Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization: How to write SEO-optimized product descriptions
by Michael P. Hill
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.
Both Out of the Sandbox and Pixel Union Shopify themes include many features that can help enhance your SEO, but this is only a piece of the puzzle. Another essential piece is creating product descriptions that not only make your customers want to buy, but include keywords that match exactly what they're looking for.
A product description serves as your virtual salesperson and should be written to answer questions and overcome any objections that shoppers might have.
Product descriptions also play a key role in getting your site found when users search for specific terms relating to whatever it is they want to purchase. For example, a user who searches “luggage” may just be browsing or looking for inspiration. However, a shopper who enters “black rolling carry on bag” has likely already done their research and is looking for a specific product — and if they find that product they are likely to buy.
Here are a few tips on how to create product descriptions that are 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. Find ways to integrate each of these naturally and at least once 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 shoppers. This helps them get an idea of what a product looks and feels like in real life and also allows you to target more specific searches.
Try to answer any questions a shopper might have. For example, what are some common uses for the product? What does it feel like? How does it fit? How will it improve the shopper's life?
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 instead, 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.