WordPress Ecommerce SEO: Power Up Your WooCommerce Store

WordPress Ecommerce SEO

Have a WordPress store but can’t seem to sell much? One of the biggest hurdles in managing an online store is visibility.

Not just getting eyeballs on your service or product, but getting your store to show up in the search results.

If people can’t find it, they can’t buy what you’re offering. That means you need to optimize your site – for people and search engines.

It’s both easier and harder than you think. WordPress and WooCommerce offer a variety of ways you can accomplish this, from the design of your page to optimizing for SEO. But this flexibility comes with many hidden traps that can halt your progress.

In this article, I’ll discuss the most important aspects of SEO for WooCommerce.

If you already have a WordPress ecommerce website and just want the SEO tips, use the links below:

WooCommerce in 30 Seconds

WooCommerce, the official ecommerce plugin for WordPress, allows you to effortlessly create and manage product pages, inventory, shopping carts, payments, and shipping within your WordPress site.

WordPress and WooCommerce are free to download, and with a good hosting plan, theme, essential plugins, and a modest budget, you can launch a store in under an hour.

With the right WordPress setup, you can sell anything online, from physical items to digital products, services, memberships, and subscriptions.

Create a unique design and user experience using hundreds of extensions in the WooCommerce marketplace and tens of thousands of WordPress plugins for:

  • Page building and design
  • SEO and performance optimization
  • Marketing funnels, landing pages, and opt-ins
  • Email marketing and automation
  • Advertising
  • Tracking and Analytics

However, this flexibility comes with challenges. Not all plugins, themes, and tools work seamlessly together, making it easy to get overwhelmed. Finding the right combination to keep your site stable, secure, and fast can be daunting.

But if you’re willing to navigate the learning curve, WordPress and WooCommerce empower you to create cost-effective, unique, and high-performing online stores that grow with your business. 

Many hosting platforms offer ready-made WooCommerce store templates with essential plugins for a quicker start.

Sell more products with less effort.

If you want a steady flow of engaged customers primed to buy, we’ve got a proven process for driving organic traffic and converting it into sales.

WooCommerce vs. Shopify: Which Platform Wins for SEO?

WooCommerce and Shopify are the two most dominant ecommerce platforms available to consumers. Both can support a competitive, feature-rich ecommerce store.

I’m not going to bore you with comparing features. You can read one of the 19,900,000 results on Google. 

Google search shopif vs wordpress

It all comes down to software vs. software-as-a-service.

WordPress and WooCommerce are software. You get access to the tools, and what you do with them dictates the quality of your website. 

It’s like being in a woodshop full of tools and materials. You have everything at your disposal to build your dream dining table. You can choose any style, material, construction method, or feature. You can keep it low-cost by doing all the work yourself or pay extra to get the major components pre-finished and ready for assembly. 

Depending on your choices and skills, you might make a masterpiece that will last generations OR a wobbly disaster that won’t even make it to your house. Either way, you own it.

Person working on a table saw
You can do it, man. You’ve got it. Just keep your hands away from the blade.

Shopify is software-as-a-service or SaaS. You pay a subscription to get access to the whole platform—hosting, domain, CMS, pre-made store templates, shopping carts, etc. It’s all integrated and designed for ecommerce from the start.

Shopify handles and tucks all the technical stuff away, so you can’t break it. And if you somehow manage to, a 24/7 support desk is there to get you out of a pinch.

So, why isn’t everyone on Shopify?

Well, it’s like being in a furniture showroom. You have many dining tables to choose from, and they’re all perfectly functional and fit for service—just pick one and move on with your life. 

But you’re out of luck if you envision something extraordinary. For the most part, what you see is what you get. And you can only rent one. If you stop paying, they’ll take the table back. 

Couple picking furniture in showroom
Honey, I can build a nicer dining table for us!
That’s what you said about the nightstands…. It took 8 months!

Which one should you get? 

If you want your store to work right out of the box and can’t bother with the technical side of setting up and running a website, go with Shopify and focus your efforts on the business and marketing activities you excel at. 

If you can picture yourself becoming a pseudo-designer/developer and stomach your store becoming a project in its own right, WordPress offers more creative, performance, and optimization potential. 

I’m the DIY type and like to take on projects that make me cry. So, I choose WordPress for its flexibility and customization capabilities. 

In the following sections, I’ll share my best tips for avoiding disaster on your ecommerce WordPress site.

10 Cornerstone WordPress Ecommerce SEO Strategies for Success

SEO for ecommerce is still SEO at its core—content rules the algorithm. WordPress is very good at content, so naturally, WooCommerce is reasonably SEO-friendly right out of the box. 

In reality, to get the most out of it and to build a modern, fast, and well-converting ecommerce store that’s competitive in search, you need to add quite a few plugins and third-party tools.

But before we go into the nitty gritty of SEO, we need to discuss something that will make or break all your future efforts—accessibility.

1. Enhance Mobile Responsiveness for Increased Traffic

Here are some cold facts:

You just can’t afford to have a poor mobile site anymore. Mobile is the norm.

Spend some time browsing your store on a phone without using WIFI. Mobile connections are much more susceptible to page speed issues. 

Next, examine your design and layout on mobile:

  • Are body fonts and headings properly sized?
  • Are clickable elements spaced well and easily clickable?
  • Do images, tables, and videos scale properly?
  • Do you have to scroll horizontally? 
  • How do you fair versus your competitors? 
Palms Trading Product Page screenshot
Palms Trading Company
Savini Wheels Product Page screenshot
Savini Wheels

Many themes and builders already scale reasonably well across devices and screens. If you’ve done your homework at the start, yours will too. 

But in reality, even the best WooCommerce stores need some persuasion to get great layouts on all devices. Getting the most out of WordPress takes a strong working knowledge of HTML, CSS, and page builders.

If shoppers don’t like the user experience, they probably won’t buy from you. And Google has no interest in ranking websites that offer a poor experience.

So start with a good, solid foundation or any amount of effort you throw at SEO might be in vain. 

2. Leverage SEO Plugins to Enhance Your Site’s Performance

The first plugin you install after WooCommerce, should be your SEO plugin of choice. 

Yoast SEO is the de facto standard for a WordPress SEO plugin. It allows you to:

  • Create and manage sitemaps, robots.txt, and .htaccess files
  • Control indexing of different types of content and taxonomies
  • Handle URLs, redirects, and canonicals
  • Input SEO elements like page titles and meta descriptions on a page-by-page level
  • Analyse and optimize on-page elements for your target keyword
  • Automate schema and open graph data
WordPress SEO Plugins

Other big players are All in One SEO and RankMath. They all have similar features, and any of their free versions will give you the essential tools to compete in search. 

Whichever one you pick, follow the documentation and spend time dialing in your setup carefully. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Check that your robots.txt file does not block search engines from crawling your site. Ensure your sitemap links at the bottom of the file.
  • Check your XML sitemaps and ensure all the content you want indexed is present, like product pages, product category pages, blog posts, and top-level pages (home, about, contact, etc.).
  • Ensure duplicate content, like product variants, FAQs, etc, is canonicalized to a single main page.
  • Add a focus keyword to your SEO pages and follow the checklist to optimize onpage elements.
Yoast SEO onpage checklist

Getting a green smiley on your SEO analysis is not a ranking factor. Still, it confirms that you’re following best practices and at least targeting a specific keyword with each of your pages.

3. Focus on Product Descriptions

Technical SEO is where WooCommerce outshines most SaaS platforms. 

However, content is what makes a real difference—both in competing for rankings and your customers’ dollars. Google wants to serve authoritative, engaging, and helpful content above all else because that’s what we all want when we use search.

Many ecommerce stores (resellers and dropshippers, looking at you guys) don’t go much beyond the basic product specifications duplicated across the manufacturer and every other store that carries the item.

Let’s run a check for this Bosch Impact Driver. I just searched for one of the list items in the description: 

 “Auto Bolt Release – stops rotation when there is no load on the tool to help prevent accidentally dropping bolts and nuts during removal”

I got 74 results that copy the info verbatim.

Google search - find duplicate product descriptions

Where others blindly copy the manufacturer’s content, you have the opportunity to focus the narrative on the buyer:

  • What problems and concerns make them search for this in the first place?
  • Why is your product the solution, and how will it improve their lives?
  • How can your potential clients relate to you? 

In doing so, use clear and descriptive language instead of vague superlatives. Here’s an example from a website that carries the same product—ML Performance USA:

ML Performance USA screenshot

“The Bosch GDX 18V-200 Professional Impact Driver/Wrench combines brushless power, a compact design and a 2-in-1 tool holder for highest flexibility.”

Why do we care about “brushless power”? What does “highest flexibility” even mean? 

Let’s see how we can make it better: 

Looking for increased power and efficiency, longer battery life, and improved durability? The Bosch GDX 18V-200 is powered by a 200NM brushless motor that produces less friction and heat and comes in a lighter, more compact design.

Need one tool for driving bits and sockets? The GDX 18V-200 Impact Driver/Wrench offers a 2-in-1 tool holder that accepts ¼-inch hex bits for driving screws and ½-inch sockets for bolts and nuts. 

Okay, we increased the word count, but look how much more information we packed in there. And more importantly, we’re focusing on the problems buyers want to resolve.

Remember, SEO best practices apply to product descriptions as well: 

Break down long paragraphs into smaller chunks and use headings, lists, and other formatting to make the text scannable and easier to read.

Add your main and secondary keywords in every on-page element:

  • H1 and page title (can be different)
  • Lists of features/benefits / USPs
  • Paragraphs and sub-headings
  • Image file names, titles, and alt attributes

When using descriptive language, as discussed above, you shouldn’t need to force keywords in. They should naturally fit in the text.

4. Implement Structured Data

Structured data (aka product schema) is the cherry on top of your search snippets.

They’re code snippets that instruct Google on what data to use for visual enhancements in search, such as reviews, prices, shipping, and delivery information.

Google search - serp features and structured data

Furthermore, you can enable Merchant Listing Experiences—a new product gallery section in Google search that appears on product-related searches. When Merchant listings appear on the SERP, they’re so dominant the organic results get effectively buried. 

Google search merchant listings

While product schema is not a ranking factor, assuming you already rank, your store will gain increased visibility, click-through rate, and conversions.

Fortunately for you, you may already have structured data enabled. Many WooCommerce themes have this feature built-in. 

If not, your preferred SEO plugin (Yoast, AIOSEO, RankMath) will have some structured data capabilities even on the free version, but automated product schema only comes with the paid plans. 

Alternatively, you can explore the WordPress library and source different third-party plugins like:

If you’re new to structured data, I did a deep dive into ecommerce schema for product pages

5. High Quality, Optimized Images

Image quality—or lack thereof—relates to the perception of product quality and brand trust. 

Blurry, incorrectly scaled/cropped, grainy, and poorly lit product photos are an instant turn-off for most shoppers. 

Here are some best practices for product photos:

  • Get 3-5 product images on the page showing different angles or settings of the product in use.
  • Have at least 1 product image shot on a white background. This enhances contrast and improves clarity at a smaller scale.
  • Have at least 1 image of the product used in a natural setting.

Here’s an excellent example from Godin Guitars:

Godin Guitars product page images

In terms of SEO, use descriptive language for your image file names, titles, and especially alt attributes:

  • Alt text is the most important as it’s the go-to description for crawlers and people with impaired vision. 
  • Weave in keywords when you can, but make sure the context fits the image. Spending the extra effort here can yield significant benefits in image search. 

Now let’s talk about image file size optimization:

Images account for over 60% of the total payload required to load a website. To keep your website light and fast, you must optimize image file sizes diligently. 

This goes in three directions:

1. Resolution: The width and height of your image, measured in pixels. E.g. Full HD = 1920x1080px

Verify that the correct sizes are served to mobile screens and that the images look good on every device.

  • Always upload product photos at a higher resolution than they’re displayed. I use 1200px width for most of my needs. You rarely need more than full HD.
    • Even though WooCommerce product images are often smaller, you want to account for the image zoom function, as well as rendering on Retina displays.
  • WooCommerce will automatically create different sizes for the main product photos and product catalogs. 
  • WordPress will also automatically create and assign different image versions for different devices and displays to reduce load time. 
CEA WordPress product image settings

2. File format: JPEG, PNG, WebP – different formats offer different advantages.

  • JPEG offers smaller file sizes, but excessive compression will degrade visual quality. There’s a fine line you need to keep. 
  • PNG retains higher quality and offers transparency, but it comes with a larger file size. 
  • WebP offers similar quality and transparency to PNG, but its file size can be up to 50% smaller than a comparable JPEG image. Here are the numbers from Google:
    • WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs. 
    • WebP lossy images are 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images at an equivalent SSIM quality index.

WebP is the new standard. It’s supported by all modern browsers and should become your go-to format for all images on your website. That said, never sacrifice image quality for file size.

3. Compression: The reduction in file size by utilizing image data optimization algorithms. 

Manually optimizing your images always yields the best results in terms of quality and size:

  • Use TinyPNG to compress and optimize JPEG and PNG with savings of up to 70% in file size.
  • Use CloudConvert to convert your images to WEBP and get up to 10x reduction in file size. Experiment with the compression levels to obtain the smallest file size possible while retaining sufficient image quality.

For existing stores with lots of media files, use a plugin like Imagify to optimize your existing library.

Imagify wordpress plugin

6. Improve Site Speed for Better User Experience and Rankings

Site speed is the bane of every modern CMS. Users hate slow sites. Google hates slow sites.

If you don’t know how fast or slow your site is, tools like Page Speed Insights and GT Metrix can help you analyze and diagnose your site. While you’re at it, analyze a few of your top competitor’s sites, too. 

Core Web Vitals

Your site doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should try to pass Core Web Vitals and aim to be at least as good or close to your competition.

To improve your store’s loading speed, let’s look into three categories of optimization: 

1. Start with a good hosting provider.

Fast server response, reliable uptime, automatic backups, and quick support, ideally chat, are all features you want to look out for.

We recommend Kinsta. It’s what we use for our own sites and recommend to most clients. They offer a few critical features to speed up your website:

  • Caching: Serving a saved copy of your page to reduce the processing time when a server requests a page.
  • CDN (Content Delivery Network): Distributing your website to servers worldwide, so users in different geographic locations can connect to the closest one. As part of their CDN, Kinsta also offers code minification and image optimization.
Kinsta CDN settings

2. Adopt a minimalist approach to themes, plugins, and integrations.

Poorly coded and outdated themes with too many unnecessary or unwanted features can weigh down your site. Every website builder, plugin, and third-party integration adds more code, scripts, and resources to the page—bogging it down. 

The more you add, the worse it gets.

Spend time in advance to map out the features and functions your ecommerce store needs, then pick out your theme, builder, and core plugins accordingly. 

3. Resort to plugins when all else fails. 

Ironically, we often use plugins to help optimize what our other plugins are doing and speed up our website. 

One powerful tool that we use is Autoptimize, a code minification plugin that aggregates and cleans up Javascript, CSS, and HTML files from all the different plugins and tools you’re running. It reduces their overall size and the number of requests made to the server. 

Additionally, it can enable asynchronous loading to push heavy resources like images, video, and render-blocking scripts to the background, allowing essential content to load faster.

Finally, if you’re willing to trade cash for ease of use, there’s WP Rocket. It’s an all-in-one performance optimization plugin that gets you everything—caching, code optimization, image optimization, async, Core Web Vitals. And it works right out of the box—barely any setup needed. But you have to pay for the privilege. 

7. Utilize Additional Product Tabs to Display Key Information

The product description will do most of the convincing. However, even if we’re interested, our choice of store depends on several other factors:

  • What’s the price of shipping? (Free is best, even if it’s not really free.)
  • What delivery options are there?
  • Is there a warranty? Money-back guarantee?
  • What do the reviews say?
  • How easy is it to find answers to commonly asked questions?
  • Where can we find technical specs, manuals, and instructions? 
  • Information about the store and history? Ethics? Sustainability?

The more doubts and concerns you can address directly from the product page, the higher the chance it ends up in the cart.

While you can add this information at the bottom of the product descriptions, few people will scroll far enough to find it. 

Instead, adding tabs beside your product description is a fantastic way to make this information easily accessible to shoppers. 

CEA WordPress secondary tabs

The WooCommerce Tab Manager is an extension that enables additional product tabs and streamlines the shopping experience. The global tab feature is handy for automating and synchronizing site-wide information.

Is it worth shelling out $100 per year for this when you can use a free plugin? Maybe not for beginners testing out the waters, but it’s a wise investment for the long term.

8. Leverage User Generated Content (Reviews)

In light of previous sections, the next may be hard to swallow:

Until you build trust with them, buyers honestly don’t care what you say about the product. 

They care about what other people have to say! People like them, people who paid money and had expectations. 

Positive (but not overly so) and impartial reviews are the biggest factors in establishing trust in the product and your brand. You want them on almost every page of your site.

WooCommerce offers simple product reviews as a core feature. 

If you want more advanced features like allowing customers to post photos, offering coupons for reviews (great idea), review filters, etc, it’s time to look into a specialized plugin. 

Here are two plugins we recommend for implementing customer reviews:

  1. Customer Reviews for WooCommerce by CusRev is one of the well-regarded free plugins. In addition to the features mentioned above, you also get several Gutenberg blocks allowing you to feature reviews on any page—home, product categories, dedicated reviews page, etc.
  2. WooCommerce Product Reviews Pro by SkyVerge is the official review plugin for WooCommerce. Is it worth $79 per year? Going for official plugins will provide for a more reliable and robust website, as these are almost guaranteed to work long-term with WooComm. 

9. Optimize URLs for Clarity

For a start, limit your URLs to the following characters ONLY:

  • Small cap letters in English
  • Numbers
  • Standard dash as word separator ( – )
  • Forward slashes for paths that include folders or categories ( / )

Example: https://beachstuff.com/life-jackets/beachbrand-flotation100/

The length of your URL doesn’t matter for SEO. But it does for user experience. 

Let’s look at some of the top-ranking URLs for a product keyword: “Makita Circular Saw HS7600”

Google Search makita circular saw

https://www.makitatools.com/products/details/HS7600

Not great. Nothing informs us as to what kind of tool we’re looking at. 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Makita-10-5-Amp-7-1-4-in-Corded-Circular-Saw-HS7600/206041884

Fine. Lots of information about the product, but rather long. We can omit the electric current and power source for brevity.

https://www.amazon.com/ Makita-HS7600-Circular-Saw-7-1/dp/B00UOBH1JI?th=1

Better. We’ve got a brand, model, type, size. The technical identifier at the end can’t be avoided for such a large site, but it may be for yours. 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/401126094052

WTF eBay?

https://americatools.com/makita-hs7600-7-1-4-circular-saw

Perfect. Flat URL, no extra folders. Every bit of information you need before clicking.

What’s common in the examples above? The product URL doesn’t include the categories

Technically, there’s nothing wrong with a product URL like this: https://toolcompany.com/tools/circular-saw/makita/hs7600-7-1-4/

Google doesn’t care how many folders the URL has, UNLESS it has to go through each one consecutively to discover your content. Every product page and essential content has to be no more than 4 clicks away from your homepage—ideally 2 or less. 

Making the final URL dependent on too many folders/categories will make your website structure rigid and difficult to change. 

If you’re setting up a new store, it’s far more flexible to run a flat structure where the product slug is directly after the homepage or only dependent on one or two categories that aren’t going to change, like these examples:

Flat URL Architecture

If you have an existing store and everything works, keep your URLs the way they are. Migrating URL structures incorrectly can have devastating effects. Google likes changing content, not URLs.

10. Monitor SEO Progress with Analytics

Set up and integrate your Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts as soon as your website goes live online. 

Optional, but highly recommended, is adding Google Tag Manager and Microsoft Clarity to your tracking and analytics toolbelt. Both are free.

You want these tools to start collecting data immediately so you can get reports and insights on your efforts. This is your feedback mechanism to inform your future actions. 

The faster you clear all errors in Search Console, the quicker you can expect your store to appear in search.

Microsoft Clarity will turn your usage data into heatmaps, showing you where visitors are clicking and spending time on your page. This will allow you to focus on the most critical aspects of your UX and conversion funnel. 

Microsoft Clarity DCP screenshot

Tag Manager will enable advanced tracking in combination with Google Analytics. It also provides a gateway for all your third-party integrations. 

Google Tag Manager

Take Your WordPress Store to the Next Level with Expert SEO Strategies

At Digital Commerce Partners, we deliver people-first ecommerce SEO services.

We’ve also won content and growth awards from companies you’ve heard of, like Semrush, Backlinko, and Clutch – But what we care about the most is seeing your product sales increase. 

You have enough on your to-do list. We’ll handle your SEO.

Learn more about our services.

Aleksandar Stoyanov Avatar

Get more leads with less effort.

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