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How to Write SEO-Friendly Product Descriptions for Your Online Store

 by zack on 04 Nov 2013 |
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Putting together an online store is an extremely complex process. You’ve got a lot to worry about from start to finish. Content pages, contact forms, user support, frequent updates, auto-responding emails, and so much more. One of the most important items on your agenda is ensuring a high volume of organically driven visits to your product pages. That means a significant investment in your Search Engine Optimization efforts. If you really want your online store to succeed, you should provide custom SEO-friendly product descriptions for each of the items you have for sale.
SEO is an ongoing process that evolves alongside search engines as they increase in sophistication. The key is providing relevant content that major search engines can recognize. This end is achieved through the proper implementation and integration of highly searched keywords and keyword phrases.
Though it might seem like an intimidating endeavor, you can quickly and easily understand the basic tenets of keyword research and phrasing by following these steps:

1. Choose One Main Keyword Phrase

Keyword optimization is all about predicting which words users will enter as search queries to find certain products or services. When writing a product description, it's important to decide on the main keyword phrase that will identify and describe the product. Use as many descriptive terms as possible to help someone who is searching for the item locate it at your site.
For instance, if you sell a baby basket, you might want to include more descriptive terms in the main keyword phrase (product title) like “Pink Baby Basket with Retractable Wheels.” In doing this, you offer more detail about the product and increase the chances of matching a search query. Including these extra keywords in one phrase to increase its matchability is called long-tail keyword phrasing.
Be sure to use the exact keyword phrase when writing your content for each product page. Perform keyword research using Google’s keyword planner to find out what people are searching for when it comes to the type of product you’re selling. This way you can determine which terms will be effective in increasing your product’s visibility to search engines.

2. Write a UNIQUE Product Description

Many online stores just copy and paste product descriptions from the manufacturer. Even massive online stores like Amazon are guilty of this lazy policy – partly because they have so many products. Unfortunately for the transgressors, nothing will ruin an SEO score faster than duplicate content.
Duplicating the wording of one website exactly and including it on your own effectively cheapens the value of the text. Just like the old supply and demand curves you learned in high school.

As a smaller online retailer, you can get a leg up on your bigger competitors by writing unique and compelling product descriptions.
Here’s a great example from Birdsnest, a women’s fashion store. Notice how they’ve opted to tell a story with this product description. They create a narrative specifically targeted toward university students, which matches the marketing message displayed on the handbag.

They also add a personal touch to their product description by signing it like a personal message at the end. The inclusion of this signature: “Love, Kate and the Birdsnest girls” accomplishes two goals.
  1.  It allows for an element of personal connection between customers and the voices/faces behind the brand.
  2. It enables them to add the keyword: “Birdsnest” on every product page. This way they have a higher chance of ranking for this term in search engine queries.
And guess what? Birdsnest is actually ranked above The Iconic, a major Australian online fashion retailer.
The most successful product pages follow some basic structural caveats. For example, your online product description should ideally be between 100-150 words long and made up of two or three short paragraphs. This is the optimum length for attracting search engine attention. It leaves plenty of room to include relevant keywords, while still breaking the descriptions up into short paragraphs to increase the text’s readability and appeal to visitors.
It’s important to keep your audience in mind when writing product descriptions. The scientific approach to SEO dictates that you follow certain formulas, through which the search algorithms might find your content more easily. If your text is ugly, incoherent, or riddled with spelling/punctuation errors, however, it won’t be attractive to the readers. As a result, they will likely bounce away from your product pages.
So even if you follow the best SEO practices, it’s still possible to have ineffective product descriptions. For that reason, it’s important to put effort into the on page copy. Not just so it follows SEO format, but so it is also alluring to readers in your target market. That means performing market research and segmenting accoordingly. After all, what works for a fishing tackle store probably won’t be as effective for a store selling cosmetics.

3. Place the Keyword Phrase

Now we’re down to the nitty gritty. The formulaic aspects of effective keyword placement in your product descriptions. It is best to include the keyword phrase at the very beginning of the product description block. Then you must insert it once or twice more within the body of your description. More than three occurrences of a keyword phrase displays redundancy in your writing, but more than that, you run the risk of search engines penalizing you for “keyword stuffing.” In other words, oversaturating your short text with an abundance of similar or duplicate keywords.
Remember to also include the same keyword phrase in the “Keywords” field whenever adding a new product (that is, if you’re using Ashop for your online store). These meta tags fulfill an important role, by tipping search engines off as to which keywords they should look out for on a particular page.
If you’re not using Ashop, you’ll have to manually add each keyword phrase to your meta tags, the HTML title, and the headline of the product page as well.

4. Add Other Keywords

If you have other keywords that you believe will support the product description and bring in search traffic, include each one once. But again, don’t go overboard – if your product description looks unnatural and spammy, both human visitors and search engines will respond negatively.
The trick is to include relevant and descriptive words and phrases, that you’ve researched and chosen for high volumes of search traffic and relatively low levels of competitive usage, all while retaining a natural human sounding voice. If you can do that, you’ve got all the tools you need to attract loads of organic traffic to your product pages.
These are just a few guidelines to help you optimize your product descriptions for SEO purposes. Keep in mind that search engines are fickle and the rules often change for how you should set up the content on product pages if you want them to be highly ranked.
Before you change all of the product descriptions throughout your website it's wise to experiment with updating the content on about 5-10 products. If your rankings improve after about a month or so then you can go ahead with more descriptions utilizing these same tactics.
Have you written unique and compelling product descriptions for your store? What was the impact in search results? We’d love to hear how your efforts went. Let us know in the comments below.



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