Bad Product Data Hurts SEO

The quality of product data impacts natural search performance on ecommerce sites, far beyond whether meta tags are optimized. Product data isn’t traditionally thought of as contributing to SEO, but in ecommerce everything that impacts URLs, internal linking, and textual content also impacts organic search rankings.

Data such as category, group, and attributes are typically assigned to each product when it is loaded into the system. After the initial upload, this data is usually managed by checking the boxes and editing the fields within a product management system. Each of those fields and check boxes triggers different expressions of the product data on the site itself, most of which affect SEO in some way.

Take, for example, the product detail page below from Target.com. It benefits from multiple instances of product data expression. The pair of black wedge sneakers might be assigned the categories of “women’s shoes,” “sneakers,” “wedges,” and “new arrivals.”

This pair of shoes from Target.com might be assigned the categories of “women’s shoes,” “sneakers,” “wedges,” and “new arrivals.”

Those sneakers could be tagged with the attributes of “lace-up,” the colors and sizes in which they are offered, and the name of the brand that manufactures them. The shoe could also be inserted into a group of “athleisure” products, a trendy fashion style that combines athletic and casual traits into a single product or outfit.

Internal Linking and Labeling

While product titles and descriptions are important to SEO, that’s not the topic of this article. Equally important and harder to see, product data affects how products are classified, interlinked, and labeled. Where a product is linked contributes to its contextual relevance.

A shoe is more likely to be understood by search engines as a sneaker and a wedge if it’s linked within navigation that labels it as a…

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