The best product page SEO strategies help both people and search engines discover your products. Effective product page content is far more nuanced and complex than simply tossing a few keywords into the copy. Read on to learn the essential elements of product page SEO to achieve content that generates traffic and boosts conversions.
1. Write for people, not search engines
You must strategically place critical elements to draw a search engine’s attention, but your customers are human beings—you have to write for people. When the search engines guide them to your website, people respond only to copy that is natural, welcoming, and easy to read. Think of these concepts in the context of a brick-and-mortar store that sells T-shirts:
- The sign outside is the critical element that attracts a search engine’s attention.
- The informative and helpful employees inside are your effective product page copy.
Well-written product page copy makes people feel comfortable, informed, and confident in their purchases. The ‘voice’ should also reflect an understanding of your customer base. For example, the product copy for cotton graphic tees targeted to teens should not be the same as copy for dressy tees aimed at professionals.
2. Compose original, accurate, and engaging content
When you have hundreds or thousands of product descriptions to write, it’s tempting to borrow some language from the manufacturer’s specifications. Or to copy/paste descriptions for similar items and make only slight changes across your site. This practice results in duplicate content, and impedes the ability of an individual product to rank. Instead, set the stage for better search performance and lower bounce rates:
- Write unique and accurate copy for each product. Don’t use a slight variation on the manufacturer’s description. Write original copy, but make sure it is accurate to the product and supports your brand.
- Call out specific qualities in your keywords. Assess what makes this organic T-shirt unique. Is it fair trade? Reinforced seams? Pima cotton? Embroidered flowers? Your description should include keywords drawn from details that make this particular T-shirt stand above the crowd.
- Use engaging, on-brand language. No longer is a good product enough—people expect some engaging copy. Here is an example from product copy for an organic T-shirt from Everlane: This T-shirt is certified organic from seed to shirt. This succinct language lets the reader know the shirt is organic at every stage of production.
3. Use keywords early and organically—but don’t overuse
Your product copy needs keywords to let visitors and search engines know exactly what’s on your product page. But using the keywords naturally, knowing where to place them, and knowing how often to use them all influence their effectiveness. Keyword overuse (aka stuffing) is considered a faux pas by search engines and will tarnish the page quality. And the visitor experience is damaged when you shoehorn keywords into sentences unnaturally, or overuse them. People and search engines notice these mistakes, and they erode trust and Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings. Use these organic opportunities for keyword placement on product pages:
In the product name. Including the distinct keywords in the product name ensures they’re included in the H1—one of the most important lines of text on the page.
In the first line or two of the product description. This copy follows the H1 and delves deeper into the product and what distinguishes it from other similar products.
Lightly throughout the copy. A T-shirt description probably won’t benefit from keywords beyond the title and first sentence in the product description. But for more complex products that require more information, you’ll want to include the keywords again within the copy block. It’s important to use the keywords judiciously and only where they fit naturally.
In the meta description. This snippet describes what’s on the product page. The best practice is writing an informative snippet yourself with the keyword included. Remember, this is often the only copy potential customers will see in the search engine results before deciding whether to click on your listing versus competitors.
In the URL. The best URLs for product pages are simple—’friendly’—and include the unique keywords that most accurately represent the product.
4. Use bullets to help people understand your product at a glance
Today’s website visitor is in a hurry and wants to know at a glance whether they should explore the product further or add it to their shopping bag. Bullets make it easy for a consumer to scan for top-priority information at a glance. If people can’t quickly discern what they want to know, they’ll click away to find a more visitor-friendly experience.
Start with the most important information for your customers and work your way down. People shopping for organic cotton T-shirts, for example, want to know straight away whether the product is 100 percent organic cotton or a blend. Next, they may want to know the cut (boxy or fitted), followed by sleeve type (cap or raglan). They should be able to see this information easily, through language that is clear and lively.
5. Include reviews, ratings, and a Q&A option
Offering the option for customers to leave reviews and star ratings, and to ask and answer questions, improves SEO and the visitor experience of your website. Including them:
- Improves brand trust. Customers trust the opinions of other customers more than they do the claims of retailers. Including a ‘reviews’ option allows a visitor to see the star ratings of a product prominently placed on the page, and then to click for more detailed reviews if they need them.
- Enriches your SERP listings. The gold stars show up in your listing, conveying important information to searchers and improving your click-through rate.
- Increases original content on your site. Google favors websites that add new content frequently. In their reviews, your customers add new and completely original content for you. As a bonus, reviews often include keywords you may not have considered.
6. Use schema markup to improve indexing
With schema markup in your product page HTML, you’ll improve the user experience by clarifying for search engines what is on the product page. Using recognized language from schema.org in your HTML microdata, you inform the search engines that this product page sells T-shirts that are 100-percent organic, fair trade-certified, and currently discounted. Consumers in the market for affordable organic T-shirts are much more likely to click on a result in the SERPs when they see what they’re looking for at the right price. The click-through is yet another indicator that this is a high-quality product page, and search engines will rank it even higher in subsequent searches.
7. Include high-quality pictures
Quality images influence product page SEO on several fronts. They:
Illustrate that the product matches the copy. Visitors want to see for themselves that the fitted organic tee on your product page truly has a slim-fit silhouette and looks flattering on the model. No matter what you’re selling, the pictures should appear in high resolution and offer a 360-degree view of the product. A magnification option is also great so visitors can see the quality and details up close.
Cultivate your branding. The quality and style of your product photos can enhance (or detract) from your branding. Are you selling T-shirts to outdoorsy Millennials? Or, is your customer base more interested in casual apparel? Your choice of models and backdrops for your photo shoots will influence the visitor experience of your brand.
The other key elements of image SEO include:
- A matching file name. The picture’s file name should accurately reflect the image.
- A fast load time. This improves the page’s search engine rankings and the user experience (UX). For fast load times, focus on format and file size (large files take longer to load), and test with tools like Lighthouse and Pingdom.
The primary goal of search engines is returning pages that best match search queries. When optimizing your product pages, focus on answering customer questions and improving the user experience, and your rankings will improve as a result.
Eight Oh Two Marketing is a boutique, search-marketing agency for enterprise. Sondra Wolfer is a content strategist, copywriter, and editor with a background in journalism. Her focus is helpful, informative, and engaging writing for both e-commerce and lead generation. Click here to learn more about Eight Oh Two, our methodology and our team.
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