Woocommerce Seo Mistakes

So, you have built an online store with WooCommerce and published few hundreds of products. Now what? Let us guess – now you sit and wait for the storm of organic search traffic to hit your e-commerce website, right? You have so many products, Google should just point the potential clients.

Well… No! Not really!

In reality, the sad truth is that  optimizing e-commerce websites for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not as easy as optimizing for blogs or simple 6-7 page company websites. By having tons of category, attribute and product pages on your site, tons of new problems pop up that make SEO very difficult game with completely new rules for e-commerce websites.

Actually, there is nothing really new, but most probably you never looked at the problem from this perspective.

Today we are going to point some of the most common SEO errors online stores owners make on daily basis.

1. Too Short (or not-at-all) Product Descriptions

This is THE number one mistake, not only in our list, but in general. Most shop owners, especially in the fashion industry or accessories niche would think that listing the product with few pictures and price would be enough. Unfortunately, the product page is no different than any other page on your site in terms of SEO. The complete absence of a text description of the product literally kills the chances of the page being in the top search engine results, even for not so competitive queries. Skipping on this just kills all your efforts. At the end, the reason you built your store was selling and making money, right?

How much content you need for the product description? There is a general rule in SEO and it’s valid for product pages just like for any other page on your website. Count the number of all words found in an empty product (or other) page. This will include navigation, any sidebars and widgets, footer etc. Your products description text word count should exceed the total word count on an empty page.

Just like for any other page, the more unique content you write for your product description – the better for your SEO ranking. However, keep the following things in mind:

  • Write quality descriptive content that helps your customers make purchasing decisions.
  • Never copy content from other websites. The search engines will definitely know where the content originally appeared and penalize you for doing this.
  • Don’t write entire poems. Too much content on a product page might hurt both your SEO rankings and user experience.

2. Copy Product Descriptions from Manufacturer’s websites

Do this and you are done! Seriously, you’d loose the race even before the start signal. This action can guarantee your site will be blacklisted by the search engines.

The main problem here is that these factory descriptions are distributed to many online stores. Most of them are leaving the text in its original form, not touching a single word. This leads to a huge number of websites with non-unique content and filters from Google and other search engines. Not only this, but usually manufacturer’s descriptions are not even marketing friendly and hardly provoke purchasing decision.

Just like with any other page content, the basic rule is: Content is King and must be unique. Google algorithms are getting better and better each day  at recognizing such behavior and kicking websites down the rankings because of duplicate content and content scraping.

We know creating unique content for thousands of products can be extremely overwhelming and sometimes even impossible task. We’ve seen this  before with our clients sites. Sometimes putting a NO INDEX meta tag on product pages that you can’t write unique content for might be the better decision even if it sounds crazy.

If you have thousands of products that you obviously can’t provide with unique tezts, or products soon to be retired, then certainly consider keeping them out the search engines reach. The main point here is you don’t want to have hundreds of pages with no unique content and only a few that do comply with SEO requirements. This would make your website look like it has automatically generated dummy webpages just to try to gain SEO traffic. That’s exactly what you don’t want your website to look like.

3. No Product Reviews on the website

A huge portion of online buyers (recent research points to numbers in the 70% range) are looking for reviews of products on online stores or public review sources before making a purchase decision. Disable reviews for your products or even not encouraging your existing clients to leave a rating means, you are missing a very large percentage of the potential market. Not only this, but recent search trends show that it is easier for review pages to reach the top of search results than selling pages.

Moreover, the best thing about WooCommerce product reviews from customers is:

  • They are creating unique content for your online store and it’s absolutely free! We’ve been talking about all the trouble involved by not having unique content and how hard it is to create it. Product reviews solve this problem, at least partially!
  • It keeps the product page “living” with new content added frequently, which can help to bring the search engines back more often. Update your site frequently and adding fresh content is one of the best SEO strategies.

4. Not Optimizing Product Pages Based on Search Trends

Using search keywords that people are typing into the search engines when you write headlines, title pages, and product descriptions is crucial for your SEO ranking. Otherwise, you simply promote something that no one really is searching for. This is a common mistake of shops with a large variety of different goods.

Key words research is extremely important for SEO. Learn what people search and how – e.g. in terms of search engine discoverability “Sunglasses” is not the same as “2019 Prada Sunglasses”

With all that in mind, here are some tips to help you better optimize your product pages:

  • Use model numbers in your title tags and H1 headings.
  • Use brand names in your title tags and H1 headings.
  • Use brand names in your product image file name.
  • Don’t forget to provide alt text for your product images!
  • Avoid keyword stuffing the page by repeating a keyword phrase over and over again.

5. Non-Unique Product Titles

A huge problem of the large online stores is duplicated title tags. Watch for their uniqueness and try to avoid identical strings. This is a fundamental SEO rule, but when it comes to online shopping, somehow many people forget about it.

It’s really difficult to create unique product name when you sell multiple items from the same brand or type. Anyways,Search engines doesn’t seem to care, and therefore you should focus on making unique key phrases. For Example, if you sell phone cases and have 10 different cases for Samsung Galaxy S8 they are not all named “Samsung Galaxy S8 Case”. Try including at least one unique word in the title and more descriptive names like “Blue Silicon Case for Samsung Galaxy S8”.

Most of the online shoppers are searching for a key phrase, not a single keyword. A formula that tends to work well is the “brand-model” title tag recipe:

A good practice is constructing your title tag this way: Brand – Model – Item Type

Some real life examples could be: “Honda Civic TypeR” or “Nokia 7.1 Smartphone”

6. Lack of “Speaking” URLs

What is a “speaking” url? Here is an example: http://www.amazon.com/ebook/allice-in-wonderland. Speaking urls are also known as “seo friendly urls”.

We see the name of the product right in the site address. It is extremely important in terms of SEO to create such URLs for all of your products and pages. Just like any other content on your website, try to make your URLs unique.

It makes it easy for the customer to know what to expect when they click on your URL. If you have too long URLs full of numbers and unreadable data it can look spammy and be a major turn off.

There is a chance that the URL will be picked up by another web content author and re-posted. Important keywords will be present in the link tag if the original URL is used as the link text. Getting keywords within link text that points back to your website is considered a high quality link and greatly helps getting to the top of search engine results.

7. A Lot of Duplicate Content

Category pages, archives with different sorting elements, tags etc – all these create duplicates. Such pages should not be indexed by search engines. A good way to achieve this would be utilizing a robots.txt file. Your site can get penalties because of duplicate pages (especially on large sites such as most online shopping websites), so this is really of high importance.

You can also add nofollow attribute to links that point to areas of duplicate content. However, you have to be extremely thorough at making sure you find every single link that needs to be nofollowed (because Google will find them, even if you can’t).

The Golden Rule of SEO – Make your content helpful and convenient for the users, not for the search engines! Achieve this and you’ll also win the search engines “respect”.

Time spent by users on your website is also a major factor and a great indication for Google they were sent them to the right page.

Finally, people who enjoy working with your website are much more likely to post a link to it. As we already said, links are what move you to the top of the search results page!


Can you identify other common SEO mistakes people make in their WooCommerce stores? Let’s discuss them in the comments bellow.

About the Author:

Dimitar Koev is a graphic and web designer, front-end developer and marketing expert. CEO & founder of the Althemist team (previously known as Koev) - an independent envato market author, focused on building WordPress themes with strong e-commerce accent.

2 thoughts on “Common SEO Mistakes on WooCommerce Websites

  • AndrewDecember 20, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    Speaking of point 7, your theme doesn’t have nofollow to add_to_cart pages

    • AlthemistDecember 23, 2020 at 10:49 am

      Hello Andrew,

      That’s just not theme related. It’s a matter of on-site optimization with plugins like YOAST, All In One SEO, SEO Press etc.


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