Writing product descriptions is a routine part of online selling. A savvy store owner, however, knows that a carefully crafted description can be the difference between disinterest and a successful sale.
Well-written product descriptions can drastically increase storefront traffic and sales. Moreover, when these are combined with smart search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, they can provide a powerful boost that will grow your online business.
Writing product pages that convert sales starts with understanding the essential tools and methods for success. This guide equips you with everything you need to know about writing SEO product descriptions, as well as highlighting the common mistakes to avoid.
What is a product description?
A product description is a form of sales copy that is typically used to describe the features of a store item. As an e-commerce store owner, you’ve likely written tens or hundreds of product pages to give buyers information about the goods you offer.
However, product pages are more versatile than sellers often know. For instance, they have a much wider purpose than just boosting sales. They could also help market your catalog, generate interest in the product, or attract buyers to your company.
Product descriptions also achieve critical search engine objectives when written with SEO principles. They enable your online store to rank higher in search results pages (SERPs) like Google and Bing.
Likewise, product descriptions can be used to achieve other purposes, such as:
- Communicate your brand ideology and values
- Refine your brand voice
- Execute your promises to your fans
- Simplify the sales process
In short, item descriptions can be used in a great many ways — all of them to improve your brand and increase sales for your business. The secret to professionally utilizing these item descriptions lies in adopting a creative and data-led approach, and that starts with good SEO practices.
Sellers on Alibaba.com benefit from tools and services that help them create SEO-led, buyer-centric product pages.
Why is a well-crafted product description important?
Product descriptions could be the most vital factor for the success of your e-commerce store. Online stores do not generally contain tons of content, and thus the product pages are the main opportunity to influence potential buyers with persuasive copy.
Additionally, product descriptions are the first thing buyers look for when shopping online. Research indicates that product descriptions are seen as the part containing the most important information for 76% of online shoppers.1 Only after finding information that clearly and engagingly describes the product will a customer turn to the product reviews (71%) and images (66%).1
Therefore, since your buyers want to read the product info on your e-commerce store, investing the effort to create eye-catching content is a no-brainer.
Why using SEO in product descriptions is critical
Crafting product descriptions with SEO best practices can create several other benefits for your business. Doing this could help you:
- Rank higher in SERPs: Product descriptions can boost your search engine rankings when written with well-researched keywords. As your page is optimized for the most common terms buyers use when searching for those items, you can gain better exposure and more visitors. Additionally, when all your product pages are SEO-optimized, it creates a better overall SEO score for your entire website, helping you rank even higher.
- Convert more visitors: According to one study, 87% of online shoppers rely on product descriptions for their buying decisions.2 So, the better your product page, the higher your chances of converting casual site visitors into loyal customers.
- Prevent cart abandonment: Cart abandonment can result from unclear or inaccurate product info. By providing engaging, relevant, and accurate information you can encourage more checkouts and less abandonment. Likewise, this could help reduce bounce rates, which are as high as 45% for e-commerce sites.3 A user bounces when they immediately leave your store because of a lack of information or misleading product content.
- Reduce returns: Poorly-written descriptions may confuse key terms and conditions in your offer. One consequence of this is a high rate of returns. Statistics show that 50% of buyers initiate returns because their purchases didn’t match the description.4 Writing clear product pages help avoid frequent returns, which can hurt business.
- Sharpen your brand identity: Successful businesses employ product pages to concretize their brand identity. Do you want to bring a friendly tone to your brand voice? Or would you like buyers to see you as a brand that looks out for them? Your product pages can be a vehicle to convey those sentiments.
- Reduce paid advertising costs: Lastly, SEO product descriptions are typically refined and directed towards a specific target audience. Therefore, they reduce the likelihood of paid ad clicks from uninterested visitors. With SEO-optimized descriptions, you can ensure that your ad clicks come from potential customers who want what you offer.
Alibaba.com knows the value of a digital-led sales strategy. As a result, the platform’s B2B e-commerce offerings incorporate cutting-edge digital strategies, including SEO, to help sellers enjoy these benefits.
6 tips for writing high-ranking SEO product descriptions
Before launching into best practices for writing SEO product descriptions, let’s first cover the basics.
SEO is a marketing tactic that aims to help your e-commerce store grow organically. If buyers interact with your product through any search engine, such as Google search or Alibaba.com product search, SEO can help your business stand out.
The key tactics underpinning SEO include keyword research, intuitive website design, and engaging writing. You can learn more about these tactics in our extensive guide to e-commerce SEO for businesses.
Although SEO product descriptions rely on only a few SEO strategies, they can give a powerful boost to your store’s performance. Here’s how to implement SEO in your product pages.
1. Leverage SEO keywords
Keywords are at the heart of SEO. They’re words, phrases, or terms buyers use when searching for e-commerce items. For example, a buyer could search for “women’s silk nighties.” When you include these keywords in your product description, you increase the possibility that your products will appear in a related search.
To start implementing keywords in your product info, begin with keyword research. Here, you’ll use free or paid tools to determine what keywords are relevant to your product. Ahrefs, Semrush, and Ubersuggest are examples of the tools you could use.
Once you’ve identified the relevant keywords, your next task is to insert them into your product page copy. Include the keywords naturally in your page’s heading, subheadings, and metadata — do not create weird sentences just to fit them into your copy.
2. Write for real people
The whole premise of SEO is figuring out who your buyers are, what they want, and how they search for it. That’s why, when creating product copy, you should write as if your ideal buyer were sitting in front of you.
Where necessary, create a buyer persona formed up of a summary of your target buyer’s traits and preferences5 to help guide your writing. The goal is to write what you think that buyers would want to hear — copy that would attract, influence, and ultimately convert them.
Remember to keep your copy short, engaging, and readable. Nobody likes to read dense paragraphs full of technical content, at least not while shopping. Instead, use short paragraphs and well-spaced bullet points to clearly and convincingly make your pitch.
3. Focus on pain points
Sellers tend to write product descriptions in terms of features rather than benefits. Unfortunately, that’s often a mistake.
Buyers don’t want to know what your product can do. Instead, they’re concerned with how your goods or services will solve their problem. How will it make life better for them?
Alibaba.com takes this approach when communicating how the platform helps sellers succeed in international trade. By joining the platform, you gain access to a dynamic marketplace with millions of active buyers, global trade support, and cutting-edge tools that accelerate business expansion.
If you write all of your product copy like this, you’re more likely to succeed in your sales.
4. Insert clear CTAs
Writing excellent product descriptions with no call to action (CTA) defeats the purpose of your work — which should ultimately be to convert visitors. You’ve influenced and guided them to a decision with your engaging content, now it’s time to lead them over the finish line.
Your most important CTA will be an “add to cart” or “checkout” invitation. You can bring customers to this point with a short recap of a sentence that summarizes the product’s benefits. Or you could place the “add to cart” button in a strategic, ever-present location.
Whatever you choose, the goal is to ensure that your copy flows naturally into the CTA and converts a new buyer.
5. Learn from the best
Most sellers do not expect this, but one of the smartest SEO strategies possible is copying the work of others. Now, that doesn’t mean lifting content wholesale from other e-commerce websites.
Instead, you can copy ideas from high-performing online stores, learn from their product pages, and incorporate these lessons into your pages. You’ll often discover new things this way and might even execute those same ideas in better or more original ways than the competition.
Be careful who you copy from, though. Check thoroughly to confirm that they are achieving organic results with their tactics and that those results are replicable elsewhere.
6. Test and measure
Finally, while SEO helps you peek into the minds of potential customers, it’s not perfect. That’s why it’s important to also test various strategies and assess their impact.
For instance, if you have more than one version of a product description, you could implement A/B testing to determine which one works best. A/B testing can show your visitors two different versions of a product page, letting you compare and identify which one buyers liked best.
Another way to test your assumptions or strategies is by conducting buyer surveys. For example, you could ask your buyers what they think about a product page and where they would like to see improvements.
5 things to avoid when writing SEO product descriptions
There are many pitfalls that store owners stumble into when writing product descriptions. Here are some of the most common bad habits to avoid.
1. Never recycle copy
Duplicated content is a traffic killer for e-commerce websites — avoid it completely, even if using it for similar products. When search engines come across duplicated content, they get confused as to which one to rank. Eventually, they’ll just rank one page, meaning yours might miss out. Alternatively, all your pages will be penalized with poor rankings.
Likewise, you should keep far away from generic descriptions. Instead, make each product page unique, relevant, and authentic. Your buyers will love you for it.
2. Shun passive writing
Passive writing is often boring and unduly complex. It saps the energy from your product copy and kills the imagination of your page visitors.
Instead, good product descriptions leverage active writing to engage buyers and get them pumped up for the offer. Some of the best ways to write actively include using short sentences and referring to the buyer directly as “you.”
3. Avoid unnecessary technicality
Only include technicality where necessary, such as product descriptions that must include technical information.
Where technicality isn’t needed, choose simple descriptors instead. These will help communicate your message better and keep the buyer engaged for longer. When you have no choice but to include technical content, be sure to create a new subheading to maintain clarity.
4. Run from keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing occurs when sellers shoehorn keywords into every other sentence and heading. Don’t do this.
Packing keywords into your copy is irritating for users. Search engines dislike this behavior and often penalize pages that indulge in keyword stuffing. Inserting your keyword once in the page URL, heading, subheading, image alt-attributes, meta description, and twice in the product copy is enough.
5. Don’t stress your buyers
Lastly, avoid any tactics that complicate or lengthen the buying process. For instance, don’t make your product descriptions too lengthy. Instead, keep them short and simple.
Likewise, stay away from unduly small or unnecessarily intricate fonts. Pick the clearest and most legible fonts possible when writing.
Finally, make sure your CTA buttons are mobile and stay with the buyer when scrolling. Having to scroll all the way back up to locate the “add to cart” button can affect user experience and increase the likelihood of cart abandonment.
SEO can help you stand out on Alibaba.com
Since Alibaba.com also uses an internal search engine to present your products to buyers, SEO can be a crucial tactic on the platform. To help you reach customers worldwide, Alibaba.com provides digital tools that facilitate seamless global selling.
As a seller on the platform, you’ll have the benefit of a dashboard that comes with the latest tools and support. From your dashboard, you can post your products, write engaging descriptions, and optimize your product page for the best results.
Ready to know more? Open your account and start selling on Alibaba.com.