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by Michael P. Hill July 14, 2015

Getting your online store found is one the biggest challenges in running an ecommerce site, but thankfully the Shopify platform already includes a suite of tools for search engine optimization, or SEO.

The Out of the Sandbox Shopify themes also include many features that can help enhance your SEO, but this is only half of the puzzle.

Two weeks ago, we explored how to leverage title tags, meta description tags and URL handles to create natural sounding text that can help your Shopify store get more search engine traffic. Last week we focused on some more advanced Shopify SEO techniques.

The second key component is creating quality product descriptions that not only make users want to buy but include specific and general keywords that match what your potential customers might be searching for.

A product description serves as your virtual salesperson and should be written to not only answer questions about what users but also overcome objections they may have in their mind.

Product descriptions also play a key role in getting your site found when users search for highly specific terms that indicate they intend to purchase.

For example, a user who searches “luggage” may just be browsing or looking for inspiration on what to shop for.

However, a user who enters “black rolling carry on bag” has likely already done his or her research and is looking for a specific product — and if they find that product they are more likely to buy.

When writing your product descriptions for your Shopify store, here are a few hints on how to create product descriptions that are both designed to make sales and make your site more search engine friendly:

  • Start with broad, general information at the top and get more specific as you go down.
  • In general, having a product description that’s longer is better than one that’s just a few sentences. Obviously you don’t want to overwhelm shoppers with paragraph after paragraph of text, but you should include enough to describe the item and work in key words.
  • Consider alternate words and phrases and even spellings of how users might locate the product and find ways to integrate each of these, at least once, naturally into your description. Remember, some areas of the world have different names or spellings for the same item or type of item.
  • Also include descriptive words such as “handmade,” “all natural,” “eco-friendly” and the like to target users who search for those terms.
  • Describe the materials (stainless steel, cast iron, reclaimed wood, wool), finishes (hand polished, oak), style (mid-century modern, industrial, V-neck), size (XXL, petite, oversized, narrow) and type of construction (sturdy, high quality) to users. This helps shoppers get an idea of what a product looks and feels like in “real life” and also allows you to simultaneously target more specific searches.
  • Try to answer any questions a shopper might have — for example, does a certain bag fit common items? What are some common uses for the product? What does it feel like?
  • Describe features (such as foldable, reversible or customizable) that illustrate the versatility of a product.
  • Likewise, try to answer any objections a customer might have on why this product isn’t the right one for them. If you know, for example, that many shoppers look for a certain feature that your product doesn’t have but, instead, it has an alternate feature that might work for a user, be sure to mention it.
  • Finally, don’t sacrifice any unique tone, style or voice your writing has just for the sake of SEO. Instead, look for creative ways to keep your unique writing style while also accomplishing other goals.
Combining all of the tips we’ve covered in this series is a great strategy to take make your Shopify theme SEO friendly and get it noticed by search engines and customers.
Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn.

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