Throughout the BigCommerce control panel, there are areas to enter content specifically for SEO purposes to help shoppers discover your products on search engines such as Google and Bing. Page titles, descriptions, and keywords can be filled in for content pages, category pages, product pages, blog posts, and brands. This article will detail where you can enter SEO related meta data and best practices to maximize your SEO impact.
URL structures can be adjusted for products, web pages, and categories. By default, it uses an SEO friendly structure, but you can customize the formatting of the URL structure to suit your business needs.
These settings have three options for the URL Structure: SEO Optimized (Short), SEO Optimized (Long), and Custom. SEO Optimized (Category) is an option available only under Product URL Settings. In general, SEO Optimized (Short) is ideal for most situations.
To learn more about URL structure options and how to handle custom URLs, see Store Settings.
Metadata refers to information included on the meta tag on a webpage. Search engines use metadata to find relevant information to display in search results. Metadata includes items such as the page title, the meta description, and any keywords.
Metadata fields can be found in the following locations in the control panel:
- Homepage: Store Setup › Store Settings › Search Engine Optimization section
- Category pages: Products › Product Categories › Edit › Search Engine Optimization section
- Product Pages: Edit any product or add a product › SEO & Sharing section › SEO
- Web Content Pages: Storefront › Web Pages › Edit › Advanced Options section
- Blog Posts: Storefront › Blog › Edit › SEO section
Page titles display as the title link in search engine results, so it is important to craft a meaningful and branded page title. These can be added to content pages, products, blogs, and category pages.
Every page should have a unique title tag, preferably starting with a relevant keyword, and have less than 60 characters. An example of a good page title is "Blue T-Shirts at Discounted Prices for Sale | BunchOfTshirts".
This kind of page title is preferable because it utilizes keywords that are found on the product's page, as well as the store's name. For further help on crafting SEO friendly page titles, see Guide to SEO.
Meta descriptions display in search engine results as a short descriptive blurb. They are usually only a couple sentences long.
Google search results may not use your meta descriptions. In some cases, Google search results may favor your product description over your meta description. It is still recommended that you fill out both product descriptions and meta descriptions. See Google's Help Documentation for more information.
It is best practice to add meta descriptions to every page of your store, including products, content pages, blog posts, category pages, and the home page. If you are targeting specific keywords, make sure to include them at the beginning of the description tag. A meta description tag should be well composed, compelling, and informative.
Think of it as an advertisement. A well-composed meta description tag will most likely increase your website's Click-Through Rate (CTR). The CTR is calculated as the number of times your link is clicked divided by the number of impressions. Impressions are the number of times your link is displayed on the search engine result pages each time a specific search is performed by a user.
Product and Category Description
Descriptive text on product and category pages helps search engines crawling the site to find terms for search results. It's advisable to utilize your keyword strategy when writing your descriptions.
Product descriptions are located under the Product Information section when you add or edit a product.
Some best practices for writing a description include:
- Know your typical shopper. This will help with what information is most important to them.
- Make the description easy to read. Break up large chunks of information with sub-headings, bullet lists or images.
- Don't use the exact same content on two or more products. Duplicate information is detrimental to SEO.
- When using images in the description, add the image description in the WYSIWYG editor.
For more advice on best practices for writing descriptions, see our Guide to SEO.
Category descriptions have a similar strategy to product descriptions. These are added under Products › Product Categories when you add or edit a category.
Many of the same best practices from product descriptions can be applied to category descriptions. They should be easy to read, catered to the audience/shopper, and utilize keywords. It's also a useful place to highlight or link to deeper subcategories, entry-level products, or higher-end products.
Keywords are search terms that are relevant to the content on a page. They are an extremely important aspect not only for SEO, but your marketing. As mentioned in the sections above, keywords are important to include in descriptions and metadata.
There is a section to place meta keywords on pages. However, this method is slowly becoming obsolete as search algorithms become more sophisticated. It is better to include keywords into descriptions and categories.
There are a few pitfalls when it comes to including keywords. One of the easiest to fall into is called "keyword stuffing." This means overloading your page with as many keywords as possible.
Due to the advancement of search engines, the best general advice is to write for humans instead of towards a search engine. Writing for your customers will help prevent keyword stuffing.
For more resources for keyword research and generating keyword ideas, see our Guide to Keyword Research. This guide goes over the basics of how keywords work, research tools, and how to track keyword success.
What happens if I don't fill out the information in the SEO sections?
Blank fields will either use information from the default SEO field for the website, found under Store Setup › Store Settings or use any readable text that can be found on the web page.
Is there a way to enter SEO metadata in bulk?
For some areas, yes. For products, you can use the bulk import template to enter in keywords, page titles, and meta descriptions. Be mindful of duplicate text, since that could negatively impact your SEO.