Generally, out of the box both WordPress and Woocommerce are pretty search engine friendly. You can do a bit of tweaking but there are not any major issues to deal with. The same with most themes. Developers of themes tend to be pretty good at covering all the major search engine optimisation bases. But there is one glaring omission regarding Woocommerce and most themes.
The one biggest issue with SEO and Woocommerce is the missing image alt tags on the archive pages. Alt tags and title tags of images are used in search algorithms of all major search engines.
How to tell if your Woocommerce images have alt tags
Some themes will add to your alt tags in archives such as product categories and tags. But most will not. So how do you tell if your images in your images have an alt tag? It’s very simple to do you can view the page source and go through the code to see if img alt tags are being set.
If your theme doesn’t add an alt tag you are missing out on a manager SEO benefit. And you really need to sort this problem out. Fortunately, it’s quite simple to do now with a plug-in.
Why do I need image alt tags?
There are important reasons why you need to have an image alt tag. You need them on product pages and also your archive pages. It is also beneficial for them to appear on the home page and even the related posts sections.
By default, Woocommerce only adds alt tags on product pages. This means there are a lot of missed opportunities for SEO. It’s not just for SEO reasons that you need these alt tags. Accessibility for screen readers is also important. Especially now with so many people, that are using voice search or smart devices such as smart speakers for getting answers to questions. The alt tag is used by screen readers to describe the picture.
You need to use good quality descriptions for these img alt tags. It needs to describe the image and how it relates to the products you are selling. The search robots will also pick out these tags and use them for when people do image searches. An image search of the major search engines is not as popular as a normal search but it can still bring a good number of customers or visitors to the website.
So, there are two reasons for using alt tags.
- to allow for screen readers and accessibility.
- to allow search robots to rank your images in an image search.
The difference between img alt and img title tags
When people first start using Woocommerce, they might be a bit confused between what is an image alt tag and an image title tag. They both have different roles to play.
An image alt tag is displayed when an image cannot be seen and also is used by screen readers and search spiders. As the alt explains it is an alternative for when an image cannot be rendered or understood.
On the other hand, an image title tag is the title of the image. You can see this when you mouse over an image, the title of the image will appear in a tooltip box.
Each alt tag or each image tag has a specific role and ideally, both should appear on archive product images.
So which tag is the most important? The alt tag is essential and the most important of the two. Google has always said that they only use alt tags for the description of images. So if you used an image title tag it has limited benefits for search.
But to make your web site fully compliant with W3C valid accessibility rules you need both img alt and img title.
How to add img alt and img title tags to Woocommerce categories and archives
So how do you add image alt tags and image title tags to your store? In particular to your product archive pages such as categories and tags. It would also be useful if you could have these tags added to images in related products and even search results.
Fortunately, there was a way you can do this through a plug-in. The image archive SEO plugin will automatically assign these tags as the product title. This can really help boost your SEO on your archive pages. You will also improve your accessibility compliance.
It is simple to use, all you need to do is to install and that’s it. It’s a simple plug and play plug-ins that will set those tags.
Adding product image tags throughout the site
One of the best things about the Woocommerce Archive Image SEO plugin is that it assigns the tags through your website. It does not just work on archive pages. It will assign the image tags to dynamically generated pages such as search pages.
It also assigns the image tags to products called through the various shortcodes that come with Woocommerce. This means that your eCommerce shop remains accessibility compliant and also optimised for search engines.
Getting those product image tags sorted is probably the single, most effective thing you can do for search. It’s actually an option that really should be default with Woocommerce. But until that time there is an easy solution with this plugin.