When you enter the online market place, you're stepping into one huge pond. Instead of just competing with the local businesses in your neighborhood, suddenly you're fighting for the same customers as stores all over the globe. Making your site and products stand out and attract customers in that kind of climate doesn't just happen by accident, you have to work for it.
This is why I'm always amazed with I'm browsing a website that simply lists their products on an inventory page. Or provide only the most minimal of descriptions and expect customers to find them. What a wasted opportunity! Maybe they feel the image of the product speaks for itself, but remember – search engines can't read pictures. And when you're looking to make your business more visible online, you needs all the search engine love you can get.
The secret to making your products stand out online is to provide them with great written descriptions. It might not sound like a lot, but a well crafted description of your product can do wonders to improve visibility and conversions. There is more to this than just enticing text to attract users (although that certainly helps). You want to think about your descriptions from an SEO perspective and do as much as you can to improve their odds of appearing on the all important front-page of a Google search result.
Thankfully, that's easier than you might expect! Read on for a few tips to make the most out of your product descriptions.
Keep your descriptions original
When you run an online business that sells hundreds of products, it's tempting to take a shortcut and use whatever provided marketing material you might have – press releases, manufacturer notes, generic descriptions, and so on. Tempting, but foolish.
The problem with descriptions provided by manufacturers or press kits is that plenty of online stores will be using the exact same description on their sites. The more frequently a certain set of words come up across different sites, the less Google pays attention to them. In fact, they can even count against you.
Google values unique content, so give it to them! Spending a little time to write original, eye-catching descriptions for your products won't only make them more attractive to potential customers, it will also help boost your page rankings. This is a slam dunk if there ever was one.
If you have thousands of individual products that are just impossible to write descriptions for, it might be better to keep them off Google rather than having them count against you. This can be done by adding a NO INDEX meta tag to those pages. Keep in mind this is not ideal as you'll be depending on the rest of your store's description and SEO to attract customers interested in those products, but it's a kinder alternative to them actively driving down your site's SEO.
Not too long, not too short
When writing your product descriptions, you'll want to aim for a sweet spot of around 300 words of text or so. This is part art and part science. You want your original description to meet the minimum requirements for Google to consider it as unique content. This is a target that seems to move occasionally, but is usually considered to be somewhere around 150-300 words. Better to err on the side of caution and make sure your hitting those 300. No point in writing a great, exciting, and informative description if Google isn't going to see it.
From my experience though, the opposite is often just as much of a problem – making your descriptions too long. Marketing 101 is that you always want to have a punchy pitch, but sometimes business owners can get a little wrapped up in what they're selling and say too much. Redundant phrases, elaborate explanations, and labored points are all just opportunities for the reader to zone out and leave the page, so keep things as focused and tight as possible. You want crisp, clear, but throughout descriptions. Quality counts, so they need to be accurate and informative as well as entertaining or intriguing.
Keep them fresh
Another quirk of how Google sees the web is that it's always craving something new. Recent content scores better in page ranking than text that has been around for awhile. That's why you'll occasionally want to refresh your descriptions and update them. This doesn't mean you need to come up with new content every few weeks or anything, changing them out once a year should help keep you ahead of the curve.
This is also a good way to make sure your descriptions are accurate and enticing. If your product has changed at all, take the opportunity to clarify that. Experiment with different kinds of description, the tone and style of the writing, you might find your customers are more responsive to some language than others. Which brings us to our next point.
Speak your customer's language
Make sure your keywords are the same ones your customers are using! While it may make sense to use technical titles in your headings, if your customers prefer to search for more specific terms or brand names (the difference between "track suit” and "Adidas track suit”) then your not helping yourself any by sticking to the basics. This can even include slang and adopted terminology. Stay on top of what kind of keywords and search phrases people are using and be sure your content matches them.
Make sure to use every part of the product description. Stuffing the same keywords over and over can hurt your rankings, so use the opportunity to expand your search visibility. Add alternative names using different headings, and always fill out the alt tag information on any images your using!
Don't miss any opportunity to make your product pages stand out! By spending a little time crafting unique descriptions and going to the extra effort of optimizing your headings, keywords, and alt tags, you can gain a meaningful advantage and take your e-store to the next level!