How to Write Product Descriptions that Drive eCommerce Traffic
In the modern digital world, people have become accustomed to making purchases — big and small — without having used or touched a product before clicking the buy button. As a result, customers are heavily reliant on product descriptions.
Product descriptions are not only a fundamental element in a marketing strategy focused on creating conversions — they can also be used for SEO.
Not many customers will access your eCommerce shop via direct visit. Most of them will be directed to your product pages via search engines. By creating SEO-rich product descriptions, you’ll have product pages that drive traffic while also creating sales.
On the consumer side of the equation, the need for quality product descriptions is pretty straight forward. As it turns out, 87% of consumers rate product content as extremely important when deciding to make a purchase.
Case in point:
Overstock.com increased traffic by 84% after a month by optimizing product descriptions on their top performing 10% of pages.
All of that said, product descriptions don’t have to be over-the-top. They can be very effective as simple, accurate descriptions of your products.
When writing your product descriptions, there is a lot of room to share your brand’s unique voice: the descriptions can be serious or witty, long or short.
The bottom line is that you need to provide the necessary information to move buyers from thinking it’s a product they might like to knowing it’s a product they want — now.
Let’s dig into how to write product descriptions that drive ecommerce traffic:
Breaking Down the Basics of Product Descriptions
The first step to writing quality product descriptions is writing clear copy. People tend to only read about 16% of what’s on a page, so you want to make each word count. To do this, omit generic and unnecessary words.
When composing copy for your product description, think about who your target audience is, as well as the voice of your brand.
For example, if you’re selling high-end DSLR cameras to professional photographers, you can dive straight into the jargon and the technical aspects of the camera. On the other hand, if you’re selling similar cameras to wealthy, entry-level enthusiasts, you’re going to want to create very different product descriptions.
In situations where you want to pack a lot of information into your product descriptions — or just highlight a few standout features — you should consider using bullet points. They are a highly effective way to guide consumers’ focus.
Encourage scrolling for longer product descriptions with these handy formatting tips from CoSchedule.
That might seem like a lot of information to pack into a product description. However, given that your customers won’t have the benefit of looking at or touching the product in a brick-and-mortar store, you want to provide them with sufficient information to make them feel confident that they know exactly what they’re buying.
Avoid Duplicate Content
If your store has numerous products with slight variations, it can be tempting to use the same description for each product. But the products aren’t exactly the same — otherwise, you could sell them through the same product page.
If you’re making a new product page for a different product, you’ll want to avoid duplicate content issues by writing a modified product description. Duplicate content, in this case referring to more than one product description using the same exact text (or text with minimal variations), can hurt your ability to rank in relevant search.
Along these same lines, if you’re operating a drop-shipping company or any other type of eCommerce store that is selling some other manufacturer’s merchandise, don’t just copy and paste their description of the product. Besides the duplicate content issues detailed above, such product descriptions are often impersonal and filled with industry jargon that might not mean anything to your target market.
Don’t Be Sloppy with Product Descriptions
In addition to learning how to write product descriptions that resonate with your target market, you want to focus on creating error-free copy. This means that your spelling and grammar must be immaculate, as failure for it to be so comes across as unprofessional and casts doubt on the quality of your product.
When it comes to making sales online, trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Even seemingly small spelling and grammar errors can subconsciously trigger mistrust that eventually leads to a lost sale.
But even worse than having a grammatical mistake in your product description is having a mismatch between a description and a product. Salsify’s 2017 “Cracking the Consumer Code” reported that 50% of survey respondents returned an item bought online because it didn’t match the product description on the website.
It’s important to remember that not only is your product description selling your product, but it is also setting the expectations a consumer has about it.
Include a Compelling Call-to-Action
The last aspect of your written product description, but surely not the least important, is going to be a call-to-action. When you craft your call-to-action, you will want to use verbs and power words — purchase, buy, shop — to move people toward completing a sale.
At the end of the day, a good product description will professionally present all relevant details, emotionally connect with the reader, and move a person from simply being a website viewer to a customer.
Making Media Move Your Products
As important as earning how to write product descriptions can be to making a sale, it’s hard to sell a product with only a written product description.
In addition to text, your product page should have photos, videos, or both to help consumers clearly visualize the product. Given that 32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business, do you really want to try to push your product out there without great imagery?
Not only will videos and photos help someone see what they’re considering buying, the images will also stick in their heads for longer. When people hear information, most only remember 10% of that information three days later. However, when the relevant image is connected with that information, retention goes up to 65% — that’s a massive improvement.
Part of the reason that 63% of consumers say they believe product images are more important than product-specific information is because, with photos and videos, you aren’t just selling a product — you’re selling an entire experience.
The good news?
Your customers don’t have to take your word for it; they can see it themselves.
Figuring Out Photos
There are two basic types of photos you can and want to include with your product descriptions: product images and lifestyle images. Both types of photos should be professionally shot and edited, unless you’re running a social media campaign that highlights a consumer out there in the world using your product.
Product photos are essential because they give a buyer the chance to see your product without distractions. These photos allow you to highlight specific details and features of the product.
Your customers don’t have to take your word for it; they can see it themselves.
One particularly useful form of ecommerce product images are 360-degree photos. These photos will enable a user to see what a product looks like from various angles. According to Omnivert, using 360-degree photos increased conversions by 410%.
Unlike product photos, lifestyle photos are selling more than just the product; they are selling an experience and your brand. These photos will show your product at its best — in use. With these images, there is lots of room to answer the 5Ws and H, in addition to all the brand associations you want to create.
About 96% of consumers find videos helpful when making purchasing decisions online.
Along these same lines, three out of four consumers are more likely to purchase something if they watch a video explaining how it works, with 69% of consumers believing that a product demo best assists them when making a purchasing decision.
These statistics alone create a strong argument for including product videos and product tutorials on your product page. However, the benefits of adding video don’t stop there.
In general, videos result in more time on page and are a fantastic way to raise brand awareness, engagement, and social media presence. Additionally, as of the Google Panda search algorithm update, more sites with video content have enjoyed higher search engine ranking.
The bottom line for adding videos to your product descriptions, however, is that they translate into conversions. According to Marketing Land, up to 57% of retailers reported at least a 50% increase in Average Order Value for customers who watch the video on their product pages.
Caring About Customer Reviews
Carving out a place on your product page for customer reviews is essential, as 60% of customers look at online reviews weekly, with 93% saying that customer reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
Buying high priced items online without ever seeing them in person is still daunting for a lot of customers. Because of this, customer reviews are particularly important if you have expensive products. As it turns out, costly items with customer reviews have a 380% increase in conversion rate versus a 190% increase in conversion rate for less expensive items.
User-generated content is another form of customer review (and product image) that you should create room for on your product page. Nielsen Global found that 42% of consumers are more likely to trust a recommendation from another person over branded content.
Creating SEO-optimized Product Pages
When creating your product pages, you want to dial in on specific keywords that are most likely to funnel people who would be interested in your product to your page.
To find success in your journey learning how to write product descriptions, focus on long-tail keywords that consist of more than two words put together. For example, a search for “women’s dress” won’t generate qualified traffic like the more specific query, “women’s plus size black party dress” can.
Use keyword research tools like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer to verify that your website can realistically rank for the terms you deem relevant.
Another trick to optimizing your product pages involves studying your competition. By using an SEO tool like Ahrefs, you can start to get a better idea of how your competitors are funneling clients toward their products and what you can do to get a more significant piece of the pie.
Beyond your content, one of the most important factors for optimizing your product pages is making them load fast.
Slow websites lose customers. In fact, it was calculated that if Amazon loaded one second slower, it could lose $1.6 billion in sales annually.
Though your eCommerce store might not be handling the same traffic or sales volume as Amazon, your customers are still going to expect quick load times. Most site visitors leave a site that takes more than three seconds to load, while conversions can increase by up to 30% for fast-loading sites.
One of the biggest culprits for slowing the loading speeds on websites are large image files. However, images are vital to making sales. So, it’s best to follow best-practices to optimize images for your website. Other ways to boost your eCommerce site’s speed include choosing the right web host, using a CDN, and embracing browser caching.
Of course, there is also plenty you can do in the background to optimize your product page’s SEO, such as constructing meta descriptions, page URLs, and image ALT tags informed by keyword research.
Your meta description acts as a preview of the product description page when it appears in search engine results. It should be fewer than 160 characters and include relevant keywords and phrases.
Your page URLs are also relevant. They should be simple and include keywords that reflect the content of the page. To help Google understand the nature of your content, use the individual words in a keyword phrase, separated by hyphens.
Lastly, you’ll want to include image ALT tags. Though most visitors will not see them, search engines will use them to understand the pictures you’ve included on the product page. ALT tags also help people using screen readers (such as the blind) make sense of your content, so aim to be descriptive (not just stuffing keywords). As strange as it might seem, when a search engine crawls your website, it can’t actually see the images.
Final Thoughts: How to Write Product Descriptions that Drive Ecommerce Traffic
Great product descriptions are essential for finding success with your eCommerce site.
These descriptions must be capable of stepping in and convincing someone to be confident enough to make a purchase, even if they’ve never seen or touched your product in person. Answer the 5Ws and H questions while supporting these efforts with quality images and videos.
By creating compelling, accurate product descriptions, it’s possible to not only increase your conversion rates but drive more traffic to specific product pages.
Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects.