get a list of results that appear as snippets. The SEO title is part of the snippet together with, at least, a URL and a meta description. So, if your document appears in a search results page, the contents of the title tag may appear in the first line of the result.

Therefore, the first thing people see, even before people get on your site, is the SEO title. Just to be clear, you should not confuse the SEO title with the main heading of the page. The main heading is what users see after they click on the SEO title and get on the page itself.

The purpose of your SEO title is to make people click on it, come to your website and read your post or buy your product. If your title is not good enough, people will ignore it and move on to other results.

1.1. Describe the page content concisely

Choose a title that reads naturally and effectively communicates the topic of the page’s content. Having an accurate and concise page title is really important in order to clarify what the page is about to both search engines and website visitors.

Your title needs to have just the right width, otherwise, parts of it may be cut off in search results. How the result looks may vary, depending on the device you’re using.

Titles can be both short and informative. If the title is too long or otherwise deemed less relevant, Google may show only a portion of it or one that’s automatically generated in the search result. Google may also show different titles depending on the user’s query or device used for searching.

But what is a good length? Well, rather than using a character count, Google has a fixed width of 600px for the titles. If your title is wider than 600px, Google will cut it off. You don’t want that! You should also avoid wasting space by making the title too short.

Fortunately, WordPress can offer preview tools to help you with building your page / SEO titles.

Avoid

  • Choosing a title that has no relation to the content on the page.
  • Using default or vague titles like “Untitled” or “New Page 1”.
  • Using extremely lengthy titles that are unhelpful to users.

1.2. Create unique titles for each page

Each page on your site should ideally have a unique title, which helps Google know how the page is distinct from the others on your site. If your site uses separate mobile pages, remember to use good titles on the mobile versions too.

Avoid

  • Using a single title across all of your site’s pages or a large group of pages.

1.3. Use keywords wisely

Ideally, the page title should include all or part of the target keyword you wish your page to show up for in the search results.

Sometimes, when you’re optimizing for a high-competition keyword, most of the competitors will have the keyword at the beginning of the page title. In that case, you can try making it stand out a bit by putting one or two words in front of your focus keyword, thereby slightly “indenting” your result. For example, if you start your SEO title with “the”, “a”, “who” or some other function word, followed by your keyphrase, the this is still a valid approach method that can yield the desired results.

Other times, when for example you have a very long keyphrase, adding the complete keyphrase at the beginning doesn’t make much sense. If your SEO title looks weird with the keyphrase at the beginning, try to add as much of the keyphrase as you can, as early in the SEO title as possible. This is another approach that will make including your keywords in your SEO title easier, and still have good results.

Again, WordPress provides great tools in helping you to preview the validity of the way those keywords are included in your page titles.

Avoid

  • Stuffing unneeded keywords in your title tags.

2. The “description” meta tag.

A page’s description meta tag gives search engines and Google a summary of what the page is about. A page’s title may be a few words or a phrase, whereas a page’s description meta tag might be a sentence or two or even a short paragraph, providing to the user more info on the page’s content.

Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say “might” because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page’s visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user’s query. Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case Google cannot find a good selection of text to use in the snippet and it can provide a more focused approach towards an SEO strategy with the correct usage of the focus keywords, as part of an overall SEO strategy.

2.1. Summarize the page content accurately

Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result. A good meta description convinces people that your page offers the best result to their query. But, to be the best result, you must know what people are looking for. What is their search intent? Are they looking for an answer to a question? If they are, try to give them the most complete answer. Are they looking for a product? Write down what makes your product stand out and why they would best buy it in your store. Be concise and convincing!

While there’s no minimal or maximal length for the text in a description meta tag, we recommend making sure that it’s long enough to be fully shown in Search (note that users may see different sized snippets depending on how and where they search), and contains all the relevant information users would need to determine whether the page will be useful and relevant to them.

The right length doesn’t really exist; it depends on the message you want to convey. You should take enough space to get the message across, but keep it short and snappy at the same time. However, If you check the search results in Google, you’ll mostly see snippets of 120 to 156 characters.

Unfortunately, we can’t fully control what Google displays in the search results. Sometimes it decides to show the meta description, and sometimes it grabs some sentences of your copy. Either way, your best bet is to keep it short. That way, if Google does decide to show the meta description you’ve written, it will be shown fully.

Avoid

  • Writing a description meta tag that has no relation to the content on the page.
  • Using generic descriptions like “This is a web page” or “Page about baseball cards”.
  • Filling the description with only keywords.
  • Copying and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag.

2.2. Use unique descriptions for each page

Having a different description meta tag for each page helps both users and Google, especially in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain (for example, searches using the site: operator). If your site has thousands of pages, hand-crafting description meta tags probably isn’t feasible. In this case, you could automatically generate description meta tags based on each page’s content.

Avoid

  • Using a single description meta tag across all of your site’s pages or a large group of pages.

2.3. Include keywords and a call-to-action

A focus keyphrase or keyword ( in the SEO lingo keyword can still mean a phrase) is the search term you want a page to rank with. When people use that term, you want them to find your page. In a nutshell, after you do your research, you should end up with a combination of words that the majority of your audience is most likely to search for. As already mentioned, when you use your keyphrase in the meta description, Google will likely highlight it. That makes it easier for people to see that they’ve found what they are looking for.

If the search keyword matches a part of the text in the meta description, Google will be more inclined to use it and highlight it in the search results. This will make the link to your site even more inviting. Google sometimes highlights synonyms.

WordPress provides tools to help you preview and evaluate your meta-descriptions and the included keywords in an easy and intuitive way.

Apart from including keywords and having a concise and unique content for your description meta tags, also including a call-to-action can also bring extra value. e.g. “Hello, we have such and such new product, and you want it. Find out more!” The meta description is your sales text. Except, in this case,  the “product” you are trying to sell is the page that is linked. Invitations like Learn more, Get it now, Try for free or Buy now! can prove really handy.

3. Headings

Headings help users and search engines to read and understand text. They act as signposts for the readers and make it easier for them to figure out what a post or page is about. Headings also define which parts of your content are important, and show how they’re interconnected.

For web copy, it’s good practice to make sure that your headings are informative to the reader. Some people like to tease their audience in the headings, trying to entice them to read further. While that can work very well, it’s easy to get wrong. Remember that the main focus of headings should be on the content – and the primary purpose should be to make the text easier to read and understand.

It’s generally agreed that how you use headings doesn’t specifically impact your SEO. Making minor tweaks to individual headings likely won’t help your performance. However, there are indirect benefits. Using headings creates texts of higher quality that are also easier to read. A better text is better for users, which is better for your SEO.

3.1. Define a structure

Similar to writing an outline for a large paper, put some thought into what the main points and sub-points of the content on the page will be and decide where to use heading tags appropriately. Use meaningful headings to indicate important topics, and help create a hierarchical structure for your content, making it easier for users to navigate through your document.

Also, keep the following two things in mind: firstly, a paragraph should start with a core sentence and then elaborate on this core sentence. When restructuring your text to add a heading, make sure the first sentence of your paragraph contains the essential information of that paragraph. Then, consider how the information is structured in your paragraphs and what the relation is between paragraphs, and how a subheading can help make that information easier to digest.

With headings, you should always put the user first. Use them to add structure and signposts to your content, and to describe what each section is about. If your headings let users know what your article is about, they’ll help Google to understand, too.

Avoid

  • Placing text in heading tags that wouldn’t be helpful in defining the structure of the page.
  • Using heading tags where other tags like <em> and <strong> may be more appropriate.
  • Erratically moving from one heading tag size to another.

Structuring your headings

When you’re editing an article, you’ll usually see different ‘levels’ of headings in the text editor – from “Heading 1” to “Heading 6”. Usually, we call H1 the main heading. We name the other levels – subheadings These are ordered by size, and by importance. For example, a “Heading 2” is more important than a “Heading 4”. Behind the scenes, these are converted into HTML heading tags; from <h1> to <h6>. That’s why, when we talk about how to structure headings and content well, we talk about H1 tags, H2 tags, and so on.

Firstly, it is not advisable to use more than one H1 heading on each page. The H1 heading should be the name/title of the page or post. For example, on a category page, your H1 would be the name of that category. Or, on a product page, it should be the product name.

Then, you can use H2 and H3 subheadings to introduce different sections for your content; think of H2 subheadings like the chapters of a book. Those individual sections might also use more specific headers (H3 tags, then H4 tags, etc.) to introduce sub-sections as they seem fit.

3.2. Use headings moderately

Use heading tags only where it makes sense. Too many heading tags on a page can make it hard for users to scan the content and determine where one topic ends and another begins.

Avoid

  • Excessive use of heading tags on a page.
  • Very long headings.
  • Using heading tags only for styling text and not presenting structure.

3.3. Include keywords

Headings provide the chance to use your focus keyword (or its synonyms) prominently, to make it really clear what the page is about. By adding your focus keyphrase to your subheadings, you stress the importance of this subheading both to your reader and the search engines. Moreover, if you’re trying to rank for a specific keyphrase, you’ll have to write about it and include it in the subheading is the best approach.

Whether you add your keyphrase to a subheading usually depends on the paragraph(s) it’s connected to. Every paragraph in your following text should tell the reader something about the topic at hand. Your subheadings are nothing more than a very short outline of what you are going to say in one or more paragraphs.

Caution though, just like keyphrases in general, it’s important not to overdo it. Add your keyphrase where it makes sense, leave it out where it doesn’t. Keep things concise, consistent and up to the point.

Do not confuse Heading with SEO / Page Title

It is important to understand that your SEO title doesn’t have the same purpose as the title of your post or page (your H1 heading). The post title is meant for users that are already on your site. It’s telling them what your post or page is about.

On the other hand, the SEO title is meant for people who are not on your website yet. It will be shown to people in the search engines and it will be the title of your snippet in Google results. The purpose is to make people click on the snippet, come to your website and read your post or buy your product.

WordPress has all the needed tools in order for you to deal and navigate across all those requirements with ease!

4. Navigation – Site Structure

The navigation of a website is really important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines in their mission understand what content is important. Although Google’s search results are provided at a page level, Google also likes to have a sense of what role a page plays in the bigger picture of the site and in the general hierarchy of the pages.

All sites have a home or “root” page, which is usually the most frequented page on the site and the starting place of navigation for many visitors. Unless your site has only a handful of pages, you should think about how visitors will go from a general page (your root page) to a page containing more specific content. Do you have enough pages around a specific topic area that it would make sense to create a page describing these related pages? Do you have hundreds of different products that need to be classified under multiple category and subcategory pages? Organizing your site will help you set up a navigation path from your homepage right to your individual posts and pages, and back. Adding categories and subcategories will bring order to chaos.

A solid site structure vastly improves your chances of ranking in search engines.

4.1. Create a naturally flowing hierarchy

Make it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to the more specific content they want on your site. Add navigation pages when it makes sense and effectively work these into your internal link structure. Make sure all of the pages on your site are reachable through links, and that they don’t require an internal “search” functionality to be found. Link to related pages, where appropriate, to allow users to discover similar content.

Avoid

  • Creating complex webs of navigation links, for example, linking every page on your site to every other page.
  • Going overboard with slicing and dicing your content (so that it takes twenty clicks to reach from the homepage).

4.2. Use text for navigation

Controlling most of the navigation from page to page on your site through text links makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand your site. The website menu is the most common aid for navigation on your website and you want to make the best possible use of it. Visitors use your menu to find things and it helps them understand the structure of your website. That’s why the main categories on your site should all have a place in the menu on your homepage.

Avoid

  • Having a navigation based entirely on images, or animations.
  • Requiring script or plugin-based event-handling for navigation.

4.3. Create a navigational page for users, a sitemap for search engines

Include a simple navigational page for your entire site (or the most important pages, if you have hundreds or thousands) for users. Create an XML sitemap file to ensure that search engines discover the new and updated pages on your site, listing all relevant URLs together with their primary content’s last modified dates.

WordPress provides the ability to create an XML sitemap so that Google can crawl and index your site correctly!

Avoid

  • Letting your navigational page become out of date with broken links.
  • Creating a navigational page that simply lists pages without organizing them, for example by subject.

4.4. Show useful 404 pages

Users will occasionally come to a page that doesn’t exist on your site, either by following a broken link or typing in the wrong URL. Having a custom 404 page that kindly guides users back to a working page on your site can greatly improve a user’s experience. Your 404 page should probably have a link back to your home page and could also provide links to popular or related content on your site.

Avoid

  • Allowing your 404 pages to be indexed in search engines (make sure that your web server is configured to give a 404 HTTP status code or – in the case of JavaScript-based sites – include a noindex robots meta-tag when non-existent pages are requested).
  • Blocking 404 pages from being crawled through the robots.txt file.
  • Providing only a vague message like “Not found”, “404”, or no 404 page at all.
  • Using a design for your 404 pages that isn’t consistent with the rest of your site.

Follow up on Part 2 to find out more useful tips on SEO!

WordPress Services

democritising publishing

WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time and is without a doubt that its existence and usage in web projects democratises the web, offering a phenomenal publishing tool but also an easy and affordable way to start your professional or business website with an intuitive content-editor and an ever expanding suite of tools.

WooCommerce Services

democritising eCommerce

WooCommerce utilises native WordPress functionality to keep the codebase lightweight, secure and reliable. This is currently the most thorough-bred eCommerce toolkit delivering enterprise-level quality & top notch features while there are thousands of businesses and individuals using, extending & contributing new features on a daily basis.

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