Good product titles, descriptions and buying information are your opportunity to really sell your product and promote it online with effective SEO and through paid digital marketing.
People buy products for a variety of reasons, even when they are a higher price, so you need to give the buyer all the information they need to make their decision and ensure they are confident about your business, the delivery and service(s) you provide, and that the product meets their requirements.
In a hurry? Scroll to the Cheat Sheet at the bottom of this post.
Bonus Article: Process for changing your product data to improve rankings
1. Put yourself in the mindset of the buyer:
- Why would they buy this particular product?
- What are its features and how does it benefit them?
- Do they have all the information they need to be able to make a buying decision?
- What objections or concerns would they have with it which you can answer in the description or by creating a simple FAQ list.
- Have you described the situation for its use? For example, suitable for indoor and outdoor use; good between -5C and +40C etc
- Will the product last longer, look better, be more durable than others?
- Is it better manufactured?
- What risks are there in buying this product and how have you addressed them?
- Is there a download or brochure for this product (and to up-sell / cross-sell products)?
- If it's more expensive than rivals, why?
- Are all product photos clear, of good quality and do they match the description accurately?
- Is the price clearly displayed (inclusive and/or exclusive of tax)?
- Are returns easy to make and is the returns policy clearly displayed?
- Are there warranties or after care instructions?
2. Is there a compelling reason to buy this product?
- Is it time limited?
- Is it on offer?
- Are there quantity break prices available and clearly displayed?
- Is it a group deal?
- Is it a clearance item?
- Is it a hot product you can't guarantee to find elsewhere and in time for the special occasion or season?
- Is there delivery free on this product?
- How was the product tested to make sure it is durable?
3. What social proof do you have about this product?
- Are there independent product reviews about this product?
- Are there any product reviews on your site?
- Tip: Research suggests people like to see at least 3 reviews for a product
- Is this a best selling product?
- Can they see what other people searched for when they found this product?
- Can they see what other people bought when they found this product and what they bought together?
4. Is there a compelling reason to buy this product from you?
- Do you provide best overall value?
- Do you provide best overall service or technical excellence?
- Do you offer a money back guarantee if the buyer isn't happy?
- Do you offer a product guarantee? Is it reasonable or exceptional? 10 year? Lifetime?
- Do you offer a simple, no-quibble returns service?
- Do you despatch quicker? Use a better delivery service? Ensure it arrives in one piece?
- Can people ask you a question by email or via live chat?
- Can you display testimonials or names of recognisable businesses who bought this product from you?
- Are you the manufacturer, expert or sole authorised agent?
- Are you No.1 in your region, country, niche?
- Can you make the product work better, work properly, do you give better advice than others?
- Do you have better payment methods or terms? Online payment, pay on invoice, cash on delivery, pay after 30 days?
- Do you offer a choice of recognised payment providers?
- Is your payment method and their data safe and secure on your site?
- Have you been established a long time and will remain in business long enough to fulfil the order?
- Are you backed by a bigger group?
5. Ensure the title, description and identifiers get your product ranked highly in search engines and paid digital advertising...
Important: Compare your product data with serious competitor's who appear highest on Google Big companies have teams & guidelines for writing good product titles, descriptions and meta data, so you can see what current good practice is by looking at a selection of their products.
- Is the product title 70 characters maximum?
- Does the product title contain the brand name at the start, followed by the main keywords & description within 70 characters?
- Important - Changes To Your URL's: If you change an existing product title and this alters the URL of the product, ensure you add a 301 redirect from the previous URL to the new one you have created. This will ensure you do not lose traffic from URL's already indexed in search results.
Is the description rich in the keywords people would use to find this product?
- The recommended optimal number of characters to use in descriptions is 500, but don't be overly hung up on trying to reach this exact number
- Do not add keywords purely for the sake of 'stuffing in' as many variations as you can, keep the description natural to the reader
- Use the keyword planner tool in Google Adwords to identify volumes for phrases, based on your local country and exact match phrases
- Or, use Google's Related Searches shown at the bottom of the search page or Ubersuggest
- Your chances of ranking organically against competitors is dependent upon the overall strength of your site compared to theirs
- Site strength is measured as Page and Domain Authority using tools provided by companies such as Moz.
- Building site strength can take years and Google has shifted it's emphasis to promoting big brands, so using Product Listing Ads makes good sense.
- Long tail keywords are better for conversion than short header phrases e.g. Diesel Waykee Straight Fit Jean Dark Grey Wash
Ensure your meta description describes the product and gives reason(s) to click through. Click here for examples
- Meta descriptions are the text that appear in search results under the link to your site
- Ensure they are no more than 155 characters to ensure the text is fully displayed without being cut off in the search listing
Are images in the content optimised for SEO? (alt and title tags set, filenames contain keywords)
Tip: Research suggests people like to see 3 images of a product; include even more images and icons for technical products and explainer videos
Do you have the correct product identifiers such as brands, MPN's, GTIN's, EAN's as required by search engine feeds?
Do you have the correct Google product category selected at the lowest level available? See UK & US taxonomies.
Do you use product tags and filtering effectively?
Tip: Beware allowing Google to index every page generated by a product filter, ensure to use canonicalisation to point to the main product page
Is your product description too similar to other pages on the web? Check with Copyscape
Tip: Try to differentiate your description to avoid being seen as 'duplicate content', especially generic manufacturer content.
Remember: Check your page and product content using the SEO OnPage Report available on when editing pages and products.
Maintain good SEO practices
This article talks about optimising your product titles and descriptions, you must still ensure you maintain good SEO practices, which are covered in this article.
6. Remember to use retail selling techniques...
- Is there a current promotion in play with a coupon code (people love coupons!)
- Can they buy more of the product and see they'll get a cheaper price? (like a BOGOF offer)
- Can they see add-on products that go with this one (cross-sell or associated products)?
- Can they see better versions of the product at a higher price, but better value? (upsell or alternative products)
- Can they see an alternative product if this one is out of stock or superceded? (alternative products)
- Do you recommend products that complement this one in your description?
- Do they get offered the chance to buy more to save on delivery? Or informed of the free delivery purchase level?
7. Writing for your buyer...
- Think about the type of person who buys your product and think about the 'tone of voice' you use Click here for examples
- Consider how much time your buyer has to read your descriptions - mom's are busier than millenials, so will need snappier information
- Put the buyer at the heart of your writing explaining how the product benefits them - will it make your life easier, save you time, save you money?
- Use emotive terms and powerful language to seduce the buyer rather than gobbledegook. Click here for more details and examples
- Tip: Appeal to the buyer's imagination of what it would be like to own and use the product and how it will make them feel
- Lay out the content so it is easily scanned by the reader: Click here for more details and examples
- Subheadings to entice scanners to start reading
- Bullet points to attract attention to key points especially technical specifications
- A large font to improve readability
- Video or photography to increase the desire to use or buy your product
- Plenty of white space to guide readers through your content and make your page a joy to read
- Include mini stories in your description if appropriate, for example, if you sell wine you might describe the family making the wine and what inspired them to create it.
- As a general rule, make sure your content and checkout process works on mobile devices!
- Tip: You can check your web traffic for free via Google Analytics to see how many people visit your product pages on mobile devices.
Quickly check the marketplace for current practices & search volumes plus content writing and layout styles.
Compare general product information and layout with key competitors.
Find your product on 3-5 major competitor websites and see how they have written about the product to get a general idea about what they have included.
Find who ranks highest on Google and check what they did
Perform keyword searches on Google to see which competitors organic and paid ads appear highest & how they have structured the product title
e.g. [Brand] [main keywords] [description / specification] [company name]
Find keyword volumes for your local country and exact phrases
Use the keyword planner tool in Google Adwords to identify volumes for phrases, based on your local country and exact match phrases and use these where appropriate but in a natural way.
Keep your product title within 70 characters
Make sure your product title is 70 characters maximum else it will be cut off when displayed in Google search.
Important - Changes To Your URL's
If you change an existing product title and this alters the URL of the product, ensure you add a 301 redirect from the previous URL to the new one you have created. This will ensure you do not lose traffic from URL's already indexed in search results.
Check competitor search listings for their meta description data & keep it within 155 characters
Check what the competitors' meta description text looks like in their Google search listings underneath the link to their products.
Emulate the best versions whilst adding your own unique call-to-action(s), for example "Guaranteed same day delivery. Call 0845 600 7000".
Keep it to 155 characters maximum else it will be cut off when displayed.
Fully and naturally describe and display your product so buyers can proceed with confidence
Ensure your product description and images provide all the benefits, features and other information to allow the buyer to proceed to buy with confidence.
- Descriptions of around 500 characters are desirable but don't be too hung up on this figure - ensure your description is natural.
- Ensure product images are good quality and show all the details needed by the buyer.
- Add explainer video(s) if this helps the buyer.
- Display at least 3 reviews about the product.
- Add downloadable brochures or specification sheets.
Show clear pricing and promotional information
Display clear pricing, quantity break prices and special offer prices.
Display product choices
Display product options and pricing adjustments clearly.
Show whether the product is in stock
Ensure it is easy to see if the product and/or option is in stock and what delivery services are available.
Display complementary products and tempt with up-sells
Display associated cross-sell products and alternative up-sell products.
Maintain good SEO practices
This article talks about optimising your product titles and descriptions, you must still ensure you maintain good SEO practices, which is covered in this article.
Process for changing your product data to improve rankings
It is advisable to make changes in batches and measure the return on effort expended whilst adding learning points as you roll forward with your program.
Establish your search position
Identify the main + descriptive keywords to put into search and find your result position. NB There may be multiple keyword phrases for a product.
Tip: It is more reliable to use Search Console Queries data in Google Analytics as locally performed searches are tailored to you.
If you are changing a substantial number of products at the same time then you might opt for recording your average overall position.
Tip: Do the same for images and videos if these drive big traffic and revenues to your site.
Make and record your changes
Make the changes, keeping a record of what you had before and after plus ideally your competitor research or who they were at least.
Tip: Augment your data with any other sources you might be using as part of your product search function, for example using synonyms
Check the impact of your changes
Re-do the search using the same terms and find your new result position or use Search Console Queries data in Google Analytics for greater reliability. Do the same for images and video if deemed relevant.
Tip: Your ability to rank higher is also controlled by your site's Page and Domain Authority.
Nowadays Google promotes big brands and shows more advertising in search results, so using Product Listing and text ads are important tools for you.
Record the outcome with visitor numbers / sales:
Measure the number of visitors and purchases for the product since the change was made over at least a 1 month period. Page Value may also be helpful.
Tip: This should be compared against the same month or seasonal cycle e.g. last October versus this October, last Autumn versus this Autumn.
Account for other influencing factors
Account for price changes or promotions that may impact conversion, as well as soft factors such as underlying changes in brand/fashion.
Tip: You should also monitor your competitors' prices to see if you remain competitive.
Account for changes in your advertising methods and spend, plus frequency or volume of promotions including email campaigns.