While most people are just getting ready for Halloween and trick-or-treating, online marketers are focusing on ensuring that their e-commerce websites are ready for the upcoming holiday shopping rush. Is your website ready for the 2012 holiday season?
Make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest holiday SEO tricks with the tips provided in this Holiday SEO blog series! If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, be sure to check them out before skipping ahead to this next step,
As an early holiday treat, download a copy of the Product Page Optimization Mock-Up to help guide you.
Holiday SEO Tip #3: Product Page Optimization
You might think you have on-page optimization down – you’ve incorporated keywords where they need to go, added unique product descriptions and photos. But when was the last time you gave your product pages a refresh? E-commerce optimization is always evolving and you’ve got to make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest trends or you could be missing out on all the unpaid organic traffic that you should be winning this online shopping season!
Compare your product pages to the example mock-up I’ve created and make sure you’re following all the tips to optimize your product pages below the example.
Checklist for Optimizing Your Product Pages:
When you begin optimizing your pages, keep the below tips in mind:
- Holiday-Related Keywords / Keyphrases: Use your holiday keyphrases and relevant halo terms in the product page URLs, H1s, H2s, and unique product descriptions. Don’t forget to optimize your product categories and breadcrumbs, too.
- Meta Title & Description: You always see strong calls to action and compelling copy in the paid results section, but don’t save all the great calls to action for PPC- take the time to use a character counter and optimize your meta data to the max. Just remember, Google will only display 67 characters for your title and 155 of your description- so make them count.
- High Quality Images: Give customers confidence in the quality of your product with high quality images of the product from various angles – and in use if possible. Be sure to use your keywords in the image alt text AND the image file name so your products will show in image search results, too. It’s very common for web designers to use image file names that help them keep their workflow organized (like referencing the image dimensions or the page it will be placed on). Be sure your web designer understands the importance of image file name optimization.
- Product Videos: Depending on your budget and how long you will be selling an item, creating video content for your product pages can be a great way of giving potential customers the level of detail they need to make their holiday purchase online. Consider hosting your videos on YouTube (with optimized titles and descriptions) or using a paid service like Wistia to ensure your video content is crawlable and showing up in search engine results.
- Obvious Calls-to-Action: Your “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button should jump off the page! Be sure your call-to-action is above the scroll of the page, too. If you’ve got a limited number of an item or it’s won an award, say so prominently.
- Social Sharing Buttons: Let visitors do your marketing for you! Make sure your product pages have the option to share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, and the ability to email a link to the page to a friend. The ability to “favorite” a product or save it for later could also entice a user to stay loyal to your site once they begin holiday shopping there. Make sure your share buttons are recognizable icons that users will engage with. If they are hidden or blend in with your overall site design, your visitors are less likely to share your page.
- Sweeten the Deal: More than half of 2011 online holiday sales included free shipping. Online shoppers want to feel like they found a good deal, so be sure to feature your special offers prominently. Remember, your product page might be the first page of your website that a visitor sees – so make sure to mention your offer on the product page or in the header of the site so users will see it.
- Related Products: Remember, you’re not just optimizing your site for search engine traffic, you’re optimizing to make sales – and here’s your chance for an upsell! Don’t forget to feature and link to any other related products or accessories buyers might like to add onto their holiday gifts.
- User-Generated Content: Incorporating customer reviews and / or a Q&A section to your product pages is a great way of adding unique and valuable user-generated content to your product pages. This regularly updated content will help keep your pages fresh in Google’s index. Avoid hosting your product reviews on subdomains; instead, have the content of the reviews incorporated into actual product pages.
Great use of a Meta Title and Description by Bluefly.com
BONUS – ADD MICRODATA to your product pages using Schema.org markup to really make your site stand out in the SERP (Trust me; I tried to find a product page example for almost 15 minutes! There’s still not too many websites doing this!). It’s a great way to give your organic search results compelling images that can compete with the image-heavy sponsored Google shopping results appearing for popular queries.
Show images of your products in search engine results with rich snippets
Example of an Optimized Image File Name: Mens-Shaving-Set-Gift-Company-Name.jpeg
Example of a Poor Image File Name: giftset165x245.jpeg
Amazon.com does a nice job of organizing their calls-to-action, social sharing buttons, and special offers
Overstock.com utilized reviews and product Q&A to engage customers and add valuable content to their site.
Take a look at the product page source code or the cached text-only version of the page in Google, and you’ll find the content of the reviews incorporated into the page as crawlable text.
If you missed Parts 1 & 2 of our series, How to Optimize Your Website for the Holidays, check them out before jumping into this third step!
A Final Thought – Out of Stock Items: Make sure you have a plan for when you run out of popular items. If you’re only temporarily out of an item, you can leave your page as-is with a message about when the item will return and options to sign up for an email notification when it does, suggested alternative items, etc. This will help keep your pages indexed with Google. If you permanently sell out of an item or discontinue it, provide a 301 redirect to a related alternative product so that users are satisfied and search engines “pass” the credit from the out of stock item to the new replacement item.
Don’t forget to download our Holiday SEO Product Page Optimization Mock Up
Holiday SEO Homework:
Talk to your web developers to see what updates your product pages need and which updates you can successfully implement before the holiday shopping season begins. If you don’t have time to implement all these updates before the online holiday shopping rush, just do what you can now and make a plan for incorporating the rest of the tips as soon as you can – these product page optimization tips are good year-round.
Don’t forget to tell Google! Once your on-page optimization is complete, it’s important to submit your URLs to Google for indexing. To be sure your pages are optimized properly, you can also use the Fetch as Google tool to see how Google sees the content on your pages (they have mobile crawlers, too).
Stay Tuned…What’s Up Next
In the upcoming post in this holiday SEO series, I’ll give you tips for a holiday linking strategy. Be sure to watch for Part 4, along with the handy Ecommerce SEO Checklist for the holidays at the end of this blog series, and get started on your holiday SEO strategy ASAP!
Share your holiday SEO tips, stories, or questions in the comments below