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The ultimate guide to optimising product pages (PDPs) for SEO

Laura Brady from NovosLaura Brady in SEO

15th November, 2020

How optimise product pages (PDPs) for SEO

Balancing branding, technical SEO and user experience (UX)  on a product page is no easy feat. Throw in mobile-first indexing and chrome web vitals and you’re left in a pretty tricky position.

Ranking factors and SEO

In this guide, we’ll run through our top tips for optimising eCommerce product pages (PDPs) without cluttering the page above the fold. 

PDP H1 / Product naming

Use Google shopping data and keyword research (or any internal data) to calculate the product attribute that has the highest likelihood to convert and highest impressions in search.

We’d recommend moving the more important attributes closer to the start of naming conventions so they are given higher value and don’t get cut off in the SERPs.Then add any additional missed keywords to product names which get pulled into the PLP.

E.g. For one of our clients, the use of colour in product names is sporadic yet one of the biggest influencers to customers buying.

So, in this case, we used the following convention:

[Colour] [Product Name] [Product Type] | Brand Name

Whereas for one of our lifestyle brands, the colour was more important so we changed the bed linen conventions from:

100% French Linen Double Duvet Cover – Blush Pink

To:

Colour – %- COO – Size – Product Type (Description/Thread Count)

We have found that this can increase the impressions and clicks to PDP pages. When we did this for MADE.com it increased SEO impressions & clicks by 80%.

A few other points on product naming:

PDP product names should ideally be a mix between what the product is known as locally within the brand and what the product actually is, e.g a fern plant, dress, office chair etc.  

Patch Plants do this really well (see below) where they include the branded product name and the product type below.

Best use of product naming

It’s also important to check colloquialisms within the industry e.g. 

fake tan vs. self tan when doing keyword research to make sure you aren’t missing out on any opportunities. 

Product Page Title Tags

Page titles should follow the same approach as product naming but they don’t need to read as fluently as H1s.

The most important attributes and keywords should be at the front of the page title, and the least important at the end. This avoids any important keywords being cut off by the 70 character limit.

Some brands also like to include the category the plant belongs to within the title tag (see below). This helps to give Google more context of the product.

Product Page Title Tags

Optimising the product description

Writing authentic product descriptions can be a long and tedious process. And, when you’re a stockist or reseller, it can be tempting to copy a product description from a manufacturer/the brand’s website. It’s best to avoid this and take the time to write your own, unique, descriptions to avoid being affected with duplicate content.

To find out how we saw a 34% increase in non-brand SEO traffic & a 48% increase in non-brand SEO revenue by updating our clients’ product description, have a read of our blog post on 5 Tips for Writing Product Descriptions SEO.

Internal links

Changing how you manage internal links can be really useful for users and can contribute to an increase in conversion rate!

Internal links

It’s best practice to ensure that your key product pages are supported by a strong internal link profile. 

Some of the best ways to incorporate internal links on PDP pages include:

  • Linking to your product from the sitewide menu.
  • Add subcategory links to the top of category pages.
  • Long breadcrumbs linking to category & subcategory pages 

e.g. Home > Category Page > Subcategory > Product.

  • Incorporate attribute links into the page design. 
  • Add a ‘customers also bought section’ to entice customers through to new product pages.
  • Add a self-referencing canonical to product pages.

To find out more on how to boost internal links on your site, have a read of our blog post on ‘How to Leverage internal linking on eCommerce websites.’  

Product Page Images:

Images can be the crux of an e-commerce product page. 

If you have a well optimised, user-friendly product page, but low-quality images then users are less likely to trust the brand and convert.  According to research by Baymard.com, 56% of users go straight to the product page after arriving on a page.

Google may also deny your Google Shopping listing if the images are deemed low quality by their Google Image Guidelines.

Tips for optimising product page images for SEO:

  • Ensure images have descriptive alt text e.g. black_bodycon_midi_dress instead of black_dress. 
  • Provide a description of the image in the image name.
  • Scale your images so that they don’t affect page speed.
  • Use product schema to mark up the page and give Google more context. The ideal markup can be found here. We’ve also written a blog post on how to add schema tags to Shopify

For UX purposes we’d also recommend ticking of the following points:

  • Use multiple, high-quality images. 
  • Allow user-generated images in the reviews section.
  • Display images on a white background.

Refer to Google’s Image Guidelines for more information on Google Image best practices.

Mobile friendly

Since the mobile-first indexing started rolling out in July ’19, mobile-friendly websites have been more important than ever.

Tips on making a product page mobile-friendly:

  • Keep product descriptions short and sweet.
  • Position call to actions throughout the page so that users don’t need to scroll back up to the top to add to basket/purchase. 
  • Ensure calls to actions are big enough for users to click.
  • Avoid pop-ups.
  • Optimise images and make sure they don’t take up the whole screen above the fold.
  • Make sure main navigation is accessible without having to scroll.

We’d recommend running your product pages through Google’s mobile-friendly test to ensure there aren’t any design/technical issues obstructing your product page on mobile devices.

test to check if the page is mobile friendly

Page speed

Page speed has a huge effect on both user experience and SEO. 

In fact, sites can see the impact reducing your site speed by a couple of seconds can have on your annual revenue by using Think With Google. Sites can also benchmark their page speed against their competitors to get an idea of where they stand within the industry.

page speed improves conversion rate

For a detailed analysis on what’s causing your site to load slower, we’d recommend running several tests through GTMetrix and Page Speed Insights

Product page speed checklist:

✓ Are the images optimised?
✓ Is there an opportunity to minify the HTML?
✓ Is there an opportunity to minify JavaScript?
✓ Review fonts to ensure all are used onsite. Any that are not should be removed. Ensure all fonts are in WOFF2 format.
✓ Review JavaScript files and combine any being used globally into a single JS file. Serve product page & category page JS only on these page templates.

Running these page speed tests at different times throughout the day will give a more accurate picture of how well your site performs at peak/busy times.

For more detailed information on PDP SEO, have a read through our Ultimate SEO Guides to SEO for Shopify and Magento.

Laura Brady from Novos
Article by Laura Brady
Laura is a Senior SEO Strategist at NOVOS. Here, she leads eCom SEO strategies and consults on best practices for boosting organic growth and revenue. Laura previously worked at one of the top SEO agencies in the country (alongside our head of SEO Dan) and was shortlisted for Young Search Professional of the Year in 2019, at the UK search awards.

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