This is a guest post from Irina Linnik. Irina is a marketing specialist at Onilab, and her work has been published on Smart Insights and Paymill.
Every eCommerce marketer understands the importance of SEO for your listings.
eCommerce competition is really tight, so sellers do their best to compete for organic traffic and visibility in search engine results. SEO optimization is the decisive factor when it comes to the store ranking and user engagement.
Marketers pay great attention to the optimization of product pages, images, content, and other site elements. What many of them often overlook are the Product Listing Pages or PLPs that are the actual power brokers.
Learn why SEO optimization for PLPs matters so much and how exactly these pages manage to bring a fair amount of traffic and revenue to your store.
Product Listing Pages: What are they and why they matter?
PLPs are the pages that display products within a specific category. However, do not confuse them with category pages.
Product listing pages are usually a result of a search (either in the browser or on the site) for a specific product. For example, if the user searches for “summer women shoes,” the PLP will display all products that contain this keyword.
PLPs are often overlooked by marketers in terms of SEO optimization. However, these pages deserve much more credit as they contribute to a great amount of traffic and ranking of the store.
Any SEO specialist understands the importance of internal linking. If the page contains many backlinks, it will have greater link value. In addition, internal linking helps search engines better understand the site’s structure which also contributes to indexing and ranking.
If we look at Product Listing Page, you may be surprised to find out that it has an overwhelming number of backlinks in comparison with other pages.
Think about it: an ordinary product page may have a few internal links but a PLP has links from all the listed products. This makes Product Listing Pages incredibly valuable in terms of SEO and link value.
Extensive keyword presence
Keywords are essential as they bring users to the pages.
If your product page has “red flat shoes women” keyword in the product description, chances are high your store will be displayed on the first pages of the search results. This happens because this keyword is quite specific and can possibly match the exact keyword on the product page.
But there is a reverse side of the coin. Because product pages focus on one product solely, their product descriptions are limited to specific keywords only.
Product Listing Pages, in their turn, contain product pages with a set of keywords for each. This contributes to the PLP value greatly.
As well, PLPs are displayed in search results by far more broad keyword search. Try inputting “women’s shoes” and you will see the PLPs from all the biggest online retailers with all their women shoes collection.
SEO optimization tips for Product Listing Pages
Even though PLPs bring great value for your store’s SEO, they need thoughtful optimization, same as any other page of your site. Invest some time in fine-tuning the Product Listing Pages to help them perform at their most.
Take care of the title
The title of your Product Listing Page usually matches the keyword that users search for.
For example, if you search “Women’s Boots” on Google, you will see the following results:
As you see, the title of the Nordstrom PLP is exactly the same as the keyword that we searched for.
A title tag is an HTML element that describes what the exact page is about. Title tags are displayed in:
- Search engine result pages (SEPRs);
- Top of web browsers;
- Social networks upon sharing the page.
It is an absolute must that your title contains relevant keywords. But try keeping the title length under 60 characters and don’t overdo the whole keyword thing. Unlike Product Page, Product Listing Page is less specific and does not require a complicated and over-descriptive title (i.e. “Women’s Red Leather Boots”).
Create a good meta description
A meta description is a short snippet of the text that describes the page and its content. This HTMP attribute is displayed in the search results under the page title and influences the click-through rate.
Google recommends keeping the meta description under approximately 300 characters.
When creating a meta description, remember that you have to “sell” your page to the users. Try writing it in an engaging manner and don’t hesitate to add relevant keywords.
Note: meta description does not impact the site’s ranking but does impact the CTR. So invest some time in writing a converting and SEO-friendly description.
Optimize the images
PLP contains dozens of images and product descriptions from the product pages. So if you want to increase the value of the PLP page, you have to optimize the elements that are present on this page.
Image optimization is an important SEO aspect that often gets overlooked by eCommerce marketers. Optimization is needed so your images appear in image search results and drive users to your store.
Here are the main things in image optimization.
Title name helps search engines learn what the image is about. As well, some companies also display the title upon hovering the mouse over the image.
Alt text is a text snippet that is displayed when the image does not load. It informs the users and search engines what the image is about and contains a relevant keyword (or a few).
If the page loads slowly, this harms the page ranking. Heavy and non-optimized images are among the top reasons why your page may be slow.
Thus, choose an appropriate size for your image but keep an eye on retaining good image quality.
Optimize product description
Product descriptions convince users to buy your product and help learn about their features and advantages.
In brick-and-mortar stores, users can touch and feel the products – but in the online store, they can only look at product images and read the descriptions.
The essentials of creating an SEO-friendly product description:
- Write for the users, not for the bots: keep the friendly, lively tone that would encourage the users to learn more.
- Include keywords to increase visibility.
- List down the product benefits to promote a purchase.
- Combine features and benefits: describe the product and the value it brings.
URL indicates the page relevance to the search query and thus, it’s important that the URL contains relevant keywords.
In the Nordstrom example above, the URL of the Product Listing Page is https://shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-boots
This URL clearly displays what kind of products can be found on the page.
Some more things to remember about URL optimization:
- Use hyphens, because Google cannot read underscores.
- Do not put capital letters in the URL.
- Ensure the URL is readable and clear.
Product Listing Pages are important for your store, as they inform visitors about your items, help search engines find you, and contribute to the overall store ranking.
But one more important aspect of SEO optimization is the actual store performance. Google considers the site load speed as one of the ranking factors because good performance equals good user experience and vice versa.
Performance optimization is critical and involves many aspects. We recommend reaching out to an experienced development agency to perform an audit and fix any pain points that slow your store down and prevent you from selling more.