SEO: Optimizing Titles, Content, and Meta Information

Inside CMS pages, category pages, and product pages, there will be the option to select and enter in your Page Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords, and above all, the capacity to add applicable content to your pages.

In the event that we examine an ordinary Search Engine Results Page (SERP)—in this use case Google—obtained using the search query ‘Hockey Sticks’, we will see that two of the components in Magento are used directly in the result listings (Title and Meta Description):

seo for ecommerce

The code used to display the Google search result was:

<title>Stick Blades – Hockey Monkey</title>

<meta name=”description” content=”When you’re standing in shoes, your stick should come at least to your nose. Always be ready with two sticks as hockey sticks sometimes break.” />

Contingent upon the search query used, Google may return the meta description, or on the other hand, extract a snippet of text from the ‘live’ content that it believes to best represent that page for the given query. This typical grabs the first characters on the page or scraps the page and grabs the H2 tags.  This isn’t 100% fool proof and normal provides the wrong user experience.  The same applies to title tags; when a more specific query is used, the default title tag may be changed to better suit the search query.

An example of Google returning extracted content rather than the meta description can be seen here (through the search phrase Hockey Stick):

SEO for ecommerce google example

The meta description that is present on the page is:

<meta name=”description” content=”” />

From this screenshot example, we can see that Google has chosen to return the extracted snippet from the product/search description, most likely due to the meta description being blank or improper for the search term.

The best practices for these elements are well documented in SEO circles, and the following is a brief breakdown of each:

Title: The title tag ought to be kept (preferably) to a maximum of 70 to 75 characters. Any title tag longer than this will be truncated in the SERPs to only those initial 70 to 75 characters. If we are trying to engage a normal visitor’s (and potential customer’s) interest, we need to be able to do that within those first 70 to 75 characters.  Use eye catching words and actionables, such as Shop Now, Buy Now, Sale Now, etc.

Meta Description: The same rules apply to the Meta Description field; Google usually only shows approximately 150-160 characters of meta information below the title tag in the SERPs. A description longer than this may be truncated and the additional characters will not be presented to the person on the results page.

Meta Keywords: It has long been known that most major search engines choose to ignore the meta keyword tag completely, in most part due to keyword stuffing (which is the act of putting dozens of keywords in the field that have likeness to any search query), which was a common practice in past years. Typically, it is more beneficial to remove this tag altogether than to spend time tailoring keywords for individual pages themselves.

Content: This is a subject that has been discussed for years; nevertheless, the acknowledged, general rules are that 400+ words of interesting, quality, and relevant content on every page should put you in good standing with all the major search engines. There are additional reports that state that posts with 2000+ words of quality content provide the best results and result in the best rankings. It is unknown if there is an ‘upper-threshold’ to the amount of words/content deemed acceptable on any given page. Something to think about is, the fact of the matter is that it gets to be harder to compose significant, quality content the more drawn out that substance gets to be.  My rule of thumb (and this is just my opinion) is get to the point, provide value in as little words as possible and share it far and wide.  On page experience such as multiple page views and bounce rate will tell Google if the post and website is worth ranking highly.

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