(Editor’s note: Want help succeeding on Walmart.com? Our ecommerce team can work with you to grow those online sales! Learn more about our advisory services.)
After a lot of hard work, you’ve finally got your products on Walmart.com. Here’s the question: Can anyone find them?
Millions of shoppers hit Walmart.com each day and immediately start typing in the search bar. Unless they’re specifically searching for your item, your competitors (and a few things not even close!) will fill the results fighting for the customer’s attention.
To improve your chance of a sale, it’s critical to land on the first page of a search and rank as high as possible. Customers aren’t likely to click through multiple pages of results. When you need to improve your search ranking, it’s time to focus on Walmart SEO.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization which describes the techniques used to create online content, such as a product listing, that ranks highly on a search engine results page, such as Google or Bing. The higher the content appears on the page, the more attention (and clicks) it gets.
SEO specialists and website content managers use various techniques to boost page rankings. These include:
- Site architecture – Search engines pay attention to site design and compliance with current standards. Lousy coding, poor site security, slow-loading pages, and mobile device incompatibility will negatively impact your content’s ranking.
- Keyword research and content optimization – There are words and phrases that people use more frequently than others when searching for something online. Good SEO includes knowing what your customers, and potential customers, will enter into a search engine when looking for the products you sell. Once you know the keywords your customers will use, include them in your site copy, including product descriptions.
- Site authority, popularity, and branding – In SEO, being talked about is a good thing. Search engine algorithms take a look at the number of links to a site, where and how often a brand is mentioned, and how often content is shared on social media.
What Is Walmart SEO?
Walmart SEO is the process of improving your product listings to increase their visibility on Walmart.com when people perform searches related to the products you sell. While the definitions are similar, Walmart SEO and “Google SEO” are two entirely separate things.
This means that SEO techniques that work on Google might not be the best approach for your Walmart.com product listings. For instance, keywords are important, but customer service also counts toward your ranking. Remember, Walmart knows how you perform as a seller; poor communication with customers, out-of-stocks, and slow shipping speeds will negatively impact your Walmart search engine ranking.
Fortunately, Walmart has already handled a lot of SEO for you: You won’t have to worry about technical compliance or mobile compatibility, for example. This allows you to focus on other factors when creating Walmart Marketplace listings that stand out and rank high in search results.
About Walmart’s Algorithm
To understand how search rankings work on Walmart.com, you need to understand Walmart.com’s algorithm. All major ecommerce sites use an algorithm to determine what items should appear in a search and how they rank. Most algorithms give higher ranks to items with the greatest chance of landing a sale. However, not all algorithms are equal.
The walmart.com algorithm considers three main factors in rating the quality of an item page, referred to as its “optimization triangle”:
- Content – The algorithm is checking the quality of the description of the product listing. Specifically, the item’s ranking will be impacted by the text, images, attributes, product title, and category.
- Offer – This is one of the most important factors to not only rank higher in a search but to also win the buy box. For the offer, the algorithm considers the item price, the cost for shipping, how long it takes to ship, and the in-stock rate.
- Performance – Past performance as a seller impacts where future listings will rank. The performance considerations include how quickly a supplier responds to customers, the total Seller Order Defect Rate (ODR), and how well a supplier follows Walmart’s selling policies.
Fortunately, Walmart provides sellers with a free tool to get their SEO practices up to speed quickly. The Listing Quality Dashboard lets you see how Walmart.com’s search engine rates your listings, get recommendations directly from Walmart for optimizing your site, and receive ongoing guidance on operating your Marketplace business.
10 Walmart Product Listing Optimization Tips
1. Research Your Product Description Keywords
Search algorithms are looking for relevant keywords. The Product Description on Walmart.com is where you take advantage of keyword placement while providing a long description of your product’s benefits.
The essential factor in boosting your search engine traffic with your keywords comes down to research. Make it a point to research as many relevant keywords as possible that a customer could use in that search box. Any missed keyword is a potential missed sale.
Need help finding relevant keywords for your product? Here are a couple of quick tips:
- Test on Walmart.com – Type a keyword or phrase into Walmart.com’s search box (e.g. “wireless computer speakers”) and then look at the “Related Searches” Walmart gives you at the bottom. Some of these are likely good keywords to include, as long as they make sense for your product.
- Browse competitors’ listings – No shame in learning from others! Find a competitor with a high rank on Walmart.com. Review their keywords to use and build on for your own listing optimization.
- Keyword research tools – There are also online tools to help you come up with relevant keywords. Although sites like KeywordTool.io and Sonar-Tool specialize in Amazon, their keyword recommendations will be helpful in your Walmart.com listing.
2. Make Your Product Headline Unique to Walmart
If you’re selling products on your own website, Amazon, and other retailers, do not use the same descriptive title. You’ll see more search engine traffic when you use a different headline unique to Walmart.com. In 50 to 75 characters, grab the customer’s attention with what they should know at a glance about your item.
Here’s the structure for setting up your Walmart.com description in the Product Name field:
Your Brand + Size Specifications (if applicable) + Defining Quality + The Item Name + Style (if applicable) + Item Pack Count
You know your customer, so make the Product Name field relevant to their direct search. If your item is likely to be searched by color, model number, or another descriptor, include it in the Product Name. Otherwise, product specifications for one or multiple items can be spelled out in the Description or Key Features fields.
3. Write Keyword-Focused Product Descriptions
Keep in mind that online shoppers will be very detailed in their searches. Determined customers will type long descriptions in the search box to narrow the results. When looking for a specific item for delivery or store pickup, it’s common for the customer to search for specific product attributes down to its weights and measures:
The Product Description is where you can seal the deal once the customer is on your page. In order to optimize the Product Description, remember these best practices:
- Keep the product description around 250 – 300 words.
- Use bullet points to make the description easier to read.
- Include all important features and benefits of the item.
- Double-check spelling and grammar.
- Include a few keywords, but keep the read natural.
- List facts and figures about the product to establish expertise.
- If applicable, use synonyms of the product.
- Stay away from fluff and over-the-top sales pitches.
4. Ensure Images and Media Are High Quality
What will make more shoppers click on your product? Words seal the deal, but customers are first drawn to your images and media. Quality photos are critical to your success on Walmart’s Marketplace. Here’s why:
- There’s a lot to distract customers on Walmart.com. A small, poor-quality product photo is easily overlooked. You can beat your competitors on price and quality and still lose sales because they have better pictures.
- Savvy consumers will question your professionalism if your photos aren’t good. If you won’t invest in your own branding and marketing, where else are you cutting corners?
- When it comes to sales, showing is always more effective than telling. You need to show the customer what you are offering.
Make your photos professional. The basics of quality photography include taking photos in good lighting. You’ll also want to make sure that your images are in focus. If possible, include zoom-enabled, high resolutions photos of your item, any accessories, and the packaging. To really improve interaction (and a better search engine ranking), consider adding rich content like short videos, product reviews, or 360-degree photos. Video demonstrations of your products can be particularly useful.
Depending on your category, Walmart sets different specifications for photos. The Fashion category updated aspect ratio requirements in 2018. Walmart prefers some products captured in a lifestyle setting but others in a single shot or product grouping. For the latest updates to category image requirements, refer to Walmart’s latest Photography Standards Guide on Walmart.com’s seller help section.
5. Keep Key Features Brief but Valuable
The Key Features section lets you hit the customer with fast facts. These details about your item should be short-selling points about your item. It’s a great place to incorporate your keywords within four to 10 bullet points.
While using keywords in this section is ideal, don’t waste space. Avoid repeating information that you’ve already used from the Product Name field.
6. Price Reasonably and Check Often
Why do so many shoppers search Walmart.com each day? Just as they do when they physically shop at a Walmart store, they’re looking for a great price on the items they need. Your pricing impacts how the Walmart algorithm reads your item and ranks you in a search.
Make it a priority to monitor how your competitors price their products on Walmart.com. Moreover, ensure the customer gets the best price for your item on Walmart.com and not an external website.
7. Use Walmart’s Free 2-Day Shipping
This is a simple step you can execute right away. Online shoppers are drawn to free shipping. Even if your product is priced higher than your competitor’s, saving on shipping costs feels like a deal. That’s the first reason to enable Walmart’s Free 2-Day Shipping on your items.
The second reason goes back to Walmart.com’s algorithm. The site’s search is programmed to favor items with faster shipping. Making a plan to improve ship time will make a noticeable change in your ranking and your bottom line.
8. Rank Higher With Improved Replenishment
A customer searches for your item. Your item ranks high in the search list. The customer has clicked through to your item page. That’s a lot of wins only to present them with the “This item is currently out of stock” message.
A great item at a great price means nothing when it’s unavailable. Customers will quickly disqualify you if your products are constantly out of stock. Walmart’s algorithm will as well, causing you to lose position in the search rankings.
Get your replenishment under control. Make sure you have calculated out days correctly, deep dive into demand forecasting, and trace any issues to phantom inventory.
9. Develop Rich Content Through a Third Party
Customer engagement on your product page will boost your search ranking over time. To keep customers on your page, provide them with rich content. Whether it’s a video, chart, or interactive content, it helps inform the customer more and keeps them engaged on your page.
Walmart provides a list of approved content developers in its Supplier Center.
10. Make Customer Service a Priority
Treating your customers well will have a huge impact on your search engine ranking. That boost comes via online product reviews. Shoppers trust these reviews and major e-commerce retailers encourage the feedback, especially to track partnerships with third-party sellers.
When working with Walmart.com, there are two types of reviews customers may submit:
- Retailer reviews – Retailer reviews allow the customer to provide feedback on a seller’s overall service (communication, delivery, packaging, etc.).
- Product reviews – Product reviews are where the customer rates the item itself (quality, how it matched the listing, etc.).
The better your reviews, the better your search engine traffic. You can increase your chances of getting positive customer feedback by prioritizing outstanding customer service on each order.
Start with things you can execute immediately, like returning calls and emails quickly. Build on the simple communication practices by staying in contact with your customer through the entire transaction, providing accurate tracking information, and thanking them for their business.
Larger customer service enhancements to consider range from using a quality fulfillment provider to upgrading packaging for home delivery.
One final note to remember on reviews from your customers: Walmart.com doesn’t just consider them… they encourage them!
After you’ve sold an item, your customer receives an email from Walmart inviting them to leave a review. Also, on your Walmart.com listing, customers can write reviews even if they didn’t purchase your product from Walmart.
There’s an incentive for great customer service all the way around!
Walmart Product Listing FAQ
How do I know if I’m using the right keywords in my content?
Never assume you know what consumers are typing into that search box. Build your strategy around what people are entering to find items similar to yours.
You can do this by using tools like using the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool or Google’s Keyword Planner in addition to the Walmart Listing Dashboard. It also never hurts to peek at your competitors’ content (if it’s higher-ranking) and see what terms they’re using that can help enhance your content.
Can I use special characters in my product title?
No. Avoid characters and symbols like @, ½, ™, ^, emojis, etc.
Some sites ask that sellers stay away from characters and symbols in the title because they only serve to draw more attention in a list. However, Walmart.com’s search algorithm has trouble with symbols and characters, making it harder to rank higher in a search list. The Walmart.com page itself also has a hard time with them.
What is “alt text” and how will it help my Walmart SEO?
Alt text (alternative text) is simply HTML code that describes the appearance and function of images on your item page.
A search engine can’t see your images. Alt text for an image gives the search engine help in understanding what’s on the page and if it should direct the consumer to it in a search. While your on-page keywords still do the real work as a search engine ranking factor, it is important to create alt text that describes the image and uses a keyword you’re targeting. Alt-text also makes your listings more accessible to those with visual impairments.
What kind of rich content should I use in my listings?
Use content that makes sense for your product. Multiple, high-quality photographs are incredibly useful to consumers, particularly if these photographs show your product at different angles. If you have a unique product, demonstrating how to use it can increase customer confidence.
How much impact do product reviews have on my ranking?
As much impact as they do on your business!
Yes, poor product reviews on your item page can negatively impact your ranking in search. It’s very important to ask your customers to leave positive reviews and to contact you directly if they have an issue with your product. If you notice a negative review on a listing, contact the customer and ask what you can do to make things right.
Why should my business invest in SEO on Walmart.com?
Putting your resources into SEO is an investment in higher search rankings. Higher rankings lead to more customer traffic… which brings more sales! Ranking higher on Walmart.com is only one piece of the puzzle. Once the customer clicks on your item page, that’s where the real selling begins.
Quality of content, images, video, reviews, and all the factors that contributed to our SEO now have to drive that consumer to purchase. Even if they don’t purchase, the content needs to help them research your product to purchase in the store.
What else can I do to create compelling product listings?
Proofread, proofread, proofread. Correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation go a long way toward establishing credibility. Get a second set of eyes on your content to ensure it reads well.
Walmart SEO: All Roads Lead Back to Sales
We began this article by explaining the Walmart.com algorithm and how products with higher sales rank higher in search queries. In addition to the tips provided here, there are other considerations to drive sales for a higher rank.
Draw in more customers with marketing tactics to boost your clicks. Consider discounts, add-ons, bonus packs, or promotional giveaways. Remember, most shoppers going online to query a product aren’t simply browsing. They’ve already made the decision to purchase; now you’re fighting for their click!
Walmart SEO leads to higher rankings and higher rankings lead to higher sales. To get in front of that online shopper, go back and see what more can be done behind the scenes. Use the tips outlined here to make your Walmart.com presence grow in the next quarter.