WooCommerce SEO – A Definitive Guide to Store Optimization
Earlier days, the meaning of Search engine optimization or SEO was very simple. You simply need to add meta description, meta tags and write a decent content focused on your keywords. However, this is no more an effective way to stand out from the crowd. It is also a difficult task for search engines like Google to show a product on top of the search results from gazillion relevant websites available. Therefore, you have to follow latest optimization techniques so that your products appear top of the search results. Following WooCommerce SEO means more visitors to your store and hence increasing the possibility of higher conversion rate.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is NOT a platform like Shopify or Magento. It is an add-on plugin for the popular WordPress content management system. First, you have to install WordPress and create a website for you. After installing WordPress, you can install WooCommerce plugin from the plugin repository and start creating products.
If you are new to WordPress and WooCommerce, checkout the below articles to make yourself familiarize before thinking of optimizing your online store.
- WordPress.org Vs WordPress.com
- How to create a WordPress blog (with Bluehost)?
- Complete guide to setup WooCommerce store in WordPress
- How to create digital downloadable products in WooCommerce?
- Add direct bank transfer payment in WooCommerce
You can convert your WordPress site to a fully functional online store or have a store with a blog. It depends on your business model and we strongly recommend you to have a store and run a blog around the store products. This will work excellently and skyrocket your traffic/sale as your website will get targeted users who want to know more about the products you sell.
Why to Use WooCommerce?
There are many other plugins available for WordPress to create online store. In addition, there are also platforms like Shopify and Weebly eCommerce for creating a managed stores. However, WooCommerce has different advantages compared to other platforms.
- You can combine blog and store in a single site.
- Easy to scale up as your sales grow.
- Reliable and used by more than 5 millions of users.
- Free and easy to setup.
- Supports selling of different type of products.
- Community support through WordPress forum.
- Continuous update to address latest security issues.
- Though the plugin itself uses Classic editor, it offers multiple Gutenberg blocks that you can insert anywhere on your site.
- Seamless store, cart and checkout integration with WordPress as the plugins was developed by Automattic which is the company behind WordPress.
WooCommerce SEO – A Definitive Guide
As mentioned, knowing how to setup WooCommerce store and creating products are not sufficient to generate revenue from the store. There are two steps involved in this process:
- You have to optimize the product pages to make sure they rank top in Google search results. In this way, you can get good organic traffic for free as a first step.
- Second step is trying to persuade the visitors landing on your product page to buy the product. This conversion is essential to get revenue by selling the product.
Let us discuss all the SEO options available for optimizing these two factors.
- Get WooCommerce Hosting
- Choose Optimized Theme
- Speedup Store with Caching and CDN
- Install SEO Plugin for On-page Optimization
- Use Clear Product Images
- Use Product Schema for Rating
- Optimize Use of Categories and Tags
- Have a Blog
- Social Promotions and Discounts
- Monitor Performance and Improve
1. Get WooCommerce Hosting
WooCommerce is one of resource intensive plugins. In addition, you may have additional plugins on your site for other purposes. Putting together, WooCommerce can drag your site speed with admin AJAX calls and shopping cart on every pages. If you are planning to make big money from your store then forget using those shared hosting companies. However, you also do not need to invest lot when starting. The ideal option for beginners would be to go for nominal WooCommerce hosting from SiteGround.
- It will cost $7 per month to host your WooCommerce store with the basic StartUp plan.
- You will get pre-installed WooCommerce setup with WordPress.
- With Google Cloud platform, you will get blazing speed and an excellent customer support from SiteGround.
When you start getting traffic, it is easy to upgrade the plans to GrowBig or GoGeek. If your budget allows, plan to purchase SiteGround VPS Cloud hosting. This will help you to host large site with blog and store together in terms of traffic and sales.
2. WooCommerce SEO Optimized Theme
7 out 10 commercial themes offer WooCommerce integration. They will overwrite the default WooCommerce plugin’s template with custom design made by theme’s developer. In this way, you can have customized product, shop and archive layouts using the same free WooCommerce plugin.
However, there are multiple problems in using these themes:
- Theme developer should update regularly to align with WooCommerce plugin update. You have to make sure, updating the theme and plugin together to make sure not breaking the product pages.
- Functions of the plugin and theme may conflict. This will lead to a situation that you should depend on theme developer for getting support. It is not possible to get solutions using free WordPress forum or WooCommerce documents when you have a custom theme.
- Many themes will slow down your store by combining unnecessary functions that you are not using at all.
On other hand, choosing a simple theme and customizing WooCommerce templates is also not a practical task for many users. Therefore, the solution is to pick up a SEO optimized WooCommerce theme. GeneratePress theme is one of the best examples that offers super fast theme with WooCommerce integration.
When your theme replaces WooCommerce templates, make sure you have no outdated templates. Go to “WooCommerce > Status” and check the “System status” tab. If you have any incompatible template, WooCommerce will list out under this section. You have to contact theme developer to update the theme as per the latest version of WooCommerce plugin.
3. Speedup Store with Caching and CDN
Your theme, WooCommerce and other plugins on your site together put lots of load on your server. Using simple plugins like Super Cache may not be sufficient to speed up your WooCommerce pages. We recommend using premium plugins like WP Rocket for the following reasons:
- Generate critical CSS for your product pages.
- Remove admin AJAX calls problems by caching refreshed cart fragments.
- Automatically ignore shop, cart and checkout pages from caching.
- You can combine, minify CSS and JS, defer JS and lazyload images for each product page or setup globally to apply for all products with single settings.
In addition to caching, you can also use CDN for speed up delivery of static content on your site. many hosting companies offer free Cloudflare CDN that you can enable from the hosting account. Your entire site will load blazing fast with proper WooCommerce hosting, CDN and caching plugin.
4. Use SEO Plugin for On-page Optimization
Since WooCommerce is a plugin, you have to use a basic SEO plugin for optimizing WordPress installation. There are options like All In One SEO Pack, RankMath and Yoast SEO. The advantage with Yoast is that, they also offer premium WooCommerce SEO version which you can use for your store. In most cases, the free Yoast SEO is sufficient for on-page optimization for search engines.
- Product Title – Make sure to add an attractive title for your product. This will appear in search engine results and help you to improve the click through rate.
- Meta Description – Though Gutenberg blog editor is part of WordPress core, WooCommerce still offers Classic Editor as it uses custom post type named “Product”. By default, you can enter “Product Description” in the editor. In addition, you can provide the meta description for search engines in Yoast met box.
- Breadcrumbs – You can enable the breadcrumb to inform search engines and users about the structure of your website. Google, Bing and other search engines show breadcrumb navigation in search results.
- If you use Yoast SEO, go to “SEO > Search Appearance > Breadcrumbs” and enable the option.
- Choose “Category” against “Products (product)” as a taxonomy to show in the breadcrumb.
- Save your changes.
- In addition, you have to add a piece of PHP code in single.php or header.php depending on your theme’s structure. Checkout this article on how to enable Yoast breadcrumb for your site.
5. Use Clear Product Images
There are many advantages of using clear images for your product.
- Google shows product images in shopping and normal search results.
- Images will increase the click through rate and increase the chances of purchase.
- You can showcase different dimensions of your product by creating an image gallery within the editor.
However, make sure to optimize the followings for all your product images so that they will load faster.
- Use compressed images – you can use WP Smush or similar plugins to compress images automatically when uploading to reduce the size. If you are hosting on SiteGround, SG Optimizer plugin offers this feature by default. In addition, you can also create WebP images to reduce the size further.
- Add alt text – after uploading product and gallery images, ensure to add useful alternate description. This will help for screen readers as well as search engines to understand about the purpose of your image.
- Positioning of images – WooCommerce will split the product page into equal width to showcase product images and details. Make sure your theme has proper layout to get user attraction at first visit.
6. Use Product Schema for Rating
Google and other search engines show the product rating in search results. This can easily help you to get more clicks compared to normal results.
WooCommerce allows you to enable star ratings review from your customers on product pages. Enable the rating under “WooCommerce > Settings > Products” section. Ask your happy customers to leave rating on the product page to show them on Google.
Make sure to use Yoast SEO and assign correct schema for your product pages. Go to “SEO > Search Appearance > Content Types” section and assign the schema settings for products as “Web Page (default)”. With this, Yoast will automatically assign correct schema for all product pages. You can check and change the schema for each product with the meta box available in editor.
In addition to getting search traffic, star ratings will appear in the product page and archive thumbnails based on your theme. This will help users to pick up the high rated products visually as well sort high rated products with filter.
7. Optimize Use of Categories and Tags
In addition to individual product pages, you can add title and description to archives like shop, product categories and product tags. With Yoast SEO, you can go to “Products > Categories / Tags” to edit each item and add relevant details.
This will help to rank the archive pages in search engines for the focus keyword. Users landing on the archive page can check out similar products and filter best products based on sales or rating or price.
8. Have a Blog
WordPress is a blogging platform by nature. You can publish blog articles around your products to showcase your skills. In most cases, users reading your articles will ask for your help. There are lots of possibilities, later they can become your potential customers. In addition, publishing articles regularly will increase the domain authority of your site. This will get hundreds of thousands of visitors from Google, which you may not get only with your product pages.
9. Social Promotions and Discounts
Highly relying on Google will hurt if you have heavy competition. Therefore, in addition to optimizing your WooCommerce store, you can also run advertising campaigns and offer coupons to reach out targeted audience. Go to “WooCommerce > Marketing” section in your WordPress dashboard. Here you can find recommended add-ons for marketing your store’s products.
In addition, you can follow the below methods to attract more visitors.
- WooCommerce plugin allows you to create unlimited coupons and apply during checkout process. This is an in-built function of the plugin and do not need any additional add-ons.
- Promote your products through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social platform where you have trusted followers. You can also offer a discount and coupons through your Facebook page.
- If you have budget, plan for a Google Ads campaign to promote popular products from your store.
10. Monitor Performance
Finally, go to “WooCommerce > Analytics” menu in your WordPress dashboard. Here you can find varieties of reports to check the store performance based on revenue, orders, products, categories, coupons, etc.
It is also possible to compare the products performance to get an overall idea of what’s the effect of your SEO strategy.
If WooCommerce Analytics is not sufficient, use Google Analytics to monitor the performance of your product pages. You can also monitor downloads and identify the products your users are interested in. it will help you to optimize those popular product pages and upsell relevant products. There are variety of reports available in Google Analytics to monitor different parameters and optimize them.
As you can see WooCommerce offers plenty of resources and possibilities to create highly optimized online store with WordPress. By combining WooCommerce store with a quality blog, you can take your site to a million dollar online business. Once you start generating handsome revenue, you can look for customizing the store with plenty of free and premium add-ons available for WooCommerce.