How to customize AutoPilot with templates

AutoPilot is one of SEO Optimizer's many features that help you boost your website's SEO for higher search engine. See What is this app? for a basic introduction to AutoPilot and the app's other sections. Here you'll learn how to use AutoPilot's powerful customization feature to tweak your store's meta tags in bulk, across all of your products and pages. If you're not sure what meta tags are, see What are meta tags? first.

1. Go to AutoPilot in the app

Make sure that your AutoPilot settings are switched ON. If you have written custom meta tags and are worried about them being overwritten by AutoPilot, see Can I turn on AutoPilot but keep my custom meta tags? for some solutions.

In the AutoPilot section, the app is set to the default option to "Let the app decide" on how to set meta tags. For meta titles and image alt text, the default tag has the product or page title and your shop name. For meta descriptions, the default tag is the product description. (There are several other types of AutoPilot, but here we'll focus on these that use templates.)

2. Select "Use template", then write a custom template

Here's an example: let's say I have an office supply store with an unusual, non-descriptive name like "925er". Hardly anyone will search "925er" on Google. Instead, my potential customers will be using more general search terms like the kind of products I sell, "specialty office products". So let's add that descriptive phrase to the end of our meta titles:

Hold on, what are "template variables"!? Simple: whenever you need product information (like its title or vendor) or your shop name to appear in a meta tag, write in a template variable, and then in the actual site code the app will replace each variable with its bit of information in each of your pages.

In the above example, we have a meta title template of "[title] - [shop_name] Specialty Office Products". Let's say I have a product on my site titled "Anvil Paperweight 20 lbs." The page title that this product won't include "[title]" or "[shop_name]". Instead, the app translates those variables into specific information for the page: in this case, "Anvil Paperweight 20 lbs. - 925er Specialty Office Products".

Another example: Shoe Warehouse wants their customers to find their products on Google not only by product titles, but also by product vendors (the shoe companies). So they would create a custom template like this: "[title] - [product_vendor] - [shop_name]". Here's what that title tag would look like for a certain shoe made by Dr. Sketch: "Comfort Sport Slip-On - Dr. Sketch - Shoe Warehouse".

Whew! Pat yourself on the back for making it this far.
Think about how you could use AutoPilot templates to make your meta tags more descriptive, using a word or phrase that your potential customers are using in their web searches. These search words and phrases, by the way, are called target keywords. If you want to roll up your sleeves and customize each individual product to have the best SEO that it can have, target keywords are your secret weapon. Learn more about that in the next guide.

Up next: improve your site's SEO even more with target keyword phrases.

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