Reasons why a product page might not be ranking
Google’s John Mueller says: “It’s impossible to crawl the whole web”. It is one of the reasons why some product pages of your e-commerce site are not ranked and that’s OK. But sometimes technical issues and content issues can affect indexing and ranking processes.
Let’s dig deeper.
Open Google Search Console. If you don’t use Google Search Console, it is time to start doing that. It is not a perfect tool but only it allows you to know how Google processes the pages of your site. It is free and it has access to Google’s data.
Use the URL Inspector tool to know if this page is indexed by Google.
If the page can not be indexed
Check your robots.txt file to be sure that it allows Googlebot to crawl your site. Sometimes web developers use robots.txt to prevent website indexing before the website is launched (it is a bad idea because robots.txt can’t prevent website indexing, but it blocks Googlebot that affects crawling and indexing processes). You can check your robots.txt file via Google Search Console.
It can be a ‘noindex’ tag on this page. Press F12 (it opens the web developer tool in many browsers), press Ctrl+F to find a piece of code, and type noindex. Web developers use the noindex tag to prevent page indexing. In the same way, you can check the canonical tag of this page.
If your online store is multilingual you should check hreflang tags implementation. Also, you mustn’t use location auto-redirect. Some website owners use auto redirects by visitors’ IP, browser’s language, etc. to show the “right” language version of a page. But these redirects puzzle Googlebot because usually, it crawls with US-based IP addresses.
If the product page can be indexed but has issues
If the page can be indexed by Google but has some issues you should check these issues.
Submitted URL not selected as canonical is a common issue for some e-commerce platforms. Sometimes Google uses another page as canonical. The problem is only canonical pages can be added to Google’s index. Use the web developer tool to find a canonical tag and check the canonical URL. Ask a web developer or use an extension to fix the issue.
Check product image size. Sometimes content managers upload 20 Mb product images. It can affect Google’s desire to add to its index another slow page.
But your product page content also can be a problem.
A product page has no issues and can be indexed
If a product page has no issues the reason why a product page is not indexed is content issues or “content quality”. We all know that Google doesn’t use something like “content quality”, but the poor content of product descriptions is a common SEO issue for e-commerce sites.
Would you like to read something like that?
Sophisticated and elegant with its straight shape and side split, this maxi skirt by hush is made from lightweight fabric for a fluid feel.
Reinventing the classic leopard print, it pairs well with sleek heels when the occasion requires it.
No, you wouldn’t. Many people prefer to read something like that:
Add a classic flair to your everyday rotation with this versatile maxi skirt. Finished with pleating throughout, this full-length skirt can be dressed up and down for any occasion. Add an elegant blouse and heels for a dinner date or tuck in a tee and team with trainers for a casual weekend look.
97% Polyester, 3% Viscose.
Google also ranks second product description better. As we know ranking depends on many factors but if we look at the second description, we will recognize that the second description is more valuable.
Write for your clients. Of course, many shoppers use other factors to choose a skirt, but not Google. Search engines prefer text content. Unfortunately, many marketers and SEOs underestimate the product description.
Additional ways to fix indexing issues
Usually, e-commerce platforms allow building a typical online store’s architecture home page – category pages – subcategory pages – product pages. Sometimes it is not enough. You should add some internal links to product pages to improve product pages in the eyes of Google or any search engine.
You can add an internal link to the product description. You can use your e-commerce site’s blog for internal linking. Also, you can use attribute links on product pages. Attribute linking is commonly referred to as ‘deep links’ and can work well alongside breadcrumbs if they already exist on the site. These links can be incorporated anywhere on a product page and reference any attribute a product may have. For instance, the attributes can be the country, year, and flavor of a wine category and the material for the dress’s product category.
There are just a few people who link to product pages. These backlinks seem like commercial ads. But this tactic works and you can use it. The art of SEO is to use this tactic properly.
Nobody knows how Google assesses a website quality but thankfully for John Mueller we all know that one part of a site can hurt the entire site quality.
You should look at your online store as a common user who visits the site first time. Do you trust your site? Are the refund section and guarantee section there? Is information about shipping clear for users?
You can use Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines to check your e-commerce site. Google’s algorithms don’t use that but it can help you to improve your online store for visitors.
If a product page can be indexed by Google but it is not indexed you don’t have to rush into an SEO job. First, many buyers visit product pages from the category pages and website search. Second, you should write valuable and relevant product descriptions, improve the entire website quality for visitors, and use internal linking. It helps your site to generate more conversions. As result, Google will reward your site maybe.
Also, if you want to avoid many problems being an online store owner you should invest some money in quality e-commerce website development services that include marketing, SEO, and content writing services.