Writing effective product page copy is crucial to ranking well. SEO folks have a tendency to focus a lot of effort on content (in this case, meaning long-form blog content) instead of short, snappy product SEO copy. Yet, product SEO copy is as important to your business’s bottom line as any other piece of content.
At TCF, we honestly can’t believe how many businesses have product copy that just isn’t very good. They’re quite literally leaving money on the table! For that reason, whenever onboard a client who deals in ecommerce, we always make sure to audit their product pages.
When you start writing SEO optimized product descriptions, you’ll start to notice that most of your competition is doing it wrong — but they’re STILL showing up at the top of the SERPs because no one is following best practices!
This is a HUGE area of opportunity for small businesses that implement SEO. If you can outrank your larger competitors, you can sell more (organically!) and level the playing field with a smaller budget.
Whether you’re running on WooCommerce, Shopify, Amazon, or another platform, this guide will help you properly optimize your ecommerce listings to tap into the veritable organic traffic funnel that you’ve been previously ignoring.
How to Write SEO eCommerce Product Pages that Rank
Writing an SEO product description doesn’t have to feel like torture. Trust us. It’s all about following a formula.
Just follow the steps below:
Step #1: Use SEMrush to find profitable keywords.
The first step is to make a list of the keywords that your product should be ranking for. We use a tool called SEMrush, and we’re such big fans of their service we have an affiliate partnership that gets you a week to check it out, for free. (Click here for your free 7-day trial.)
On the homepage, you have a few options:
- You can enter in your own homepage URL to find out keywords they believe you’re currently eligible to rank for (or may already be ranking for).
- You can enter in a competitor’s product page URL to find out what keywords they’re ranking for.
- You can type keywords related to your product to find out what SEMrush believes are related keywords that you could be ranking for.
Once you’ve put in your URL, your competitor’s URL, or your product, choose the geographic location that you want your results for and then click “Start Now.”
For this example, we used the keyword “iphone earbuds.”
If you haven’t already signed up for a free trial, you’ll be asked to create an account before you’re able to see the results. Grab your free account by using the link above, entering your email address and creating a password.
Once completed, you’ll be given a list of suggested keywords you could be ranking for, keyword trends, potential competitors, and a whole range of other data to sift through. For now, we’re only looking to build a list of keywords we can use to optimize your product listings.
In the screenshot above, you can see the list of recommended keywords that are related to “iPhone earbuds,” along with their monthly search volumes and the cost-per-click to advertise on Google.
Click the “Export” button to download this list and begin making a determination on the keywords you want to optimize your product pages to rank for.
For our example, we’re going to use the top 5 recommended keywords, and assume that we’re selling Apple iPhone 7 Earbuds.
Here’s the keywords we would want to target:
- iphone 7 earbuds
- iphone earbuds
- iphone wireless earbuds
- iphone 7 wireless earbuds
- apple earbuds iphone 7
Now that we have the list, it’s time to start optimizing our product pages.
Step #2: Optimize the URL of your product page.
This is one of the most common mistakes eCommerce store owners make. Instead of optimizing their URLs to include keywords, they typically stick with the base “http://domain.com/?product=1234&category=0123”. This doesn’t give search engines what they need to send you traffic.
Instead, you want to include at least your main (or primary) keyword in the URL. In our case, the URL would look like: http://domain.com/apple-iphone-7-earbuds
Not only does this tell the search engines what you think your pages should be ranking for, it also helps increase your clickthrough rate when potential visitors can see the page they’re about to land on is actually related to what they’ve searched for.
You want to avoid including too many keywords, or “keyword stuffing,” because it’s considered spammy and won’t benefit you over the long run. Stick to your primary keyword in the URL structure and you’ll be fine.
Step #3: Optimize the “H1” tag of your product page.
Your H1 tag is usually the first tag that visitors see when they land on your page. For this post, the H1 tag is: “The Ultimate Guide To Product SEO – How To Write Product Descriptions For SEO Traction”
The H1 tag is the most important area to optimize after your URL structure and should include your main keyword and, if it makes sense, at least one more related keyword. In our case, our two chosen keywords are “product SEO” and “how to write product descriptions for SEO.”
In the case of our iPhone earbuds example, our title could be: “Best iPhone Earbuds – Comfortable iPhone 7 Wireless Earbuds” where we’re targeting 4 keywords:
- iPhone Earbuds
- Best iPhone Earbuds
- iPhone 7 Wireless Earbuds
- Comfortable iPhone 7 Wireless Earbuds
Again, you want to avoid “stuffing” keywords into your H1 (or heading / title) tag. Search engines will see the keywords you include and, as long as your main keywords are found, they’ll begin to rank you for related keywords that may not appear in the same order that you’ve laid them out in your title tag.
You have the potential to rank for “comfortable iPhone earbuds” as well as “wireless iPhone 7 earbuds.” Even though the order is different, major search engine algorithms are able to identify that you should be appearing for those searches.
Step #4: Optimize your meta description.
The “meta description” is what search engines are going to display to your potential customers when they search for your keywords.
For the most part, search engines are going to pick and choose (from your content) what they believe they should be displaying. However, by optimizing your meta descriptions yourself, you can include keywords that will grab attention and help improve your rankings.
The screenshot below is a good example of a meta description optimized for “iphone earbuds.”
You don’t want to only optimize for the keyword, though. This is your chance to grab attention and entice the visitor to click your listing by being more relevant than your competition.
Features & benefits are huge in meta descriptions, so make sure you’re using them, along with keywords.
Step #5: Create your features & benefits bullet points.
When a visitor lands on your product page, they’re going to be in “scan mode.” This means they’ll want to see enough content to know they’re on the right page, and that they’re looking at the product they want to see.
This is where you introduce your features and benefits bullet points, while still making sure you’re covering your keywords. Getting your main keyword within the first 100 words of the content is critical to ranking highly.
Here’s an example of features and benefits bullet points from a page on Amazon.com:
- Premium iPhone 7 Lightning Earbuds – Built-in DAC 10 dynamic driver produces detailed, crisp and clear sound with powerful bass.
- Plug & Play – MFi-Certified Lightning earphones work flawlessly with iPhone, iPad, and iPod.
- Stylish & Ergonomic Design – Lightweight and comfortable, in-ear design that fits naturally and isolates ambient noise.
Follow the rule that features tell and benefits sell, and your bullet points will help increase your overall conversion rate while also helping you rank higher in the search results.
You can see in the example above that each feature is tied to the benefit of that feature, helping potential customers understand why the features matter, while including multiple keywords.
Step #6: Create the bulk of your product description content.
Product pages, for the most part, are considered “landing pages.” They’re a spot for your visitor to land, consider making a purchase, and then complete the conversion.
Blog posts, on the other hand, are considered content pages.
Their role is incredibly different than a product landing page, so the way that you create content on your product pages is different, too.
That being said, you want to match (or beat) the length of content your competitors are already using to rank at the top of the search results. They’ve set the bar and the search engine algorithms are already telling you what they want to see.
In general, you want to make sure you have at least 300 words of content, in total, on the page.
You don’t want to create content just for the sake of it, though. The content you do create should be direct response-oriented, where you’re focusing on helping your potential customer visualize ownership and show why your products are different (and better).
You really don’t want to overdo it with content. While we’re big fans of 2,000+ word blog posts, that’s for a blog — not a landing page. Landing pages need to be able to quickly and efficiently explain something to your audience (like why they need your product).
Step #7: Optimize the images you’ll use.
The images that you use for your product need to be optimized in a few different places.
You want to make sure that you’re using high-resolution photos, to show the details of your products, but you also need to pay attention to the file names that you save them as. Additionally, you want to pay attention to the “alt tags” that you use on your pages, and the captions that appear below them, if available.
Using our Apple iPhones example, let’s assume we have 5 different images. You don’t want to name them all apple-iphones.jpg, because you’re missing an opportunity to include related keywords.
Change up the file names, for instance:
For the captions that you’re using, you want to be descriptive and highlight what it is that you’re trying to get the picture to portray.
Instead of using keywords in your caption, focus more on the features and benefits, in order to increase the amount of content you have on each page while still helping your potential customers make a buying decision.
As a warning, you also need to understand that Google wants image alt text to be descriptive. The intention here is to help people out who are visually impaired.
Yet, Google has never enforced this and continues to benefit sites that ignore it in favor of using keywords in an advantageous way. For this reason, we suggest trying to do both, if possible.
Step #8: Optimize the videos you’ll use.
Implementing video on your product pages is a great way to increase sales by showing the products being used.
Search engine algorithms are incredibly smart and will “index” the content that’s inside of the video. This doubles down and helps you increase your relevancy for the specific keywords you’re attempting to rank for and puts you one step ahead of your competition.
Your video title and description should include your main and at least one related keyword, with your filename being the main keyword, as well.
Step #9: Implement proper schema markup in your SEO product descriptions.
Schema Markup, or Rich Results, is a newer way to grab attention in the search results and take it away from your competitors. This gives you a chance to grab a lion’s share of the traffic even if you’re not ranking near the top.
Here’s what Schema Markup looks like when it’s properly implemented:
Those results, surprisingly, came from the #8 and #9 position, at the bottom of the first page.
They were the only results with Schema implemented properly, and it immediately grabbed my attention! That’s how powerful it is.
Implementing it can be frustrating at first, but once you have a few products properly optimized it becomes significantly easier.
Depending on your platform, WooCommerce, Shopify, Amazon, etc, you will have plugins and apps available to help you work through the process. Amazon does a good job of optimizing their listings as long as you’re giving them the proper information to use.
The key is to make sure you’re implementing star ratings, user reviews, and price. These are the three biggest areas focused on by consumers and can dramatically increase your ROI.
Step #10: Implement Open Graph meta tags.
The Open Graph is social media’s response to search engine algorithms displaying Rich Results and helps you stand out among the crowd when your products are shared on social media or displayed in advertisements on major social media networks.
Again, this is an additional step that, while it doesn’t necessarily affect your search engine rankings, it does affect your clickthrough rate and conversion rates, while also giving search engine algorithms more information about your product pages.
Step #11: Inject customer reviews & product ratings into your product descriptions.
Underneath your content on your product pages is an area where your customers can include keywords for you, naturally.
What you’ll find when you’re optimizing your product descriptions for SEO is that you’ll begin ranking for the keywords you’ve chosen, but you’re also going to start ranking for a ton of other keywords that you couldn’t have thought of when you first started your research.
It’s these other keywords that offer up higher conversion rates because they’re more targeted to people who are actively seeking a solution to a problem that they’re having.
It’s also where having customer reviews on your pages pulls double duty for you.
Not only will potential customers see your reviews and decide whether or not they’re going to make a purchase, but your previous customers will include keywords that you couldn’t have thought of.
Search engines will push you to the top for these keywords since chances are high that your competition hasn’t optimized for them.
If you aren’t already trying to obtain reviews from your customers, now is the time to start.
Step #12: Level up your product SEO by cross-selling accessories and upsell new products.
The biggest mistake eCommerce store owners are making (not counting forgetting about product page SEO) is to not focus on upsells and cross-sells.
When a customer is ready to buy the product that they’ve searched for, chances are significantly higher that they’re ready to buy additional products, as well.
Knowing what they also purchase can deliver a massive sales boost for you and help you include other related keywords on the same product page that you’ve already optimized.
Internal linking is another factor that search engines use to determine what your page is relevant to, outside of the keywords you’ve optimized for, so having cross-sells and upsells linking to each other will increase your relevancy — and your rankings, for each of the products you’ve featured.
Step #13: Promote your product listings.
The biggest ranking factor — by far — once you have SEO optimized product listings, is how you go about promoting them.
Think of the SERPs as a popularity contest: only, it’s other websites that determine the winner.
That means the more websites you have pointing links to your product pages, category pages, and (especially) your homepage, the more popular you’re going to be with the algorithm.
You want to avoid getting low-quality links and links from sites that can’t send you traffic, though.
This is becoming more and more of a problem with the algorithm, so when you’re promoting your products you want to make sure that you’re able to receive traffic from the site that is going to be linking to you.
There’s a lot more that goes into determining what a “quality” link is, but you can safely assume that if a link you receive is sending you traffic, it’s higher up on the “quality scale”, and will be favored by the major search engines.
SEO Product Description Writing Doesn’t Have To Be Hard!
Even though it may seem daunting at first, product SEO isn’t rocket science. If you follow the steps that we’ve laid out here, it will become second nature to you.
If you’re still struggling with writing product descriptions for SEO traffic, our team can help you get your product pages primed for highly profitable search engine traffic so you can focus on serving your customers, collecting reviews, and increasing your ROI.