Applying the best optimization strategies to brand-spanking-new product copy from the get-go gives your product pages an edge over the competition. If you’re just launching your ecommerce business, or it already exists but you haven’t spent much time yet developing your product description pages, here is your golden opportunity to optimize them from the beginning (and in a perfect world, you’ll do this before you even push the pages live). As I covered in my first post in this two-part series, the steps you’ll take are the same as you would to optimize existing copy, but you’ll be starting with a clean slate.
1 | Know Your Product and Target Audience, and Establish Your Voice
You may already know these variables inside and out, but codifying them within a style guide, for example, will help your in-house writers or the agency you hire to write optimized product copy for you. You’ll also want to adjust your tone for the target audience: Maybe your copy will be lighthearted and colloquial, or maybe it’ll be formal. Perhaps you’ll serve your audience best by sticking just to the facts in straightforward language without any flourishes. Maybe you’ll target a specific generation or other demographic and so you’ll take that into account in your product copy. Importantly, you’ll identify your competition and look closely at their product descriptions. Because you’re competing with them, you want users to find you in the search results and click on your pages. Your brand’s story needs not only to speak to your audience better than the competition’s story, but must be just that—your story.
Once you’ve accomplished this groundwork, the steps for optimizing new product copy are exactly the same as they are for existing product copy.
2 | Identify Unique Keywords for Every Product
Example Product: Derby Monroe Western Boot
The existing copy on this product page is ‘thin’ so we’ll use it as an example of how to write optimized copy from scratch.
Here are the main product details:
- It is a Western boot called Derby Monroe
- It is also a ‘cowgirl’ boot
- It is made with a full-grain leather and suede upper
- It has a cushioned insole
- The rubber outsole is flexible and durable, referred to as ‘duratread’
- The decoration on the boot is described as a six-row stitch pattern with embroidery
- It has a ‘cutter’ toe—a mashup of a pointed and square toe, but with a narrower box than a square toe
- It has cement construction, which means the upper and sole are attached using an adhesive
- The boot height is 13 inches, and the heel height is 1¾ inches
- It has something called a ‘futurity’ heel
Using the Google Keyword Planner or another similar tool, we can identify good search volume for pairs of terms within the existing product name, together with a couple of additional modifiers: ‘cowgirl boot’ and ‘leather boot.’ There is high competition for all these pairs of terms, but we can target users searching for many combinations of them in our medium-tail keyword:
We ought to consider using ‘Derby Monroe Western Cowgirl Boot’ as our target keyword (and as the product name), and adding the modifier ‘leather’ within the product copy as a good secondary keyword. Note that the terms ‘derby’ and ‘monroe’ as paired with ‘boot’ will really help this particular pair of boots stand out despite their lower monthly search volume, because those are unique—not generic—modifiers. Now we can move on to optimizing the important HTML elements for the page, as follows:
Friendly URL: /derby-monroe-western-cowgirl-boot
Page Title: Derby Monroe Western Cowgirl Boot | Ariat
For the meta description, we can take one of two approaches: Compose one now, and then make it the opening sentence of the product description, or experiment with the product description until it reads just right, and use the first sentence as the meta description. Either way, the target keyword ought to be well represented, ideally at the start of the sentence. In this example, we’ll strike a tone that is equal parts colloquial and informative, but that we hope compels the user to click through:
Meta Description: The Derby Monroe Western Boot answers every cowgirl’s wish for the ideal combination of exquisite stitchwork and all-day comfort.
Consider Adding a Subhead Under the Product Name
Since you’ve already written a meta description to display under the product title in the search engine results page (SERP), go ahead and use it again on the landing page itself as a subheader under the product name. It’s just one more way to add SEO value to the page. Here is an example from the top of a product description page for a pair of Frye leather boots:
3 | Write a Compelling Story About the Product
Now for the fun part: Compose an optimized product description that draws in the reader and convinces them to add your swag to their cart. We already started the process with an enticing meta description, so now we’ll open with that, and continue with the product’s most important and obvious features, and move on from there to include other, more granular details from our list. We’ll make the copy clear and concise to help the reader, sidestepping any industry-specific jargon that might make them click away from the page. We’ll also nudge in a call to action at the end of the copy block, but this is a variable you can experiment with depending on the tone you choose to take in your language—maybe you’ll want to open with a call to action, for example. In the example below, target keywords are in blue typeface and secondaries are in red.
The Derby Monroe Western Boot answers every cowgirl’s wish for the ideal combination of exquisite stitchwork and all-day comfort. This feminine boot is crafted in full-grain leather and suede and features embroidered details that complement the charming Western-inspired six-row stitch pattern. More than just pretty to look at, the Derby Monroe Boot is a pleasure to wear, thanks to its cushioned insole and flexible but sturdy Duratread rubber outsole. Get your cowgirl on when you step into these exceptional Western boots.
- Durable and attractive full-grain leather and suede boot flaunts gorgeous embroidery
- Cushioned insole and flexible rubber Duratread outsole promise long hours of comfort
- Features a cutter toe with futurity heel
- 13-inch boot with 1¾-inch heel for versatile styling
- Sturdy cement construction
Note the secondary keywords are also examples of terms we might have swapped in to use as target keywords—the terms ‘ leather boot,’ ‘suede boot,’ and ‘embroidered boot’ also have solid search volume and any of them would have worked, but the ones I chose struck me as less generic and more likely to distinguish the product in the search results.
A Word About Writing Product Descriptions at Scale
Let’s say you have hundreds and hundreds of products that need optimized descriptions, and you have neither the internal staff to write them nor the budget to outsource the copy. You can lean on an AI tool like Bard to do the work for you, but you’ll still need to watch out for repetitive language and review the copy for keyword representation without stuffing, among other warts. For the product above, I used the following AI prompt:
“I need to write a search engine-optimized product description for the Derby Monroe Western Cowgirl Boot. The target keywords are the same as the product name, and I'll need a paragraph between 80 and 100 words followed by four or five bullets that attach a benefit to a feature. The first sentence will also serve as the meta description for the web page and should include the target keywords near the beginning of the sentence. The meta description should be no longer than 155 characters. The tone of the copy should be bright and engaging, without being too colloquial or jargon-y. These are the details about the boot:
It is a Western boot and its name is Derby Monroe
It is also a ‘cowgirl’ boot
It is made with a full-grain leather and suede upper
It has a cushioned insole
The rubber outsole is flexible and durable, referred to as ‘duratread’
The decoration on the boot is described as a six-row stitch pattern with embroidery
It has a ‘cutter’ toe—a mashup of a pointed and square toe, but with a narrower box than a square toe
It has cement construction, which means the upper and sole are attached using an adhesive
The boot height is 13 inches, and the heel height is 1¾ inches
It has something called a ‘futurity’ heel”
And this is what Bard generated:
Meta Description: Strut into style with the Derby Monroe Western Cowgirl Boot! Full-grain leather & suede, stunning embroidery, & a comfy fit for cowgirls of all ages.
Turn up the Western charm in the Derby Monroe Cowgirl Boot! Crafted from premium full-grain leather and buttery suede, this beauty boasts a head-turning six-row stitch pattern with embroidery, adding a touch of rodeo-ready flair to every step. The 13" height and 1¾" futurity heel offer a comfortable, confident stride, while the duratread rubber outsole delivers all-day flexibility and durability. And the best part? The Derby Monroe's unique "cutter" toe – a sassy mashup of pointed and square – adds a touch of individuality that's sure to turn heads.
• Full-grain leather & suede upper for lasting beauty and comfort.
• Stunning six-row stitch pattern with embroidery for eye-catching Western style.
• Duratread rubber outsole for flexible, go-anywhere durability.
• "Cutter" toe for a unique, trendsetting look.
• 13" height and 1¾" futurity heel for comfortable confidence.
Giddy up and grab your Derby Monroe Cowgirl Boots today! You're just one step away from a whole lot of Western fun.
I’m not crazy about that copy—I’d dial down the tone and jettison the exclamation points and ampersands, among other adjustments—but more significantly, Bard missed the mark on the SEO (‘boot’ appears only once in the main copy block) and failed my request to make the meta description the opening sentence of the product description. But Bard does come with a couple of handy features that’ll allow me to see other options, including the “view other drafts” and “modify response” features.
AI Caveats: Be advised that composing the chatbot prompt, followed by making adjustments as needed, can also be time consuming; you can copy / paste the same set of instructions and swap out the distinguishing features for each prompt, or ask the bot to hang onto the rules for each request, but it’ll respond with somewhat same-y results. And if you want full control over your brand and voice, asking an algorithm to reliably generate copy that speaks to these might not be the best option. For the record, it took me about five minutes to write the original copy in the example above, and about a quarter-hour or a skosh longer so to generate the AI version of it. In the end, you’ll have to balance your needs and wishes with your budget.
Final Thoughts: New Product Copy SEO Takeaways
- If this is your first effort at SEO copy composition, lay the groundwork: Identify your target audience, look at the competition, and codify your brand’s voice and style in written guidelines.
- Identify unique target keywords for every product you offer, and include them in the product name and other crawlable page elements.
- Compose well-written and tightly optimized product descriptions that reflect who you are—ideally, a copy block followed by helpful bullet points—and entice your customers to buy.
- Use an AI tool to generate optimized product copy at scale if you must, but be aware of its shortcomings and scrutinize and adjust the language before you implement it.
Starting your ecommerce journey with effective SEO on your new product pages may seem daunting, but gives your business an advantage in the crowded online retail space. If you need help, lean on us—we’re seasoned experts at writing and optimizing new product copy. Eight Oh Two is a proven leader in search engine and performance marketing, leveraging best-in-class technology with the very best in human intelligence. Contact us today to learn how we approach new product copy composition and optimization to entice clicks and conversions for our clients.