Ecommerce copywriting is a major part of any online store. Whether it’s product pages, your About Us, or even your FAQ, all written content you create for your store serves a variety of purposes that are crucial to driving sales. You want to tell your customers about your products, convey your brand voice and point-of-view, get all the pertinent details included, and use your content to improve page ranking with search engines.
Many merchants are able to convey brand voice, and include the details for products that they believe will matter to customers, however when SEO enters the equation things become more complicated. How do you incorporate keywords and other SEO elements into your copywriting without losing brand authenticity?
Why good SEO-led copy matters
Before we dive into how to write SEO-led copy, it’s important to talk through why you should do so in the first place. It’s easy to simply say you’ll include a few keywords here and there and be done with it, however by taking the time to really dig deep into your ecommerce copywriting you can make serious improvements not just to your SEO but to other aspects of your store experience.
Ecommerce is all about the customer experience. Be that in how a store looks, the photos used on a product page, the post-purchase experience and more. The written content on your store is a big part of that experience. With your homepage, it conveys what your brand is all about and gives an indication to the customer of if they resonate with your brand’s messaging. Product pages tell them all the information they want to know before purchasing. Blogs give them added information, interesting content, and brand buy-in. The list goes on for what each page’s written content does for the customer experience. That experience is crucial to your store’s SEO; Google’s main objective is to provide users with useful and relevant content and top notch experience. If you deliver that excellent experience through your content, your pages will fare better on SERPs.
How to incorporate SEO into your copywriting
There are a number of pages on your store that will require written content, but some should rank higher on your priority list than others. The key pages on your site you want to review and optimize are:
These pages reflect those which will most likely be your key landing pages already, as well as those which you most want to rank higher. It makes sense to prioritize the pages that customers will see first ,and once you’ve taken care of those you can start to dive into other pages such as your FAQ and catalog pages which see less traffic.
Avoid keyword stuffing
When a merchant has stuffed as many keywords into their copy as possible, it shows. The language starts to feel robotic and unnatural, with obvious keywords shoved in where they wouldn’t normally belong. This is the key to making your copy feel authentic and drive your SEO strategy forward - don’t keyword stuff your content.
In copy itself be that on product pages or homepage blurbs, find where the keywords would come naturally and read it back. You’ll immediately be able to tell whether or not it sounds obvious. Plus there are plenty of other tricks you can use to incorporate keywords into landing pages:
- Meta title and description
- Additional details tab on product pages
- Image alt tags
- Product name
By making the most of prime keyword real estate on your store, you won’t have to worry about incorporating more obvious keywords into the copy itself. You can then choose a few to focus on, answering customers’ search intent with your copy in a more natural and brand-led way.
Write with customer needs in mind
Search engines like Google rely on delivering an excellent user experience in order to keep hold of their share of the search engine market. The better a user experience a page has, the more likely Google will be to show it to search users. Therefore if you write for your customers first, you’ll be creating a better experience and this will lead to better SEO. A customer-first approach to copywriting is to address the needs of your customers. Why would they want to buy your product? What features does it have? What problems does it solve? These questions can help you to not only address their needs, but also to incorporate keywords that match up with the features of your products.
Atoms use language such as “stretch laces” and “ideal everyday shoe” to convey to the customer that the shoes will provide comfort and convenience to them. This addresses the customer’s needs first, but also achieves incorporating keywords that they want their shoes to rank for without sounding robotic. They’ve written for the customer, not for Google.
Consider the length of the content
If you look at statistics about page ranking and content length, you’ll find research that indicates the longer the content, the better the page will perform in SERPs. However other research suggests that shorter content is actually better for conversion rates. So which is it - longer or shorter? How long should copy content be in order to perform well in SERPs, and improve conversion rates?
The answer - it depends on the page and content. If you were to navigate to a product page with a 2000 word description, chances are you won’t read all of it. If you were to read a blog that was only 200 words long, you’d wonder why it was so short. Opt for a length that will make sense to your customer, and will improve their experience. Product descriptions should convey all the need-to-know information about the product, so that a customer doesn’t have to do too much work to find out that information. Hiding it in a long paragraph designed to appeal to search engines will make it difficult and therefore will provide a poor user experience. On the other hand, blogs should be longer as you’ll be writing about a specific topic and will also have more opportunities to include keywords or more detail; customers will also expect the blogs to be longer than other content on your site.
Beyond the length of the content, use formatting to your advantage. Making use of styling such as bold and italics, as well as header tags to break up content will help the user better understand the content and navigate it depending on what they may be looking for. This is also great for accessibility, which in turn is great for your store’s SEO and customer experience.
In this example, Thirdlove use different header tags to break up their blog content into a format that’s easier to read and identify what information will be included. Rather than one wall of text, a user can take a quick glimpse and immediately know what to expect.
Think about how you use language
Language is of course a major part of copywriting. The words you choose, the phrases you use, the tone you employ, all of it matters a great deal whether you’re writing an in-depth blog post or a short product description. There are a few ways in which you can improve your copywriting for SEO using language:
Use positive language when talking about pain points
Every customer has a problem they want to solve. It may be as simple as needing a new pair of yoga pants, or as complex as working out what parts they need to complete a PC build. Either way, your product is the solution. Customers respond better to positive language, rather than focussing too much on negative language typically associated with pain points.
Demonstrate the benefits of your products, illustrating with your copy what they’re designed to do and the problems they solve. By using positive language that addresses issues, you’re creating a much better customer experience.
Skims uses language which conveys what the product will do for the customer, rather than detailing all the problems the customer may have. Language like “everyday shapewear” implies that it’s unlike other shapewear which is typically worn in the evening and can be uncomfortable; the customer can fill in the blanks themselves of the issue this solves. Beyond that “everyday shapewear” is a keyword which this product could rank for, and it’s incorporated in a very natural way.
Keep language simple and straightforward
When it comes to ecommerce copy, simple is always best. This can be a tricky point to keep in mind when you’re trying to incorporate your brand voice and tone, especially if your product is more complicated to explain such as supplements or technology. However readability is important to your customer experience - the average reading level of US adults is around 7th or 8th grade.
If there are complicated terms and words associated with your product, ensure you also give an easier to understand alternative or explanation. If you’re concerned that too much explanation may take away from your page experience, you could have an extended description further down the page, or have a linked blog post that goes into more depth. The key here is that you want to make it easy for anyone to understand whether they’re brand new to your product or are a long-time customer. This has added benefits not just for the customer journey and experience, but also for accessibility by making your content understood by a wider range of people.
This example of La Colombe’s fridge pack of cold brew keeps language easy to understand using descriptive language that anyone can understand. You don’t need to be a coffee expert to know what they’re talking about, in fact you don’t even need to like coffee which makes it easy for someone to understand and then purchase if they were looking to buy for a friend.
Copywriting for ecommerce can be tricky as it needs to achieve so much in just a few words. You want to appeal to search engines, demonstrate authority, and convince and inform customers, all to hopefully lead to sales. Through some careful tactics, you can easily ensure that your copywriting is optimized for search engines while still maintaining your carefully crafted brand voice and inspiring customers who are thinking about making a purchase.