Having the right keywords is only half the battle. How and where you use those keywords is what makes the biggest difference. The next step in our SEO journey is to leverage our newly identified keywords and start optimizing our pages. There are five main places to use keywords in order to have the most significant impact on rankings.
- Webpage URL
- Title Tag
- Meta Description
- Header aka H1 Tag
- Page Content
1. Webpage URL
It’s important to include the main keyword in the webpage URL. Luckily OpenCart makes it easy to add the target keywords in the URL. Don’t worry about fitting in all the different keywords you identified. Trying to “over optimize” and stuff in excessive keywords can negatively impact rankings. Instead, focus on the main keyword. For the laptops page, it would be best to have a simple URL such as demo.opencart.com/laptop-computers. This way we have a simple URL with our main keyword in place.
This setting is available using the following navigational paths in the admin dashboard:
Category Pages: Admin Home -> Catalog -> Categories -> (Category to Optimize) -> Data -> “SEO Keyword” Field
Product Pages: Admin Home -> Catalog -> Products -> (Product to Optimize) -> Data -> “SEO Keyword” Field
2. Title Tags
The title tag is one of the most important places to include keywords. Search engines place more importance on keywords in the title tags than the majority of other elements within a webpage. A well optimized title tag should include the target keywords while also influencing the searcher to click to the page from the search results.
- Keyword Usage – Typically it’s best to use your most important keywords in the beginning of the title tag. Search engines place more weight on keywords at the beginning which can have a stronger impact on your rankings.
- Length – Try to keep title tags 70 characters or less since anything longer will get cut off on the search engine results page.
- Branding – It’s generally a good idea to include your website name at the end of the title tag for additional brand exposure.
Using the list of keywords we found in part 1, here is an example of both a good and bad title tag for the laptops page.
Laptops Keyword Group
- Laptops – 246,000
- Laptop – 246,000
- Best laptops – 49,500
- Cheap laptops – 49,500
- Laptop review – 40,500
- Best laptop – 22,200
- Laptop computers – 14,800
- Laptop computer – 5,400
- Top laptops – 5400
- New laptop – 4,000
- Compare laptops – 3,600
- Laptop prices – 2,900
Bad: Best Laptops, Laptop Computers, Cheap Laptops, Laptop Reviews, Top Laptops, New Laptops, Laptop Prices
Why it’s bad – This title tag is definitely over optimized and stuffed with keywords. Search engines interpret this as trying to manipulate rankings and often results is lower rankings. Also, the title tag is a bit too long (102 characters) and doesn’t include the name of the website.
Good: Best Laptop Computers – Reviews & Prices of Top Laptops | OpenCart
Why it’s good – This title tag is much more readable while containing many of the target keywords. It is a coherent title which will have a much better chance of grabbing the searchers attention. Also, it also contains the name of the website and falls under the 70 character rule.
Title tags can be easily added to any OpenCart page by using the following navigational paths in the admin panel:
Category Pages: Admin Home -> Catalog -> Categories -> (Category to Optimize) -> General -> “Meta Tag Title” Field
Product Pages: Admin Home -> Catalog -> Products -> (Product to Optimize) -> General -> “Meta Tag Title” Field
3. Meta Descriptions
The meta description is the two lines of black text listed below websites on the search engine results page. There is a 156 character limit before search engines start cutting off the meta description. Unlike the title tag, meta descriptions are not used as a ranking factor by most major search engines. Having a dozen keywords or zero keywords won’t have any direct impact on a page’s rankings. However, having a well written meta description can have a large impact on the number of searchers who actually click to your website.
Just like with Google AdWords, the ad copy can make a huge difference on the webpage’s click-through rate (the percent of people who click to the website). The same applies with SEO. A compelling meta description can increase traffic just by grabbing the attention of searchers and influencing them to click to the website. A good meta description typically includes the following:
- Target Keywords – Even though keywords in the meta description don’t have a direct impact on rankings, they can still affect the click-through rate. When a searcher sees their keyword(s) within the meta description it tends to makes them think it’s more relevant and a better fit for their query. Also, search engines usually bold the searcher’s keywords which can help grab their attention.
- Unique Selling Points – Just like with any form of advertising it’s generally a good idea to include your unique selling points. Some of the most common unique selling points are “free shipping,” “excellent customer service,” “huge selection, “lowest prices,” etc. Find out what separates your business from the competition and makes you unique. Once you understand your unique selling points be sure to incorporate them into the meta description.
- Call to Action – Many studies have found that having a call to action can motivate searchers to click to a website. Including a call to action at the end of a meta descriptions is a simple and effective way to improve traffic to webpages. Some common calls to actions to include are “Click now to learn more,” “Shop with us today,” Browse our selection of laptops,” etc.
Using our three main ingredients above, here is an example of a well optimized meta description for the laptops category page.
OpenCart offers the best laptop computers. Lowest prices guaranteed. Free shipping on all laptops. Click now for product information, reviews, and prices.
To add a custom meta description to your OpenCart store, use the following navigational paths:
Category Pages: Admin Home -> Catalog -> Categories -> (Category to Optimize) -> General -> “Meta Tag Description” Field
Product Pages: Admin Home -> Catalog -> Products -> (Product to Optimize) -> General -> “Meta Tag Description” Field
4. Header Tags
Header tags, also known as <h1> tags, aren’t as significant of a ranking factor as they used to be but are still worth optimizing. The header tag can be seen on the webpage itself and is usually the name of the page. When optimizing header tags it’s best to only use the most important keyword phrase rather than trying to squeeze in a bunch of keywords. Also, since the value for the header tag will generally be used in the website navigation it’s best to keep it simple.
For the laptops page on the OpenCart demo store, a simple and optimized header tag would be “Laptop & Notebook Computers.” Since we saw many people searching specific for “laptop computers” rather than just “laptops,” it’s a good idea to include the word “computers” to help capture the additional searchers.
You can modify header tags in OpenCart by using the following navigational paths:
Category Pages: Admin Home -> Catalog -> Categories -> (Category to Optimize) -> General -> “Category Name” Field
Product Pages: Admin Home -> Catalog -> Products -> (Product to Optimize) -> General -> “Product Name” Field
5. Page Content
Saving the most important for last, page content. Including the keywords in the content of the page itself is one of the most important places to leverage keywords for rankings. Search engines rely on content and the keywords within the content to understand the focus of the page and determine relevancy.
There are a few factors to consider when adding content to a webpage to maximize search engine rankings and traffic.
Content Length – Typically the more content you have on a page the better chance it has to rank higher. This is a general guideline and doesn’t mean you should add 1,000+ words of content to each category and product page. Instead aim for at least 150 words of content for category and product pages. Feel free to go past well past 150 words but keep in mind that a significant amount of content on category pages can push down the actual products on the page and negatively affect conversion rates.
Keyword Usage – It’s important to use your target keywords throughout the content. However, make sure that the content reads naturally and doesn’t come across as keyword stuffed. In SEO, if your pages are “over optimized” you risk losing rankings as a result of a penalty. When using keywords it’s best to use different variations as opposed to using the same keyword phrase repeatedly. Rather than just using “laptops” throughout the content, incorporate keyword variations such as “best laptops,” “laptop computers,” “top laptops”, “new laptops,” etc.
Unique Content – All things considered equal, webpages that contain unique content almost always outrank webpages with duplicate content. Duplicate content occurs when two different webpages have the same or near identical content. This could be between two webpages on your website (internal duplicate content) or between a webpage on your website and another website (external duplicate content). Either way, search engines have a strong bias towards ranking unique content over duplicate content. For eCommerce sites, duplicate content tends to occur on product pages since often timesmany different websites will sell the same product and just use the manufacturer’s generic product description. Just by rewriting your own product descriptions it’s possible to get a boost in rankings for product related keywords. If you have hundreds or even thousands of products just start with the best sellers, highest margins, or most search volume.
OpenCart allows you to easily add content to category and product pages using the following navigational path in the admin panel:
Category Pages: Admin Home -> Catalog -> Categories -> (Category to Optimize) -> General -> “Description” Field
Product Pages: Admin Home -> Catalog -> Products -> (Product to Optimize) -> General -> “Description” Field
Now that you have the tools necessary to optimize your webpages it’s time to move on to part 3 and focus on your link structure.
In part 2 we learned how to take our keywords and use them to properly optimize a webpage. The next step is to ensure the link structure is SEO friendly in order to maximize keyword rankings.
One of the ways search engines assess the importance and rankings of a webpage is by analyzing how it is linked to on the website. For example, a webpage linked directly from the homepage will almost always outrank a webpage that is buried deep with the website. Improving your website structure can ensure your most important pages are easily accessible by search engines and result in higher rankings. There are a few strategies that OpenCart webmasters can use to improve their website structure.
1. Include Category Pages in Main Navigation
Most eCommerce website already link to their category pages in the main navigation. However, this can get tricky for larger websites with many categories and subcategories. It’s best to include both top level categories and subcategories in the main navigation whenever possible. Adding any subcategories to the main navigation will increase the number of internal links to these pages and generally result in better rankings.
2. Link to Related Products
Having a related products section on product pages is beneficial not just for SEO, but the usability of the website as well. Since many eCommerce websites have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of products, it can be difficult for search engines to crawl and index them all.
Including links to related products on product pages not only ensures search engines can find these pages, but signals that these pages are more important. This often results in improved rankings and additional search traffic for products. OpenCart makes it easy to add related products in the admin dashboard. Simply navigate to the “Links” tab of any product and start adding similar products in the “Related Products” section.
3. Most Important Products on the Homepage
A website’s homepage is usually its most authoritative and powerful webpage from a SEO perspective. One way to boost the rankings of specific product pages is to link to them directly from the homepage. This allows the authority of the homepage to flow into the product pages and typically results in increased rankings.
Add five to ten products to the homepage that are the best sellers or have the highest margins. This can be easily accomplished with OpenCart by enabling the “Best Sellers” or “Featured” modules on the homepage. You can also do keyword research to find which product pages are being searched the most.
4. Internal Links from Articles
It’s not uncommon for OpenCart store owners to post informative articles about their industry and products on the website. Sometimes this takes the form of OpenCart information pages while other times it can be seen as another blog on the same domain. In either case these articles can be leveraged to help improve SEO rankings.
Internal links from articles to category and product pages are a great way improve the website structure and SEO rankings. Often times these articles naturally attract links which can help boost the authority and rankings of the pages they link to. Review some of your most shared and linked articles to see which are the most authoritative. Next, add links from these pages to any category and product pages that are mentioned within the content. This process is a simple yet effective way to increase rankings of the most important pages on your website with little effort.
Only the Beginning
Identifying the right keywords while optimizing webpages and site structure is a great way to build a solid SEO foundation. We’ve only scratched the surface of the world of SEO, but these tips and tricks will help drive increased search traffic and revenue across your website. There are billions of searches occurring on Google and other search engines every day. Now is the time to tap into the power of SEO and get in front of potential customers who are actively looking for your products.