How to generate meta tags for e-commerce

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How to generate meta tags for e-commerce

The text on a page is still the most important content a search engine uses to rank a page for a keyword. But not all textual elements are equal: a common paragraph has much less importance for rankings than a page heading.

Compared to blogs, eCommerce websites don’t have a lot of content, so that’s why web stores have to create good meta tags to rank for focus keywords.

What is specific about meta tags in e-commerce?

The most common place for text to be concentrated on e-commerce websites is product pages. The problem with this is that in most cases these pages don’t get much search traffic. Traffic-generating pages are usually category and filter pages. Since such pages generally don’t have custom text dedicated to them, they are aggregated products with their excerpt texts. In such a case, it is very hard for search engines to determine the page’s relevance by fragments of products’ descriptions to rank it for keywords – this is when eCommerce product tags come into play. By correctly implementing them, you are telling Google what your page is about: if you name your page “lawn mower battery”, it will surely rank for search queries containing those words.
To make those tags work 100% of the time, you need to implement the practices we’ll talk about in this article on every single page. To ensure you haven’t skipped anything, use website audit tools like SE Ranking – it automatically checks the meta tags and heading and highlights detected issues (i.e. missing, duplicated, too long, etc.)

How keyword research can help you generate meta tags

Keywords are basically search terms people use to find products or services. Some of them are more popular than others, so you need to make sure your meta tags match the most popular phrases and their variations. By doing so, you not only help users see exactly what they are looking for but you also optimize your content for search engines.
To find those keywords take a look at keywords from Google’s suggestions or SEO services like SE Ranking.

Example of keyword research at SE Ranking

Example of keyword research at SE Ranking
Not only are you able to see all terms by search volume in descending order, but also the most popular sub-categories.

The 3 most important tags are

1.  Meta Title
Meta tag Title one of the most important tags

This text is displayed in the search results and the browser tab. Treat it like a book’s name – it should in a few words tell what it is about. Don’t exceed 70-75 symbols, otherwise, your title will be truncated with “…”.

Make sure the title fits check the pixels

The restrictions are actually in pixels since different letters have different widths (e.g. “W” and “I”). To check if your title fits the limits, you can use the online SEO preview tool – it checks if the title exceeds the max width of 580 pixels.

2. Meta Description

This text can be displayed in the SERP, but in recent updates, Google prefers to show query-specific text found on the page. Yet it’s still an important part to tell the web what your page is about. The meta description not only helps with page discovery and SEO but also engages users to click on your page, improving CTR.
Similar to the title, it can be cropped if it exceeds the maximum width. Google measures it in pixels: up to 920px (~158 symbols) for desktop and 680 (~120 symbols) for mobile. To precisely check the description length, use Screaming Frog SEO Spider: it can measure the width in pixels.

Screaming Frog SEO spider can measure the width in pixels
03. Heading 1

Walmart’s Lawn Batteries page example

This is the main heading of the page. It’s the most distinctive thing a user sees on the first screen to understand if the page is exactly what he/she was looking for. There are no strict limits on how long it can be, but in general, it should be about the same or a bit longer than the meta title.

Let’s see how to create text for those elements for different page types of an e-commerce website

Product pages

Product tags in eCommerce should be optimized for queries with the product name (ie “Sony WH-1000XM4”, so users who know exactly what they need can discover your page.

How to write product title tags

Product meta data - make it brief but descriptive

Since the title has the strictest length restrictions among other product meta data, try to make it brief but descriptive – mention the item name (brand, model) and what product it is.

Product heading 1

In Heading 1 you can use more words than in the title

Example of Amazon product page

In H1 you can use more words than in the title – use it to your advantage. First of all, you should use the item name itself here (i.e. manufacturer, model, etc.). Secondly, mention the product type. Thirdly, mention the additional features (i.e. color, version, series, etc.)

Description

For the product page, creating an eCommerce description is a pretty straightforward process: it should tell more about the product’s characteristics, features, pros, etc. You can use call-to-actions and marketing materials in it, but be aware that by doing so you decrease the relevance of the description for a search query, and increase the chances of your custom description not being used by Google at all.

Category pages

These are the most important pages for the e-commerce website. Not only do they form the structure of the site, but they are also landing pages for broad search terms (i.e. “buy wireless headphones” instead of “buy Sony WH-1000XM4”). These common keywords generate the majority of queries of organic traffic for online shops.

Statistics of CariD.com by traffic share of pages from SE Ranking

Title

The main rule for the category title: it should contain all words that impact the product’s characteristics. For example, “wireless gaming mouse”, “gaming mouse” and “wireless mouse” are 3 completely different intents, so they need dedicated pages and titles.

The category title should contain all the words that impact the product's characteristics

Here are the industry leaders, but not the best examples of title usage since these domains have extensive domain trust that overshines content optimization.
By looking at not so popular keywords, we’ll see some much better use-cases:

Use titles more cleverly by adding not only exact-match category names but also related keywords

These websites use titles more cleverly by adding not only exact-match category names but also related keywords.
So, the perfect category title first of all should contain the product name and its important characteristics. For example, “mountain bikes” and “full-suspension mountain bikes” are similar queries, but a more query-specific page always wins – that’s why it’s crucial to include key product features in the category title.

It’s crucial to include key product features in the category title

Heading 1

For Heading 1 all the same general rules from the meta title apply. But it’s recommended to make H1 slightly different from the title to cover related search terms. For example, trekbikes.com is #1 for “full-suspension mountain bikes”, but 3rd for “dual-suspension mountain bikes”, even though those search terms mean the same thing.

The main reason for this is that its page doesn’t mention “dual-suspension” anywhere. Surely if H1 was something like “Full suspension mountain bikes | dual-suspension bikes for sale” this page would be top-1 for both keywords.

Landing page at Trekbikes.com
Landing page at Trekbikes.com

Description


Since the description is lengthier than H1, recommendations for it are similar as in the case with the title/heading: include main keywords in the description and those you haven’t included anywhere yet. For our example, using “full suspension mountain bikes for sale” in the description is a good idea since it wasn’t mentioned anywhere earlier.
Besides keywords, you can include other products’ features or terms from Google’s suggestions.

Include main keywords in the description and those you haven’t included anywhere yet

Filter pages

The structure of filter pages is similar to category pages, although they have one major difference: filter pages are dynamic pages rather than static category ones. This means you should make a custom eCommerce meta tag generator instead of pre-defining them manually.
The reasoning behind optimizing the filter pages is to get traffic for long-tail keywords.

Title

Similarly to what we’ve seen in category titles, filter titles should have all important features in them:

Note: it’s not a category page, because it lands us on a page with applied filters that can’t be accessed from inside the site any other way than by choosing the needed parameters.

If there are many filters applied, a title can become too long

Landing page for “hard folding tonneau cover 2021 f150” at Tonneaucoversworld.com

Consider the following: if there are many filters applied, a title can become too long. To prevent this from happening, try to use the short forms of filter names (e.g. “price from 100 to 200 dollars” -> “$100-$200”).

Heading 1

To filter the page heading to make it more readable, you can use the “long” names we were talking about in the title paragraph. For example, if the title is “2021 Ford F150 Hard Folding Tonneau Covers $0-$500”, the user-friendly heading may sound like “Hard-folding tonneau covers for 2021 Ford F150 under $500”.

Description

The meta description for filter pages has much less impact than previous tags, so I wouldn’t recommend spending much time on a fancy text generation scheme. Instead, you can use the H1 you’ve already created and add some text before and after. For example, the description for the previous H1 could be something like “Explore 567 hard-folding tonneau covers for 2021 Ford F150 under $500 for sale…”. After, you could add some text to improve CTR (e.g. “10% first offer discount”, “Apple Pay/GPay accepted”, “free shipping”, etc.)

Wrapping up

Meta tag optimization is one of the most powerful tools to increase the rankings of your online store. The page templates of any eCommerce website can be divided into 3 parts: category, filter, and product. You should make sure that all of those pages have excellent meta tags that catch the user’s eye and improve SEO.

  • For category pages, include the product type and its most important characteristics in the meta title and heading 1 by using the most popular keyword for the category. In the description, use less popular keyword variations to target related keywords and the user’s intent.
  • For filter pages, use the same patterns you’ve applied to category pages, but make sure the title stays within the 75 symbols.
  • For product pages, include the manufacturer, model, item code, and other information from documentation in the title and h1. In the meta description, you can include more product details and CTAs to increase the conversion ratio from the SERP.

    Follow the recommendations from this article and you’ll gain search traffic in no time!
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