We’ve just launched an awesome new plugin that helps improve WooCommerce Category SEO. It all came about when we did some consultancy for a client as part of our part-time WooCommerce CTO position.
We saw an opportunity to improve the SEO for their product categories on their WooCommerce site. It’s an often neglected part of ecommerce sites. We recognised this as a good entry point for many customers searching via organic search.
Check the default SEO settings
We use Yoast’s SEO plugin which is a fantastic addition to WordPress and WooCommerce. However it’s important to check the settings.
I saw a talk by Yoast last year at WordCamp Europe where they explained the danger of defaults. The plugin tracks how everyone uses the plugin. Most sites never touched and optimised the plugin.
Make sure you go through the settings and optimise.
As far as WooCommerce category pages are concerned, by default these are set to no-follow. So make sure this is unset. We want search engines to index these pages.
Content, content, content
Then we wanted to add some unique content on each of these category pages. Each category page already has a description and a good theme will have this built in to the page template. We use WooThemes Canvas which does.
However it was adding a large amount of unformatted text that obstructed the viewer from the products.
Adding a Visual Editor
First off, we added the Visual Term Description Editor which does what one might expect. It adds the familiar visual editor into the description box, so formatted HTML can be added. Great to emphasise text with italics or bold, or add links.
WooCommerce Description Collapsable Plugin
We wanted to write lots of unique content because it is a tried and tested way to get in the Google good books. But if you had ten lines at the top it would detract from the products.
We decided to build a plugin which would truncate the description to two lines and let you click and expand to the full content.
That’s all. Nothing too fancy. But these little details can have a big impression and improve bounce rates and conversion rates.
You can download the plugin here and we will soon add this to the WordPress.org repository.
Why did we make a the WooCommerce Category SEO plugin?
It’s best practice to put functionality in a plugin if it is more than a few lines of code. If we need to update the plugin or add more functionality then it makes updating easier. It wasn’t too hard to build and we used some great jQuery from Aakashweb so it makes sense to host this on GitHub for others to use.
If you have ideas for features then let us know.
Optimise Product Category Base Slug Url
The standard URL for a category is http://domain.com/product-category/category-name
There are some plugins out there that amend or remove the base slug product-category for categories. But we suggest not to remove this base slug.
The WooCommerce development team recomend that you do not remove this because it stops WordPress from being able to distinguish whether it is a page or product category.
So, best not remove. However, you can change the base slug to something else.
It is better to have something with less characters as Google will then give more ‘weight’ (read: relevance) to the keyword you are optimising.
So, perhaps ‘cat’ is better in this instance.
This can be changed by heading to Settings > Permalinks