Anyone who runs an online store at WooCommerce knows that more traffic usually means more sales. Generating traffic is therefore at the top of the to-do list for many store operators. The best organic way to increase traffic is search engine optimization (SEO). In this article, we explain how WooCommerce SEO 2024 works in particular.
Only what is found can be bought. But between algorithms, special language terms and Google updates, it's not necessarily easy to find the right strategy. So what does SEO for online stores depend on? And how do you implement it in WooCommerce? We list the eight most important measures, from the right product description to loading speed.
How does SEO work?
"SEO" stands for "Search Engine Optimization". This refers to various techniques and strategies that help to place a website as prominently as possible in the results list for certain queries in search engines such as Google. Prominent means: on the first site, preferably at the top.
Google is relatively selective and takes many different factors into account, such as content quality, keywords, website structure, backlinks and usability. Google always tries to direct users to the websites that are most relevant for their search query. The algorithms used are also constantly updated and optimized.
Putting your own website at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) can therefore be quite a complex undertaking. Especially for online stores with WooCommerce.
Create a WooCommerce online store
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a free e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It is open source, so easily accessible to all, and has now become the leading e-commerce store system. It is currently used by more than three million websites around the world.
In practice, WooCommerce stands out mainly because it is very simple and versatile. With a few clicks you can turn your WordPress website into a fully equipped online store. The plugin is modular and offers, just like WordPress, also own plugins and themes. WooCommerce itself is basically "only" the technical basis for your e-commerce store.
You want to know if WooCommerce is suitable for your store? Then you should take a look at our article WooCommerce: The advantages & disadvantages of the popular store plugin.
What is important with WooCommerce SEO?
It is particularly essential for online stores to be listed as high as possible in the search engine results. The higher a store is listed, the more potential buyers will find their way to the goods and services on offer.
WooCommerce is directly equipped with some technical and structural features that are search engine friendly by default and support SEO optimization. This gives WordPress users who implement their online stores with WooCommerce an advantage in the SEO game. However, additional adjustments are absolutely necessary if you want your store to top the results list.
We'll take a closer look at the specific adjustments you can make in a moment. First, let's take a quick look at the factors that Google attaches particular importance to when ranking online stores.
Ranking factors for online stores
Google itself does not explicitly reveal which of the more than 200 ranking factors are really relevant, but there are some that have proven themselves in practice and are recognized by experts. The focus is primarily on technical SEO.
Some important ranking factors for e-commerce stores in 2023 include:
- Content (Keywords)
- Structured Data
- URL structure
- User experience (e.g. breadcrumbs)
WooCommerce SEO - tips and guidelines for 2024
Now comes the exciting part: We delve deeper into the topic of WooCommerce SEO and reveal a total of eight tips and measures that have proven themselves in practice. You can implement all of them with relatively little effort in your WooCommerce online store.
1. SEO-optimize product names and descriptions
A product name is one of the first things you enter when you create a product page in WooCommerce . The more precise the better. The more specific the better. The title should accurately name the product and include the main keyword for the site.
How good your product descriptions are can further determine whether your products are purchased or not. This means that you need content on your site that is appealing to visitors and helps them make a purchase decision. At the same time, this information must also be optimized for search engines so that it is displayed to potential buyers in the first place.
At the beginning of every good product description is a detailed keyword research. See our step-by-step guide With keyword research to SEO success. This is the only way to know what your potential customers are looking for and to formulate your description texts in such a way that the relevant keywords are included. Then Google can recognize and display your product pages efficiently. Include both the main keyword and appropriate long tail keywordsin the descriptions.
Important: While you should not go into unnecessary detail in the descriptions, you should also avoid keeping the texts too short. Otherwise, Google will quickly assume that it is "thin content" and that you cannot provide enough information. This can have a negative effect on your ranking.
2. Optimize category pages
When optimizing your content, focus particularly on the higher-level category pages. Behind this there usually is a higher search volume and thus more potential that numerous potential buyers land on your site - and then look around on the individual product pages.
Important: You should also make sure to avoid thin content and give your category pages proper content fodder. Ideally, there should be no categories in your store with less than five products listed.
3. Use automations
The more your WooCommerce store grows, the more products need to be tagged with metadata. With several hundred or even thousands of products, this becomes extremely time-consuming. But you can automate the process with your own WordPress code, snippets or plugins (more about that later).
This allows you to easily create title tags and meta descriptions for each product page, based on various fragments on the site (e.g. H1, URL, etc.). This way you save a lot of work.
4. Simplify URL structure
The URLs under which your products are available online may not seem very important at first glance - but they are actually an important ranking factor. An online store has a slightly different URL structure than normal websites.
Short and clear URLs are easier to handle for users, and long and poorly structured URLs make it more difficult for Google crawlers to index your site. In the worst case, this can lead to your WooCommerce store not being listed at all for certain search terms.
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Your goal with WooCommerce SEO should therefore be "friendly" URLs . That is, URLs that both users and Googlebots can quickly and easily recognize what they will find on site. With permalinks you can decide yourself how the structure of links is created. With WooCommerce you can choose between several options or define your own structure.
You should therefore avoid numbers and letters in random order, special characters, dynamic URLs or too many subpages. Instead, use URLs that are as short as possible (maximum 74 characters) and contain the main keyword for the site . In addition, you should avoid duplicate content. Problems can arise especially if you assign a product to several product categories (including subcategories).
The category names should therefore only appear in the URL, for example, if you really only offer your products in one category. It's best to avoid subcategories as much as possible (or keep the names very short).
Tip: Not too many category levels
As a rule of thumb, your store should have a maximum crawl depth of 4. Ideally, neither the Google crawlers nor your visitors should have to "dive" deeper in the store.
You can sometimes omit the category altogether in URL design. This makes sense especially if you also use breadcrumbs.
5. Set internal links with structure
Internal links push your WooCommerce store up in the Google ranking - but only if they are set sensibly and follow a clear structure. Instead of randomly placing links to other articles when it suits you, you should develop a logical plan and stick to it.
A well thought-out internal link strategy helps Google understand why your pages are relevant, how they relate to each other, and what value they add to readers.
Why internal links are still important and how to build a good internal link structure in WordPress, you will learn in detail in our article Internal linking with WordPress: Important for your SEO.
6. Optimize images
You should optimize the images in your WooCommerce store for two reasons:
- SEO optimized images improve the loading speed (pagespeed) of your WordPress website.
- Your images will appear higher up in Google Image Search and drive additional traffic.
In WooCommerce there are basically three types of images: individual product images, catalog images and preview images. The following applies to all of them: In order to display them optimally, your individual cropping should not be larger than the original image. You should also make sure to keep the image files as small as possible, ideally under 100 kB.
It is best to choose images that are between 800 and 1600 pixels wide and between 72 and 96 dpi in resolution. See our posts:
- How images and image sizes work in WordPress
- Optimize images with WordPress plugins
- Image SEO in WordPress: How to Optimize your Images for Search Engines
7. Improve user experience with breadcrumbs
When visitors can navigate easily in your store, the likelihood that they will make a purchase increases. If the navigation is unclear, the loading time is too long or the content is not meaningful, they will quickly leave site without buying anything. This is not only bad for your business, but also has a negative impact on your search engine ranking.
Good product descriptions, meaningful titles and a clear URL structure already contribute significantly to the user experience (UX). Additionally, you can enable breadcrumbs, for example. The "breadcrumbs" are actually a series of contextual links that are usually displayed at the top left of site. They show your visitors where they are at the moment and on which path they have moved through the store so far.
The breadcrumb navigation allows store visitors to jump back to higher-level pages or categories at any time with just a few clicks.
8. Increase loading speed with fast hosting
No matter how well your WooCommerce store is otherwise optimized for search engines, if your pages take forever to load completely, this will not only cause visitors to leave quickly. It can also mean real losses in Google rankings for you.
Optimizing your images and keeping them as lean as possible is an important lever here, which we've already talked about. Additionally, you should make sure that you are using fast and reliable WordPress hosting you lay the foundation for your WooCommerce online store to perform at its best at all times. More factors and instructions for more WooCommerce performance we tell you in our article Make WordPress faster.
Raidboxes even offers you a special WooCommerce hosting that grows with you and your store and can be expanded in RAM, cores and storage space, for example.
The best WooCommerce plugins for SEO
Anyone who has already dealt with WordPress and WooCommerce hosting knows that the golden rule for plugins is usually: less is more. However, there are some plugins that can help you with your WooCommerce SEO.
These are currently our favorite SEO plugins for WooCommerce SEO:
- The All in One SEO Pack is a beginner-friendly WordPress plugin with a very sleek user interface that integrates with WooCommerce for free. Among other things, it offers XML sitemap support, enables easy Google Analytics integration and also creates automatic meta information.
- The SEO Framework is also free and almost more streamlined than All in One SEO, but can be a bit overwhelming for beginners in terms of functionality. With the plugin mainly meta titles and descriptions can be configured quickly and detailed sitemap documentations can be created.
- WordPress SEO is especially popular in the German-speaking market. Onpage optimizations can be done quickly and easily. However, for the plugin you have to pay once for the license.
- WP Smush is a real gamechanger for optimizing the images in your store. With the free plugin you can compress your images without any losses. Supported are JPG, JPEG, GIF and PNG files.
Yoast SEO is probably the best known and most popular free SEO plugin for WooCommerce, see our Yoast vs Rank Math comparison - WordPress SEO plugins comparison. It offers a comprehensive solution for all onpage SEO topics and is overall absolutely suitable for beginners.
Especially useful is that you can enter your main keyword in Yoast SEO and check if you have optimized your content for exactly this keyword and if the texts are easy to read. In addition, plugin offers a preview of how your metadata will look in the Google results list.
The most important plugins for WooCommerce
You want to learn more about WooCommerce plugins? Then you should also read our article The 10 most important WooCommerce plugins: More boost for your store.
Thought of everything? WooCommerce SEO checklist
The bottom line is that you have to think of many things if you want to place your online store high in the Google SERPs. To make sure you don't forget anything, we'll conclude with a WooCommerce SEO checklist:
- Perform keyword research
- Choose SEO friendly theme
- Install SEO plugin
- Focus on category pages
- Enter SEO friendly product names
- Optimize meta title of products
- Customize meta description of the products
- Simplify URL structure
- Build logical internal link structure
- Avoid duplicate content
- Optimize images (and videos)
- Improve pagespeed
- Keeping UX values in mind
Frequently asked questions about WooCommerce SEO
Which SEO plugin for WooCommerce?
The most popular SEO plugin for WooCommerce is Yoast SEO. It provides comprehensive support for all onpage SEO topics and checks, for example, the readability of your content or whether your texts are optimized for the selected keywords. Additionally, Yoast SEO detects duplicate content.
Is WooCommerce SEO friendly?
In short: Yes! WooCommerce is SEO-friendly by default. Integrated in the plugin are numerous functions, with which you can optimize your online store for search engines. However, this also needs your input, see the tips and hints in this post.
What are the most important ranking factors for online shops?
Some of the most important ranking factors for e-commerce stores are crawlability, (internal) linking, SEO-optimized content (e.g. product descriptions and category pages), a clear URL structure and a positive user experience.