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The ultimate guide to WooCommerce SEO for eCommerce

Dan from NovosDan in SEO, WooCommerce

18th December, 2020

WooCommerce SEO

WooCommerce is one of the most popular CMSs globally, with an estimated 400,000 using the platform. Unlike Shopify, it is not a complete hosting site but a plugin and is commonly used in conjunction with WordPress. So for this blog, we will be talking about the two as a whole CMS.  

WordPress allows you to custom build your site while the WooCommerce plugin works to add eCommerce features to a blog site. Shopping carts and Product pages are some of the eCommerce features supplemented by WooCommerce. To customize your website features further, there are a series of extension plugins available. These plugins have a user-friendly design and can be easily incorporated, without the need for developer work, making WooCommerc a suitable option for anyone starting in eCommerce. 

Setting up

Building your site on WooCommerce:

Once you have registered a Domain name, you will need to install a core version of WordPress and attach it to your domain. It is also imported to find a quality web hosting service. 

Picking a WordPress theme can be simple; there are many free versions to choose from within the admin dashboard. If you want a more custom looking site, a web developers design or an outside theme can also be incorporated within the WooCommerce framework.

Adding the Woocommerce extension

Since WooCommerce is such a vital aspect of any e-commerce site operating on WordPress, it may surprise you that you have to install it as an extension independently. While this is an additional step, it is a relatively simple one to do. 

Once you have logged into your WordPress backend, go to your plugins section within your menu and select “Add New.” Once here, you should be able to search for WooCommerce in the Woocommerce Plugin Directory. The plugin needs to be activated once it is installed.

Store functions, such as product pages and the rest, within your back end, will become available once the App has been made active. Then Bob’s you’re Uncle, you basic e-store functionalities are available to you, and you can begin setting up your store. 

Creating store Pages

Within WooCommerce, there are different types of e-commerce store pages. Most successful stores use all page options. There is the home page, landing pages, product pages, Collection pages, and payments pages,  Blog pages, and blog feed page. 

WordPress’s default settings include blog pages but once you install the WooCommerce extension, the rest become available. Options to create a customer account, events, and sale pages are also available. However, they require a more customised site.

Using WooCommerce without plugins

Within Woocommerce itself, there is the ability to edit and add additional features without the downloading plugins through code PHP or HTACCESS files. However, if you are not comfortable with these, we recommend using plugins. 

Without plugins, there are ways to optimize for SEO within WooCommerce itself, such as optimizing product naming, product descriptions, internal linking, and more.

Additional features you'll need to use WooCommerce

Although there are many ways to get the most of the existing features within WooCommerce, to get the fully optimized for SEO, you will have to find a way to incorporate the following features:

  • Meta Data (Meta description & title tags)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • XML sitemaps
  • Robots.txt editability
  • Schema and Structured Data
  • URL managed and redirection capability

These attributes help in the following ways:

  • Metadata helps you rank for keywords without having to put them within your site. Optimized metadata can help boost CTR, signalling to Google that your content is most in demand within a given search.
  • Schema, allows Google to pull through more information into SERPs results. Again this boosts your CTR while optimizing for social sharing. 
  • An XML site map allows Google to understand the logic and structure of your site, while also increasing the indexability of hard to find pages within your site. 
  • Breadcrumbs allow you to build internal links and increase the navigability of your site. Internal linking plays a vital role in increasing the visibility of a page and sharing the SEO value of a site throughout each page. This results in the page with the most links pointing to it having the most authority within a website, for instance, the home page more often than not has the most influence within a website. This also helps Google understand the architecture of your site while adding to your user experience.

Best SEO apps for WooCommerce

Many WooCommerce plugins have useful functions to help the SEO of your website. Many of these help you add metadata, internal links, and more to your site. But we have compressed the list into a handful of must-have plugins to boost the SEO of your site.

Yoast SEO

There is always one plugin we can’t look past as SEOs, and that is Yoast. This plugin comes in an introductory free version and a more advanced paid version. Slightly cheaper but similar plugins often used as a substitute are also SEOPress and Rank Math

A list of key features are:

  • Helps optimise for keywords
  • Readability Checker
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Alerts for Duplicate Content
  • Keep Updated Google Algorithm
  • Suggests Internal Links
  • Optimises Metadata
  • Can manage redirects
  • Has multisite compatibility

All In One Schema Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are a great way to increase CTR (Click-through rate). This app allows you to add schema to your page so that Google can pull through more information for your pages, such as cost and stock levels. Improving CTR is said to help improve your SERPs ranking as Google sees this as the most popular result for the search query. 

A list of key features are:

  • Optimises pages with schema in hopes to boost the page’s position within SERPs
  • Encourages higher CTR
  • increases the likelihood of being featured in rich snippets
  • Optimises results within social sharing

WP-Backlinks

There are two different versions of this plugin, the free version, and a premium version. Backlinks are a critical factor in building authority in your niche. This app makes it easy to monitor your backlink profile. 

A list of key features are:

  • Provides updates on blog backlinks every seven days
  • Has some capacity to monitor a few competitors 

Broken Link Checker

Faulty internal links and 404 pages can water down the SEO value of your site. The best way to control this is to keep up to date on redirecting and managing 404 pages. This app helps monitor old links and 404 pages, enabling you to keep your site clean. 

A list of key features are:

  • Internal link monitoring – including comments and posts
  • Faulty link alerts.
  • Missing image and redirection alerts
  • Broken link alerts within posts

WP Rocket

Site Speed is a massive contributor to SERPs ranking. This effect on the ranking is often an organic consequence of searchers becoming frustrated with loading times of a page and bouncing from your site. As a result of searchers bouncing from your site, Google concludes that your page didn’t satisfy the searcher’s needs and down ranks you.  

One of the most effective ways to increase site speed is through browser caching. This plugin allows your WooCommerce site to cache on searcher’s browser, so the page will load faster for visitors the next time they visit your site. 

The primary key feature of this one is that it:

  • Allows browser caching

How to implement 301 redirects in WooCommerce?

No matter what CMS you are using, it is imperative to understand how to import a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect tells your CMS to permanently direct users, Search Engines and crawlers from one page to another, which makes 301 redirects useful in managing out of date content or discontinued products. 

How to implement a 301 using the Redirection tool:

Implementing a 301 redirect in WooCommerce/ WordPress is a simple process. We recommend doing it through the plugin “Redirection.”

If you don’t already have this plugin installed, you can access it by searching in “add new” within the “plugin” section of your dashboard. Once installed, you can find this tool by navigating to your different tools in your dashboard menu, and select “Redirection.” Once within it, you will find two ways in which to make a 301 Redirect. 

First way

Once within the “redirection” plugin, you’ll see options for this extension to not only manage and create redirects but also to find 404 errors in your site. This feature makes it a simple process to manage 404 pages:

1) To find this section select the 404s tab

404 tab woocommerce

2) This will come up with a list of 404s and the date at which they occurred

redirection in woocomemerce

3) From here, you can implement a redirect by selecting the “add redirect” button underneath the featured URL

4) A redirection window will pop up, allowing you to enter a URL to redirect the 404 error to

setting up redirection5) Once you have entered the desired destination, Press “add redirect” to import it. 

Secondly:

If you already know the URLs you want to redirect you can add them directly by selecting the redirects tab and clicking “add new”:

1) Once a panel with source URL and target URL has popped up, you can add the defunct URL into the source URL section and the one you want to redirect it to, to the target URL section

steps to set redirection

2) Once you have done this, press “Add redirect” to import the redirect. This redirect will then be adding to the list below. 

Block import redirects

To bulk import through this App simple select Import/Export 

redierction in woocommerce

From here you can upload a CSV file with the URLs you’re mapping from in a column labeled Source URL and the URLs that they are going to in a column label Target URL.

rediection in woocommerce steps

Then press upload. 

How to import multiple redirects using htaccess files:

A standard plugin that enables you to edit your .htaccess file is Yoast SEO, and there is a chance you are already using it to manage other aspects of your site. Small mistakes while writing your .htaccess can cause damage to your website, so it is best to back your site up beforehand and only use this method if you are confident using .htaccess files. However, this method can be useful when you have multiple redirects to upload:

  • You’ll find a link to the Yoast plugin in SEO then Tools within your dashboard. 
  • From here, select the “file editor” which lets you edit your .htaccess file. You will pull up your Robots.txt and .htaccess file.
  • From here, you can add in your redirect code for making a 301 redirect
  • Click save changes

Please note, it’s essential to back up your site as if anything goes wrong in this process, it won’t be straightforward to get back into your back end. 

Implementing 301 is a necessary skill for managing any site. Alternatively, if you’re thinking about a different CMS, read our ultimate guide to Shopify here.

 

How to edit XML sitemaps in WooCommerce

Sitemaps are great for letting Google have an overview of your website. A sitemap can make pages deep in your site’s architecture more accessible and visible to Google while enabling Google to understand your site structure and content better. The sitemap exists purely for the search engine’s purpose, increasing the indexability of the featured pages.

What is a sitemap?

A sitemap, is as the name describes, a map of your site content linked in a way that Google and other Crawlers understand. Some sites use HTML sitemaps, which can be accessed by customers (you may have seen these linked to from the footer). However, these serve slightly different functions and we recommend also using an XML sitemap that is submitted directly to search engines. 

Advantages of creating an XML sitemap:

  • New page indexing; Once you have created a new page, it can take a while for Google to discover it, using a sitemap Google can find it more readily. 
  • The cleaner your sitemap is the more you can get search engines to focus on pages you want them to.

There are a couple of plugins within WooCommerce which enable you to generate your site maps, such as XML Sitemaps Generator and Yoast. 

Steps to accessing your sitemap via Yoast on WooCommerce:

1) Once you have logged into your WooCommerce admin dashboard, navigate to the “SEO” menu along your sidebar and select “general.”

editing xml sitemaps in woocommerce - 1

2) Now the new window is open, a selection of tabs will appear. Click on the Features tab.

3) Now you have made a list of features available. If you scroll down, you will find a section labeled XML sitemap. To expand this section, click the question mark beside the header for this section.

4) After expanding this section, a hyperlinked option to “view the XML sitemap will appear. Click the link, and your sitemap will appear. 

Generating and managing your sitemap can help your site drastically. It can high and bring some of your sites buried pages to the surface for search engines. Maintaining a sitemap helps tell search engines which pages are most relevant to your site.

Noindexing pages in WooCommerce with Yoast

Due to the Yoast plugin automatically generating a sitemap from the live pages it can be a bit of a trick to change the existing map. To combat this, Yoast has developed a filtering process within their search appearance function that allows you to remove pages you do not want to feature in the search results. This function allows you to include or exclude page types for your search result, which automatically excludes them from your sitemap. To edit your search appearance, you will have to follow these steps:

1) Again find the “SEO” menu in your sidebar navigation, this time selecting a “Search Appearance.”

2) Once here select content types to manage the types of pages included.

3) Select yes for the page type to be included and no to exclude them.

Under the taxonomy, certain tab and category pages can be managed in a similar way.

Excluding individual pages:

The same concept applies for excluding individual pages as for groups of pages, managing search results. To block individual posts or pages, take the following steps. 

  1. Once logged into your dashboard find the page you need to be excluded. 
  2. Once on the page in question, scroll down to the advance section within your settings. Once her, go to the “Allow search engines to show this Post in search results?” drop-down menu and select “no” to exclude it from your search results and the sitemap.

For more information now on how to manage your WooCommerce site, read our other WooCommerce blogs. Alternatively, reach out to us below & we’ll happily help you with managing the SEO of your WooCommerce platform.

How to edit robots.txt in WooCommerce/Wordpress

Read this blog to know how to edit robots.txt in WooCommerce. The article contains detailed instructions.

WooCommerce FAQs for SEO 2020

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a WordPress extension designed to add eCommerce features, such as product pages, shopping carts, and more to the traditional blog CMS.

How much does WooCommerce cost, and is it free?

WooCommerce and WordPress is open-source software, meaning you don’t have to pay anything to use it. Because it is free to use WooCommerce and WordPress can save your site running costs; however, you shouldn’t think this means setting up a site on WooCommerce will cost you nothing. While you can customize the costs of running your website, you will have to factor in expenses, such as hosting, themes, and plugin costs.  

How to set up WooCommerce?

There are five critical steps to building your WooCommerce shop front. 

  • First, you will need to install WordPress. WordPress takes about five minutes to install, and you can do this from your chosen host or the word press site directly. 
  • Second, you will need to choose a theme for your site; you can do this within WordPress selection. 
  • Third, to add eCommerce functionalities to your site download WooCommerce as a plugin app.
  • Fourth, build out your product and content pages. Add any custom extensions functions such as shipping, memberships, and more.
  • Fifth, Publish your site!

How to integrate WooCommerce with Google Analytics?

Like many questions on WooCommerce, the answer is to download a new plugin. To add your Google Analytics tracking code to your WooCommerce site, install WooCommerce Google Analytics Pro. This app embeds your tracking code to send detailed data to your GA account. 

How to display WooCommerce products by category in WordPress?

Categorising your products is an essential way for your customers and search engine to understand your product range. Adding categories and Subcategories is simple, navigate from your dashboard to products to Categories to add and edit categories. Most themes will display ways to navigate to your categories; however, if you wish to customise, you can navigate to appearance to customise the way they are featured. 

How to import products WooCommerce?

It is easy to upload a product list in bulk with product CSV importer and exporter. To use this, you will need to create A CSV list of your products following the extensions formatting, for there it is simple to upload and update products. 

What are WooCommerce plugins?

WooCommerce plugins when installed, add extra functionality or features to your site both in the back and front end.

How does the WooCommerce plugin work?

Woocommerce is, in fact, a WordPress plugin that adds e-commerce features to your site. To add additional features to your website, you may have to install other plugins. These plugins seamlessly integrate with your CMS and act as an extension to pre-existing functionality. New plugins are easily installed by navigating to the plugin section and selecting “add.” 

What is the difference between a simple and configurable product WooCommerce?

Simple products a product with no variants and featuring one SKU, whereas, a configurable product can house multiple SKUs. Configurable products are designed to display product variations, such as colour, size, and other specs, within one product page. 

What are WooCommerce blocks?

WooCommerce blocks are a Layout function for the front of your site. You can use these blocks to feature one product boldly, which can improve CTR to the desired page. 

What are WooCommerce breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs are the chain of links across the top of a page as you click through a site. These internal links link back to the broader categories you have clicked through to back to until they reach the home page. As SEO’s we use breadcrumbs to improve internal linking and add to the navigability of your site. 

Can WooCommerce be used with any theme?

The easiest way to begin on WooCommerce themes already available on WordPress. However, you can work with a developer to make almost any theme compatible with WooCommerce.

Liked the guide? Now, check out our list of some great WooCommerce site here. Got questions? Fill the form below to get in touch with us.

 

Dan from Novos
Article by Dan
Dan heads the SEO team at NOVOS. A former neuroscientist, Dan entered the world of SEO by working with one of the top SEO agencies in the country and has architectured several award-winning SEO campaigns since then. His vast knowledge of tech SEO has helped NOVOS execute even the most complicated eCommerce SEO plans.

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