One of the reasons WordPress is so great is how SEO friendly the platform is. Google eats up quality content, and WordPress is designed to deliver and manage content in the easiest way possible, making it pretty SEO-friendly as a base install. However, there are a lot of things you could be doing to optimize the chances of your store being found by potential customers, regardless of which platform you use. The single most helpful optimization tool I’ve found is the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
Why do I need to worry about this?
Backup a second. Why do you care about SEO? First of all, if you’re setting up an eCommerce store, I think it’s safe to assume you want to be sure that new customers can find you if they’re searching for what you’re selling. If you want them to find your store instead of a competitors, you’ll want to try to optimize your website content for search traffic as much as possible. If you have a large budget, go nuts hiring an SEO professional to do this for you — I’d recommend someone that specializes solely in SEO. It’s hard enough to do well as it is, so if someone tells you they do everything under the sun, including SEO, they’re probably not going to be worth the money. For most of us, however, a huge SEO budget probably isn’t in the cards at the moment. This is where putting in a bit of elbow grease yourself can help out.
Why use the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast?
WordPress SEO is the best plugin I’ve found for SEO. It’s easy to use, works exactly as it should, and the base plugin is free (but there are some handy add-ons and a premium version if you want to take a look). It’s also constantly maintained and updated, which is hard to come by for a free offering. Any time Google rolls out some new changes, the plugin is updated to take advantage of the latest technologies.
Installing this plugin is going to tweak your WordPress posts (including any custom post types, which is what product pages will most likely be!) to be more SEO friendly than they already are. You can adjust the SEO title of your page or post and the snippet that Google displays to users so that prospective customers see what you want them to see when they find you via search rather than what Google hopes is the most relevant snippet. You can also take a look at the “page analysis” to get an idea of what else you could be doing to improve your page content. There are a lot of other features that many users will not dive into, but these couple of tools alone are really helpful to begin separating yourself from the competition.
Will this plugin do everything for you? Absolutely not. Quality content is always first and foremost when trying to drive traffic your way. You’ll have to write clear, direct product descriptions in order for this process to work properly, but you should be doing that anyway ;). This plugin just takes your hard work, gives you some feedback, and ships it out in a much more SEO-friendly package. You’ll still want to write posts for people, not for search spiders.
What else could I be doing to improve search optimization?
This is going to depend on your goals for your store. Since the plugin works with all post types, you should be using it for all major products, pages, and blog posts. One thing I’ve done is use the WooCommerce SEO add-on if you’re powering your store with WooCommerce to specifically improve SEO for products. You should also be writing blog posts about featured products or offerings (possibly inserting a shortcode for the product in your post to make the item accessible to readers) to ensure that you have content that is relevant to your products and what people may be searching for when they look for your product. Fortunately, WordPress is kind of great for blogging. Remember, content is king; if you don’t have relevant product information or store pages, no plugin will be able to give you a competitive edge in the eCommerce space.
- Here’s a review of why you should use WordPress SEO.
- WP Garage has an article on the 6 Reasons Why WordPress SEO by Yoast is Awesome
- Looking for some help with setup? WPKube has a tutorial on setting up the Wordpress SEO Plugin that should get you started.
Looking for some more information on SEO in general? Yoast has a Definitive Guide to WordPress SEO you can check out!