Optimizing search engine performance continues to increase in complexity, even as it remains one of the most important tools for business success. It’s increasingly critical to make sure consumer searching hits not just the brand pages, but product pages as well; brand awareness is key, but product pages are where sales are made.
Especially in industries with multi-location and multi-product structures, product pages need to be on point, using terminology that will draw consumers in without turning them off. These product pages won’t necessarily be the same from location to location or product to product. Instead, SEO research will need to be conducted for each.
Define the Experience
Part of developing a company brand is selecting the experience intended for users of the webspace and the products. This then converts itself into the strategy used to create content, which will in turn drive SEO. Consider the online face of the company. Some companies offer calming, tranquil text and descriptions; others use a bit of humor, excitement, or occasionally a risqué turn of phrase to add personality to their products. The language used will in fact continue to define the brand, so use it intentionally.
Consider the fact that not every location within your brand’s umbrella has the same target demographic. Similarly, each product you sell might be targeting different ideal consumers. As such, the experience you define should be tweaked slightly depending on the location or item.
Keep your user experience in mind while building up the structure of product pages. If this is an internally owned website dedicated to the brand, doing so involves maneuvering content hubs (the topics consumers search for) and product hubs (the point of sale) to ensure one flows easily into the other.
If posting on an external shopping site (i.e. Amazon), it’s important to understand the metrics of their search function and tailor accordingly. Keep the approach and language consistent; it’s the key to a memorable experience.
Select Product and Location Keywords
Fundamentals exist for a reason: they seem obvious, but they’re the building blocks of a successful strategy. In order to optimize SEO, it’s important to understand these fundamentals. What phrases are consumers using to search for your products or locations? These are your keywords, and they should form the center of the strategic text — however, it’s critical that they’re used wisely. Whether you have multiple products, such as a hair product company, or own several locations, such as a large Fortune-500 hotel chain, you should ensure your keywords are on point.
Short phrases like “hair care products” may seem like an excellent place to start, but it’s likely that these types of keywords are already saturated online (i.e. there are many, many results, meaning high competition, making it difficult to differentiate one from the other).
Long-tail keywords are longer phrases with more specificity that may not be searched as frequently, but they will lead to a better match and a higher chance of sale. Consider building around phrases like “curl enhancer for women” or “best hairspray for weddings” that can help focus the attention that’s driven to a product page.
Selecting proper keywords (short or long) requires a good amount of research, and depending on the content in question, may be worth a paid consultant. Search the phrases you’re intending to use on a number of platforms (Google and Amazon being the two likely to give you the most bang for your buck) and make notes on the results: who are the competitors in this space? Do paid affiliates get preference over top rankings? Is there content in this space, as well as product pages? If web space for these products already exists, which search terms showcase it as a leading option, and which don’t?
Once again, the keywords you use will absolutely differ from location to location. If you’re a player in the travel and tourism space, for instance, a hotel located on the West Coast of the United States that is identical inside to one on the East Coast should still rely on a different SEO backbone. Both short- and long-tail keywords will differ based on location, surrounding attractions, and target audience.
The fundamentals for SEO can be easily applied to product pages, as well as to web content. The product page’s title tag and meta description are the product’s first impression, so make them count. This is the place to start combining the intended customer experience with the key phrases you need to draw in buyers.
As such, ensure that the page’s title, meta, and H1 tags all include the keywords that have been identified as important. Make sure the product’s name and description work in key phrases and long-tail keywords in a way that’s natural to read and matches the overall experience and feeling of the website. The writing style is more important than it seems, because it needs to tie back into the product’s brand while also combining your SEO-friendly components.
User Interface and Experience
It’s worth considering the UI of any product page. This involves the visual design and format of the page, as well as the back-end programming to support the site and the sale. A friendly, easy-to-use interface is an absolute must to ensure the ordering process is easy.
Visually, the page design should support the ongoing theme and brand of the company, but it also needs to be mobile-friendly, accessible to users with vision issues, and simple enough that the product can take center stage. Design-wise, make sure to use high-quality images (more than one), include all relevant product information so that users don’t have to do multiple searches for answers, and make sure there’s an easy one-click method to add a product to a customer’s online cart.
To optimize the experience, allow customer reviews on your product pages. Reviews not only keep the page content fresh for search engines that optimize new content (like Google), but they give users a more authentic feel for the product in question. Suggest similar products, and use internal links to let customers easily move from one product to the next. Link to related content, not just product pages, to lead users to new sections of the website and get their eyes on new potential products.
Analysis and Revision
Just like any other SEO work, it’s important to gather data, evaluate it, and tweak your strategy over time. Find ways to test different color schemes and layouts, then target pages with paid ads and use that information to make selections moving forward. Watch standard analytics for SEO to determine which key phrases are bringing people to your product pages, and focus on the phrases that bring in actual sale conversions.
Monitor customer reviews, and reply to as many as possible–answer questions, thank quality reviewers, and offer a return or replacement to people with complaints. Track where consumers go when leaving the website–are they going to a competitor? Pool this information and work together with the UX/UI, SEO, sales, and content management teams to continue to evolve and optimize the experience.
Above all, make SEO work both for the company and the customers. As easy as online shopping and booking may be these days, it’s still an experience that can define your brand, so it’s important to make it work for you.