eCommerce is booming in 2023, as online sales are set to grow by 10.4% – and the global market is set to hit $6.3 trillion.
It’s also expected that 20.8% of all retail purchases will happen online this year.
Additionally, at least 75% of customers shop online at least once a month, and that number continues to grow every day.
That’s all great news if you’re an eCommerce store owner.
However, if you want your store to take off and build a following – you need to master product description SEO.
Product description search engine optimization (SEO) involves tweaking your eCommerce product pages to rank better on search engines like Google.
The better your SEO, the higher your product pages will rank – in turn leading to more organic traffic, leads, and conversions.
Also, there’s a true art to writing good product descriptions.
Besides appealing to search engines for better online visibility, your descriptions also need to encourage your target audience to take action.
That means using persuasive writing, highlighting the benefits of your product (how your audience will transform), and using CTAs (call-to-action) to boost your conversion rate.
As you can probably tell by now, there’s quite a bit that goes into product description SEO.
That’s why we put together this guide breaking down everything you need to know about writing stellar product descriptions, so read on to learn more.
What Makes a Product Description SEO-Friendly?
How do you know if a product description you wrote will rank well on search engines?
To make a product description SEO-friendly, you need to appeal to certain ranking factors that search engines use to gauge the quality & relevancy of a search result in comparison to the user query (keyword).
A keyword or search query is a term or phrase a user types into a search engine like Google.
For example, if a potential customer is looking for gardening tools online, they may search for keywords like ‘best gardening tools,’ ‘affordable gardening tools,’ or simply ‘gardening tools’ on a search engine like Google or Bing.
The search engine then crawls its index to find high-quality results that directly relate to the user keyword.
In other words, it searches for content that contains keywords like ‘gardening tools’ in its title, headings, and copy.
Additionally, search engines also look for results that are trustworthy, readable, informative, and load fast – among other things.
Therefore, a product description becomes SEO-friendly when it contains the right keywords, provides value to its audience, and comes from a trustworthy source.
To improve the rankability of your product descriptions, you need to strategically place keywords, write valuable copy, and improve the technical factors of your online store (loading speed, backlink profile, etc.).
It also takes strategic keyword research to uncover the terms your target audience searches for regularly (more on this down below).
Why Does SEO Matter for eCommerce?
If you start a new eCommerce site, one of the best things you can do for it is start an SEO campaign.
That’s because a large number of eCommerce transactions begin on search engines.
53% of all website traffic comes from organic searches, and 33% of all eCommerce visits start the same way.
Also, SEO is one of the most reliable ways to boost your online visibility, which will help you develop a loyal following of customers.
For eCommerce stores, your product descriptions will serve as the bread and butter for your SEO efforts.
While you can and should start a blog to help with your SEO campaign and attract new prospects, you’ll primarily be conducting keyword research to promote specific products.
Targeting the right keywords for your niche also plays a big role in product description SEO.
Competition is always fierce, especially on Google, so you’ll need to find keywords that have decent search volume without too many competitors.
If you attempt to rank for keywords already dominated by larger competitors with better SEO profiles, you likely won’t make any progress at all.
Additionally, it’s essential to note that while SEO is integral for eCommerce stores, it’s only half the equation.
SEO is what generates organic visitors to your store, but it’s up to you to convert them with unique, well-written product descriptions that contain CTAs.
When you combine a solid SEO strategy with excellent copywriting designed to convert, you stand the best chance of increasing your revenue by a significant margin.
Product Description SEO Writing Tips
Now that you know a bit more about product description SEO and why it matters, it’s time to learn how to write unique product descriptions that appeal equally to search engines and your target audience.
That means using persuasive writing geared at your buyer personas while tastefully including your primary and secondary keywords.
Here are our top tips for writing product descriptions for your online store.
Target the right product keywords
As stated before, keyword research is extremely important for product description SEO.
That’s because there are thousands of potential keywords out there, and you need to know how to choose wisely.
You want to uncover keywords that are currently popular with your target audience.
That way, you’ll know that there’s plenty of interest in a particular product or topic.
If you randomly pick keywords to use, you’ll have no way of knowing if they’ll attract any attention from the right people.
For instance, if you’re selling gardening tools but your keywords attract users looking for construction equipment, you won’t land many sales.
At the same time, if you target gardening-related keywords that have too much competition, you won’t gain much traction either.
Keyword research is all about finding keywords that land in the sweet spot of being popular with your target audience yet is light in the way of competition.
How can you find these types of keywords?
There are multiple methods, but the quickest and easiest way is to use a tool like our free keyword planner from The HOTH.
All you have to do is enter a phrase related to the keywords you want to generate, and the tool will provide a list of real keywords your audience searches for every day.
You’ll also get to view essential metrics like search volume and keyword difficulty.
Ideally, you want to target keywords that have a high search volume but a low keyword difficulty score.
Tips for proper keyword placement
Once you’ve compiled a list of relevant product keywords to target, you’ll need to place them in your product descriptions.
However, you can’t just place them anywhere and hope to see better rankings.
Instead, there are some key areas where you’ll need to use your keywords to provide the most impact.
First, do whatever you can to avoid keyword stuffing, as that’s a huge SEO no-no.
What’s keyword stuffing?
It’s where you use your keywords excessively throughout your content in the hopes of gaming the system and achieving better rankings.
However, Google and other search engines have long caught on to this tactic, so it’s no longer viable. If you keyword stuff your descriptions, you’ll likely receive a penalty that will negatively affect your SERP rankings, so avoid it at all costs.
Where should you use your target keyword, then?
Here are the areas you should use your keyword:
- In the page’s URL (this matters only a little bit to Google, but it’s EXTREMELY important for Bing & Yahoo)
- A maximum of two times in the body of the description
- In the title of the product description
- In the product image, alt text
If your target keyword is in all these spots, then you can rest easy knowing your product description is well-optimized. Go beyond these recommendations, and you’ll be in danger of keyword stuffing, so beware.
Focus on benefits instead of features
A mistake new copywriters make when writing product descriptions is they focus too much on the features of a product instead of its benefits.
In other words, instead of statically listing a product’s features, focus on how your product will change your customers’ lives for the better.
After all, the main reason people buy products in the first place is because they want to transform in some way.
For instance, a prospect may be interested in gardening tools because they want to take up landscaping as a side business. In other words, they want to transform into a landscaper.
Or it could be that they want to transform into a gardening expert, a DIY’er, or a farmer.
Either way, it’s best to focus on how your products will improve customers’ lives and help them transform in the way they want instead of merely listing a product’s features.
An example of benefits vs. features
To illustrate what we mean, let’s consider two examples.
Here’s a boring product description that only lists the features of hedge shears:
These state-of-the-art hedge shears feature telescoping steel that provides 2x the cutting power, thanks to its groundbreaking power-lever technology. Its 9-inch frame extends to an impressive 32 inches, and the high-quality steel provides superior durability.
Yawn. While this description lets us know the key features of the product, it doesn’t tell us much about what it’ll do for us.
Here’s a better description that focuses on benefits rather than features:
Got a stubborn hedge or bush that just won’t go down? Then you need our powerful hedge trimmers that provide 2x the cutting power of average shears to cut through it with ease. Their 9-inch frame easily extends to 32 inches to take care of those hard-to-reach areas. With our state-of-the-art hedge shears, you can finally become the expert landscaper that you’ve always been.
That’s much better. Now instead of only listing the features, we mention how each feature can benefit the consumer and how the product will allow them to transform.
Write to your buyer personas
Besides harping on benefits instead of features, you should also write as if you’re speaking directly to your buyer persona (also called customer avatar).
A buyer persona is the personification of an average member of your target demographic.
Creating a buyer persona is one of the best ways to learn how to speak your audience’s language, as well as uncover their innermost wants, desires, and needs.
No matter the focus of your eCommerce website, there’ll be people out there interested in what you have to offer. They’re your most viable prospects, and you need to learn how to relate to them on a very personal level.
How do you develop a buyer persona?
You need to create a fully fleshed-out persona that contains the following:
- A first and last name
- Their age
- Shopping habits
- Interests and hobbies
- Wants and desires
- Average time spent online
- A job and income level
To fill in these blanks, you’ll need to use a tool like Google Analytics to learn more about your customers’ behaviors & demographics.
You can also take to social media groups and user forums that are popular amongst your prospects to learn more about them.
Once you have a buyer persona or personas developed, imagine that you’re speaking to them when writing your product descriptions.
For instance, what type of language do they commonly use (formal, informal, slang, etc.)? What makes them get excited? What do they hope to become more than anything?
Answering those questions will help you directly relate to your audience through your product descriptions, which is what you want.
Stay consistent with your brand voice
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous one.
Ideally, your brand voice should fall in line with your target audience’s voice, but that isn’t always the case.
If you have an established brand voice that you’re known for, you should stick to it like glue.
However, if your brand isn’t taking off the way you want, it may be time to give your brand a makeover. Using the previous tip will help you understand the type of tone your audience responds to, which is helpful.
Once you’ve developed a brand voice that your audience responds to, it’s crucial to remain consistent with it throughout all your content, and product descriptions are no exception.
So if your blogs and homepage have a professional, authoritative tone – your product descriptions should follow suit. Just remember that your brand voice needs to align with your target audience. Otherwise, you’ll be working against yourself.
You should also consider your brand’s voice for product titles, as that can help you rank higher.
Why is a brand voice such an important factor?
It is because, according to research, 81% of customers need to trust a brand before they consider buying its products and services.
That’s why you need to create a distinct and recognizable brand voice, as it’ll help customers trust you and look to your brand whenever they need a question answered. That’s especially true if your online store also has a blog containing lots of unique content that solves user pain points.
Write compelling meta descriptions
While meta descriptions are separate from product descriptions, it’s still necessary to optimize them if you want users to click through to your product page from the search engine results pages (SERPs).
A meta description is a brief line of text that appears under blue hyperlinks on the SERPs. It describes what your web page is about, and it needs to convince a user to click through to learn more.
That’s why writing a convincing meta description that contains a CTA is so important.
Using your target keyword is a good idea here, but including it in the title tag is far more crucial for your SEO.
Instead of helping with rankings, your meta description is more for your target audience.
Accordingly, you should appeal to them by writing in their language while staying true to your brand’s voice.
A meta description should never exceed 160 characters, as there won’t be enough room to display it on results pages otherwise.
Let your audience know why they should click on your result above competitors, and include a quick CTA containing a phrase like ‘don’t wait to check it out’ to further encourage users to click on your result.
Master the art of writing meta descriptions, and your click-through rates will start to improve drastically.
Avoid duplicate content
An eCommerce SEO challenge nearly every online store faces is avoiding duplicate content.
Why is duplicate content bad?
It is because if there are two identical pieces of content attempting to rank for the same keyword, Google can become confused and not know which to rank – causing both results to disappear from the SERPs.
Duplicate content is such a challenge for eCommerce stores because they often have dozens of product pages that are nearly identical save for a few product details.
For instance, if you sell two different sizes of garden shears, you’ll have two product pages that are an exact match (keywords and all) except for the difference in size.
As a result, Google’s algorithms will see both pages as duplicates, throwing a wrench into your SEO strategy.
This becomes a real problem when eCommerce stores sell thousands of products that each have pages for varying sizes and colors.
You need to designate the default version of each product as ‘canon’ by using a canonical tag and then marking all the duplicates with ‘noindex’ tags.
That way, Google Search will only rank the canon version of each product, and the non-canon pages won’t affect your SEO.
That means that you should only write product descriptions for canon pages. If you can’t write a completely unique product description for each product page, then you should hit it with a noindex tag to avoid duplicate content.
Compress and optimize product images and videos
Including high-resolution pictures and videos for your products is a no-brainer, but there are a few tweaks you should make to them to help with SEO.
First, EVERY product image needs alt text containing your target keyword for that product page.
Why is alt text so important for SEO?
It’s because search engine crawlers don’t have computer vision, so they won’t be able to see any images that you upload. Instead, they look to the alt text to understand what an image displays, which is why optimizing it is so important.
Using your target keyword in the alt text is another ranking signal that crawler bots will pick up on.
Besides including keywords in your alt text, you also need to compress your images and videos so they aren’t too large.
If your images and videos are too big, they could slow down your product pages, which you definitely don’t want.
Not only do online users detest slow loading speeds (and will most likely click off your page when it doesn’t load, hurting your bounce rate and dwell time), but search engines also don’t care for slower pages.
In fact, Google runs a Core Web Vitals test on every page in its index to ensure it loads quickly. If your website isn’t able to pass the test, your content won’t appear in the SERPs.
So if you want to find success with your product description SEO, don’t forget to ensure your pages load extremely fast.
To find out if you’re having trouble with loading times, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which is a free tool that will let you know if your loading speed is up to par or not. It also provides suggestions for speeding up your site, so it’s a great tool to add to your repertoire.
Include CTAs at the end of each description
No product description is truly complete without a call to action at the end.
After all, why spend so much time buttering up one of your products if you aren’t going to encourage the reader to actually buy it?
It’s imperative not to beat around the bush with your CTA, either.
Writing a CTA is as easy as telling your audience to ‘add the product to their cart now.’
You can also use CTA buttons that enable users to add items to their cart or to a wishlist for purchase later on.
Final Thoughts: Product Description SEO
Product descriptions are the heart and soul of eCommerce SEO, which is why you need to optimize them to generate more traffic and sales.
Besides writing a compelling product description, you must add relevant keywords, compress product images, add alt text, and include a clear CTA at the end.
Do you need help writing SEO-friendly product descriptions at your company?
Then don’t wait to check out our managed content packages from The HOTH. Our content creation experts will develop a strategy to help you dominate the SERPs, so don’t wait to contact The HOTH team today.