WooCommerce and YOAST SEO plugin: Title and Meta Templates

When optimizing a WooCommerce website with the excellent YOAST SEO plugin for WordPress, I noticed that building “templates” for titles and meta descriptions is not that easy. Mostly when you want to input the product category and the product title.

To optimize WooCommerce products, you can go to WordPress dashboard and click on SEO, Titles & Metas, Post Types, Products. You will see this screen:


The main problem is that if you try to add the following tag in the Title or Meta Description boxes: %%category%% – that won’t show as the product category.

Of course, that is a tag you want to use at it contains the keywords to rank your product and likely match the URL as well. After a bit of research, here is the solution:


It’s as simple as that: use %%ct_product_cat%% and the WooCommerce category (or categories separated by comma) will show. In case of multiple categories, I recommend to enter such tag at the end of the Meta Description sentence, so that it is still readable in English or the language you use.

Where to add custom code?

You should place custom PHP in functions.php and custom CSS in style.css of your child theme: where to place WooCommerce customization?

This code still works, unless you report otherwise. To exclude conflicts, temporarily switch to the Storefront theme, disable all plugins except WooCommerce, and test the snippet again: WooCommerce troubleshooting 101

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Rodolfo Melogli

Business Bloomer Founder

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as an independent WooCommerce freelancer since 2011. His goal is to help entrepreneurs and developers overcome their WooCommerce nightmares. Rodolfo loves travelling, chasing tennis & soccer balls and, of course, wood fired oven pizza. Follow @rmelogli

19 thoughts on “WooCommerce and YOAST SEO plugin: Title and Meta Templates

  1. Hey Everyone,

    i struggled for sometime, went through this post and tried to find out more. After some research and hit and trial i discovered that using %%term_title%% helps me show the category name, so i thought to share it with everyone.. Hope this helps all of you.

    1. Thanks!

  2. Hi,

    Why does using %%ct_product_cat%% only work once in the meta description? I need to use it twice in a meta template for a client.

    Is this what Yoast is doing to make you buy the SEO plugin for eCommerce? πŸ™

    Any thoughts?


    1. No idea Dominik πŸ™‚ Try contacting their free support!

    2. I can’t get %%ct_product_category%% to work in either the title- or description tags in Yoast’s product category taxonomy even once! I do think Yoast is doing this to force people to buy their WOoCommerce addon.

      1. Hopefully not πŸ™‚

  3. Good day,

    Thanks for the post, found this very useful! However, we also need the code to show just one category as we have multiple categories, do you know what variation of the variable makes this possible please? Would really appreciate it as we would like to use it in the title template. Thank you!

    1. Hey, thanks for your comment! Have you tried asking YOAST?

    1. Thanks for your feedback Reinout!

  4. Hi,
    Is there any variant that shows only ‘prime category’?
    I have some product with 5-6 categories but I want that only the prime will be on the title.

    1. Hey Assaf, thanks so much for your question! In this case I’m not entirely sure, and I would suggest to contact YOAST via their support forums. If you get an answer, let me know πŸ™‚

  5. Hi
    Nice site with great content. Have you had any experience with Yoast SEO for Woocommerce? It looks to me that it doesn’t do too much. I don’t see many feature which would make me buy it. As a result I’m just using the free version.

    I wanted to pick you brains. I have an Vend EPOS system connecting to WooCommerce via Linksync. All the product data gets imported into WooCommerce and the information is kept in sync. However, If a full resync is required , all the information is replaced by Vend.

    Is there anyway to automate the Keyword Phrase in Yoast ?( In the same way you can with the %%title%%.) I’m aware that if I update a product to include the Yoast keyword then this will be overwritten/lost at a later date.

    Would appreciate your thoughts.

    1. Hey Stuart, thanks for your comment! Yes, I have the same opinion on the YOAST SEO plugin for WooCommerce πŸ™‚ In relation to your other question, I guess this is more like a YOAST-related issue, so I’m not 100% sure about that. Have you tried asking YOAST support?

  6. I had tried, but the product category and attributes look like stop function at latest version 1.5.4 to

    FYI, Yoast SEO plugin currently also offer register new variable for all template, I don’t how? I do hope someone can have this tutorial for me to follow. Example to have SEO Title Template for you product subcategory page “subcategory | category | parent category | site name” – register 3 new variable – %%ct_subproduct_cat%%, %%ct_product_cat%%, %%ct_parent_product_cat%%. This is very useful.

    Sorry my English.


    1. Yoast SEO also sell a specific SEO plugin extension for Woocommerce, so that’s probably what happened there…! I will do some more research and see if they left anything available for free πŸ™‚

      1. Update! New variable “parent_title” offered from yoast seo pluign. Will testing for parent category title.

        1. Awesome! Thanks for that πŸ™‚

          1. Updated new version today, plugin added another %%user_description%% too. ^.^ busy…..

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