Product Page SEO In BigCommerce

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Product pages are the meat and potatoes of an ecommerce store. They are the primary reason users visit your site and the primary reason your site exists. Strong SEO on your product pages means that users looking for products like yours will be more likely to discover them in search results and make a purchase from you over a competitor.

What on-site changes can you make to your BigCommerce product pages to ensure that they do well in search results? Let's talk about some SEO settings for your product pages, how to write your product descriptions for maximum impact, how to make the most of your content, and how to interlink your pages to establish relevance.

Title, Meta Description, and Heading

We covered how to edit your product page title tags and meta descriptions in our previous post on BigCommerce SEO settings. In short, you can edit these by navigating to Products > View from the left navigation, selecting Edit from the Action drop down menu for your product, clicking over to the Other Details tab, and scrolling down to the Search Engine Optimization section, where you will see this:

bigcommerce product page seo settings

As we discussed in the previous post, the title tag is the headline and clickable link users see in the search results, and the meta description generates the snippet of text that appears below that headline.

Your title tag should contain your primary target keyword phrase (or a rearrangement or variant of it), communicate relevance to the searcher, and stand out from the other title tags on the front page of the search results. It should also be short enough to appear in full in the search results, or at least be arranged so that the part users need to see is visible. You can test how the title tag will look and where it will cut off with Moz's title tag tool.

The meta description, meanwhile, does not directly impact search rankings, so should be written entirely to entice clicks from users. Including your target keywords here will result in them being bolded in the search results if the user searched for them (or a synonym), which could increase the chances of them clicking through. Never use generic meta descriptions, since Google's automatically generated snippets would be a better fit then something not written for the specific product in question.

The primary heading of the page, the H1 tag, also weighs heavily on how search engines rank the page and determine what the page is about. The H1 tag is determined by the product name that you set.

To change a product name, navigate to Product > View and then select Edit from the Action drop down menu for the product in question:

bigcommerce product page edit

Now, from the Details tab, update the Name field with a new product name that will act as the page's H1 tag, then click the Save button:

bigcommerce change product name

Changing the product name will also change the URL that the product is located at to match the new product name. Thankfully, BigCommerce automatically sets up a redirect from the old product URL to the new one, so that no 404 errors are created and SEO authority that existed on the previous page is redirected to the new one.

If you don't set the title tag specifically from the Other Details tab within the Search Engine Optimization section, your title tag will automatically also be set to match your product name (followed by a pipe "|" separator and the name of your store).

Should your title tag and H1 heading always match? Not necessarily. The title tag acts as a call to action from search results, while the H1 tag acts as a headline for the page when the user lands on it. It's not necessary and doesn't always make sense for them to be the same.

Both should generally, however, target one of your primary keyword phrases. If you are targeting multiple primary keyword phrases, you may want to use one variation in the headline and a different one in the title tag, provided that both make sense for the user in their respective places and won't confuse the user.

The product name field should certainly act as a genuine name for your product, while also incorporating keywords in a way that makes sense. Brand and product name should ideally be present, as well as a general keyword to describe the type of product it is. Be sure to do so in a way that appears natural and makes sense to users and that works as a heading for your page and is a good fit for your product page template.

Product Page Content

The product page content makes up all of the text, images, and page elements the user can interact with once they land on your page. Google search quality raters are asked to evaluate the quality of the page content based on how well it serves its intended purpose, and content quality is a major factor that impacts search engine rankings. Google's algorithms are designed to emulate the ratings of human search quality raters, so it's important for your page to serve its intended purpose as well as possible.

Product Descriptions, SEO, and How To Write Them

The meat of your product page's content is in the product description. You can edit the description from the Details tab for the product after scrolling down to the Description section:

bigcommerce product description

Make sure to take advantage of the Heading 2 and possibly Heading 3 subheadings to break up your text and make it easier to scan, as well as help search engines categorize and understand your content within the framework of a semantic hierarchy. Any secondary keywords you are targeting should be found within Heading subheadings, which use the H2 HTML tag. Tertiary keywords can be included in the Heading 3 subheadings, assuming they exist.

Keep your paragraphs short, and use bullet points and numbered lists to make the text even easier to scan.

Remember that product page content is generally expected to be much higher in white space and to include far more subheadings then blog post content or similar. Even on a mobile device, subheadings and bulleted lists should usually be frequent enough that at least one is visible on the page at any given time the user is scrolling through the product description.

Make sure that your content answers in detail what the product does, how it is different from other similar products, both on your site and from the competition, and what makes it unique. This will boost your content's uniqueness score so that it is more likely to turn up in search results, and will add specificity to the page so that it will turn up for relevant long tail search queries.

We recommend doing some basic research into what users who are searching for similar products might want to know about it before buying, and what they might search for that will bring them to your page.

Google offers some indication of this right from its own search results. Check out the "people also ask" question that often turns up as a rich result in the SERP:

google people also ask section

Also take a look at the "Searches related to" section at the bottom of the SERP:

google searches related to section

You can also look for questions people are asking about your products and similar ones on Quora and address common objections found in user reviews of your products and similar ones.

The level of depth your product description goes into will depend on the industry and your target audience. It's relatively safe to say that most ecommerce sites err on the side of using product descriptions that are too short to address consumer objections and common search terms related to it. Those that don't make them too short usually make the mistake of not using subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs to make the content easy to digest and for search engines to understand semantically.

Product Images

BigCommerce themes generally allow you to include several images that the user can click between in order to see the product from different angles or otherwise see different aspects of the product:

bigcommerce product images multiple

If multiple high quality images are available, be sure to include them. At least one product image is very highly recommended, as shoppers are very unlikely to buy a product if they don't know what it looks like. Product images can also turn up in Google image search results, which if the correct schema is in place, also often now show pricing information.

To upload a product image, navigate to the Images & Videos tab for the product, then click either "Select images from your computer," "Use images from the web," "Use images from your gallery," or drop an image into the dotted box that says "Drag & Drop your product images here."

bigcommerce add product image

You can also add an image alt by updating the description field for the product down below, under the Product Images section of the page. Don't forge to click the "Save" button after uploading your image and adding your description.

bigcommerce add product image description alt tag

The image alt is the alternative text that displays for the image if the browser doesn't load the image or if the user is visually impaired. The description should include keywords that describe the image accurately so that it turns up in relevant image search results. Don't force keywords into the description that aren't a good fit for the image itself.

Remember that the image alt is intended as an actual alternative text for the image if for some reason it isn't visible or the user can't see it, so make sure it makes sense to users as well as search engines.

Other Product Page Content

Make sure to fill out every relevant field and make every relevant selection for your product before moving onto the next one. Check every tab for the product, including Details, Image & Videos, Inventory, Options & SKUs, Custom Fields, Other Details, and Bulk Pricing. 

While this isn't what content marketers would refer to as content, it is very much a part of what search engines consider to be content. Any useful piece of information on the page, such as its price or weight, is content that the user may want to know, and the more of it you make available, the more information search engines have to work with.

Internal Linking

As we mentioned in the BigCommerce SEO Settings post, links are how search engines discover pages, determine which pages are authoritative, and determine what the page is about. Links from authoritative pages increase how frequently your pages are crawled and how much authority they have, and the text and context of those links helps determine what the linked page is about.

In the SEO settings post, we discussed some navigational settings that help determine how links on your site are structured. When it comes to product pages specifically, there are a few more changes you can make to help with your SEO.

Most product pages on your site can't and shouldn't be the highest authority pages, since accomplishing this would require that the product pages are reachable from every page on your site, same as the homepage and category page. Doing this creates a flat architecture which actually makes the semantic structure of your site unclear.

If there is a single product you want strongly associated with your brand and it makes sense to link to it from your main navigation, you can do so by editing your theme to include the link. Doing so would put that product on par with your homepage and category pages in terms of internal link authority, but you can't do this with every product.

What you can do is increase the relevance of links to your product pages, by linking to them from similar product pages and relevant blog posts. By including such links where they are relevant, you help the search engines better understand in what contexts that product is relevant, which improves their ability to turn you up form searches in the right contexts.

Related Products

Each product page in most BigCommerce themes includes a "Related Products" section that appears at the bottom. By default, these are chosen automatically, based on the product name and description, to determine which pages are most alike. The links are followed and count toward your SEO, and this default setting is a very useful SEO perk of the platform:

bigcommerce related products on a product page

To make sure that this setting is turned on, navigate to the Other Details tab for your product:

bigcommerce product other details tab

Scroll down to the Related Products section. If the "Find and show related products automatically" box is checked, it BigCommerce will handle this for you.

bigcommerce related products set automatically

While this is a handy feature, you can help search engines find even more relevant products, as well as give the search engines a clearer idea of which products are most closely related, by unchecking the box and setting the related products manually:

bigcommerce related products set automaticallybigcommerce related products manually

To add a related product manually, select the category from the tree menu, then double click on the product from the text box below it. The product will appear in the text box at the bottom, which lists all of the related products that will be added to the page. You can add up to five products here. Don't forget to click Save once you've made your selection.

bigcommerce product page related products how to set manually

Contextual Links

A contextual link is a link within the "main body" content of a page. The main body content is the content that makes up the meat of the page, the central content that is the primary reason the user is there. On a product page, a contextual link would be found within the product description. On a blog page, it would be located within the text of the blog post itself.

This is in contrast with links in the supplementary content, like the menu navigation, sidebars, and so on.

Contextual links tend to have more influence over search results in terms of establishing relevance, since they are generally placed editorially by a human being, and since they establish semantic context in the most clear cut way.

You do not need to add contextual links to every blog post or product page, nor does every product page on your site necessarily need a contextual link pointing toward it from some other part of your site.

However, taking care to add contextual links to every page that warrants one helps the search engines better understand what the linked pages are about and in what contexts they are relevant, and will do so in a way that may have more impact than your navigational links and relevant product links.

Review your blog posts and product descriptions for moments where it would make sense to reference a product, and add a relevant link that will be useful to users in that context.

Conclusion

Shoppers must find your product pages if they hope to make a purchase, and taking the SEO steps necessary to boost their presence in search results is a robust way to boost visibility and potential revenue. Use the recommendations above to guide yourself through this process and make the most of your brand's potential.