That might sound daunting, especially if this is your first time using this handy WordPress plugin.
Luckily for you, WooCommerce comes pre-packaged with several SEO features that’ll help make your job a little easier. Plus, if you follow a few guidelines, it shouldn’t be difficult getting your eCommerce store to rank in no time.
Let’s take a look at the basics of WooCommerce SEO — what it is, and why it’s important. Then, we’ll walk you through our step-by-step guide to the 13 best practices you should follow to make your eCommerce site stand out from the competition.
What is SEO, and why is it important?
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of optimizing your website so that it ranks highly on the search engine results pages (SERPs). These are the pages that pop up when you search for something online.
You want to optimize your website to appear in the SERPs because the higher it ranks, the more visible it is to potential customers. These potential customers — those who click on your site after seeing it in the SERPs — are also called organic traffic.
Ranking highly in the SERPs is one effective way to drive traffic to your website. It can also help you increase customer retention rates and expand brand awareness.
According to research by Backlinko, less than 1% of people click on links on Google’s second page. What’s more, the same analysis found that the top three search results on Google’s first page get more than half of all clicks.
In other words, visibility really matters for online success. And if you aren’t optimizing your WooCommerce website for SEO, it’ll be extremely difficult to compete with businesses that are.
Is WooCommerce good for SEO?
If you’re worried about whether WooCommerce is good for SEO or not, you can put your mind at rest. WooCommerce is undoubtedly excellent for SEO.
You can attribute this partly to the fact that WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. Since WordPress is designed with SEO in mind, WooCommerce is too.
Because WooCommerce works within the world of WordPress, it comes with several SEO-friendly features, as well as simple ways to optimize your content and website structure. These include a variety of SEO-focused plugins and page-optimizing themes.
With this user-friendly plugin and platform combo, you can take advantage of the eCommerce functionalities WooCommerce offers and the performance-oriented content management elements WordPress presents.
So how exactly do you use WooCommerce SEO to rank at the top of the SERPs? Let’s take a look at the 13 best practices your eCommerce website should follow.
SEO for WooCommerce best practices
- Enable SEO settings in WordPress
- Perform keyword research
- Create SEO-optimized page titles
- Write URL slugs
- Develop streamlined page layouts
- Enable breadcrumbs
- Write SEO-friendly product descriptions
- Add images with alt text
- Include meta descriptions
- Streamline website architecture
- Optimize for mobile
- Secure your WooCommerce site
- Track SEO performance
1. Enable SEO Settings in WordPress
Before you can optimize your WooCommerce store for SEO, you’ll need to enable SEO settings in WordPress.
This means designing your store so that search engines like Google can crawl and index each page properly. You also need to make sure that all WordPress SEO settings are calibrated to boost your store’s search visibility.
How do you do that?
Creating an SEO-friendly website structure is a good place to start. This is key, as it helps you maintain a streamlined site architecture as you build out your eCommerce store. One way you can do this is by customizing your permalink settings.
Another thing you can do is create an XML sitemap, which is basically a list of all the pages and URLs on your website. You’ll also want to configure your site’s robots.txt files. These files tell search engines which pages on your WooCommerce store they should and shouldn’t index.
Lastly, you’ll want to install SEO-enhancing plugins like Screaming Frog, a crawling tool that locates indexing issues and shows you how search engines are navigating your website. Rank Math is another SEO plugin that offers optimization suggestions and analytics.
2. Perform keyword research
According to a report by HubSpot, 47% of web analysts believe that performing keyword research has the greatest impact on their SEO strategy.
While your strategy will vary based on your industry and business goals, here are a few key elements of keyword research you’ll want to follow:
- Brainstorm broad words and topics related to your business and niche. These are called seed keywords and are the basic building blocks of a keyword strategy.
- From each seed keyword, make a list of related words and phrases that align with your target customers’ search intent.
- Perform a competitive analysis to get additional keyword ideas.
- Make a list of potential primary keywords, which represent the “main” topic of a page, and secondary keywords, which are similar or directly related to the primary keyword.
- Use software like Ahrefs, the Semrush Keyword Research tool or the Google Ads keyword planner to check the volume and difficulty of your selected keywords.
- Evaluate each keyword’s potential effectiveness based on factors like search volume and relevance to user search intent.
3. Create SEO-optimized page titles
Titles are an integral part of piquing your customers’ interest. So, you’ll need to create SEO-friendly page titles, also called title tags, which are the titles potential customers will see in the SERPs.
It’s important to keep title tags between 50-60 characters, as otherwise, they’ll be cut off. You can use Moz’s title tag preview tool to see how they’ll appear to readers in the SERPs.
You’ll also need to create on-page titles, which appear on the page itself once the user has arrived. These should use second-person language when possible and be descriptive, engaging and specific to the content that appears beneath them.
4. Write URL slugs
We’ve already talked about the importance of customizing your permalinks. But there’s a part of the permalink in particular that requires your attention: the URL slug.
To make your URL slug SEO-friendly, you’ll want to place hyphens between each word, use unique URLs for every page and keep your slugs as short as possible. It’s also critical to make all your URL slug text clear and descriptive of the page it represents.
5. Develop streamlined page layouts
You should aim to make the pages of your WooCommerce store as intuitive and streamlined as you can. If you’re new to website design and are still learning WooCommerce SEO tactics, then installing a WooCommerce theme that provides templates is an excellent solution.
In addition, you’ll want to establish a consistent brand for your store. One way to do this is by keeping your colors, fonts and logos the same across your page layouts. You’ll also want to feature engaging, persuasive and optimized content with relevant keywords on every page.
Above all else, you should keep user search intent and buyer personas in mind while constructing your layouts.
For example, product pages should feature a prominent product image and a shopping cart sidebar, while a landing page should feature a prominent call-to-action (CTA) button and a short text blurb.
6. Enable breadcrumbs
Webpage breadcrumbs serve a similar function to the ones integral to the famous Hansel and Gretel fairytale. But instead of being dry bits of bread left on the forest floor, these breadcrumbs are a series of digital links at the top of a webpage.
Breadcrumbs present a clear picture of the path users have tread on your site, making it easy for them to understand what page they’re currently on and how to return to the ones they’ve already visited.
You can also add them by downloading a WordPress theme that automatically integrates them or by altering your website’s source code manually.
7. Write SEO-friendly product descriptions
Product descriptions should be around 300-400 words long and include keywords aligned with those found in product titles.
Making these descriptions engaging is absolutely essential. To do this, you could use power words: persuasive words that elicit responses from readers.
It’s also a good idea to incorporate social proof or metrics to illustrate the effectiveness of your products.
8. Add images with alt text
Once you have your product descriptions, it’s time to start adding high-quality images with corresponding alternative text — the descriptive blurb that appears when images aren’t available.
This text, usually just called alt text, is an excellent place to include some of the keywords that you zeroed in on earlier. Just remember to keep the text relevant to the image — its purpose is to enhance accessibility, after all.
Of course, alt text is only as good as the image it represents. Here are some tips for including SEO-friendly photos in your WooCommerce store:
- Host images on a content delivery network (CDN) like SiteLock.
- Include a variety of product images, from detailed up-close photos to scaled images.
- Compress and resize your images.
- Adapt all images to your branding.
- Place a featured image at the top of each blog post or article.
9. Include meta descriptions
Meta descriptions, the blurbs appearing under your title tag on the SERPs, are like a teaser for what the webpage is about. Optimizing them is critical, as readers won’t go to your page if they don’t find the meta description interesting or relevant to their search.
Impeccable meta descriptions can increase traffic and conversions, improve your click-through rates and help you expand brand awareness.
To write intriguing meta descriptions, you’ll need to:
- Feature primary and secondary keywords, as well as relevant niche, semantic and targeted keywords.
- Focus on customer pain points.
- Include a call to action (CTA) that urges readers to click the link.
10. Streamline website architecture
Although this step starts with your WooCommerce SEO website setup, you’ll need to do more work to create an SEO-friendly website structure — an architectural layout that’s easily navigable for both search engines and potential customers.
To do this, it helps to think from your target audience’s point of view and include the connecting features that simplify site navigation for them, such as pop-up sidebars and interactive menus.
Using plugins like Broken Link Checker, which helps you identify links that might lead nowhere, can aid you in streamlining your store’s architecture. There’s nothing more frustrating, after all, than trying to navigate an eCommerce store with a series of broken links.
Another important step is locating and consolidating duplicate content, as well as adding internal links to other webpages when relevant.
As you optimize your site structure, focus especially on user experience. Essentially, you want to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to travel around your WooCommerce website.
One way to check if your website is navigable is to have users test it and provide feedback throughout the process. This can help you locate problem areas and determine how streamlined your website will feel to customers.
By undertaking these practices regularly, you’ll lower your bounce rate — or percentage of users who leave your site without taking action — and better satisfy user expectations.
11. Optimize for mobile
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2022 findings, 76% of adults in the U.S. buy things online with smartphones. And in April 2023, Similarweb reported that more than 65% of all web traffic came from mobile devices.
These realities — combined with Google’s mobile-first indexing policy — make enhancing your mobile site structure and navigation processes vital for attracting organic traffic and boosting SEO rankings.
So how do you go about this?
First, you’ll want to use Google’s mobile-friendly test to help inform your mobile site design. This test will tell you whether web crawlers will have trouble indexing your store.
Second, you should implement a responsive website design — a design that automatically adapts to different devices, resolutions and screen sizes.
You should also consider how functionalities are different on mobile devices and optimize them accordingly. For example, 360-degree product viewers may not function as effectively on smartphones. You can either try to adjust the settings or remove them from your WooCommerce store’s mobile version.
12. Secure your WooCommerce site
Security is an essential part of WooCommerce SEO. If people believe your website is untrustworthy, they won’t click your links or purchase your products. Therefore, it’s crucial that you take the necessary steps to make your online store as secure as possible.
You can do this by activating an SSL Certificate, which creates a secure connection between your website and the server. Some web hosts, including Bluehost, offer free SSL Certificates with their hosting plans.
Here are a few more best practices to help keep your WooCommerce site secure:
- Create strong passwords and reset them frequently.
- Update your website regularly.
- Perform consistent backups.
Plugins can also make the task of keeping your website secure much easier. Jetpack is a top-notch security-enhancing plugin you should consider installing. It comes with regular site backups and one-click restores, as well as tools that help automate several SEO processes.
13. Track SEO performance
Without tracking and measuring your performance, it’s impossible to know how your SEO efforts are going.
Learning to use Google Analytics effectively will allow you to track key metrics like sales, leads, conversion rates and click-through rates — all of which offer insights into the effectiveness of your WooCommerce SEO strategy.
Final thoughts: An in-depth guide to WooCommerce SEO (plus 13 best practices)
Following SEO best practices is integral to your WooCommerce store’s success. And while it may seem overwhelming, adhering to the above steps will make the process a lot smoother — both when first starting out and for years to come.
Another thing you can do to make your job easier is to choose a reliable and affordable web hosting provider. At Bluehost, we offer WooCommerce Hosting plans that come pre-packaged with a mix of SEO-oriented tools. These include web analytics, a free SSL certificate, daily backups and automated updates.
Contact us today to learn more about how Bluehost can support your growing eCommerce business.
WooCommerce SEO: FAQ
Performing keyword research, streamlining website architecture, designing page layouts and optimizing for mobile are all challenges of WooCommerce SEO.
Overloading pages and titles with keywords, ignoring duplicate content or broken links, forgetting to optimize images and omitting alt text are common WooCommerce SEO mistakes.
Another mistake people often make is not strategically approaching site setup from the beginning, such as by neglecting things like the XML sitemap and robots.txt files.
Mobile optimization is extremely important to the overall success of your WooCommerce website. There are a couple of reasons why.
The first is that Google has implemented a mobile-first policy. This means that your mobile site factors more into SEO performance and rankings than the desktop version. Optimizing for mobile, therefore, should be one of your top priorities if you want to rank highly in the SERPs.
Another reason is that more than three-quarters of U.S. adults buy things online with their mobile devices. You’ll need to ensure that your website is easy to navigate on a smartphone to attract and retain those customers.