Imagine that you are a freelance web designer who uses WordPress to make sites for clients. Ideally, you’d like to set up websites from scratch, working with the client to understand their needs and then leading him through the choices they need to make in terms of design, functionality, and SEO.
But sometimes you don’t always get what you want in life! In this case, imagine that you get a call from a local optician called Jimmy. He’s already set up a website with WordPress and WooCommerce by himself and he tells you “It’s just not working. Can you fix it? Otherwise, I’m going to switch to Shopify.”
Does the WooCommerce site work?
Your first reaction to this is to go to the website and test it out. From the home page you can see that the store is selling sunglasses, there are 3 products featured on the home page, so you click on one of those, add it to the cart and then from the Cart page, you click on the Proceed to Checkout button. You fill in the Checkout details and then click on Pay with PayPal at the bottom of the page.
You stop there, you don’t actually pay for the glasses on PayPal, but you report back to Jimmy that everything seemed to be working fine even if the design isn’t what you would have chosen. You may even suggest that you could make him a better template, customize the cart and add payment methods to boost conversions.
Jimmy confirms, “Yes, the order part is fine. I’ve placed and paid for 5 orders myself in the past 5 weeks. The problem is that they are the only 5 orders I’ve ever received. I have never had a single order from a customer.”
You ask if he is getting many visits and he says “I don’t know. I’ve searched for the site on Google and I can’t find it, so my guess is no. I must have done something wrong. What’s your diagnosis, Doctor?”
Just like a car needs gas, an ecommerce needs visitors
So the ecommerce site actually works, technically, but it doesn’t do what the client wants it to do: generate sales. Whereas Jimmy has done well to set up a functional ecommerce site using WordPress and WooCommerce, he probably needs some education on digital marketing.
You may find yourself explaining the same thing to a lot of clients. Just like Jimmy spends his time explaining to his clients how bifocals work or whether it is best to have transition lenses or a separate pair of sunglasses. He strongly recommends the latter!
Hopefully a client like Jimmy will listen to you and understand that he needs to pay for more than a website to launch a successful ecommerce site. In this fictional example, we can imagine that Jimmy and you agree that you will work on his SEO without changing the design of the site. If you can demonstrate that the site can generate sales, then he will consider paying you for a redesign.
Searches for sunglasses
Jimmy owns a optical boutique in New York that specializes in luxury designer frames. The store sells regular eyeglasses, but Jimmy felt the potential for selling online was in sunglasses. He also has a lot of sunglasses in stock he would like to move on, and he doesn’t think that he is ever going to sell them locally from his shop.
One of the first things you should do for a new client is keyword research. Delve around searches for the word “sunglasses”, but also look at the products that Jimmy is selling and see if product names, or brand names are popular search terms.
The Keyword Planner tool in Google Ads can give you great data to work with. You’ll quickly see that searches for sunglasses are very popular in the US. The search term “Sunglasses” was searched for on average 368,000 times a month over the last twelve months, with peaks of over 500,000 searches in May, June and July.
In this result, Google adds over 2,000 keyword ideas to the seed word “Sunglasses” and the graph at the top shows the total number of searches for “Sunglasses” plus the suggested keywords. There are over 12 million searches a month from May to July for all the search terms. The red line shows how many of these searches are on mobile. Over the year 79% of searches for these keywords are performed on mobile. Go through the suggested keywords, you can download them to Google Sheets, and note the ones that you think are relevant to Jimmy’s store like “designer sunglasses”,
You will notice that the top searches are for brands of sunglasses such as Oakley, Quay, Gucci, Ray ban and Pit Viper. You check on Jimmy’s site, but you notice that he does not carry these brands. You can, however, do the same search on the brands he does sell.
The total number of searches is more modest with a total of 60,000 searches per month for these brands. In the keyword ideas, you can notice that clients search for specific models of glasses such as “Rudy Project Nylon” or “Rudy Project Defender”.
Armed with this keyword data you can start to optimize Jimmy’s website. However, it is always a good idea to go back to the client with your keyword research before changing the site. Jimmy may be very interested in the fact that certain brands are sought after. You can also show him that there are 8000 searches for “nose pads for glasses” every month. This may be a service he provides.
Optimizing WooCommerce for SEO
Once you have access to the Admin of Jimmy’s WordPress, one of the first things you will do is install SEOPress PRO, of course. By Adding SEOPress, you are adding features to WordPress and WooCommerce that will help you optimize the site for SEO. You can use your own existing license key to set up SEOPress PRO on Jimmy’s site – there is no extra cost for you or him.
It looks like you should also set up Google Analytics for Jimmy as he doesn’t know if he is getting any visitors. Once you create a Google Analytics account and have an ID, come back to WordPress, click on SEO > Analytics and then check Enable Google Analytics tracking, add the Google Analytics Tracking ID. To set up Google’s Enhanced Ecommere tracking, click on the Ecommerce tab to the left and check all three options: Measure purchases, Add to cart event and Remove from cart event.
See our guide, How to setup Google Enhanced Ecommerce for full details on installing Enhanced Ecommerce tracking.
Looking through our top tips on optimizing WooCommerce for SEO, there are many things you can apply to Jimmy’s site: change the name of the Shop page, optimize product page URLs, write better product descriptions; set META Description and TITLE tags manually or automatically, optimize product images, add breadcrumbs, set up Product schema correctly, block the indexation of certain WooCommerce pages and provide a product Sitemap.
Keyword research suggested that you should add brand pages to create pages that are optimized for brand searches and that will list all the products in the store from that manufacturer. You can use categories to create brand pages, but we recommend investing in a plugin to add brand pages. For example, WooCommerce Brands.
Common problems that you may find on an ecommerce site is that the owner has not clearly identified his business. Jimmy doesn’t want to promote his store using this new website, he wants to sell sunglasses nationally, but using his existing business name and address will help him be recognized as a reputable company by Google and it will automatically help him gain links from local and national directories. The brands he sells may provide links to his web site in store locator pages.
So try and convince him to use his business name and address more clearly on the site and add the LocalBusiness schema and widget.