Product Page SEO: An easy guide on how to write optimized descriptions
When we discuss optimizing pages for SEO for your Shopify store, few are more important than your product pages. Creating a great product page is a careful balancing act - you want it to be reflective of your brand and tone-of-voice, but you also want it to have all the details that search engines are looking for. You could have the most beautifully designed pages with the best photography, but if they don’t have the right details then search engines won’t feature them and customers won’t find them. However by following a few key steps, the process of creating product pages that are SEO-led but still on-brand can be a lot less tricky than it seems.
1. Write for your target customer
Search engines are all about the user experience. They rely on users trusting them to show relevant, useful content that answers their search queries. Therefore you need to consider first what your potential customers are looking for when they land on your store, and how your products will appeal to them. If you appeal to your customers’ needs, then you’ll rank better on search engines.
Technical Details vs Product Description
When you’re researching something to buy, you want to know that product inside and out. Say you’re looking to purchase a smartphone - you want to know how much space it has, how good the camera is, what features it has. If you look at a product page and you can’t easily find those details, you’re unlikely to go digging for them. Equally, you want the description to sell you on the smartphone - you want to know what you can do with it, how will it enhance your experience more than other phones. That’s a lot of detail, but fear not - there are ways to get it all on a product page.
Product Description - Have this displayed first before the technical details. This is where you should be more on-brand and use your tone of voice. Include the benefits of the product, for example if it’s a t-shirt then you don’t want to write “It’s a t-shirt”. That’s not going to sell the product to anyone. It’s factual, but it’s not exactly enticing or exciting. If you’re writing a benefits led description it might look more like “Our comfiest t-shirt ever; easy to throw on and wear all day, made with 100% organic cotton.”.
Technical Details - Include all the details a customer might want to know about a product before purchasing. If we were to use the same example of a t-shirt, this is where you’d have the details about the fabric composition, sizing charts, country of manufacture etc.
Consider consumer awareness of your products
You know your products. You know them from how they were first conceived to how they were manufactured to every little detail about them. However your customers will have a mixed level of awareness and education about them. They might have no clue about your products because they’re looking for a gift for a friend, they might be interested in your product category but don’t know your brand specifically, or they might be a total guru in the category. You want to write for the awareness level of your audience. So how do you do this if there’s such a wide range of awareness?
Step One: Consider the product
Some products require more explanation than others. For example a health supplement might require more information about what it contains, what it’s useful for, what results to expect etc. Too little information and your customer won’t be interested, because you didn’t explain what the product was. On the other hand, a normal pair of socks won’t require as much explanation - we all know what socks are and what they’re for. You should instead include a short description alongside some key points about any technical details that may be important. Too much description of a widely understood product and it might actually be off-putting as the customer won’t want to trawl through lots of information about a product they have a strong awareness of.
Step Two: Lay the information out in a way that’s easy to navigate
If your product requires a lot of information for those who are less aware of it, then you can separate it out into tabs on the product page. That way you can have your base product description with all the benefits and key information, then further information for those who need it in a tab.
2. Target and strategically place keywords
If you have some prior SEO knowledge, you won’t be surprised at all to see that keywords are vital to creating an optimized product page. We’ve previously published a guide on keywords and user search intent, which you can check out here. To summarize, here’s what you need to do:
- Conduct research into keywords for your products, considering also your target keywords for your store overall.
- Think about your customers’ search intent when they might come across your store or your competitors.
- Create a list of keywords for each product page or category, using a combination of your brand keywords and long-tail search terms for your product category you’ve identified along with the competition for those terms.
On the last point about keyword competition, you want to identify some terms that have lower competition that you’ll be able to compete. For example, if you sell flavored tea then the competition for “tea” will be very high, however “acai berry green tea bags” will have less competition.
So you have your keywords, now you need to think about where you use them on your product page to maximize their value to your SEO strategy. As a rule you never want to keyword stuff a page, therefore you should use your keywords in your page URL, product description title, a couple of times in the description, and in your image alt tags.
3. Create unique content - avoid duplicate content
Unique content is vital for search engine optimization. This is a general rule throughout your site, but it’s especially important to pay attention to when creating content for your product pages. Duplicate content is a problem for search engine bots when they’re crawling your store because they won’t necessarily know that each product is different if the description is the same. This is especially difficult when you have a catalog with lots of similar products for example if you sell t-shirts, or perhaps different flavors of the same snack product. Avoid copy-and-pasting manufacturer descriptions and details from your suppliers, and instead think of a unique short description for each product. A little bit of creative thinking can really help with each product’s SEO, whether that’s describing the fit of an apparel item, tasting notes for the flavor or texture of a snack product, the colors and textures of a rug, and so on.
The above examples show how different your descriptions can be even when your product is pretty much the same across your entire catalog. It would be easy to have a similar description across the entire catalog with just the images and titles differing, however unique descriptions go further with both customers and SEO.
4. Include customer reviews
We’ve discussed previously how great reviews are for your store’s SEO, and how important they are to include on pages throughout your site. Product pages are your key selling opportunity so as well as having a well-written and informative product description, reviews go a long way in giving potential customers confidence in your products. When available, 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase, so having them easily available is key to convincing a customer to click “Add to Basket”. It also goes a long way in giving Google and other search engines confidence in showing your products to other search users looking for products in your industry niche.
Every product niche has a number of competitors vying for customers, therefore every store wants to do everything possible to come first in search results. Creating a product page that’s eye-catching, on-brand, sells your product, and is primed for SEO can be challenging. However by following a few straight-forward SEO rules along with considering your customers’ needs first you can ensure your Shopify store is well placed for success.