Tactics to Improve your Product Description for SEO
In eCommerce SEO, where managing thousands of product pages at once is often the reality, it becomes crucial to laser focus on initiatives that can bring the quickest and most valuable results in exchange for the time you do invest.
While creating a unique description per product is quite time-consuming, there are SEO tactics you can focus on to move things forward without spending tons of time. Moreover, it’s not something that can be ignored; any online business that’s serious about increasing sales, needs to increase traffic — and you can effectively do that by being mindful of a few things when it comes to product descriptions and their relationship to your eCommerce SEO.
Consumers often start their online shopping experience with search engines: 20% head over to Google, and 66% start with Amazon (which has its own search engine). That means the best way—the only way, really — to get your product in front of the majority of online shoppers is to play the SEO game.
While there are many tricks of the SEO game, one of the simplest and most effective is polishing the product information that’s extremely important to search engines: product descriptions. If you can improve your product descriptions with a few simple tips, you’ll improve the visibility of your product in the search results; it’s a formula for eCommerce search engine optimization success.
Let’s dig in...
#1: Write product descriptions for people, not for search engines.
This first point might seem counterintuitive. Isn’t SEO all about appearing at the top of the search engine rankings? And don’t search engines use some sort of mathematical formula to rank content, based on factors like what words you use in your product descriptions?
In the early days of search engine optimization, search engine algorithms were a lot simpler. And while they’re not yet taking over the planet, they have gotten a lot more intelligent. With all the work Google has put into their search engine, they’ve done quite a bit to dig deeper in order to understand the linguistic nuance and pinpoint search intent. SEO experts no longer advise using the direct, clunky verbiage of yesteryear—which is great for ecommerce SEO.
The ways of phrasing something according to old SEO rules is clunky and creates a bad user experience — and Google knows that. They want to connect browsers with content that provides a good user experience, not one that’s confusing and awkwardly worded. Incidentally, product descriptions have a lot more selling power when they’re compellingly written — for people.
That’s right: you can (and should) write product descriptions for people, not search engines.
One of the easiest ways to tailor your product descriptions toward human shoppers is to focus on the benefits of the product, and not its features. Feature-focus would have been great in the old days of SEO and its simple keyword-reward system. Benefit-focus creates a better shopper experience and more clarity around what the product will do—and again, Google knows that.
These boots are made from waterproof suede and a rubber base.
Great...there are plenty of boots like this online. Where can I find a cheaper pair?
Splash through puddles and grip the trail with authority. Stride through life wearing these boots made from waterproof suede and a rubber base.
Notice that we still mentioned the features. But we focused on the benefits. Features describe what the product looks like, but not what it can do for the buyer—those are benefits. The latter is far more compelling, and provides a much bigger boost in terms of eCommerce search engine optimization as you can get more traffic that hits the nail on the head of “why” they’re purchasing along with the “what” they’re purchasing.
#2: Use customer product questions to improve product description SEO.
Much ink has been spilled about the secret sauce of Google’s algorithm, but Google vehemently professess there’s nothing so mysterious about it. They just want to answer questions.
What that means is that Google has spent a lot of time and money honing in on the semantic science of pinpointing user intent — and in the process rewarding information that best answers a question.
A simple way to improve eCommerce SEO is to write product descriptions that Google feels will answer the questions of consumers — everyday people who might be looking for something you’re selling.
You could brainstorm an exhaustive list of questions and phrases that potential customers are using while they browse the internet in search of your product (or one that’s similar to yours). Or you could let your current customers do all that for you by supporting a product questions and answers capability on your product pages. If you already support product page questions and answers, you should utilize its reporting to optimize your product descriptions.
Let’s revisit our example of selling boots. Shoppers might be wondering if the boots you sell are waterproof, and if they have a good grip. If this is what they’re wondering, and it's not currently covered in your product description, they’ll ask through your product Q&A:
Are these boots waterproof and keep a good grip on wet terrain?
Then, what you’ll find is….if its a popular query there are similar customers asking very similar questions through Google:
Where can I get a pair of waterproof boots that also have a good grip?
The questions that shoppers are asking most often in your store will often be similar to the questions that other shoppers are asking on Google—and the most popular inquiries highlight information that should really be in your product descriptions.
Merchants that have used product question and answers effectively have seen a notable increase in organic traffic and search placement for their stores. For example, Answerbase provides a product questions and answers app and has several case studies highlighting those results where customers report an increase in overall search placement. One customer has quoted that product Q&A increased their organic traffic to their store by 4x! All of this is achieved simply by focusing on ensuring product questions are answered effectively in the user experience.
Whatever their questions are, spin them into answers in your product descriptions; search engines will reward you.
#3: Increase your product descriptions uniqueness with minimum effort.
There are two common approaches to providing product descriptions:
1) Creating unique descriptions for every single product, which often results in content delays, incomplete product cards and unhappy customers. The problem grows even bigger, when the assortment of the online store grows.
2) Sourcing product descriptions from the manufacturers.
If you’re one of the many merchants selling goods you purchase from a manufacturer, you’ve probably been tempted to just use the product descriptions they provide. Though it may not be the most compelling copy you’ve ever read, at least it covers the product specs — and cutting and pasting is pretty easy.
But it’s important to know that Google does not reward cookie-cutter material. While there is debate about whether or not sites are penalized for the highest form of flattery (hint: it’s copying), Google definitely won't reward content that lacks uniqueness in their search rankings. Even so, there’s a good chance that a few other merchants (possibly dozens) are copying and pasting the same description.
If you run a small shop with a unique assortment — by all means try to prepare all the product copy on your own from the start. But if you sell more than 1,000+ goods of popular brands, it’s likely you need to find a realistic way to start and then have a process optimize for SEO from there.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to start with all unique content given the volume you’re dealing with. As a result, it's important to manage that product information efficiently and then taking consistent steps to generate and optimize unique descriptions.
To keep your product portfolio up to date, you may aggregate data from product content providers. If you want to get it imported automatically to your store, you may consider a service like Gepard Syndicator. Once you’re providing necessary product information to efficiently to customers, invest your efforts in SEO optimization of that product information, starting with flagship products — the most popular ones, with the highest search volume.
You can get a huge SEO boost by creating and expanding unique descriptions over time. Duplicate product description SEO is all about standing out by setting up a consistent process that helps ensure you have more and more original product descriptions as time goes on — ones that differ entirely from the standard description provided by the manufacturer...and in turn distinguishes yourself from other sites.
It’s not only important to distinguish yourself from other sites, but also to distinguish yourself...from yourself. If Google sees that too many of your product descriptions are similar — for example, when you offer the same product with different variants like size and color— it can cause problems indexing your site...which will in turn decrease its visibility. It can also view near-duplicate descriptions as potentially spammy behavior, which it certainly won’t reward.
By creating unique product descriptions, you can stand out from the pack and eventually make yourself the number one search result (literally).
Take these tips and get started to improve your product description SEO
When business owners hear SEO, they often think it’s going to involve a lot of time creating a network of backlinks. But sometimes a huge boost in ecommerce search engine optimization can come just from putting a little work into your product descriptions—which in turn will bring you more shoppers. By using unique product descriptions, leveraging shopper questions to generate content that Google feels addresses searches, and ensuring your product descriptions are unique, you can quickly and easily improve the ecommerce SEO of your online store.