How To: Optimize Product Pages on eCommerce Websites

Ryan Miranda - UI/UX Developer

How To: Optimize Product Pages on eCommerce Websites

This late in 2018, we're fast approaching an era of shopping online, delivery right to your door, and an ease-of-access to the things we need and want that we've never seen before. Shopping online has become the norm, from grocery delivery to the newest fashion and even technology, we can get it all at our fingertips.

Dollar Sign inside a CircleThe ease of shopping online is one that is popular, so popular in fact that just about everyone is taking part in it. From empires like Amazon or Walmart to smaller "mom-and-pop" eCommerce places like those on Etsy or Shopify, everyone has something to sell, and many are opting to do it online. It is predicted that by 2021, eCommerce sales will rise to over $4.88 trillion USD yearly, so it's safe to say that just about everyone can and probably should be doing it.

While the larger names might have a handle on how to properly and effectively implement their eCommerce websites, there are a ton of features and data-points that need to be optimized. If implemented poorly, these can do your customers, your website/SEO, and your overall sales funnel a huge disservice.

The list below should serve as a guide for some of the best practices when it comes to setting up and managing your eCommerce product pages. These standards should be kept in mind when generating products for your website, but aren't necessarily the end-all be-all of eCommerce. Depending on your target market and audience, you'll probably tweak these to work for your business.

Optimization List for eCommerce Product Pages

Product pages are the bread-and-butter of your eCommerce site. These show off your business's products, and depending on the data related to these pages can also portray your brand's authority, mission/goal, and even the quality of the products you serve. Each piece of data on these pages should add to consumer confidence, and should leave the consumer wanting to purchase your product or service, or share it with a friend.

1) eCommerce Product Images

The images on your eCommerce website are important. How important, you might ask? Just think about it: your images are the first point of contact a customer has with your product. Without this, the consumer would have little more than a text description to understand what your product or service is, and overall, they would have a significantly lesser experience shopping on your site.

Consistency: Using White Backgrounds

An ecommerce image with a white background, forcing the focal point to be the product in question.Making sure your images are consistent is hugely important. The current trend in eCommerce is to, at a minimum, produce single product images with white backgrounds. Utilizing white backgrounds hugely improves the user experience of your website by cutting down on the noise on the page. You aren't selling the items in the background of the picture and should want your product to be the main (read: only) focus of the image.

To further support this, having white backgrounds on your product images makes it easy for your customers to browse your products en masse. This stems from the idea that they won't have to sift through extra data in images, and will show that the differentiating factor in each image is, in fact, the product itself.

Context Shots: Get the Customer to Think

An ecommerce product image with a full background as a context shot, displaying how the product could be used.Now, this isn't to say that the only images you have of your product should be plain, with white backgrounds. The other way to improve your eCommerce product pages is by supplying multiple images. According to Saleslayer, "only 0.52% [of online shoppers] want to see a single product photo, 33.16% prefer to see multiple photos, and the majority, 58.03%, prefer a 360º view of the product." Customers want to feel like they're seeing an accurate representation of the product, from all angles, before they are certain they're going to buy a product.

This can be used to further your product pages even farther, too, by including candid or context photos with your white-background product photos. This selling point comes from an idea of creativity and imagination: if a potential customer can see someone using the product in action, they will start to think about themselves, and how they might use the product in similar (or different) ways. This allows the customer to think even harder about your product and can lead them to being much more comfortable with a purchase, especially if they can see themselves using it.

eCommerce Images and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Simply generating quality images of your products isn't enough, however, to get you that coveted first page on search engines. Each image on your website, and especially in your eCommerce pages, should have the appropriate metadata associated with it. This includes the alt and title attributes, as well as a proper image name.

HTML alt attribute

The alt attribute is used by screen readers to offer additional accessibility but is also crawled by search engines to better identify the image and purpose of it in relation to the page content. This should be a brief sentence describing the image in detail, allowing a screen reader application to aptly describe the image as it's reading the attribute, while also having enough data to identify the image for the search engine crawler.

HTML title attribute

The title attribute is used, well, as the name implies. It is a title for your image and should describe exactly what the image is. For example, if you're selling a red sweater intended to be worn by outdoorsmen, you might title that image "Red Outdoor Sweater." This text will be crawled by search engine crawlers, and thus like the alt attribute will better rank your image in relation to your page, helping your search engine results (SERPs) as a whole.

Image Names

The last element, that being the title of the image, is one we see overlooked countless times. Businesses aren't always aware that the image title, such as "my-image.jpg," is just as important from an SEO standpoint. If your image title isn't descriptive, it makes it even harder for the search engine to correctly identify and categorize it for search engine results. Referring back to our example from the previous paragraph, the "Red Outdoor Sweater" should have a set of images, named something along the lines of "red-outdoor-sweater-front.jpg," "red-outdoor-sweater-rear.jpg," etc. The more qualified data you can feed the search engine crawlers, the better your SEO will be, and the better SERPs you'll achieve.

Product Images and User Experience

User experience is huge, especially when it comes to navigating websites online. Without going down a rabbit hole, user experience (UX) is exactly that, the experience the user has when using your website. One of the quickest ways to lose consumer confidence is by having a fundamentally different experience on different devices.

In order to avoid this in relation to your eCommerce product images, you should ensure that each of those images, across all products, is universally sized. If your eCommerce site offers a magnifying or zooming feature, it's best to have images that are much larger than the thumbnail you're providing (we recommend images around 1000px x 1000px in size). Furthermore, keeping your images square, rather than rectangular, ensures that the image will offer the same view no matter the screen size.

2) eCommerce Product Data

This point should be, arguably, the most obvious. If the data about your product is qualified, quantitative, and helpful, you're bound to have better sales. Easy, right? While those points aren't inaccurate, there are a few key aspects of writing this copy to keep in mind.

Clear and Easy to Understand Information

This ends up being the most common issues we come across. I won't call it a mistake, because it's not, but if you don't write your product descriptions in a way that basically everyone who might read it could understand, your eCommerce pages will suffer. The information should be clear, concise, and easy to understand.

On that same note, the data should be written with your target audience in mind, but simple enough that anyone could understand it. If there is something that is unable to be explained in the space given, consider changing the wording, or linking to another location that explains the information correctly.

Having this information written in a way that makes each product unique, and the description is qualified and related to the product overall hugely increases your SEO ranking, and can lead to much higher click-through rate and rate of sales.

This information should also convince your customers that your product or service is the choice, rather than just a choice. You want your customers to look toward your business as the authority in what you do, and having well-explained and fleshed-out description builds this authority for your business by showing that you have a greater level of expertise and understanding of the product, rather than just listing the basic details that might be discernible from the product images.

Call-To-Action (CTA)

Along with the information about your product, including images, descriptions, titles, etc., you should also have a clear Call-To-Actions. A call-to-action is simply an element, usually a button, that "asks" the user, in this case, the customer, to do something. Your CTAs on your product pages should, almost always, be the "Add to Cart" and/or "Proceed to Checkout" buttons. CTAs on these pages serve one purpose: getting potential customers to checkout as quickly, efficiently, and easily as possible.

Because these CTAs serve one purpose, and you want them to work, they should probably be styled in such a way that makes them eye-catching, yet easy to understand and interact with. Simply raising the button off the page, changing the background color, or even just having the color shift on hover can lead to enough engagement to make it easier on the customer to click through and start the checkout process.

Barkbox's homepage, with a great example of a Call to Action Barkbox has a great call to action because it's clear, concise, and the customer knows exactly what they're getting from the jump.

Social Media and Your eCommerce Platform

Social Media has exploded over the last few years as not only a place to connect and interact with friends, family, and coworkers but as a place for businesses to get their brand in front of just about anyone who is willing to look in their direction. With this influx of social media networks, and people using them, it's only logical that integrating them into your eCommerce pages should be a priority.

Think of it this way: you have a customer who absolutely loves your product or service and is on your website to purchase it again. They've already told their friends on Facebook about your product, and some of them are interested. Your return customer sees you have a Facebook Share Icon right on the page and clicks it eagerly to let their followers, family, and friends know just how much they love your product.

What we've just described is your website working for you, and your eCommerce pages (almost) literally selling themselves. People love sharing the things that they like or want to talk about. Giving them this option increases your organic reach and allows an ecosystem around your products, services, and your brand to thrive, all with minimal effort for you.

3) eCommerce Product SEO

Let's take a step back before we dive in here: everything we've talked about to this point is all SEO-relevant data. From your image alt and title attributes to the way you layout your data on the page. Looking at the page as a single unit, there is still a ton of SEO that can be done to push your eCommerce pages over the top.

Keyword Research for eCommerce Pages

Keyword research is arguably the most important step of SEO for any webpage, eCommerce pages included. Keyword research consists of looking into the current market to see what people are searching for in relation to your brand or business. Neil Patel recommends targeting keywords that are highly relevant to the brand or products that also have high exact match search volume locally (in Google's Ads Keywords tool), and a low difficulty score (on Moz's keyword tool). Basically, you want to choose keywords that capture your brand or business and have good local search traffic. If you can find those that also have little competition for ranking, you'll be golden.

Making sure that the content, and meta keywords, titles, and descriptions for your product pages are on point with the SEO Keyword focus of your brand or business is a must, and makes your brand's SERPs better, in ranking, look, and feel. If your keywords aren't targeted well, it makes it even harder for search engines to categorize, understand, and display links to your product pages from within the search console.

An example keyword research tool recommending keywords based on the input: sweater Keyword research is super important, and using a tool like this can make it easier.

Start the Journey

eCommerce websites are increasingly popular as an avenue to sell products or services to just about anyone. Making sure your eCommerce website stands above the rest (at least, in your industry) is key to letting your website work for you. Optimizing your eCommerce pages is the easiest way for organic search to find your eCommerce website, and, hypothetically, to purchase your product or service and share it with friends and family.

Make sure your images are properly implemented, with proper alt and title attributes, good naming conventions, and making sure the images are high-quality. Don't forget to make the product or service the main focus of the images and ensure that the potential customer can 100% realize how that product can and should work for them. This leads to the data of your eCommerce pages: it should be clear and easy to understand, yet verbose and descriptive so that it can be fully understood. Write for your target audience, while keeping in mind that you are the authority, and you shouldn't assume that your potential customers know as much as you do about your products or services.

Make sure to wrap it all together with quality keyword research and implementation. Without this, there's almost no chance of ranking in search engines to begin with, making it one of the most vital parts of your optimization process. Targeting high volume, low competition keywords that pertain to your product, brand, or business are almost always a good bet, at least as a solid foundation. Google processes over 6.5 billion searches daily, and optimizing your pages will make the likelihood of your website coming up in those searches even more likely.

Do you have any questions about optimizing your eCommerce platform? Are you looking to get a new eCommerce platform started today for your brand or business? Let us here at Armor Techs help you with this process, and make sure that each step of the way you understand how and why the optimization process is being done and works, so that you can continue to grow your business online and prosper.

Thursday November 29th, 2018#ecommerce #online shopping #marketing