How to Write Really Good Product Descriptions


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Product descriptions rank as the top tool for converting sales prospects into customers for online eCommerce stores and marketplaces. Good product descriptions feed SEO by making sure all relevant keywords are covered and tells Google, Bing and Yahoo, what to index so when a user performs a search, the product listed can show up in the results. If nobody at the company can write compelling and accurate descriptions, business can and will be lost. That's why it's important to hire a writer, consultant, freelancer or agency to create captivating descriptions, as well as use the right tools to get the perfect description display for the different search engines.

What Is a Good Product Description?

Manufacturer product descriptions often fail to hit the mark. Manufacturers build products, and most aren't as concerned with promotion, but they should be in today's competitive markets. If you’ve ever worked at a product development company, the engineers building the products don’t produce the brochures, collateral or marketing content. Just like the marketers are the ones designing and building the products. Either their skills don’t match up or their brains aren’t wired that way. Even good descriptions can be overused by sellers to the point that the content doesn't strengthen SEO rankings. Unique, grammatical and high-quality descriptions can target ideal customers with the right language and product benefits to convince them to buy.

That might mean using different product descriptions for different targeted buyers. Unique product descriptions help search engines find the right products / companies on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

What is a good product description? It can vary depending on the audience, but some of the universal rules that make a good product description include:

Format the Description

Delivering a block of unbroken text can turn off viewers who don't want to read long descriptions. Break up a wall of text with headings, bullet points and short paragraphs so that people can scan the information. Use plenty of white space to make this easy.

Which description are we talking about? 

  • The SEO Meta description can only be roughly 155 characters and is important to the search engines.
  • The product short description is important to the search indexer process on your eCommerce platform or website, so when users on your site perform search, they find what they’re looking for.
  • The long description is where you captivate and convert your visitors, as well as provide competitive content to rank better with the search engines.

So you’ve got three main product descriptions, all being very important, but for different reasons.

A/B Testing

Testing product descriptions with focus groups can prove invaluable. Some customers prefer different phrasing. Some groups like stories, and others prefer the simple facts in bulleted lists. Sometimes you can’t afford the time or money to hire a focus group, so you may need a multivariate (meaning multiple variations) or A/B testing tool, such as Optimizely or Positionly. These tools will allow you to create different versions of content, graphics, messaging, etc. and have them served up in a rotating or alternating fashion on your site. The tool can then measure how each version of the “ad versions” convert, letting you know which one is best.

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Calls-to-action might seem unnecessary, but why should customers buy a product when the company doesn't ask them to do so? Calls-to-action can be as simple as "Click to Buy Now" or "Buy Now." Other CTAs might include "Buy Now to Save 20 Percent" or "Order Now to Save on This Limited-time Offer." Every piece of content you create for your site should have a purpose, and at the end of that purpose should be the conversion goal or call to action. A White Paper may have a download or register to download call to action before providing the white paper in whole. Depending on your reason (i.e. lead gen, informative, customer self-service, etc.), each piece of content may have a different CTA.

Enticing Customers

A headline should entice customers with humor, a product benefit or entertaining fact. This is both the main title that tells the search engines what this page or product is, as well as letting your visitor know that they’re in the right place. Think of the title and sub-title as your thesis statement, as if writing a paper. It’s what captures and hooks your visitor to read on to see what the offer is.

Tackling Buyers' Guilt

Buyers’ guilt is a common problem--especially when people buy luxury items. Product descriptions can make people feel good about themselves by emphasizing energy efficiency, natural ingredients, carefully selected supply chain and other information that makes people feel good about their purchases. ROI, when shown to your visitors, helps to get them convinced that the purchase is worth going forward on.

Removing Duplicate Copy

Some suppliers allow associates to use their copy to promote products, but using identical copy is a big SEO mistake. Search engines will always rank unique copy higher than duplicate copy that's been cut and pasted. Depending on how much content is duplicated, you may even be penalized by the search engine. The two ways around this differ for the content purpose. If the content is used to help drive traffic (SEO content), then it must be unique. If the content has no SEO purpose (i.e. tech support, custom service, behind a login, etc.), then you can use a canonical reference on the page to link to the page where the original content is referenced. The search engines will not index that page and they won’t count it against you as duplicate content.

Measured Use of Keywords

At one time, companies repeated the main keywords dozens or even hundreds of times to raise their ratings. That strategy doesn't work now, and it can get companies excluded from organic searches. It’s referred to as “keyword stuffing” and Bing was the first to implement penalties for it.

Selling a Lifestyle

Descriptions should conjure up an image that customers appreciate. Even hard-nosed B2B buyers are influenced by the appeal of word alchemy. Good descriptions sell a lifestyle and focus on product benefits or uses instead of features. These examples of international brands highlight the trend: [1]

  • Virgin America: Instead of selling plane tickets, it sells the jet-setting lifestyle.
  • Coca Cola: The company sells "happiness" instead of cola.
  • Reese's: The company sells "two great tastes that taste great together" instead of peanut butter cups.
  • KFC: This company encourages people to lick their fingers after eating chicken because the food is so good.
  • Skittles: The company offers a taste of the rainbow instead of a sweet candy.
  • Rice Krispies: This is a perfect example of selling the snap, crackle and pop of a product.

Using Positive Words

The best practice for writing catalog descriptions is to focus on positive words and skip the negative language. Why say, “everything but the kitchen sink” and focus on the kitchen sink, when you could say, “includes everything you will need to…..” to show how all-encompassing the purchase is.

Personalization

Knowing the audience is critical for writing convincing copy. For example, describing a luxury brand with down-home language won't work. When writing descriptions, determine who the target customer is. What are his or her concerns? How did the person arrive at the website? Which benefits can be highlighted to capture the customer's interest? What will they use the product or service for? How can it benefit them the most?

Telling a Story

Emotion sells products. Telling a story about the little old lady who makes each product by hand can generate emotion, but it won't work for B2B customers buying 100,000 units. Tell a real-world story about the company, supply chain, product's history or other intriguing fact.

Translating features into benefits is the most important step for effective selling. [2] For example, sea salt is more expensive, but selling it as a natural product works for ecology-supportive audiences. Small scented candles--at high prices--can be sold to people with small spaces or to sample the scent without buying bigger candles.

Good Product Descriptions Feed SEO

Good product descriptions feed search engine optimization, which means it's important to follow the other rules of good SEO. That means using the right keywords, investigating long-tail words, analyzing response rates and adjusting descriptions when the material isn't working. Understanding that Google, Bing and Yahoo all have different requirements, but Google is both the most restrictive and owns the largest share of the search market, so if you optimize for Google, you’re good for Bing and Yahoo. It's important to enlist a developer in the process to ensure the website works properly, loads quickly, and is as free from errors as possible. Always test platform features regularly and integrate business applications to manage custom catalogs for different buyers.

Meta descriptions are also important because they help search engines find critical information. It’s also important to update your content regularly to get high ratings on SERPs. Companies should have someone on staff who can update content regularly. [3] The more fresh content you have, the more time the search engines will give to crawling your site.

What Description Applies to Your Company?

How does a description of your company sound to prospects and customers? Does your company use the latest technology, which is fully integrated to speed searches, retrieve account information and provide a full range of self-service benefits? Do your product descriptions identify different buyers and streamline their searches by providing key details that each buyer wants to know? If the answers to these questions aren’t an unequivocal yes, you should find a development partner to help you change your company description. Clarity, a certified SEO consulting company has many of the answers for you and a team that can help you strategize and achieve your goals through the use of our professional SEO services. Give us a call and we’d be happy to help you with your project.

 

References:

[1] Moz.com: How to Write Product Descriptions That Will Make Customers Love Your Brand

https://moz.com/blog/how-to-write-product-descriptions-thatll-make-customers-love-your-brand

[2] Referralcandy.com: 8 Easy Rules to Write Product Descriptions That Sell

https://www.referralcandy.com/blog/product-descriptions-that-sell/

[3] Econsultancy.com: Ecommerce product descriptions: tried & tested advice

https://econsultancy.com/ecommerce-product-descriptions-tried-tested-advice-2/