Search is one of the most important channels for your store to attract new customers - 49% say they use Google to find new products. That makes SEO vital to your business, to enable your store to climb up SERP rankings and be one of the first choices for search users. While you can optimize a lot of different elements of your store such as page speed, navigation, and more, there’s one thing that matters most of all - your content.
Whether it’s a blog, a product page, or even your homepage, your content is ultimately what your customers are going to engage with and make decisions about. If a product page doesn’t have all the right information, it doesn’t matter how fast the page is. If a blog is well written but doesn’t contain the keywords and phrases that customers are looking for, they won’t find it.
Luckily, improving your SEO copywriting doesn’t have to be complicated, or require you to rewrite and replan all of your content. Today we’re going to go over 7 simple improvements you can implement into your content strategy that will help you write relevant, SEO content that targets discovery.
#1 - Incorporate unique keywords for products and blogs
When you search for anything on Google, chances are you’re starting with a search term. The words you use guide search engines in finding and displaying the most relevant content to your search. That’s why it’s important when writing content for your store’s pages that you’re considering the keywords and phrases that your target audience uses. If you’re already engaged with some form of SEO, you likely have some target keywords that you’re incorporating into your store; however to really optimize your content you need to consider how that list of keywords needs to adapt.
Let’s say, for example, your store sells sneakers for different types of exercise - some for runners, others for hiking, and cycling. When it comes to the product page for the running shoes, you want to use more keywords that customers looking for new running shoes may use when conducting a search. These terms may not be relevant to your hiking shoes - they’ll have their own terms that people are looking for. Therefore you want to identify the keywords that are unique to the searches those customers are conducting, and incorporate them into the content for that product page. You may have sections on the page that go over the unique benefits of the shoes for running, incorporating terms you’ve identified as important to customers on the hunt for their next pair of running shoes.
The same is true for your blog content. Blogs are valuable to your store in allowing you to add more relevant topics that your target audience may be interested in, positioning your store as a trustworthy and knowledgeable resource. For blogs, you should focus on a couple of long-tail keywords that a potential customer may use if they’re looking into the topic at hand. If we use the same example of sneakers, then they may be searching for “what are the best warm-ups for runners?” or “how to prevent foot cramp when running”, in which case you can incorporate these long-tail keywords into a blog about warm-ups and aftercare for runners. This demonstrates to the reader that your brand is knowledgeable about the topic, which in turn means that you’re trustworthy when it comes to purchasing a pair of sneakers in the future.
In short, adapt the keywords for each page to what your target audience will be using to find your store and others like it.
#2 - Identify and match user search intent
While keywords are the terms people input into search engines, intent tells us why they’re searching. Understanding the purpose behind a search is invaluable, as it can guide us as to what kind of content and information users are looking for. We can typically group intent into four different categories:
- Informational - The user is looking to learn more about something, e.g. “best warm-up exercises for runners” or “how do you choose the right shoes for running”
- Navigational - The user wants to navigate to a specific page, e.g. “Allbirds online store”.
- Commercial Research - The user is researching a potential purchase, e.g. “which brand makes the best running shoes?”
- Transactional - The user is looking to make a purchase, e.g. “buy running shoes online”.
Intent and the keywords associated can also help to indicate where in the customer journey a user is likely to be. For example, if they’re looking for information about a specific topic they may be early in that journey and are just discovering new brands they may buy from. If their intent is transactional, they’re much further along and are looking for specifics like pricing, shipping info etc. You can then adapt the content on your product pages and the topics you write about for your blog to target these different types of intent and stages of the customer journey. This makes your content more focussed, and targets users with the right kind of information for their type of intent. This makes your content that much more relevant and useful, and this will be of huge benefit to your store’s SEO.
#3 - Analyze your competitors’ content
Understanding your competitors’ content can help you to produce even better content. It’s worth looking at both your SEO competitors, and your market competitors to really hone in on the kind of content you should be producing and where you should make improvements.
Your SEO competitors are those who appear on SERPs for keywords you want your store to rank for. Your store may not be on the first page of results just yet, or it may be lower down and you want to boost that ranking higher. Look at the content that currently ranks highest - what kind of page and style of content is it? If it’s a blog, look at what kind of topics they include, how long it is, any extra keywords, additional visual content etc. Compare this to your own content to see where you may be missing the mark. Equally, you may notice that the quality of content for a target long-tail keyword is lacking and that presents you with an opportunity to fill that content gap with your own. When it comes to product pages, if you sell on any third party sites or there are competitors with similar products outranking your own products, look to see what information or page features they include that may give users a better understanding and experience.
Market competitors are those who your store is in direct competition with for customers - they may be of a similar size or bigger, and in the same product category. Look at their content across their store and compare to your own - what are they doing better? Where are they missing content opportunities? Are there any blog topics on which you feel your team could produce better content?
#4 - Answer the questions your target audience are asking
When you’re not sure what kind of information you should include on product pages, or which blog topics you should write about, your best bet is to simply answer the questions your target audience is asking. In other words, what kind of questions might someone have about your products or industry that they’d perhaps turn to search engines for answers to. For example, if you sell aperitifs then it might be “how do you drink aperitifs?” or “what are aperitifs?”, in which case you could include answers to these questions on product pages and in blog articles to target different types of search intent and audiences.
By including answers to real questions as part of your content strategy, you’ll also be giving your content a better chance at appearing as a featured snippet in SERPs. These are “snippets” of content which sometimes appear at the top of an SERP in order to give a more immediate answer to the user.
This not only gives your content more space on an SERP, but also shows the user that Google has determined your content to be authoritative and useful on the subject they want to know about. This can improve their perception and boost brand awareness.
#5 - Consider the reader’s product or topic familiarity
You know your products and your industry like the back of your hand. The expertise shared by you and your team allows you to speak about your store and product with authority, and while this can be an asset it can also occasionally lead to content which doesn’t account for an audience less familiar with your products. Depending on their search intent, the search user may only be starting to research your products or category, in which case they need to be able to understand your content without any prior knowledge.
When you’re writing a product page, you need to ensure that the content is clear, understandable, and doesn’t rely on any specialist vocabulary. If you sell a product that contains a lot of abbreviations or vocabulary unfamiliar to an average user, then you should take the time to explain and simplify these in order to help the user understand. Consider also the kind of information someone totally unfamiliar with your product may need. This is especially important for products like technology, health and wellness, etc.
Taking the time to explain the ingredients, specifications, and benefits of your product will give your customers a much better understanding of what it is they’re looking at. If we use the example from above of a ready-made protein drink, there’s a chance that there’s a decent portion of your target audience who already know everything about protein drinks and won’t need further explanation. However there will equally be a portion of your target audience who are just starting to experiment with protein supplements, or who know a little bit about them but not a lot about what makes your product different from another brand’s. They may not even be buying it for themselves, but on behalf of someone else or as a gift. Giving them as much information as possible will demonstrate to the customer exactly what they’re buying, which provides a better user experience and in turn search engines will see your product page as relevant to their users when they’re looking for that type of product in the future.
Be sure to also include alt text to any visual content you add to pages. This is good not just for extra space for keywords, but is also vital for accessibility. This is important for both users and search engines.
#6 - Include visuals to illustrate the topic or product
Creating engaging content can be tricky; you want the customer to browse through, get all the info they need, and be satisfied with the content, all hopefully leading to a purchase. One of the best ways to engage your audience? Include plenty of visuals.
Visual content goes a long way in enriching your written content; it’s one thing to read about a product, but another to actually see it. After all, you wouldn’t buy a product if you couldn’t see what it was you were buying first. Giving plenty of visuals helps the customer to really understand the product or topic at hand, more than just reading the information on the page.
For product pages, be sure to include a variety of product imagery. Your primary images should be uncluttered and focus on the product without too much distraction in the background. Include shots of the product at different angles if appropriate, for example the front and back of a t-shirt or even a t-shirt on different body types.
You could also consider diagrams, demonstration videos, images of the product in use, user generated content, and more to really add more value to your product page.
As for blog content, visual content can help in a similar way to product pages - demonstrating what you’re writing about. Charts and graphs may help to illustrate data you’re presenting, diagrams can show instructions on how to do something, images can show products you’re writing about, etc. It also makes the content more engaging and easier to read for your audience rather than a big wall of text.
#7 - Match the content length to its purpose
The great debate in SEO - does content length matter? Some sources will say you should only ever publish long-form content, others will say shorter. The best way to think about it, however, is to consider what the purpose of the content is.
If you’re writing a summary for a product page, your customer should be able to skim-read it and get the gist, in which case they probably need shorter content. If it’s a blog going into detail about a very nuanced topic, then of course this needs to be longer. You should also consider expectations - a customer will expect the expanded description of your product to be longer than its summary, so you can and should make this longer.
If the content suits its purpose, and is exactly what the customer both expects and needs, then this will be better overall than trying to pad out content to lengthen it. You can always find ways to add to a product page’s content - the example in the image above is from Allbirds, who use different sections further down the product page to add more content while keeping their product description and summary concise.
Writing copy can be hard enough without adding SEO on top of it, however it really can be as simple as thinking about what will add to your customers’ experience. If you give them answers to questions they may have, provide them with visuals, and consider their needs, you’ll provide an experience that will satisfy customers and boost your store’s ranking all at the same time.