SEO tips for your product descriptions

by Anna Fozzard

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Making your product descriptions Google friendly is one of the easiest ways to increase traffic to your site.
Around 12% of retail sales are made online, and this figure doesn’t include those who search online and then buy in store. Improving the SEO of your products will not only increase sales, but it can also help to get your brand known.
Once you crack the SEO game, more customers will find your website, get to know your brand and buy from you. It’s as easy as that. Or is it? As a nation of shoppers, we’re much savvier these days. We know when someone is just trying to get something off the shelf and we want to be convinced in a less salesy way. After all, we already feel a little bit of guilt for spending the money, so we don’t want to spend it on something useless or too extravagant.
Here are some tips for how to get SEO right in retail.
1. Keywords – Before you start writing your description, you need to know what terms your target audience is searching for. Think about trends at the moment, time of year and how your product will make their lives easier. These keywords will make sure that what your target audience is searching for will link up to your products. As well as thinking about the unique selling points of your product, it’s also important to consider what’s popular. In 2015, the Rugby World Cup was the most searched for sporting event, Cilla Black came first under ‘Top Ten’ searches and When is Easter came up on top, too. While these may not link directly to your product, have a look at what’s trending and see if you can find a way of making it relate without being too tenuous. But remember that SEO is the long game and unless your site is already highly authoritative in the eyes of the mighty search engines, it could take months for you to rank for competitive terms. Time to start planning way ahead…
Be careful with how many keywords you put in each description. Remember, once you become involved in a keyword crusade where you’re packing as many terms into each description as possible, it’s easy to fall into a numbers game where you lose your brand’s tone of voice and personality. If you do that, you can forget customer loyalty and brand ambassadors. Not only that, but it’s pretty spammy and that’s not going to curry favour with Google, in fact it might just see you struck off their Christmas card list/results pages. Choose carefully and limit yourself to a few select keywords subtly mentioned in each description.
2. Long-tail words – These words are specific to what you’re selling, like hooks, lines and reels for fishing rods. While they may not get the product seen by as many people as a shorter-tail, more generic term, they should (when combined with effective landing pages etc.) increase conversion rates with those searching for it having the intention to buy. Mix a couple into the description to subtly attract those buyers.
3. All in the name – You want to name your products in a way that will get them found. Rather than cramming as many keywords and popular terms into the description, limit yourself to five words with at least one of them describing actually what the product is i.e. trousers, television, rice etc. If it’s too descriptive, your customers will lose confidence in the product, so remember to call a spade a spade.
4. Avoid unclear terms – Words like ‘excellent’ and ‘lovely’ won’t score you many points. It’s not often that you’ll find people searching for a ‘really special and excellent value for money space hopper’ – people are more likely to search for ‘cheap space hopper’.
5. Don’t duplicate – You might have seven colours of the same t-shirt, but you should have a unique description for each. Google wants its customers to have the best experience using its search tool, and therefore encourages them to click on pages that will provide the most useful information. Copied content isn’t seen as particularly rich or insightful, so it doesn’t rank as highly as unique copy. While the descriptions may be relatively similar, they do need to be distinct from each other. So get your thinking cap on and find other ways of explaining why the purple t-shirt will have a different effect to the yellow one. When you have a whole load of descriptions to push out at a time, plan ahead and get extra help so you don’t have to fall back on copying text between pages.
6. Gender neutral – It’s now pretty much even in terms of gender with 75% of women and 77% of men shopping online in 20152. Even if you are marketing a woman’s dress, avoid saying it’s for a woman in the description so it appears on more searches. You can aim your description to women by thinking about the advantages they want to be see, but don’t be too explicit. After all, the shopper might be a man searching for the perfect gift…
7. Solution-based – What do your customers need, want to feel or aim to be. While they may not search for a bag of store-cupboard flour, they may search for organic flour, cheap flour, or locally-grown flour. This is all about knowing your points of differentiation as well as who your target customer is.
8. More words – Make sure you have more words in your unique description than elsewhere in the page so Google can pick it up. But keep it succinct, any more than around 200 words and you might be switching your customers off.
9. Change your CTAs – Your call-to-actions are the handy phrases that encourage people to do something next, either click ‘Buy’ or to search for more. Try out a few different CTAs and monitor which ones are working best for your customers so you can keep them on your site for longer. That’s exactly what Google wants to see.
10. Quality – Don’t skimp on quality to increase your SEO. Keeping your brand’s tone of voice at the forefront of your mind is key when writing your descriptions. The more people genuinely like your brand, the more visitors you will have to your site which will make you climb up the search engine list and stay there.
Want some help finding those keywords and writing your descriptions?

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