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E-commerce website: how to optimize the referencing of product pages?

e-commerce site and product pages

The objective is clear: to work the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of its e-commerce site aims to make its products visible in the pages of search engines and to position its product pages on relevant queries related to its activity. 

The site which is positioned in first position on the first page of Google collects 65 % of clicks, the one in 2nd position, 25 % and the one in 3rd position, 15 %. (Source Abundance) In short, the site that is positioned in the first results of search engine pages will have a better chance of being visited than sites that rank after the first 3 positions and a fortiori after the first page. 

However, improving the referencing of its site will not be done without having thought upstream the ergonomics and user experience to facilitate the act of purchase. Discover in our guide the strategies to adopt to optimize the referencing of its product pages. 

1. On-Site optimizations of the product pages 

a. The choice of SEO keywords

This is the essential step to reference your e-commerce site. You must indeed make a research of the most relevant keywords or expressions according to your activity. 

Perform an audit to find out on which keywords your site is already positioned and on which keywords you could gain positions. Also observe the competition's keywords to define the keywords with high volume and low competition: you may decide to work on them to position yourself on them. 

In e-commerce, long tail keywords have a strong potential for the brand, because they allow to direct the internet user precisely to the product he is looking for.

b. Meta-title and meta-description tags: promoting click-through on the product page 

The meta-title tag is undoubtedly one of the most important tags in SEO since it is the one that is displayed in the SERPs and not the title of the page (the H1). The meta-title tag should make the user want to click to visit the product page. To do this, it must indicate at the top the main keyword of the page and precisely describe its content. 

A meta-title tag must be unique on the whole site: a true challenge for e-commerce sites that offer similar products (with different capacities, colors, etc.) In this case, make the differentiating element appear within the tag to make it unique. An optimized meta-title tag is 60 characters long and for a product record it generally contains the brand name, the product name and its characteristics.

Unlike the meta-title tag, the meta-description tag does not directly influence the SEO of a site. However, it has an indirect impact on the site's SEO since a clicked meta description positively influences the site's traffic data and the traffic data has a direct impact on a site's SEO. 

In other words, this tag must precisely describe the content of your product sheet within the limit of 160 characters and must make the user want to visit your site rather than that of your competitor. If you do not fill in this tag, it will be generated by default from the first words of the content of your product page, which does not promote the click rate. 

c. Optimize the editorial content of its product sheets

Google values sites that offer quality editorial content on their site. For e-commerce sites, it is therefore essential to display a qualitative product description. The ideal is to write about 600 words for a product description; we recommend a minimum of 400 words to present the product in detail and to have a content considered qualitative in the eyes of Google. 

Avoid duplicating editorial content for similar product pages. The Google Panda algorithm severely penalizes sites that offer duplicate content. Your site may lose all its positions until it is in the last pages of the search engine. Therefore, you should write unique content on all the pages of your site. 

If you absolutely need the same text on different product pages, you can use the canonical (which we discuss in detail in the last part of the guide) to tell Google which page takes precedence over all others. 

d. Referencing images and visuals 

Images and visuals play a considerable role in triggering the act of purchasing from the Internet user. For the SEO, the images allow to bring back traffic on the site if they are well referenced. Also, to optimize the referencing of your images, be sure to name your images correctly before uploading them to your site. Fill in the Alt tag of your images with keywords complementary to those you work with in the product page.

e. Monitoring URLs

The URLs of an e-commerce site must be SEO-friendly to facilitate the indexing of the pages produced by the robots. 

To do this, configure your URLs to include the information on the product page while being short and dynamic. Make sure to insert your strategic keywords and additional keywords within your URLs to facilitate the path of the Internet user (size, colour, material, dimensions, etc.). 

If you do not configure your URLs, they will be generated automatically, at the risk of containing symbols or numbers, which is detrimental to the referencing of product pages. 

f. Work on the internal network of its site

Internal networking is a high-potential SEO strategy. It allows to indicate to the robots the coherence of the pages of a site between them: the categories between them, the sub-categories to the categories and the product pages within the category pages, etc. 

Create logical links between the different product pages of the site and name all categories according to the requests of Internet users to generate quality traffic. 

g. Set up the structured data

To optimize the SEO of an e-commerce site it is essential to set up structured data on your site, in order to improve the display of your site in the pages of the search engines, which can play on the CTR and on the traffic of the site.

On your e-commerce site, activate these structured data: 

  • the Product tag to display the price and available stock for a product
  • the Agregating Rating tag: very useful for indicating the best rating and attracting the eye of the Internet user

You can easily set up structured data on and via the Search Console.

2. Off-site optimizations of the product pages 

Once the On-Site optimization of your site is effective, you can focus on all the Off-Site actions to increase the authority and visibility of your product pages. 

a. Obtain quality external link 

To optimize the referencing of your site, opt for a netlinking strategy, i.e. create external links pointing to the pages of your site and a fortiori to your product pages. However, favour external links from authoritative sites in the field of your activity. Indeed, the more the sites that link to you are of high quality and the better the SEO juice will be transmitted to your site. To do this, you can opt for a strategy of partnership with influencers or media in your field of activity to get a link from their site to yours. 

b. Create a link with your community to boost your site's SEO 

Traffic data from social networks to your website is not yet taken into account by Google in improving the positioning of your site. However, make sure you regularly share content from your website to your social networks to create and maintain a link with your community. This sends a good signal to Google that your brand is active and that the information you provide to your visitors on your site is up to date. 

c. Carry out a watch on the brand name 

Remember that by optimizing the referencing of your site, you make your product pages and your brand visible. Also regularly review what is being said about your brand on the web. This way you avoid a possible bad buzz and will be ready to react in case of crisis by publishing a blog post for example or by modifying the product sheet by adding additional information for example. 

3. Similar product pages and products out of stock what SEO solutions? 

A positive user experience is essential to trigger the purchasing act. When the product is out of stockIn order to be able to redirect the user easily and avoid disappointment. 

Discover our article for boost your e-commerce sales.

a. Similar product pages of an e-commerce site

Do you offer similar product pages with only differentiating elements such as capacity, product size or colour? As we said before, you risk a Panda penalty if you duplicate the same content on several pages of a site. To avoid the penalty, you must tell Google which product page takes precedence over all the others, using the canonical. These tags are used to indicate to Google the referrer page and the product pages attached to it. 

To do this, add the canonical on the referring product page and on pages that contain the same content: 

b. Deleted products

In order not to harm the user experience, you must manage the pages of the deleted products by offering your customers and prospects products related to his previous request.

You can do a 404 redirection to explain to your user that the product no longer exists. It is important to know that 404 pages are quickly unindexed by Google, so this allows you to save money on crawl budget the next time Google robots visit your site. However, the 404 pages are harmful to the referencing of the site, it is necessary to take care not to have too many of them. 

You can also set up a 301 redirection to redirect your user to a similar product, linked to his previous request. The goal is to avoid disappointment when faced with a deleted product page. If there is no similar product, in this case you can redirect the user to the associated category page. 

c. The products out of stock momentarily

In this case, keep the page active. Simply disable the function to add the product to the shopping cart. This is the best way to keep the product page referenced. While waiting for the product to be back in stock, you can propose to your Internet user to be informed when the product will be available again (addition of his e-mail address). Also add similar products that could possibly suit him. 


Optimizing the referencing of your e-commerce site is not without a satisfactory user experience. Anticipate solutions for deleted product pages or out of stock. Plan for On-Site optimizations before you start netlinking and improve your brand image on social networks by sharing content with your community and regularly monitoring your brand name. 


à propos de l'auteur.e : Ludivine Mazzotti

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