I had the pleasure to speak at WordCamp Milano 2018, and I had a blast! I believe the topic was pretty interesting, so you all deserve a long post recap with actionable tips and screenshots to understand basic WooCommerce SEO (video of the presentation will be available soon).
The following WooCommerce Search Engine Optimization tips are mostly non technical, and are aimed at WordPress and WooCommerce users who never heard of “schema”, “long tail”, “301” and “hreflang” (although if you did, please have a read anyway, make sure to post a comment and contribute to this post with your expertise).
The thing is – SEO is never going to die. Besides, Google & co. constantly improve their website ranking algorithms. This means what you learned 5 years ago in regard to SEO might not work today, and what you learn today might not work in 2 years time… you get the point.
In this blog post, we will analyze and study 27 evergreen SEO factors for WooCommerce websites. These should be applied (or not applied, as there are many “not to do” tips as well) to your ecommerce website at all costs if you believe you deserve better ranking (who doesn’t?). And as they’re evergreen, they’re likely not to go away for a few years at least 🙂
So, let’s get started!
1. Yoast alone doesn’t get you traffic
There is no doubt your WooCommerce website has to have Yoast SEO plugin installed and properly set up. Later on we’ll see a few screenshots and things you should look into in order to maximize your WooCommerce SEO potential.
However, the biggest issue with Yoast (and any other WordPress SEO plugin) is this: the plugin alone won’t get you traffic. Yoast plugin can help you optimize your WooCommerce website, but without on-going content writing, research, analysis, tracking, link-building, monitoring, fixing, you go nowhere.
You don’t even need a plugin to “do SEO”. Yes, Yoast can help you with the settings and content suggestions, but Google & co. might not even see your website if you don’t have a proper strategy. A plugin alone, unfortunately, won’t improve your search engine ranking.
This is a vital thing to understand before you start optimizing your website. Never believe “installing Yoast” means your website is now optimized for the search engines. Never trust web agencies that “install Yoast” to grow your traffic.
Installing and setting up Yoast is just the start. Then you have to actually do the SEO work and optimize your WooCommerce website.
2. Humans want plain language
The SEO myth related to “keyword density” and “you have to have keywords on that page” is… a myth indeed.
You’re reading a blog that has hundreds of thousands of website visitors per year and trust me – I never worried about “optimizing my homepage keywords” or “adding keywords to a given blog post” or even “making sure keywords are in the page title, meta description, headings, content, image URL, image alt tag“.
That’s the truth.
See, SEO starts with offering great, immediate value – not keywords.
Business Bloomer blog gets traffic because it offers money-saving resources. I never did SEO. But now that I have traffic and value, I can invest in SEO. As you can see, I first spent time searching for interesting topics, wrote about them, kept being consistent, and only now I could see a return on the investment on SEO. Before, it was just about finding “value bombs”, like my popular WooCommerce visual hook guides, that are referenced and used by thousands of WooCommerce developers and store owners familiar with PHP.
I write in plain language, I never worry about “keyword density”. Sometimes keywords are not even inside my content. I don’t really care. I just want readers like you to have a pleasant read, learn something new in regard to WooCommerce and make the most of it.
Humans want plain language, so write in plain language. And stop writing unreadable paragraphs just for the sake of reaching whatever keyword density.
3. N-i-n-e-t-y-n-i-n-e percent of SEO has to be done after your website goes live
Yes – 99%.
I already mentioned “on-going copywriting, market research, competitor analysis, website stats tracking, link-building, website monitoring, troubleshooting and fixing” in section 1.
Well, here it goes again: SEO does not stop on day 1. It actually begins then. And should never stop.
When you hire an SEO agency, an obvious red flag is a non-recurring contract. SEO should be done on a daily basis, not just once. You gain nothing in a few hours – in that case you’d rather save some budget and DIY (hence this blog post).
Don’t underestimate SEO.
SEO is marketing. And companies have a marketing department because they’re supposed to be busy all day long, trying to grow their brand reputation.
Same applies to SEO. Do it always, or do it never. Once is just not enough, and won’t give you traffic or sales (i.e. ROI).
If you have to work on your website SEO, make sure it’s not a 1 hour job. Unlike WooCommerce customization (well, if coded properly) or performance optimization, SEO requires daily input.
It’s not a one-off thing.
4. There are 200+ ranking factors… pick 20
SEO is not just “keywords” or “meta descriptions”. There are at least 200 factors you should consider working on: backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors
However, that’s impossible to handle for us small business owners.
We have to run our job, do the marketing, networking, selling, customer service – who has the time to work on 200 SEO factors – every day?
Well, maybe you can only afford to pick 20 – if you’re lucky to have time. Otherwise go with the top 10. Either way you can’t do everything – you have to find your SEO focus.
The hardest thing to figure out, therefore, is which ranking factors you should pick and prioritize. Which ones are the most cost-effective?
Well, you could maybe get started with this blog post, and its on-site, off-site and technical SEO tips. SEO can be divided into 4 parts in my view:
- Getting ready for SEO: this consists of the things and tools you must set up even before starting to optimize your website e.g. tracking
- On-page SEO: this is that part of SEO that is done ON your own website e.g. optimizing your homepage title and meta description
- Off-page SEO: these are SEO operations that are done on OTHER websites (not yours) e.g. publishing a guest blog on a relevant third party website
- Technical SEO: this is the more technical part of SEO, where you need some coding skills and advanced knowledge e.g. set up 301 redirects for 404 errors
So, here we go, it’s time we start doing some proper WooCommerce SEO.
5. Getting ready for SEO: Enable tracking
Install the “WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration” plugin (after setting up Google Analytics of course) and/or take a look at Metorik, the most powerful live tracking app for WooCommerce stores (both apps, together with screenshots and tutorials, are described and reviewed here: https://businessbloomer.com/advanced-woocommerce-tracking-analytics-reports-exports-segmentation/).
There is no SEO without tracking, and I’m shocked when I look at WooCommerce websites that have Yoast SEO installed but no Google Analytics or Metorik integration.
This is a must, and should be enabled from day one. If you haven’t done it yet, go install the plugins now.
Tracking allow you to assess your SEO results and – technically speaking – to measure your most important metrics. You will probably keep an eye on the following KPIs (key performance indicators):
- Volume: organic sessions (website visits from search engines results)
- Quality: CTR (click through rate) and bounce rate (website visits that exit without taking action – the lower the better)
- Value: sales conversion rate (CR – averages 1%)
- Cost: cost per acquisition (CAC – the lower the better)
- Ranking: number of keywords ranked and position
No tracking, no KPI, no objective, no achievement. If you don’t set goals and don’t work on achieving them, how can your website improve?
6. Getting ready for SEO: Add site to Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that tracks your website performance on Google. It gives you information about your website errors (mostly 404s, which we’ll cover later on), cross-device usability, ranked keywords and page ranking.
You’re not doing SEO if you are not registered with this tool. Use it.
When Google Search Console asks you to verify your website, install Yoast plugin, then go to SEO > General > Webmaster Tools and enter the code. Save and Google Search Console should give you the go ahead.
7. Getting ready for SEO: Research your competitors
This is a step you can’t really avoid. If you are to improve your ranking, you need to know who is above you in the search engine results, and why. This research can also help you with link-building (see later on).
Knowing not only who are your competitors but also why and how they managed to get on top (i.e. on page 1 of Google), is the key to understand what your tactics should be.
For example, if the number 1 result on Google is a competitor’s product that has all the default WooCommerce single product page features but also an how-to video, a price comparison table, an image gallery to view the product from all angles and 100 reviews, then you’ll know what you should work on.
It all makes sense: see what works, and do it too – but better.
At this link, you can find useful Competitor Analysis templates and tips, including free and premium software: https://moz.com/blog/competitor-analysis-for-seo (of course, you could try to do it by hand if you wanted to save some money and you don’t have a million WooCommerce products).
8. Getting ready for SEO: Research your keywords
It would be interesting to know if people who are searching for your product e.g. “beeswax candles” actually look for “beeswax candles” or, instead, are more likely to type in the search bar “natural candles“, “non-toxic candles” or “organic candles“. So, what should be your WooCommerce product title?
Likewise, if you’re a reseller of car parts, probably users will look for a car part code (SKU). Then, should SKU be added to the product title and description, so that it shows up on Google?
These two examples are showing you why and how important keyword research is. Both for search engines and potential customers.
Ahrefs posted a great tutorial on Business Bloomer recently: How To Do Keyword Research For A WooCommerce Site? – it contains tips and screenshots to make the most of keyword research. Enjoy!
9. On-page SEO: Set up Yoast plugin
We’re finally getting our SEO process started, and Yoast is one of those must-haves for any WooCommerce (and WordPress) website. So here are the first steps you should take.
a. Enable / Disable Features
Yoast adds an “SEO analysis” box to every page / post / product / category, from where you can define your focus keyword and get tips on how you should optimize that piece of content.
This, together with other features, can be toggled on/off from SEO > General > Features:
You could leave the default features on “On” and the others on “Off”, or alternatively you can expand each one by clicking on the question mark and read what’s that about (“SEO analysis” in the screenshot above). There is lots to learn and discover.
I personally dislike the “readability” analysis and the “text link counter” – while I believe sitemaps and Ryte integration are vital (do not install a Sitemaps plugin, Yoast creates them for you out of the box).
b. Search Appearance
From here you can manage how your website shows on search engine result pages.
In the General tab, add your Knowledge Graph information (here Yoast tells you what that is) – this will declare to Google who you are.
You should also match that, if you’re a company, with a free Google My Business account: https://www.google.com/business/
Then come the “Content Types”, “Taxonomies” and “Archives” tabs. These are very important to define what you want to make appear on Google and what not, and how. With how, I mean whether you want to show the date or not in the search results, what the default SEO title and the default meta description are, and so on.
On Business Bloomer, I do not index products (I have a few, and I want users to see my custom landing/sales pages instead: https://businessbloomer.com/customizewoo-master-woocommerce-online-course/ and https://businessbloomer.com/bloomer-armada/
To achieve this, you can go to Yoast Search Appearance Content Types settings and say not to index any WooCommerce Product (see first box):
Otherwise, in your B2C business you’d very likely want to index single products. Then, keep the show to “Yes” and do some work on the default SEO title and Meta description boxes.
These will be the default title and meta that will show for ALL products, unless you specifically enter a per-product title/meta on the single product edit page. Very useful indeed, so you can save some time.
Your product default SEO title, as all titles, should be max 60 characters long and unique (great tips here: https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag).
Meta description should be 160 characters long and unique too. This means each product (as well as pages, posts, etc.) should have a unique title/meta combo.
In case you don’t know what title and meta are or where they show, here’s an example if you Google my WooCommerce course:
As you can see the current title is “truncated”, while the meta description is optimized and fits within the character limit.
The reason why it shows as truncated, is that I used the following SEO default title template in Yoast Search Appearance settings for Pages:
Title | Page | Separator | Site Title
My course page title is “#CustomizeWoo: Master WooCommerce Customization [Online Course]” and then Yoast adds “ | Business Bloomer” to it. Which makes it longer than 55-60 characters.
So these “default” settings are great but if you have important pages like this one, make sure to edit them on a per-page (per-product) basis.
After changing title and meta a week ago via the single edit page Yoast box, this is how the same search gives me an optimized title and a still-not-so-optimized meta description (as it won’t fit and has the … at the end):
So… time to get back to the drawing board and remove a few characters from the meta description, so it can fit. Remember, the meta description is the same as a business pitch. You have to entice the user to click on your website and not the others.
c. Search Console
In here you can link up Yoast to Google Search Console and get the important stats without exiting from your site and logging into Google.
It gives you the main PHP errors such as 404 (Page Not Found) – we will see later on how you can fix these and why it is important you do so.
Social media does not increase your search engine ranking.
But when people share your posts or WooCommerce products, you want to make sure the shared content is correct.
So, go there and enter the list of social media you own, so that Google knows you’re all one thing: a business. Also, open the specific social tabs (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and see what default settings you should enter.
You can import/export but most importantly you can gain access to the File Editor, and do some advanced SEO stuff such as editing your .HTACCESS and ROBOTS.TXT files.
As this blog post you’re reading is for WooCommerce SEO beginners, I recommend not to touch these – or at least, study moz.com/learn/seo/robotstxt first.
10. On-page SEO: Add Sitemap to Google Search Console
Now that you’re using Yoast and you have WooCommerce pages and products, you need to add your Yoast XML sitemaps to Google Search Console.
Google will find your content anyway, but Search Console can speed it up and most of all nudge Google in case you’ve changed something recently.
Just follow this tutorial: https://kb.yoast.com/kb/submit-sitemap-search-engines/
11. On-page SEO: Set up WooCommerce Permalinks & Breadcrumbs
This would probably need a blog post on its own, but as this is for beginners I’ll just tell you what to do without analyzing pros and cons.
Basically you want to properly set up WooCommerce product permalinks and make sure they correspond to the breadcrumb structure your theme has (if not, Yoast can help you add breadcrumbs).
Go to WordPress > Settings > Permalinks and set up WooCommerce in this way: “Shop base with category”.
In this way, a given product URL will look like: SITEURL/shop/product_cat_1/product_1 – this is a nice stricture to give to WooCommerce permalinks and as you can see we’re also indirectly telling people this product belongs to category “product_cat_1“, which can be found in the “shop” page, which is a sibling to the homepage.
If you know what I mean, we’re talking about website hierarchy. And making things easier for your potential customer.
In the same way you’ve set up permalinks, you should follow the same in your breadcrumbs. WooCommerce-ready themes breadcrumbs will automatically follow your permalinks – other themes, I don’t know.
Once I set permalinks as above, my Storefront theme breadcrumbs look like:
Home > Shop > product_cat_1 > product_1
… where each element is clickable and allows you to move one step up. With breadcrumbs you can retrace your search path. Hence the importance of coordinating breadcrumbs to permalinks.
Alright, a bit technical, but you’ve got to learn something new 🙂
12. On-page SEO: Unindex content you don’t want to rank
Is there a need for people to find your “My Account” page? Maybe yes, if you run a login-only WooCommerce store. Otherwise, you’d rather give priority to other pages, such as the Shop page.
This simple example is already giving you some input on deciding which content should be unindexed and which not. Unindexing means “telling Google you don’t want that content to show in the results“, because it’s not relevant, duplicate or you prefer to index something else. It’s also a way to “remove links from your sitelinks“, which shows on Google when you search for your own website. In my case, I definitely want to unindex the “Now” page, which I don’t use any longer:
So, I just opened the “Now” page, went to the Yoast box, and did this:
Hopefully, very soon, that page won’t show again.
Finally, there is also another interesting topic we discussed on Business Bloomer: Should I Noindex WooCommerce Product Tag Pages?
In this case the theory is that product tags should be noindexed (via Yoast) as they’re probably confusing Google and adding lots of duplicate content.
You make your own judgement of course, but remember “Product Tags” are for your website users and not for the search engines.
13. On-page SEO: Add content to product categories & Shop page
The most underestimated search engine optimization in WooCommerce is related to the product category and shop pages.
These are definitely pages you want to rank and show on top – but if they’re not optimized you’re telling Google you don’t care.
Hence, add content and proper title/meta to these pages. If you didn’t know, you can edit each single product category and add content to it.
Go to Products > Categories > Edit Category X and enter a description with optimized information and – of course – a few relevant keywords.
On Business Bloomer, I don’t mind as I unindexed product categories – but you definitely should. No more boring (and unrankable) product category pages!
14. On-page SEO: Write unique WooCommerce product descriptions
If you’re reselling products, I hope you’re not copying your supplier’s product descriptions, right? Otherwise that would be duplicate content, and you can expect a nice red flag from Google.
WooCommerce product pages come with a:
- short description, which should be a teaser / short sales pitch (similar to your meta description!)
- long description, which is displayed inside the description tab, and should be much longer, contain videos, manuals, images, downloads, etc
So, use them both.
They give you the chance to rank a product better, as long as you’ve picked the correct keywords and product title and meta description are optimized as well.
15. On-page SEO: Manually enter title & meta descriptions for top 20 pages
If your WooCommerce website has 20 pages and 500 products, you should not only define the default “SEO Title” and “SEO Meta” templates as we’ve seen in section 9b, but also target your top 20 pieces of content and customize their title/meta manually.
I recommend to do it for:
- Pages: Home, Shop, About, Contact
- Products: Top 10
- Product Categories: Top 3
At least you’re putting some effort into showing your website content is looked after. Here’s what I’ve done with my own homepage:
If you remember my earlier example about my #CustomizeWoo online course, showing that “truncated” title for a featured product on Google is not a great idea…
There is also to say that Google will do whatever it wants and even change titles and metas despite you set them up on Yoast. I hate this. But it’s also Google who decides. So, just do your best.
16. On-page SEO: Do proper Content Marketing
Content marketing a.k.a. blogging is what turned Business Bloomer (me) from a local small business web designer to a worldwide WooCommerce development expert.
And I did not really look into keywords, meta descriptions, permalinks and robots.txt. I’ll tell you, if content marketing is done right, you don’t even need to work on the other 26 tips contained in this long blog post.
It’s content that gets you traffic, but it needs to add great value to your readers. Even more, you have to think of a blog like something that must make the reader save money or time. If that’s not the case, stop writing and re-consider your marketing efforts.
I wasted 2 years of my content as I was writing about random things. Then I found what worked (WooCommerce snippets). And now I can afford to do more.
So, think of your money-saving topics and value bombs before you start “blogging”.
Quick tip: apart from blogging, make sure to build an email list and share exclusive content via email. Also, consider different social media platforms and start posting consistently (social media management tools might come in handy). Finally, think about guest posts on other relevant websites. In short, do everything you can to increase your visibility!
Here are 2 presentations I held at WordCamp Belfast 2016 and WordCamp Rome 2017 respectively which should help you understand this better:
17. On-page SEO: Manage out of stock products
NEVER delete WooCommerce products that go out of stock or that you’re not stocking any longer. Why removing a page that is probably already ranking well on Google?
Instead, change its content with a contact / product inquiry form (https://businessbloomer.com/woocommerce-show-inquiry-form-single-product-page-cf7/) or simply put a 301 redirect to a similar product or its product category.
18. On-page SEO: Enhance WooCommerce site navigation
I’m getting tired at writing and you’re probably getting exhausted at reading, so let’s accelerate a little.
UX (User Experience) is vital. Your potential customers should never get lost while visiting your website.
On top of using a proper navigation menu (Mega Menu is a good fix if you have lots of WooCommerce product categories), enable Ajax filters (https://businessbloomer.com/woocommerce-product-ajax-filters/), nested categories (there is an official WooCommerce plugin for that) and do whatever you can to do the search / navigation / filtering part better.
An ecommerce website needs this. Your WooCommerce users do too.
19. On-page SEO: Use headings properly
Headings are, if you’re familiar with the WordPress classic editor, those block elements marked as “H1”, “H2, “H3” and so on.
Google needs them on every page of your website to “understand” the content structure.
You should only have one H1 per page (e.g. your WooCommerce product title is an H1), then H2s should give the product page a structure e.g. description, reviews, additional information (YES, you should stop using product tabs and instead have them all “exploded”, like Amazon does – here’s a WooCommerce snippet example: https://businessbloomer.com/woocommerce-remove-product-tabs-echo-long-description/), while H3s should be inside each H2 section to define each paragraph.
Structure means order, and Google likes it.
20. Off-page SEO: Do not buy links
Also: do not believe in “online directories”, link exchanges, buying links or clicks. That’s BS. Besides, it will definitely make you lose your ranking if Google finds that out.
If you have to invest money, write more content instead. Be smart.
21. Off-page SEO: Guest post… if you can
Guest blogging a.k.a. posting your blog on a third party website is a great link building and branding strategy – as long as you have the time and energy.
Posting a guest blog requires not only the time to actually write and revise – you also need to research a suitable third party website, pitch your idea to the content manager, expect more nos than yeses, try again, pitch to another one, get finally something on paper, agree the outline, write, send images, bio and profile images, be published and only then expect the first results.
This is if you’re lucky.
When you run a popular blog like this one, you’re on the other end. I get pitched every single day with one or two guest blog ideas, and most times they’re not relevant (not WooCommerce related) or the pitch doesn’t even contain my first name (here’s a tip for you if you want to guest blog here… don’t start your email with “Hi there”). I found out that the only way to increase the quality of guest blogs on Business Bloomer is by making the guest blogger join our WooCommerce community first. The “Partner” option of BloomerArmada is exactly tailored for those who wish to publish a blog here. That paywall allows me to only talk to serious guest bloggers and in exchange they get to tap into my audience and get additional “Partner” benefits.
This little workaround works well for me – so if you want to guest blog on other websites feel free to add “payment” to the list of tasks before starting to type a few paragraphs.
Here are some of the best guest posts published by experts on Business Bloomer so far (together with the one already mentioned earlier by Ahrefs in relation to WooCommerce keyword research):
Each one of them has been written by a guest blogger and revised by me. Guest bloggers get great “backlinks” to their website, as well as the opportunity to show off their expertise, give useful tips and HELP readers learn something new.
To recap, this is what guest blogging should mean to you:
- showing off your expertise
- increasing your brand awareness
- tapping into someone else’s audience (organic, social, newsletter)
- and yes – building backlinks of course
If you have time and budget to invest, this is a great strategy. The more relevant backlinks, the bigger reputation Google gives you (because websites are linking to yours). And the more reputation, the higher the ranking.
Well, at least this is one of the famous 200 SEO factors…
22. Off-page SEO: Set up Google Alerts
Google Alerts (or similar apps / software) is a way to get immediately notified when a website page containing a certain “keyword” (hint: your brand name) joins Google and shows on the search engine results.
Of course, I’m not talking about your own website, I mean here “mentions of your brand on third party websites“.
If a blog links or mentions your brand, and that post is ranked on Google, Google Alerts can send you an immediate notification.
Now, imagine that that blog does not contain a direct link to your website (“https://businessbloomer.com“), but simply mentions it (“Business Bloomer“). Well, that’s a great opportunity to talk directly to the blogger and ask them to change the textual mention to a hyperlink.
That’s such an easy link building strategy!
So, go to Google Alerts, create a new alert, and use something similar to mine:
“business bloomer” OR “businessbloomer” OR “rodolfo melogli” OR “bbloomer” OR “rmelogli” -site:businessbloomer.com
This is a fancy way to tell Google Alert to send you a notification each time any of those words between double quotes are mentioned, excluding my own site (note the minus).
Copy this and use it – it’s very effective.
Now every time someone copies my snippets (hello, you) or mentions my brand, I’ll just approach them and ask them for a link. Asking costs me nothing, and if they already mentioned me why shouldn’t they link?
23. On-page SEO: Link out (AF)
Sorry for the AF but I wanted to be a little “direct”. When talking about “backlinks”, yes, our goal is to get websites to link to our WooCommerce one.
But if you never link to anyone, how can you expect that others will link to you?
So, be generous, and link to valuable resources on other websites (as well as those on your own website). Re-read this article and see how many external links I placed (do you have something related to WooCommerce SEO? Let me know and I’ll add your link).
Not only Google will like this because you’re offering value to your users, but also those websites will probably find out you’re linking to them (pingback notifications or Google Alerts or similar). And they’ll get to know you, and even will consider linking to you next time they write something.
So, link out. And get linked in (this strategy also belongs to “Off-page SEO”, as if you link out, you can get more backlinks).
(Let’s see if Yoast or Moz will get to know me and link to Business Bloomer in the future when talking about WooCommerce SEO… I’ll let you know if this strategy works!)
24. On-page SEO: Create downloadable resources
This is a must, and despite it is part of Content Marketing, I believe it deserves a section on its own.
The only way to offer instant value to a stranger (website visitor who finds your website for the first time) is not only to offer money- or time-saving blog posts, but also to give them something for free.
You’d probably noticed, if you’re an entrepreneur, how an “enjoyable freebie” can get anyone to stick to a certain brand as opposed to another they never get to try. That “freebie” can be a downloadable resource, or even a free video tutorial, a how-to guide, a PDF cheat-sheet, an ebook, a software trial, a physical product sample.
In this way you can EARN links (and email subscribers, as these freebies should be available only after registration) with useful, smart, immediately available content.
I use free WooCommerce customization video lessons for this purpose, and every day I acquire new fans, email subscribers and future clients. So, you should do that too – your WooCommerce site, no matter if you sell services or physical/digital products, must give something away for free.
This strategy also belongs to “Off-page SEO”, as if you create great resources, you can get more backlinks. So, invest in freebies (or “lead magnets” as marketers call them). They work indeed.
25. Technical SEO: Redirect WWW to WWW/o and HTTP to HTTPS
You really don’t want to have 4 duplicate websites ranked on Google e.g.:
Also, you don’t want to confuse users when they reference your website. I’m just businessbloomer.com and nothing else.
Therefore, don’t make it difficult. Get your hosting company to redirect WWW to WWW/o (i.e. “without WWW”) and HTTP to HTTPS (because you ARE using an SSL certificate for your WooCommerce store, right?).
If your hosting can’t help, take a look at this tutorial: kinsta.com/knowledgebase/redirect-http-to-https
This is one of the easiest technical fixes you can make. Simply try to access your own website with HTTP, HTTPS, WWW and non-WWW and verify they correctly redirect to a unique website URL version.
26. Technical SEO: Redirect 404s
What’s a 404 error? You’ve seen that before – you get a 404 error when “a website page does not exists” (hence the need for a 404 page, which shows to your users if they land on a broken URL of your website).
Thing is, 404 errors are bad for Google and bad for your users.
So, first, identify your 404 errors. If you’ve linked Yoast and Google Search Console as I’ve mentioned earlier, go to SEO > Search Console > Not found:
My 136 not found (i.e. 404) errors are pages users tried to access without getting any joy. They were just shown the 404 page.
Now, that’s a lost opportunity. Probably they just quit the website as they didn’t find what they were looking for.
But not everything is lost.
You’re going to have 404 errors one day too – and guess what, you can fix this with a little technical SEO.
What I mean exactly is that you should “301 redirect” your broken URLs. In this way you’re telling Google and your website visitors that yes, that page they found on Google doesn’t exists any longer, but also that as soon as they click on it, they’re redirected to a new, existing or similar piece of content.
A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect. It should be done only when you believe the 404 error page is seriously going away, and a redirect must be notified to both Google (who should rank the redirected page instead) and users (who will see the redirected page instead).
Now to the second step – how do you add 301 redirects? You’ve got two choices: you use a plugin or you do it manually (this is my fav choice).
You could look into https://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-301-redirects/ or https://wordpress.org/plugins/404-to-301/ on the WordPress repository.
Or better, use the Yoast File Editor to gain access to your .htaccess file. Go to SEO > Tools > File Editor > .htaccess file and enter something like this:
Redirect 301 /broken_url https://working_url
In this super simple way (you could also use regular expressions to e.g. redirect ALL your product tag pages to the Shop page) you can immediately set up 301 redirects.
Got a 404 error? Go redirect it now.
And check this periodically.
27. Technical SEO: Optimize for performance
Last but not least, SEO is also Performance and Page Speed Optimization.
I’ll be short: using server-side cache, CDN, minification, optimized and resized images, lazy load and proper hosting IS GOING TO give you an advantage over your competitors.
So, don’t overestimate website performance, and don’t think SEO ends with keywords and 301 redirects.
SEO is an on-going operation that, as I said earlier, you either do it every day or you’d better outsourcing it. It’s too important. A little glitch might be penalizing your website and give you a bad ranking. Or, on the other end, a few fixes (like the 27 contained in this blog), might give you immediate results.
Keep it simple.
Now go optimizing your WooCommerce website!