Google’s John Mueller answered the question about how to rank product pages. The person asking the question was building content which ranked but those pages had no effect on the search visibility of the product pages.
Mueller offered his thoughts on what to do.
Blog Posts Rank Well but Product Pages Don’t
The person asking the question shared how he was creating blog content that ranks well but doesn’t help the products page rank well.
He asked what can be done to rank product pages:
“So I’m doing SEO for an ecommerce website, pretty new, around eight months old.
And it’s not a huge website. It’s got 30,40 products in total.
We sell green tea and herbal tea online.
I’ve been seeing some movement with the efforts that we put in, regular back-linking process, on-page SEO, structured data.
We are working a lot on our blog section because that’s where we see a lot of other competitors are doing.
So I think the efforts we are making there are falling in place.
It’s just that the products page, they don’t rank well.
They don’t rank at all.”
Google’s John Mueller: Ranking Product Pages is Challenging
In general it feels nearly impossible to successfully obtain links to a product page. But unless those pages are promoted they will have a hard time achieving top rankings.
John acknowledged the difficulty in ranking product pages.
Google’s Mueller said:
“…I think that’s always challenging.
And I don’t think there is a simple trick to make that happen.”
Try the Google Shopping Feed
Mueller next suggested using the Google shopping feed as some of the content can pop up in the organic search results.
“The one thing I would watch out for is if these are products of this ecommerce site, make sure that you have all of the merchant center set up correctly because I don’t know if this is in every country yet, but we do have kind of the Google Shopping Feed where you can …submit your products for free and then we can show those in the Shopping Search results.
And sometimes we mix that in with the normal search results.
So that’s kind of a way to additionally get your products a little bit more visibility.”
Optimize Internal Linking to Rank Products Pages
Mueller seemed very enthusiastic about internal linking from the blog articles to the product pages.
It’s a basic but useful SEO strategy to identify what kinds of content people are enthusiastic about linking to, create that content and then ask for a link.
Embedded within the content is a link to a product page.
The links gained to the popular page can then trickle down to the important product pages.
“With regards to the … products themselves, if you’re saying that some of your content like the blog posts are ranking well but the products aren’t then sometimes you can help that by making sure that there is clear internal linking between those things.
So the pages where you are seeing that they’re working out well, make sure that there’s really a clear linking from those pages to your actual products.
My guess is probably you have some of that set up.”
Best Practice for Optimized Internal Linking
Mueller next discouraged linking to all product pages:
“If you have really long kind of blog posts that are ranking, the challenge there might be that it’s very tempting to link to a lot of different products from there.
And by linking to a lot of different products, you’re kind of saying well, everything is a little relevant but nothing is really relevant.
Whereas if you link to a few products from those pages then you can …really say… these are really important products.”
Set Priorities for Which Products Most Important to Promote
Mueller next suggested linking to strategically important products instead of to all the products.
Mueller suggested the following:
“And that’s something where you wouldn’t necessarily need to focus on things that are ranking badly at the moment, but things that you care about instead.
So if you say, these are products where you earn the most money from, or that are the most popular or maybe they’re the easiest to sell, something like that, then those are the kind of things where with internal linking you can …promote those a little bit.
And with really strong internal linking, then over time, the rankings of those product pages might change as well.”
What if Internal Linking to Product Pages Already Optimized?
The person asking the question commented that he’s already using Google Shopping feed and also linking to just one product from each blog post that is dedicated to the topic of the kind of product the online shop is selling.
Google’s John Mueller noted that it sounds like they’re doing the right things.
Mueller encouraged the person to take a second look at internal linking:
“It sounds like you’re doing a lot of things right.
And if you’re ranking …competitively with some of these really big sites with your blog posts, then that’s really hard work.
…That’s kind of a sign that at least there are different aspects that are involved and that one angle you have covered really well.
So that’s something where I’d say I would tend to continue in that direction.
I would still think about internal linking a lot with regard to these pages, especially maybe from your blog post but also from the rest of the website itself.”
Link to Select Products from Home Page
Mueller affirmed the benefits of linking to some (not all) product pages from the home page.
What he seemed to be trying to convey is the importance of singling out the best or most popular products for stronger promotion.
“If you say that you have a few products at the moment then it’s sometimes tempting to link to all of these products from your shop home page.
And if you can find a way to kind of funnel that a little better then that can make it a little bit easier for individual pages to rank better.”
Low Rankings Can be Because Competition is High Ranking
In some niches there may be a competitor that is doing things that are difficult to reproduce which gives them an advantage.
When that’s the case, the lower rankings is really about tough competitors ranking better and less about something wrong with a page that is holding it back from ranking.
Trying to find what’s wrong isn’t always the best way to optimize pages for ranking.
Sometimes it may be useful to identify what’s missing from that page (things like product comparisons or better descriptions that make product pages more useful).
Mueller acknowledged that sometimes it’s just strong competition.
“It’s sometimes just… the competition is quite strong and it takes a while to …grow.”
Google Explains How to Rank Product Pages
Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 48:06 minute mark: