The world has no shortage of eCommerce platforms. Perhaps the most important feature to look for in a shopping cart platform is how SEO-friendly it is. In other words, what level of search engine optimization does it offer?

Boasting a market share of 39%, WooCommerce is the leading eCommerce plugin worldwide, and with good reason. Its SEO capabilities are hard to beat, and online store owners everywhere recognize that.

In this guide, we explore everything you need to know about optimizing your WooCommerce store for search engines to reap maximum results.

WooCommerce SEO: The Basics

Using this product, our team has discovered that to optimize your eCommerce store for search engines like Google, you must first understand how they work.

Search engines rely on algorithms, indexes, and crawlers to determine what content shows up in results for specific keywords. Bots crawl websites to find fresh, updated, and relevant content. Whenever they find new content, they add it to the search engine's online database, popularly referred to as an index.

When someone performs a search query by entering a particular phrase (keyword), the search engine scours its index for content matching that specific query. Since there will likely be an almost infinite amount of content related to the user's query, the search engine will organize all the content in its index related to that particular keyword to provide the user with the best possible results. This process of organizing search results based on how useful the information will be to the user is called "ranking."

Search engines consider various factors when assessing which web pages should rank higher than others. Common ranking criteria include the website’s reputation, the user experience with regard to how fast the pages load, the site’s overall responsiveness, how it displays on mobile devices, etc., and the quality of the content on the page as determined by the number of external websites linking to or referencing it in their content.

Keywords are at the core of any robust eCommerce SEO strategy. However, there's a right and wrong way to do it. So, before you stuff every page on your website with keywords you want to rank for, you must first understand how to identify them and where to place them to reap maximum rewards.

Common SEO Terms You Need to Know

If you're new to eCommerce SEO, you'll likely encounter jargon you've never heard. Here's a brief overview of what they mean.


A keyword is a phrase users enter into search engines when querying particular products or information. For instance, if you sell outdoor hiking and camping gear, you want your online store to appear among the top search results when prospective customers enter that phrase into Google and Bing.

Page Title

The page title is the website heading displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs). It is typically between 50 and 60 characters in length.

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Meta Description

The meta description is the short preview of the web page’s content and is displayed directly below the page title on SERPs. Meta descriptions are typically between 140 and 160 characters in length.

The page title and meta descriptions, collectively known as meta tags, are critical tools for convincing prospective customers to click on your link and visit your online store. You, therefore, need to create an enticing description with your target keyword and call to action for your target audience.

Alt Text

Alternative text (alt text) is a short text-based description of graphics or images displayed on a web page that helps search engine bots crawl a website and understand what they are. Alt text is also useful for visually impaired individuals relying on screen readers to understand the content of the picture.

Page Ranking Factors 

Page ranking factors are the criteria search engines rely on to determine where to rank your eCommerce store on SERPs. How high your website ranks depends on a combination of these factors, including keywords, relevance of your content, quality of backlinks, site speed, security, structure, and more.

Internal Links

An internal link is a link between different pages of your online store. It is useful for helping site visitors find related content on your website, which, in turn, helps to keep them there for longer. The session duration of site visitors is an important page ranking factor search engines use when assessing the quality of your content.


A backlink is a link to your online store embedded within an external website's content. After we tried it in practice, we found that when several external websites link to your online store, search engines view your content as relevant and authoritative and, in turn, rank your store higher on SERPs.

What Makes WooCommerce SEO Unique?

WordPress is touted as the world's most powerful content management system (CMS). WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin that converts a WordPress website into an online store. Like WordPress, WooCommerce is also open-source and is supported by a worldwide community of developers dedicated to ensuring it is up-to-date, safe, and secure for online users.

Its open-source nature also makes it highly customizable, which means it can be adapted to suit a wide range of industries. Online store owners have complete autonomy over their site's capabilities without straddling the boundaries dictated by the commercial interests of a third party.

One of the defining characteristics of WooCommerce is its out-of-the-box SEO features. It is one of the most SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms around. This fact comes as no surprise, given that it is built on WordPress, which is outstanding in its SEO compliance.

WooCommerce makes it easy to add meta tags, create robot.txt files and sitemaps, and is compatible with several top-rated SEO tools and plugins such as Yoast SEO and Jetpack. The best SEO plugin for WooCommerce is undoubtedly All in One SEO (AIOSEO).

See also: How to Migrate Your Storefront and SEO to WooCommerce.

Top WooCommerce SEO Techniques to Maximize Your Sales

When optimizing your WooCommerce SEO, it is important to remember that search engine optimization falls into two broad categories: Content SEO and technical SEO.

Content SEO refers to on-page and off-page keyword optimization. In other words, it involves optimizing the aspects of your website's content visitors see when they visit it.

Technical SEO relates to the aspects of your website’s performance, navigation, and security, all of which are critical to the user experience of your site visitors.

With that brief overview, let’s jump straight into the top SEO for WooCommerce techniques to boost your online store’s visibility and maximize your sales.

How to Improve SEO WooCommerce by Finding the Target Keywords

As mentioned earlier, keywords are at the heart of any robust SEO strategy. To optimize your WooCommerce eCommerce store for search engines, you must first choose the right keywords. In other words, you must correctly identify the terms and phrases your target audience uses to search for content related to your online store. There are several ways to do this—some more effective than others.

First, you may already have some keywords in mind based on the more popular brands and products you stock. This is a great starting point as you embark on keyword research.

You can then enter them into a keyword research tool like Semrush's Keyword Overview or Keyword Magic to view the number of people using those specific phrases to search on Google, Bing, and other search engines every month—the average search volume. These tools will also suggest keyword alternatives your target audience uses, which you can refine further to identify the potentially lucrative ones of the bunch.

Keep in mind that the more popular a term is (based on the average search volume), the greater the competition it will have. A highly competitive keyword means it would be extremely difficult to beat the existing sites already ranking for them.

A better approach would be to set your sights on highly specific keywords with a decent search volume but low competition. Here are some foolproof strategies you can use to find these alternative keywords.

Auto-fill Keywords

Anytime you input a search query into Google, the search bar auto-fills with potential keywords it believes you might be interested in. The longer the phrase you type in, the more specific the query gets, and the more the list changes. These keywords can be extremely valuable for optimizing your eCommerce store.

Type in the names of the brands and products you carry in your store, identify the most relevant auto-fill keywords that show up and create product pages, category pages, web pages, and blog posts using those terms.

Long Tail Keywords

A long tail keyword is a highly specific keyword that generates a lower search volume. Because of how long these keywords are, they are extremely valuable since they address the search intent.

For instance, if your target keyword is "hiking gear," a long tail keyword might read something like "warm hiking gear for winter in Colorado." Based on our own experience, a keyword like this would have a lower search volume compared to the target keyword. Still, it would have a much higher value since it attracts a specific customer demographic searching for a highly specific product.

LSI Keywords

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are the related search terms at the bottom of SERPs. For instance, if you input “hiking gear” into Google’s search bar, examples of the LSI keywords you might find include “best hiking gear for women,” “best hiking clothes for men,” “best hiking gear brands,” etc.

With LSI keywords, Google shows you what else consumers who typed in a particular keyword searched for. You can use these terms to create new website posts and pages with those keywords to drive more traffic to your website.

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Primary Keywords

Ensure every product and category page on your online store features a primary keyword. A primary keyword is the focus keyword for which you want each web page to rank. As a rule, each web page should have a different primary keyword so that search engines know where to send online users that search for that term.

The higher the number of pages you have on your website, the more opportunities you get to use primary keywords, which, in turn, translates to higher traffic.

Product-Based Keywords

eCommerce websites differ from your run-of-the-mill blogs, news sites, and informational websites. They have many product pages, each of which must feature primary and secondary keywords related to the product.

It’s not enough to slap on a product image and headline and leave it at that. You need to describe it. Highlight its features. Let users know what problem it solves and why they need it.

Having more copy on each product page increases the opportunities for integrating product-based keywords, which will do wonders for your store’s SEO.

Once you identify the keywords you’ll need, the next step involves plugging them into your store’s content.

Create SEO-Friendly Product Titles

Each product featured in your WooCommerce store must be optimized for SEO. The first step of this process involves creating SEO-friendly page titles. Remember, the page/product title is the search result's title as displayed on the SERP.

An easy way to do this would be to install the AIOSEO plugin, edit a specific product page on your website, and then scroll down to the settings box, where you can update the SEO title. This step would be the best SEO for WooCommerce starting point to plug in the keyword your site visitors will likely use when searching for the product.

Add SEO-Optimized Meta Descriptions

Below the Product title field of AIOSEO, you'll see a meta description field where you can add a brief and catchy description of your product. It is worth mentioning that the meta description will not appear anywhere on your website.

However, it will appear on SERPs, so you must ensure it is compelling enough to entice customers to click on the result. Remember to incorporate the same target keyword you used in the SEO title to boost your store's visibility and increase your chances of ranking for it.

Optimize Permalinks

The permalink, or the product slug, is the suffix WordPress uses in your product page URL. By default, WooCommerce assigns the product titles to the product slug. More often than not, however, these permalinks don't usually contain any relevant SEO keywords.

You can fix this in your product page SEO settings by plugging the primary keyword into the product slug, but keep it short. Having a permalink that's too long may be counterintuitive for SEO.

Activate Breadcrumbs

A breadcrumb is a trail on a web page indicating the page’s hierarchical position on the website relative to other pages. It makes it easy for users to navigate the site’s hierarchy one breadcrumb at a time by following the trail, allowing them to explore the site more effectively.

You can enable breadcrumbs by activating it under AIOSEO’s general settings. Most WooCommerce themes already have this feature enabled.

Use Product Categories and Tags Properly

Product categories and tags allow customers to find the products they're looking for. They are useful for organizing products in your online store and helping search engines crawl your website and index your pages.

By using product categories and tags, search engines list them in SERPs, which comes in handy to increase the keyword density of similar products, increasing their likelihood of ranking for those specific keywords.

It is important to note that categories are used to broadly group products. Tags are more specific and describe a product’s features.

In our hiking gear online store example, product category examples can include "hiking socks," "hiking pants," "hiking shoes," etc. Each of these product categories can have child categories added to them. For instance, under the category "hiking shoes," child categories you might find include "children's hiking shoes," "women's hiking shoes," "men's hiking shoes," etc.

Tags for "men's hiking shoes" can be "summer," "winter," "water-resistant," "Gore-Tex," etc.

Optimize Product Images

It is quite common for customers to search for products using Google images. You might have noticed that Google images no longer have the "View Image" button embedded within the image in the search results. It means that to view an image, you must visit the website with the image to see the context in which it has been used.

Add alt text to every product image to leverage Google image search and direct traffic to your online store to help search engines understand the graphics and images. Without alt text, search engines won't be able to fetch an image when displaying product image results on SERPs.

To add alt text to an image, go to your media library, click on an image, and add a short description of the image in the Alt Text Field. Repeat this process for all the images in your media library.

Add an SEO Title and Description for Each Product Category

In WooCommerce, every product category has its own page containing similar products. For this reason, the keyword density for your targeted keywords on these pages will generally be higher, making them a critical aspect of your WooCommerce SEO.

To optimize product category pages for SEO, you must add a title and description to each of them, which you can do under AIOSEO’s general settings.


Start a Blog for Your Online Store Website

Yes, you read right. eCommerce websites also need blogs. Why, you might ask?


Not every visitor to your website is looking for something to buy. Even if they are, they might be confused about which product to get or what criteria to look for when purchasing.

Starting a blog for your eCommerce site presents a unique opportunity for you to position yourself as an expert and thought leader in your field. It lets you showcase your knowledge and expertise on your niche products, especially with prospective buyers who've never purchased certain products.

For instance, suppose a new customer is looking to take up hiking in our earlier hiking gear store example. They're looking to buy hiking shoes but have no idea what to look for in the best ones. Some of the questions they might have and would potentially be searching for online before making a purchase include:

  • What are the best hiking shoes for summer?
  • What hiking shoes are ideal for rough terrain?
  • What’s the difference between hiking shoes and trail runners?

These are all queries they would input into Google to help them decide which shoes to get. Now, if you had a blog that addressed these questions in depth and then directed users to your store to purchase based on your recommendations, you'll effectively have seized an opportunity to increase traffic and drive conversions.

Put simply, starting a blog attracts customers looking for a solution to their problem, giving you a golden opportunity to solve their problem and entice them into buying a solution.


Google hates duplicate content. So do Bing and other search engines. A major part of technical SEO involves avoiding repetitive content. Our findings indicate that the main reason search engines penalize websites with duplicate content is to stop plagiarism and discourage websites from publishing numerous pages all containing the same content.

Duplicate content is a big challenge for eCommerce websites for the simple reason that category and product pages tend to have the same type of language on multiple pages. Think—hiking shoes that come in four colors and four sizes. Does that mean each of those 16 combinations will have its own page with its own URL? You can imagine how challenging it would be to create unique content for each of those 16 pages without duplicating any of the pages. It would be practically impossible to do.

An easy solution to this dilemma would be to employ an SEO technique known as canonicalization. This approach involves embedding canonical tags to the end of each product page's URL so that similar pages appear as if they're all redirecting to one page.

For instance, in our earlier example, you might have four different URLs ending in hikingshoes/black, hikingshoes/blue, hikingshoes/red, and hikingshoes/brown. However, these pages are all the same. By using canonical tags, you’re essentially telling Google that the main page “hikingshoes” is the one that matters and, therefore, does not need to check anything beyond that.

Use Google Analytics to Track Your Store Visitors

No effective SEO strategy is complete without data. The best SEO for WooCommerce involves understanding where your target audience lies, where your visitors are coming from, how they found your website, what products they’re looking at, how long they spend on your site, etc.

There's no denying Google Analytics is a great tool for tracking this information. The downside is that setting it up from scratch can be difficult. An easier way would be through MonsterInsights, a Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It even comes with built-in tracking functionality to allow you to make data-driven decisions about your online business and point to areas in your store that could use SEO optimization.

See also: 10 Must-Try WooCommerce Plugins for 2023.

Optimize the Speed of Your WooCommerce Store

A commonly overlooked factor where online store ranking is concerned is website speed. There's nothing more off-putting to site visitors than slow-loading pages. Regardless of how well your SEO efforts boost your website's visibility on search engines, if prospective customers land on your website only to find that the page in question takes ages to load, they'll return to the SERPS and look for the next best result.

What is the net effect on your SEO WooCommerce? Google, Bing, and other search engines will interpret this as a poor user experience, resulting in a drop in your website's position.

The question then becomes: What constitutes a “slow” loading page? According to Portent, the highest conversion rates in eCommerce stores occur on pages that take 0-2 seconds to load. These rates drop by 2.11% for every additional second.

Thankfully, there are a few ways to mitigate poor website performance and increase your store’s page loading speeds. You can:

  • Install a caching plugin on your WooCommerce store;
  • Use image editing software to reduce the size of your image files; or
  • Switch to hosting providers like Bluehost or SiteGround, whose platforms are optimized for WooCommerce.

Enhance Your Store’s Security

The other aspect of your website's SEO you must keep in mind is its security. Based on our observations, if a search engine deems your site unsafe, it will display a warning to caution users against entering your site. The warning uses words like "beware," "harmful," "scam," "phishing," "malware," etc. – terms designed to scare users against visiting a website.

Not only could such a warning severely impact your rankings on search engines, but it could also damage your brand reputation, eroding any trust existing or prospective customers might have in your store.

To enhance your online store's security and boost your SEO for WooCommerce, you must first ensure your website has SSL encryption to protect sensitive customer personal and financial information against theft from hackers. Let's Encrypt offers free SSL certificates at no cost so you can secure your online store without worrying about paying hefty fees.

To keep your website secure, you can also use a web application firewall (WAF) to block potentially malicious traffic before it ever gets to your store. There are two types of WAFs you can implement in your store.

On the one hand, there's a DNS-level WAF that first routes all your site traffic through the provider's cloud proxy servers. That way, only genuine traffic gets routed to your online store.

On the other hand, there's an application-level WAF that examines site traffic once it gets to your server but before loading WordPress scripts. If we had to recommend one, you're better off implementing a DNS-level WAF since it is more efficient than its application-level counterpart and reduces server load, so it won't impact your website's performance.

Final Thoughts

There you have it—your foolproof formula for optimizing your WooCommerce store for search engines. While WooCommerce's out-of-the-box SEO capabilities are nothing short of impressive, you can still do a lot to give your online store the search engine visibility it deserves and ramp your sales.

Thinking of migrating your online store to the world’s most SEO-friendly platform? Cart2Cart will help you do just that. With a few simple clicks, you can replatform your online store’s shopping cart from its existing provider to WooCommerce. The end-to-end process is fully automated with no risk of data loss or downtime.

Sign up today for a free demo to see Cart2Cart in action and leverage expert WooCommerce SEO services.


Does WooCommerce have good SEO?

WooCommerce runs on WordPress, one of the world's most SEO-friendly content management systems. While its out-of-the-box SEO capabilities are outstanding, WooCommerce supports several SEO plugins, including All In One SEO, Yoast, and Jetpack, the industry standard for SEO compliance.

Is WooCommerce store optimization easy?

Don't let anyone fool you. Optimizing an online store for SEO is no easy task, regardless of the eCommerce platform you're using. You must do a lot to implement the content and technical aspects of SEO, all of which require time, dedication, and patience. That said, WooCommerce has a distinct advantage over other shopping cart applications when it comes to its built-in SEO capabilities and the various third-party plugins you can integrate to make the process easier.

How do I optimize WooCommerce for SEO?

To optimize your store’s SEO WooCommerce, some of the steps you can take include:

  • Identifying the target keywords for your store’s niche;
  • Creating SEO-friendly product titles, meta tags, and images;
  • Optimizing the permalinks;
  • Activating breadcrumbs;
  • Using product categories and tags appropriately;
  • Implementing canonical tags;
  • Adding SEO titles and descriptions;
  • Starting a blog for your online store;
  • Optimizing your website speed and enhancing security.

Is Shopify more SEO-friendly than WooCommerce?

If we had to choose, WooCommerce would be the winner when pitted against Shopify as far as SEO goes. Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce provides unrestricted access to your website's underlying architecture via various plugins, allowing for higher SEO optimization.