It’s a question I hear asked over and over again. Most eCommerce sites struggle with ranking their product pages due to 3 factors: duplicate content, poor internal linking, and competition. While nothing can be done about the last problem, much can be said about the first two.
In this post, I’ll share some of the tactics I’ve used to improve product page rankings for my clients.
- Product Reviews: Product reviews are a sure fire way to ensure your pages are rich with unique content that occurs only on your site. Back when we were able to view supplemental results on the Google SERPs, I found that pages that had unique products reviews did not end up as supplemental results. On the contrary, pages without unique descriptions or product reviews did.
- Keyword Rich URLs: Because most ecommerce sites are linked with a dynamic database, they use ugly url’s which contain at least one number parameter. Convert your category product page URLs into friendly, keywords rich file and folder names. For more info on URL re-writing, check out this Wikipedia article. For IIS users, you might want to consider this software from Isapi Re-write.
- No Follow Tags: Many sites distribute their internal link juice in such a way that is not favorable to the product detail pages. In order for your pages to rank highly, they need to receive a decent flow of PageRank. I would strongly recommend slapping a no-follow tag on your less important pages from an SEO perspective (e.g. Privacy, security, about us pages). Just be sure to link to them from your sitemap without the no follow. For more info on this tactic, check out this post on the no-follow tag.
- Avoid Manufacturer Descriptions: Resist the temptation to copy and paste manufacturer provided product descriptions. Why? Because all your competitors use them as well. When Google sees multiple pages with the same content, it will likely favor the site in which the content was published first. In addition, these stock product descriptions often are not the most well written from a sales perspective.
- Add SEO Keywords to Title Tag: It goes without saying that all your title tags must be unique and contain the product name. However, this is simply not enough. Create an extra field in your product database where you can add alternative SEO keywords. Then have these keywords show up in the Title tag for each product page. For example, while you’ll likely never rank for a high volume keyword search such as “apple ipods”, you may stand a chance at ranking for “discount apple ipods” or “Apple ipod mp3 player” if you add those phrases to the title tag.
- Internal Contextual Linking: Link to your important product pages internally from a non navigation link. For example, you may want create a keyword rich link in the product description of one product linking to another product page.
I hope you’ll find these suggestions useful. As always, leave a comment if you have any questions or feedback.