As an online retailer or eCommerce site owner, you’re already laser-focused on improving your store’s conversion rates.
Chances are you’ve invested in super-functional web design, your site speed is on-point, and you continue to split-test different aspects of your site to create the most frictionless user experience possible.
But conversion rate optimization only works if you have enough visitors to convert in the first place. And when it comes to driving more traffic to storefronts, there’s one thing online retailers consistently overlook: SEO product descriptions.
Google-optimized product descriptions ensure that users searching for a product find your web store and not others’. These descriptions are also crucial for maintaining your conversion rates: One study found that 98% of shoppers have been put off making a purchase due to incorrect or incomplete product descriptions.
Our aim in this post is to elaborate on these benefits and teach you how to write the best product descriptions for SEO so that you can have that all-important edge over your competitors.
But first, a quick definition.
What Are SEO Product Descriptions?
An SEO product description is simply a product description written in a way that helps your product page rank better on Google.
Writing SEO product copy differs from writing ‘regular’ product descriptions in that there’s an additional emphasis on incorporating SEO best practices. As we’ll see later, these practices include things like integrating keywords and ensuring the description caters to the user’s search intent.
Why is it Important to Optimize Product Descriptions?
So why exactly should you care about SEO product descriptions?
Here’s a quick tour of the main benefits:
Optimized Pages Get the Lion’s Share of Organic Traffic
The value of ranking at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for your target keyword is hard to overstate.
According to data from First Page Sage, pages that rank in the first position can expect a 39.6% click-through rate (CTR). This drops to 18.4% for second-place results and 10.1% for those ranking third.
The logic is simple. The better you optimize your product descriptions for search engines, the higher you’ll rank. And the higher you rank, the more organic traffic you receive to your online store pages.
Paid Search Ads Have a Relatively Low Click-Through-Rate
You might think there’s no need to worry about SEO since so much of your search engine traffic comes from paid ads.
But the trouble here isn’t just that paid search costs more than organic search (by definition). It’s also that the CTR for a paid ad is significantly lower than that of a high-ranking organic result.
The CTR for an average search ad hovers around 2.1%. This is equivalent to ranking at the very bottom of the first page for organic results!
Optimized Product Descriptions Convert Better
By optimizing your product descriptions for specific product-related keywords, you improve your odds of appearing high up in Google’s search results for any corresponding search queries.
This means you attract high-quality leads who are looking for the exact item(s) you’re selling – i.e., the ideal shoppers to have in your store.
How to Write Unique Product Descriptions for SEO
Now you’re clear on the importance of creating SEO product copy, let’s look at how best to approach it.
Here’s the process for creating SEO-friendly product descriptions:
Write for Your Target Audience
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to writing high-quality product descriptions since each description needs to cater to the specific wants and values of the target customer.
So before you dive into writing your product copy, you first need to establish a clear picture of who you’re writing for.
The goal is to develop well-defined buyer personas that offer you a glimpse into the minds of those who are most likely to buy from you. Once you understand your target customer’s problems, motivations, and preferences, you’ll be better placed to write content that resonates with them.
Your buyer personas will also help you write product copy suited to your target customer’s level of awareness.
If most of your audience has low awareness of your brand or product, you might need to write longer product descriptions to bat away any reservations they have and convince them to buy. Conversely, if your brand or product is already pretty well-known, you might just need a few lines of copy to make a sale.
Crucially, the better you understand your target audience, the better you’ll be able to create content that satisfies their search intent. Search intent simply refers to the kind of content a user hopes to find when searching for a specific query.
For example, suppose you’re writing a description for a new cruelty-free hair product aimed at buyers who are conscious of animal welfare. You choose to target the keyword ‘vegan hair product’ in your description.
In this case, you can safely assume that anyone searching around this keyword will expect to find a product page that (a) provides assurances that the product hasn’t been tested on animals and (b) contains information about the product’s various uses and ingredients.
Here’s one such example from Vegamour:
Lastly, you must write SEO product copy for human readers.
A common misconception about SEO writing is that the aim is to shoehorn keywords into sentences so that search engines can better tell what the page is about.
The trouble with this approach is that it leads to a pretty terrible reading experience. And this, in turn, will only harm your ability to draw in visitors and generate conversions.
The truth is that modern-day search engine algorithms are more than capable of figuring out what your page is about without you needing to spoon-feed it to them. In fact, Google’s own Webmaster Guidelines urge content creators to “optimize content for your users, not search engines.”
So be sure to prioritize creating useful product descriptions that help visitors make confident buying decisions.
Focus on Features and Benefits
An old-but-gold piece of copywriting wisdom is to emphasize the benefits – not just the features – of what you’re trying to sell.
The same holds when writing product descriptions for SEO.
How Do Features and Benefits Differ?
You can think of features as ‘what the product is’ and benefits as ‘what that means for the customer.’
In other words, features refer to the specific attributes of the product in question – things like color, size, material, and other physical specifications.
For example, a feature-focused product description for a gaming chair might list attributes such as ‘lumbar spine support,’ ‘synthetic leather,’ and ‘customizable armrests.’
On the other hand, benefits are all about the different possibilities that the product will create for the customer – they get specific about how the product will improve the customer’s life.
A benefits-focused description for a gaming chair might emphasize something like ‘long-lasting comfort and perfect posture for those marathon gaming sessions.’
So, the trick is to tie the standout features of your product to the tangible benefits they’ll provide your customers.
Provide Value to the Customer
In addition to emphasizing the benefits of your product, you should also look for other ways to inject extra value into your descriptions.
Relying solely on the manufacturer’s product description will do nothing to differentiate you from other retailers selling the same items. Your aim should be to provide additional value on your product pages so that customers leave with the impression that you offer a uniquely useful or entertaining buying experience. This will improve the odds of them returning to your online store in the future.
So how can you add value to your product descriptions?
One way is to teach your audience how to use your product. For example, suppose you were writing a description for an oversized shirt for women. It might be helpful to include a brief ‘how to style’ section to give customers some ideas about what to wear the shirt with. Alternatively, you could link to a separate blog post on your site that covers that same topic.
Another way to add value to a description is to mention factors that people sometimes overlook when buying the kind of product you’re selling. For example, suppose you sell furniture. It might help customers if your descriptions include some guidance on measuring (and re-measuring!) the space needed for a particular item – including the width of doorways.
You could also bring your product descriptions to life by integrating any relevant pop culture references. Selling jet-black hair dye? Why not mention Elvis? Selling luxurious faux-fur coats? Why not namedrop Cruella de Vil? You get the idea.
Yet another way to make your descriptions more valuable to a potential buyer is to mention any ‘off-label’ uses for the product in question.
For example, let’s suppose you owned a craft cola company. Instead of simply describing the different flavors of your drinks and the methods used to create them, you could also list some ‘unusual’ uses of your cola as an entertaining aside. These alternative uses might include anything from making barbeque sauce to cleaning pans to neutralizing a jellyfish sting!
You should try to keep your SEO product descriptions as lean as possible while ensuring that they contain all the information needed to convince customers to buy.
The more succinct your writing, the less distracted visitors will be, and the easier it will be for them to make a quick and well-informed buying decision.
To keep your copy both concise and information-rich, avoid using needless or overused words. Some repeat offenders include terms like ‘really,’ ‘very,’ ‘great,’ and ‘excellent.’
You should also keep sentences short and snappy wherever possible and make use of headings and line breaks to make your copy more digestible. Bullet lists are especially handy for drawing the reader’s attention to key product features or benefits.
Of course, the length of your descriptions will vary case by case, depending on both your product and buyer persona.
That said, one way to gauge whether your descriptions are too long or too short is to refer to the results that rank on page one for your target keyword. Simply take the average product description length for the top ten results and adjust your own word length accordingly.
Use Unique Writing
You should always avoid duplicate content when writing product descriptions for SEO.
Google prefers to serve results that contain distinct information and takes action against sites that try to use duplicate content to gain an SEO advantage.
This means every product description you create should be entirely unique to that product and distinct from any other piece of text on the internet. It also means you should steer clear of so-called ‘product description generators’ to ensure your copy remains unique.
Fortunately, there are various tools out there to help you identify any instances of accidental duplication in your copy, such as Copyscape and Grammarly.
Sometimes duplicate content issues arise when multiple pages show or link to a particular product. In these cases, you can tell Google which page is your preferred version by using a technique known as ‘canonicalization.’ For more information on this topic, check out Google’s guidance on avoiding duplicate content.
Include a Call-to-Action
No product description is complete without a clear and compelling call-to-action (CTA).
A CTA is simply the invitation or instruction you give readers to take the next step on the path to conversion – such as ‘add to cart,’ ‘checkout,’ or ‘buy now.’
Without a clear CTA, users might feel confused or hesitant about what to do next, and all the work of persuading them to make a purchase will go to waste. It’s essential, therefore, to ensure your CTA button is both inviting and unmissable.
Integrate SEO Product Keywords
While it’s crucial to prioritize the visitor’s reading experience when writing product descriptions for SEO, you also need to integrate target keywords where appropriate.
Keywords are vital for writing optimized descriptions since they’re one of the main signals search engines use to understand the relevance of your page.
Accordingly, each product page should target a specific focus keyword related to that product and incorporate secondary product and brand-related keywords where possible.
A straightforward approach for figuring out which keywords to target in your copy is to head to Google and enter any product-related phrase. As you start typing, Google will automatically suggest a variety of related search terms that you can then use as the basis of your product description.
Here’s an example using the seed-term ‘waterproof pedometer’:
Similarly, you can find other keyword suggestions under the ‘related searches’ section at the bottom of the results page.
Answer The Public is another free and useful keyword research tool that lets you generate multiple keyword ideas in bulk.
Of course, having a list of keyword ideas alone isn’t enough to help you determine which specific keyword to target. For that, you’ll also need to gather search volume and ranking difficulty data for each term.
Once you’ve finalized your list of keywords and gathered their associated search volume and ranking difficulty info, it’s time to pick your target keyword. Here, the idea is to select a keyword with a high enough monthly search volume to attract significant organic traffic but a low enough keyword difficulty that you can realistically hope to rank for it.
Keyword Placement Tips
When it comes to incorporating your keyword(s) on your page, you should ensure that it appears in the:
- Title tag
- H1 tag
- Meta description
- Image alt text
You should also try to use your keyword in your body copy wherever it makes sense to do so.
Once again, however, you should always write your descriptions with the reader in mind. This means avoiding unnatural or otherwise strained uses of a keyword and steering clear of ‘keyword stuffing’ at all costs. Keyword stuffing is the practice of overpopulating your content with multiple keywords in a bid to trick search engines into ranking your content higher. If Google suspects you of doing this, you could get penalized.
Start Writing Product Descriptions for SEO Today
Strategically written SEO product descriptions can provide a host of benefits for eCommerce site owners and online retailers, including more traffic, better conversion rates, and increased sales.
We’ve seen that the most effective SEO product descriptions speak to a specific buyer persona, provide them with unique and targeted value, emphasize benefits over features, and incorporate relevant product keywords.
It’s now time to apply what you’ve learned about how to write SEO product descriptions to your own online store and begin reaping the rewards.
But if you’d prefer to outsource that work to a team of experienced SEO writers, why not check out the WordAgents product description writing service?
Think we’ve missed any important product description tips? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!