Staying competitive in the search engine rankings race is never-ending for an online catalog.
Search engine optimization (SEO) for product pages is a continuous activity, and a successful strategy can reap many rewards.
For the catalog copywriter producing content for product pages, you walk the tightrope of writing sales worthy, benefit-rich copy that is also attentive to SEO needs.
Search engine optimization covers a lot of ground, for sure. But the tips I’m about to mention below are easy to put into use and can be a boost to an online catalog’s SEO efforts.
1. A simple way to determine the number of words to use in a product description.
The first recommendation I’ll make here is, don’t exclude a product description. Sounds crazy, I know, but you will see on some product pages just the image of the product with no corresponding text. This is bad for SEO because the search engines can’t see images. Blank pages do not impress Google.
Here’s a method to determine how many words you should use: Count all the default words that appear on your blank product page. Default words are words found on the navigation bar, sidebar, footers, etc. Whatever this number is, the product description word count should at least exceed this.
Since the search engines like content, the longer the product description, the better, and a skillful catalog copywriter will increase the word count with clear, benefit-ripe copy that addresses all the questions and concerns of the customer.
If you’re still scratching your head as to how long your descriptions should be, you may want to do some testing on conversions to see which lengths perform better.
2. Don’t copy content from other web sites.
This practice is seen fairly often online and it does search rankings no favors. Search engines penalize this behavior. (Don’t have the time to create fresh content? Maybe you should consider hiring a freelance catalog copywriter…)
In a similar vein, don’t use a manufacturer’s copy, either. They’ll distribute content to various online catalogs and all that duplicate content gets punished by Google. Also, manufacturer’s copy is frequently less than adequate from a selling viewpoint.
3. Take full advantage of product reviews.
Fresh content. We hear these words constantly in SEO discussions. Product reviews can provide that cherished, new content…for free. And, depending on which source you check, shoppers are purportedly influenced by online reviews from 80 percent on upwards. They seek out reviews prior to making purchases. If a site doesn’t allow for reviews, it’s missing a huge chunk of the action.
The continuous generation of content from product reviews keeps the search engines coming back more frequently, a boost to any online catalog’s SEO efforts.
And from a copywriting perspective, product reviews offer tons of insight directly from customers, which can be spun right into a product’s copy.
Every catalog copywriter who writes product descriptions for online catalogs can contribute to a catalog’s SEO strategy by implementing these three simple tips.
Suzanne Quigley - Copywriter