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[BrightonSEO 2022] Unlocking the Hidden Potential of Product Listing Pages

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[BrightonSEO 2022] Unlocking the Hidden Potential of Product Listing Pages

E-commerce websites’ product listing pages contain untapped hidden potential. This talk is all about unlocking the magic of your listing pages by making the most out of filters and internal linking. Instead of being fixated on those landing page head terms, let’s turn our attention to the indexability of long-tail pages with high conversion. Whether you work in e-commerce or not, we’ll also cover how to embed yourself within Tech teams and analyse impactful changes.

E-commerce websites’ product listing pages contain untapped hidden potential. This talk is all about unlocking the magic of your listing pages by making the most out of filters and internal linking. Instead of being fixated on those landing page head terms, let’s turn our attention to the indexability of long-tail pages with high conversion. Whether you work in e-commerce or not, we’ll also cover how to embed yourself within Tech teams and analyse impactful changes.

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[BrightonSEO 2022] Unlocking the Hidden Potential of Product Listing Pages

  1. 1. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Unlocking the hidden potential of product listing pages
  2. 2. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO In BrightonSEO 2019, I said: “Technical problems are People problems”
  3. 3. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO In BrightonSEO 2021, I said: “As SEOs, it’s fundamental that we don’t work in silos”
  4. 4. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO This year, I’m going to talk about a *very* specific approach to delivering value
  5. 5. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But a story first, to set the scene!
  6. 6. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO During the pandemic, I started an in-house Head of SEO role for an e-commerce company
  7. 7. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I applied because the SEO role sat in the Tech team
  8. 8. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I’ll finally be in the driver’s seat and sit in the team that has the power to implement my recommendations
  9. 9. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I come from the world of large aggregator websites, where I dealt with tech debt on 10M+ pages
  10. 10. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But this e-commerce website was FRESH, it was only a few years old
  11. 11. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO & it was one of the cleanest I’d ever seen…
  12. 12. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO My first thought was:
  13. 13. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO My first thought was: “Oh no, where’s the tech debt?”
  14. 14. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Where are the tech legacy issues?
  15. 15. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Where are the tech legacy issues? The crawl budget issues?
  16. 16. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Where are the tech legacy issues? The crawl budget issues? The indexability challenges?
  17. 17. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Redirect chains… Javascript rendering issues… Broken internal links…
  18. 18. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Where are my usual suspects?
  19. 19. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The usual suspects are Tech SEO issues that we’re used to finding
  20. 20. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The usual suspects are Tech SEO issues that we’re used to finding …that make us feel like we know what we’re doing
  21. 21. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO If the usual suspects are missing, then… What do we recommend?
  22. 22. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO “ Is there anything scarier than a Tech SEO human not finding Tech SEO issues on the website they’re working on?
  23. 23. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The thing is, of course the website had some issues, but they weren’t big enough to make an impact
  24. 24. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO As SEOs, we love talking about identifying quick wins
  25. 25. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Or that term everyone hates but still insists on using: low-hanging fruit
  26. 26. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But we never talk about what we should do if there are none…
  27. 27. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO At this point, I was thinking: “How do I prove my worth?”
  28. 28. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO So, I decided to spend some time on where I’m most comfortable…
  29. 29. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The Data AKA: My comfort zone 1
  30. 30. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The first thing I did was dissect the website and split it into templates
  31. 31. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Category Pages (CPs)
  32. 32. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Product Listing Pages (PLPs)
  33. 33. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Product Detail Pages (PDPs)
  34. 34. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Other
  35. 35. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Category pages (CPs) ◉ Product listing pages (PLPs) ◉ Product detail pages (PDPs) ◉ Other (Homepage, blog, etc…) Core templates
  36. 36. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I needed to figure out which templates provided the most value
  37. 37. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO How do we define value?
  38. 38. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO How do we does the business define value?
  39. 39. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO What’s the high level KPI that we’re being measured against?
  40. 40. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO No, it isn’t visibility, rankings or even sessions…
  41. 41. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Organic Revenue
  42. 42. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO So let’s see which one of our templates drives the most organic revenue
  43. 43. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO This is fictional data
  44. 44. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO This is fictional data Organic Revenue Product Listing Pages (PLPs) 60% Category Pages (CPs) 20% Product Detail Pages (PDPs) 10% Other 10%
  45. 45. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO If PLPs are driving 60% of our revenue, then let’s focus our effort and energy in optimising them
  46. 46. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO As SEOs, we tend to focus our recommendations on site-wide issues
  47. 47. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But the more we dice and slice our data, the more informed decisions we can make
  48. 48. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO There’s no reason to put forward recommendations that would impact such a small portion of our revenue
  49. 49. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Instead, we can focus our efforts on *the* template that drives the highest revenue
  50. 50. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO All websites have that ONE template that makes the most difference
  51. 51. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO In our example’s case, it’s product listing pages (PLPs)
  52. 52. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO “ Define your one template that’s worth optimising
  53. 53. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Okay, let’s keep going!
  54. 54. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The Discovery AKA: My brainstorming 2
  55. 55. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO We know we want to focus on our product listing pages, but what should we do about them?
  56. 56. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO A few examples of PLPs
  57. 57. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  58. 58. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  59. 59. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  60. 60. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO It’s important to break a template down into its building blocks
  61. 61. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO There are our consistent site-wide building blocks such as navigation & footer
  62. 62. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But there are also building blocks that are unique to each template
  63. 63. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  64. 64. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Product Name
  65. 65. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Product Name Product Description
  66. 66. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Product Name Breadcrumbs Product Description
  67. 67. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Product Name Breadcrumbs Relevant Links Product Description
  68. 68. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Product Name Breadcrumbs Relevant Links Filters Product Description
  69. 69. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I’m trying to define our template’s building blocks
  70. 70. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO PLP building blocks Content Internal Linking Tech Product name Breadcrumbs Filters Product description Relevant Links
  71. 71. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO PLP building blocks Content Internal Linking Tech Product name Breadcrumbs Filters Product description Relevant Links
  72. 72. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Let’s dive in
  73. 73. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO PLP building blocks Content Tech Internal Linking Product name Filters Breadcrumbs Product description Sort Relevant links
  74. 74. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Content
  75. 75. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Heading markup Content
  76. 76. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Heading markup ◉ Description optimisation Content
  77. 77. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Heading markup ◉ Description optimisation ◉ Mobile parity Content
  78. 78. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Heading markup ◉ Description optimisation ◉ Mobile parity ◉ Hidden content Content
  79. 79. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Heading markup ◉ Description optimisation ◉ Mobile parity ◉ Hidden content ◉ Thin content Content
  80. 80. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO PLP building blocks Content Internal Linking Tech Product name Breadcrumbs Filters Product description Relevant Links Sort
  81. 81. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Internal linking
  82. 82. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Breadcrumbs Internal linking
  83. 83. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Breadcrumbs ◉ Relevant Links Internal linking
  84. 84. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Content block Internal linking
  85. 85. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO PLP building blocks Content Internal Linking Tech Product name Breadcrumbs Filters Product description Relevant Links
  86. 86. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Filters can make or break an e-commerce website
  87. 87. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Websites tend to have filters set up in one of two ways…
  88. 88. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO They either attempt to…
  89. 89. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO They either attempt to… ◉ Index everything to capture as much ranking opportunity as possible
  90. 90. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Index everything to capture as much ranking opportunity as possible ◉ Noindex a huge chunk to avoid suffering from index bloat They either attempt to…
  91. 91. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO If we attempt to index everything…
  92. 92. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Google might not crawl all our pages If we attempt to index everything…
  93. 93. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Google might not crawl all our pages ◉ Google might not index all our pages If we attempt to index everything…
  94. 94. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Google might not crawl all our pages ◉ Google might not index all our pages ◉ Our valuable pages might not be crawled and/or indexed If we attempt to index everything…
  95. 95. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Google might not crawl all our pages ◉ Google might not index all our pages ◉ Our valuable pages might not be crawled and/or indexed ◉ Our valuable pages might not rank If we attempt to index everything…
  96. 96. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Index everything to capture as much ranking opportunity as possible ◉ Noindex a huge chunk to avoid suffering from index bloat They either attempt to…
  97. 97. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO If we noindex a huge chunk, we’d miss out on their ranking potential
  98. 98. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Index everything to capture as much ranking opportunity as possible ◉ Noindex a huge chunk to avoid suffering from index bloat So, neither option works…
  99. 99. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO So, how and where, do we
  100. 100. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Where’s the opportunity?
  101. 101. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO When I say opportunity, I don’t mean search demand
  102. 102. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  103. 103. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Yes, ‘dress’ has 800x the search volume, but ‘maxi long sleeve dress’ is where users are more likely to convert
  104. 104. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Opportunity should be measured based on conversion, not *just* search demand
  105. 105. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Which filters will more likely lead to users converting?
  106. 106. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO It’s okay if we don’t know the answer ourselves
  107. 107. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Speak to our → customer team
  108. 108. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Speak to our customer team → CRO team
  109. 109. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Speak to our customer team CRO team → data team
  110. 110. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Speak to our customer team CRO team data team → marketing team
  111. 111. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Sift through our data to understand:
  112. 112. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Sift through our data to understand: User filter interaction
  113. 113. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Sift through our data to understand: User filter interaction Most/least clicked filters
  114. 114. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Sift through our data to understand: User filter interaction Most/least clicked filters Internally searched terms
  115. 115. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Sift through our data to understand: User filter interaction Most/least clicked filters Internally searched terms High converting filters
  116. 116. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO And yes, of course we can still look at search volume data
  117. 117. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But, please, we should not base our entire strategy around it
  118. 118. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO It is only one metric out of many
  119. 119. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO You see, this is where as SEOs we tend to go wrong
  120. 120. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO We only look at data that we care about, without considering metrics that other teams care about
  121. 121. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO We only look at data that we care about are measured on, without considering metrics that other teams care about are measured on
  122. 122. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO “ Align yourself with metrics that other teams are measured on, and you're more likely to get their attention and help
  123. 123. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The Implementation AKA: The part that actually matters 3
  124. 124. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO PLP building blocks Content Internal Linking Tech Product name Breadcrumbs Filters Product description Relevant Links
  125. 125. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO PLP building blocks Content Internal Linking Tech Product name Breadcrumbs Filters Product description Relevant Links Sort
  126. 126. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Let’s go back here…
  127. 127. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO What rules should we apply for the filters that we want to surface?
  128. 128. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  129. 129. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  130. 130. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO For 1 *chosen* filter:
  131. 131. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO For 1 *chosen* filter:
  132. 132. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO This should only apply when choosing one filter, not a combination of more than one
  133. 133. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  134. 134. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO For *more than 1* filter:
  135. 135. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO For *more than 1* filter:
  136. 136. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The same rule should be applied when choosing a filter that we do not want to surface (even if just one)
  137. 137. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  138. 138. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO For an *unchosen* filter:
  139. 139. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO For an *unchosen* filter:
  140. 140. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Let’s summarise our logic in a flow chart
  141. 141. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  142. 142. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  143. 143. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO
  144. 144. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Automation is key
  145. 145. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO As long as we brief in the exact rules that need to be applied, the implementation can and should be automated
  146. 146. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But before we make any changes…
  147. 147. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO We need to set a benchmark so that we can measure the change
  148. 148. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Setting a benchmark
  149. 149. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Number of indexed pages Setting a benchmark
  150. 150. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Number of indexed pages ◉ Ranking of filter keywords Setting a benchmark
  151. 151. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Number of indexed pages ◉ Ranking of filter keywords ◉ Organic traffic of PLPs Setting a benchmark
  152. 152. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Number of indexed pages ◉ Ranking of filter keywords ◉ Organic traffic of PLPs ◉ Organic revenue of PLPs Setting a benchmark
  153. 153. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO So, what’s next?
  154. 154. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Getting it implemented
  155. 155. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO This is usually the part where I tell you all about how I spent a full year fighting for dev resource
  156. 156. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Plot Twist
  157. 157. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO It was fully done in 2 sprints only
  158. 158. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO *pauses for applause*
  159. 159. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Welcome to the joy of SEO sitting in the Tech team!
  160. 160. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO And here’s a few things I did to be on the safe side
  161. 161. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Playing things safe
  162. 162. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Test everything in a staging environment Playing things safe
  163. 163. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Test everything in a staging environment ◉ Avoid a site-wide push, instead break into iterations Playing things safe
  164. 164. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO ◉ Test everything in a staging environment ◉ Avoid a site-wide push, instead break into iterations ◉ Have a roll-back plan in place Playing things safe
  165. 165. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But I’m going to be honest with you
  166. 166. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I wasn’t sure if I should keep the next few slides in, but here goes…
  167. 167. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I over thought every single aspect about that filters recommendation before writing it in a ticket
  168. 168. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Coming from the world of aggregator websites, I’m used to deindexing pages
  169. 169. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO This time round, I was recommending surfacing new filter categories
  170. 170. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO This would result in thousands of new indexed pages
  171. 171. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The idea terrified me.
  172. 172. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO A few thoughts that went through my head…
  173. 173. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO What if something went wrong?
  174. 174. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO What if my recommendation was wrong?
  175. 175. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO What if we ended up losing visibility, traffic, revenue…?
  176. 176. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Here’s what *really* scared me…
  177. 177. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO There’s a difference between writing a ticket knowing it won’t be picked up for a while…
  178. 178. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO & writing a ticket knowing it’s going in the next sprint
  179. 179. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO There’s something both exciting & terrifying about the thought of:
  180. 180. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO There’s something both exciting & terrifying about the thought of: “Woah, they’re actually going to implement this.”
  181. 181. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Does thinking and feeling that make me a bad SEO?
  182. 182. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I hope that by being honest with you, it helps more of us open up about these internal feelings we have
  183. 183. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The Results AKA: What *really* happened 4
  184. 184. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Okay, let’s start with the good news!
  185. 185. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The roll-out was successful
  186. 186. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Everything functioned as expected
  187. 187. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Nothing broke
  188. 188. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The not so good news?
  189. 189. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Plot Twist
  190. 190. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Nothing happened.
  191. 191. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO No impact.
  192. 192. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I have no shiny upward graph to show off
  193. 193. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But, why?
  194. 194. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Remember this? Content Internal Linking Tech Product name Breadcrumbs Filters Product description Relevant Links
  195. 195. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I was so fixated on this… Content Internal Linking Tech Product name Breadcrumbs Filters Product description Relevant Links
  196. 196. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO That I forgot everything else Content Internal Linking Tech Product name Breadcrumbs Filters Product description Relevant Links
  197. 197. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO My recommendation was spot-on but it wasn’t enough to have an impact on its own
  198. 198. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I’m used to working on 10M+ page websites where tech changes can have a massive impact
  199. 199. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO This isn’t necessarily the case with a relatively small tech debt-free website
  200. 200. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO In my discovery, I plotted out everything that needed to be done
  201. 201. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But I focused on what I had the most control on purely based on where I sat
  202. 202. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Just because I now sit in the Tech team, it doesn’t mean I have control over the full process
  203. 203. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The other parts required engaging with lots of teams outside Tech…
  204. 204. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I should’ve made these teams a part of my strategy from the beginning
  205. 205. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years preaching the importance of prioritisation with tech teams
  206. 206. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO https://www.areejabuali.com/blog/getting-tech-seo-implemented
  207. 207. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Why didn’t I do the same with other teams?
  208. 208. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO I thought because I now sit in the Tech team, I’ll have it all figured out
  209. 209. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO You’re never in the perfect place
  210. 210. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO The grass isn’t always greener
  211. 211. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO SEO is very cross-functional and no one has properly figured out where it should sit yet
  212. 212. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO We need to have these honest conversations of what’s working and what’s not working
  213. 213. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO As SEOs, we need to find a way to work well across all teams
  214. 214. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO And share these learnings together as an industry
  215. 215. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO One Final Thought
  216. 216. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO In BrightonSEO 2019, I said: “Technical problems are People problems”
  217. 217. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO In BrightonSEO 2021, I said: “As SEOs, it’s fundamental that we don’t work in silos”
  218. 218. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO This year, I wanted to talk about how important it is to dive deep into that *one* opportunity that will help us deliver value
  219. 219. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO But to ensure that we do it cross-functionally
  220. 220. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Our job isn’t just about knowing SEO…
  221. 221. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO Our job isn’t just about knowing SEO… It’s about being effective
  222. 222. @areej_abuali #BrightonSEO areejabuali.com Thank YOU!

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