eCommerce SEO: How to Rank Product Variants, Colours & Sizes

What's the best SEO approach to rank product variants, colours and sizes on your eCommerce site? Let's break it down in this article.
Luca Mussari

Luca Mussari

eCommerce product page showing colour, size and variations

After setting up your eCommerce website, the next thing on your mind as a business owner should be traffic generationThat’s precisely what eCommerce SEO does for you. 

eCommerce SEO refers to the various methods of optimising search engines for your online business. When you get the hang of eCommerce, your product pages will be one of the first your potential clients will see when they search for your services.

For a better understanding of the importance of eCommerce SEO for generating traffic and growing your online shop, let’s run the numbers. nChannel reports that 44% of online shoppers start their online buying journey with a search engine.

Meanwhile, Google’s first result consumes 32% of all clicks. Again, 37.5% of all eCommerce site traffic is generated from search, and 49% of marketers say that organic search gives the best marketing channel ROIs. So, if you thought you could thrive in your online business without eCommerce SEO, you may want to reconsider your stance. 

Now that you understand the importance of eCommerce in achieving your online business goals, how do you get the best out of it? You can find your answer in product page optimisation, especially in product variation ranking

If you want to learn all you need to know about how to rank variation products to increase traffic and sales, you’ve found the right page.

What Is Product Variation in eCommerce?

As the name implies, product variation refers to the slight differences in the attributes of a listed product. For example, let’s assume you run a clothing business specialising in t-shirt sales. Since your target audience comprises people of various sizes and colour preferences, you’ll factor these into your production. However, since they remain the same type of t-shirt, it’ll be unwise to list them as different products.

Product variation comes to solve this problem. It lets you create one product listing with drop-down lists for your customers to choose their preferred size and colour variants. That way, you can avoid wasting time creating too many confusing listings in your product catalogue while improving your customer’s shopping experience. 

In other words, product variants create a win-win situation for you and your shoppers. Note that product variants may also include models, materials, and any other form of the same product.

example of product variations in ecommerce SEO
Example of product variants from T-shirt company Buytshirtsonline.co.uk

Product Variants vs. Product Options 

Many people confuse product variants and product options to the point of using them interchangeably. However, while they may be similar, they remain two different terms. Understanding the differences between product variants and options will help you appreciate this topic better. 

First, while product variants refer to various forms of one product, product options are alterations based on customers’ requests. For example, you may decide to add an option of including personalised messages in a gift package a shopper purchases. Only buyers who ask for this option will be able to enjoy such customised service.

Another difference between product variants and options is the SKU. SKU is an acronym for Stock Keeping Unit. It’s a parameter, typically comprising numbers and letters, that warehouse managers use to identify or track their inventory. While product variants have different SKUs for marking sizes, colours, etc., product options don’t carry unique SKUs.

Note that product options and variants are not mutually exclusive. So, it’s possible for one item to have both qualities. 

example of product variations vs product options in ecommerce seo
Example of product variants vs product options from T-shirt company Printful.com

The Importance of Product Variation For eCommerce SEO 

Product variants can seem like something unimportant from a distance. However, when you study them deeply, you’ll find they can make or break your eCommerce SEO efforts.

Here’s why you should pay attention to product variants:

  • Product Variants Boost Conversions and Sales 

Product variants offer improved shopping experiences for customers as they don’t have to scroll through too many listings to find their preferred product. Since you have product variants concentrated in one place, they can view all their options at a go without stress. By improving their customer experience, they’ll be happy to patronise your brand instead of exiting your website due to frustration. This means you’ll experience significant conversion and revenue increases by merely taking advantage of product variants.

  • They Help Product Visibility 

Some product variants may rank higher than others for preferences, positioning, etc. Without product variation, the disparity between the product rankings will be obvious. Product variation helps low-ranking variants to get more visibility and better performance by lumping them together with high-ranking ones. Eventually, the high-performing variants will rub off on the others and ensure that all the variants become best-sellers.

  • Product Variants Can Increase Product Review Quality 

Many customers will check online reviews first before purchasing your products. This is because testimonials from old shoppers can give them an idea of the quality of the product. Unfortunately, some product variants may get no reviews, which will make them less appealing to customers. You can solve this problem through product variants as they combine products and reviews in one place.

Common Concerns for Ranking Product Variants

You may encounter some problems when ranking variation products for your eCommerce website. They include:

  • Duplicate Content

Product variants can lead to content duplication, meaning your content may appear on multiple web pages. Content duplication can harm your SEO ranking if not treated carefully.

  • Product Variation Cannibalisation 

Cannibalisation refers to new product variants that displace existing ones by stealing sales away from old products. This is one factor you may want to consider when creating new product variants. 

  • Crawl Issues 

If incorrectly handled, product variants can cause crawlability issues as the creation of multiple URLs might be wasting crawl budget that search engines assign to your website. This, in turn, can affect user experience and hurt your SEO efforts.

  • Wrong Product Type 

One factor to consider when ranking product variants is whether the wrong type of variant appears as canonical or representative of other variants.

There are many ways product variants can trigger SEO concerns. The best method to deal with them is by studying your analytics and tweaking your marketing strategies to improve your weak areas.

How To Rank Product Variants for eCommerce SEO

To solve the problems above and optimise your product variants, you’ll find these tips useful:

  • Use Rel Canonical Tags 

You can present product variants in the interface in a way that allows them to maintain a single default canonical URL. This is the perfect approach if you have customers that don’t search for specific variants. Unfortunately, this may pose problems for your SEO if your shoppers are colour-specific in their searches.

For example, a user may want to purchase a green necklace to match their dinner dresses. In such cases, they’re likely to type “green coral beads.” When you have many customers like that, it’ll make sense that you have unique URLs to rank for specific variants.

So, the bottom line is to use your analytics to guide you in choosing the best approach for ranking your product variants.

  • Create Colour-Specific URLs 

If your customers indicate preferences for specific variants like colour in their searches, you can forgo the above approach in favour of variant-specific URLs. This ensures that the variants with high search volume have corresponding SEO rankings. However, the disadvantage of using this method is the likelihood of having competing pages since the differentiation is not significant. Also, with this method, you’ll also run the risk of URL duplication.

  • Include Images 

One effective way to rank product variants for SEO is by avoiding confusing product variants by allowing customers to preview images. Instead of merely mentioning variants, ensure that images follow each one so that the shoppers understand them better

Other Ways To Optimise Your eCommerce Product Pages

There are many more ways to rank your product page for search engines apart from product variants. They include:

  • Page Layout 

The page layout refers to arranging the various sections on your online shop’s product page. This arrangement is important because many potential clients will make their purchasing decision on how well-organised your layout is. Generally, a disorganised payout looks chaotic and gives visitors a negative impression of your brand.

The typical layout for most eCommerce sites places images on the left and descriptions or texts on the right. One crucial part of page layout optimisation is ensuring you use only the best quality product images.

  • Product Images and Videos 

Talking about the importance of product images in product page ranking, what makes the best quality ones? Generally, good product image quality comprises proper image size, excellent focus, good lighting, and high resolution. In other words, every picture on your website should look clean and sharp instead of blurry.

Like images, your product videos also matter. To optimise your videos, ensure that they clearly show your shoppers precisely how your products look and work, including the important features.

  • Product Size Guide 

Client satisfaction is crucial in improving website traffic. This means that you must do everything possible to ensure that your clients have no complaints about shopping on your website. Creating size guides when necessary is one of the ways you can convert your leads to sales.

Without size guides, you’ll leave your prospective clients confused about the suitability of your products. Many of them may get irritated by the inconvenience and exit your product page. Meanwhile, size guides give your clients confidence in their purchasing decisions.

  • Product Title and Description

Never make the mistake of thinking that product titles and descriptions are just “one of those things.” They are important factors that search engines consider when ranking your page as they reveal how relevant they are to search queries.

Ensure that your product titles are concise and straight to the point. Also, remember to include relevant keywords in your product descriptions.

  • Buy Section 

This is the shopping cart where shoppers add the items they wish to purchase before checking out. Your aim in this section is to make it as seamless as possible. It’s crucial to provide adequate information for buyers before their final purchase as time-effectively as possible.

To optimise your buy section, you should consider making the “add to cart” option conspicuous and easy with just a click. Also, confirm that your prices are as visible as possible and include a “save” or “wishlist” button for your shoppers to come back to.

In summary, ensure that your buy section makes your customer’s shopping experience as convenient as possible.

  • User Reviews 

Shoppers are likely to get affinity with your brand based on positive reviews from past customers. So, it’s a wise idea to highlight your reviews as clearly as possible. Many times user reviews come after the product ranking on the product page.

  • Cross-Selling 

Since the ultimate purpose of eCommerce SEO is to get shoppers to make as many purchases as their budget allows, cross-selling comes in handy. 

Cross-selling means marketing similar or complementary, or supplementary products to existing customers.  Many times, these related products pop up under “customers also viewed,” “suggested items”, “similar products,” “you may also like”, or “goes well with” sections. This method is effective in getting shoppers to add more items to their carts.

  • Shipping and Returns 

Shipping and return policies are essential parts of every online store’s product page. Many clients consider them in making their purchase decisions so make sure to include this information.

Book Free SEO Consultation With Me Now

As an online store owner, many things simultaneously call for your attention. Besides the day-to-day operational tasks, you will also have to pay maximum attention to ensure that your eCommerce site occupies the first page in search engines. Unfortunately, eCommerce SEO can be complicated and place a demand on the time that you don’t have. I understand how overwhelming this situation is; I’ve assumed the responsibility of taking your SEO burdens off your shoulders.

As an experienced freelance eCommerce SEO consultant, I’ve gathered over 6 years of experience in SEO and content marketing. My primary goal is to ensure that your business runs on a fool-proof SEO strategy for improved sales and revenue generation. From technical SEO to digital PR & link building, and keyword research (among others) I may just be the breakthrough you’ve been looking for to scale your eCommerce site.

What’s more, your marketing team can take advantage of my eCommerce SEO coaching sessions to learn more about optimising your website for the best results. 

Do you have questions or need more information on how I can help your business thrive? Reach out to me and I can’t wait to discuss how we can leverage eCommerce SEO for your business!

Book Your Free SEO Consultation Now

Luca Mussari
This article was written by Luca Mussari, a UK-based SEO Consultant operating worldwide. Luca has 6+ years of international experience working on SEO and content marketing projects across a range of industries, including e-commerce, finance and tech. If you need any SEO advice or would like him to look at your next project then get in touch to arrange a free SEO consultation.

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