Oliver Pyper, ClickThrough Marketing’s senior online copywriter, explains why brands should make quality product descriptions a priority.

All too often, online retailers seem to apply pyramid-shaped hierarchy to website content. At the top sits the home page. It’s sharply written, and full of on-the-bullseye brand messaging. It acts as a virtual ‘shop window’ in the Internet Mall, vying for attention in a highly competitive environment.

And so it should. But when you dig further into the site, and step further down the pyramid, the quality of the copy seems to gradually get worse. By the time you reach the bricks at the bottom, the text often offers incomplete information, is rife with grammatical errors and, sometimes, is stolen outright from another site. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the typical fate of product descriptions.

It’s a very unfortunate fate indeed. Bad product copy is a conversion killer, and nicking copy from another site simply makes a brand appear to have nothing new to say or, worse, look like it doesn’t know its own products.

And when you consider that product pages are the point where customers click ‘add to basket’, it makes very little sense that many examples of product copy couldn’t sell a gold bar for gooseberries.

What’s more, many customers will land on a product page via organic search results or a PPC ad – and this may well be their first experience with a site. Often, it’s not the homepage that’s going to grab their attention, but the text that sits alongside a product image. The stuff that gives them the information they need to commit to making a purchase.

So in short, bad product descriptions are bad news.

Good product descriptions, on the other hand, can help products sell themselves. Here’s how:

  • Unique, well-written descriptions get noticed by search engines and customers
  • They give users the information they need to convert
  • They can help improve PPC quality score and get products seen in Google Shopping

Whether you sell one product or 100,000, unique, finely crafted product descriptions can have myriad benefits for SEO, PPC and conversion.

Search engines love unique, relevant content. It’s a huge factor in determining rankings, and a huge part of SEO strategies – especially since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have cracked down on poor-quality, duplicated copy.

Many businesses simply copy short, undetailed product descriptions from other sites. Because Google favours fresh, detailed copy, unique and accurate product descriptions give you an immediate advantage over your competitors.

People love good content too. You’re providing them with well-researched, well-written information that other sites simply don’t. You’re showing that you’ve taken the time to know your products – you’re the expert. Instilling this trust could well be the factor that gets them clicking ‘buy’.

Good product descriptions act as highly relevant landing pages for PPC ads too. This can mean better quality scores, lower costs per click and improved click-through rates.

Product listing ads

For years, Google Shopping was free. Now the product search service is shifting to product listing ads. These are managed like PPC campaigns, and you have to pay when a user clicks your ad.

And like PPC ads, the text on the product landing page affects how much you pay per click, where your ad appears in results, and other factors.

For this reason, it’s more important than ever to make product copy a priority.

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About the author:

Oliver Pyper is senior online copywriter at ClickThrough Marketing. He writes on-page content, blogs, press releases and loads of other bits and pieces too numerous and brilliant to mention. He’s also responsible for Kate Bush: The Musical and a series of videos depicting a young man’s search for energy drinks in New York City. Drop him a line if you want to talk content solutions or Kate Bush.