Ecommerce product pages are some of the hardest hit pages in Google’s Panda series of updates. They serve their purpose, but they often fall short of the quality standards set by the search engines. Their content is thin and they often share content with similar products, resulting in duplicate content flags. To avoid these issues, you need to buff up your content without filling it with fluff.
1. Enhance your Images
Images are a key selling point for users, and while they don’t do a lot for your basic SEO, they still provide an option for image alt text and they serve to make your product page visually distinct. Alt text is particularly important, so make sure you use an optimized sentence or two to describe the product in the image, for Google more than your users. Just make sure you’re not keyword stuffing or writing too-similar robotic content throughout your whole site, or it just adds to the duplicate content problem.
Make sure your images are large and clear. If possible, include several images of the product, from the item itself to the box and any accessories. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to add a fancy 3D product viewer, though in many storefronts this isn’t possible.
When you’re creating product images, one thing you should be aware of is store-wide consistency. You want to make your images have similar display angle, similar resolutions and similar colors if they have backgrounds. Uniformity throughout your side is extremely beneficial.
2. Expand your Descriptions
These days, providing more information about a given product is better than having a concise, nearly blank product page with just the specifications. You should include as much content as you can think to include.
- • Product title. Optimizing your title is important both for the page itself and for the search engines. Users will use the title to judge the product within, so make sure it’s distinct from other products.
- • Item description. A detailed, flowery item description in plain language is best for attracting users. Unfortunately, it’s hard to generate automatically, so you may have to consider hiring a writer to flesh out your product descriptions. A couple hundred words should suffice admirably.
- • Item specifications. An additional section in a table can include all of the specification information, such as color, size, material, battery life or any other technical specification that may be important about your products.
- • The meta description. The meta section of your page is what Google displays in search results, so you want this to be short, concise, filled with value and laced with keywords. It’s difficult to create a perfect meta description, but it’s one of the most important parts of your page content.
3. Normalize Descriptions
The average shopper is a jaded consumer, more than aware of the techniques used by companies to sell products online. Any claim you make about the quality, performance or substance of your product will be taken with a grain or two of salt. Try to normalize your descriptions as much as possible. Don’t claim your iPad cases can resist a bullet if they can’t, but mention they’re fantastic at protecting a tablet from a fall.
The key is to promote your product in a realistic way. If you’re too promotional, your description will be ignored. If you’re too bland and focused on the technical specifications, users will lack the excitement you want them to feel.
Try to keep the writing style consistent throughout your site as well. Having a few product descriptions in a casual second person perspective, while most are in a formal third person, will make the tone shift jarring for any customer that browses from one to the other.
4. Include Reviews and Testimonials
Users love to see what other users have to think about your products. Offer a way for users to submit their reviews of your products once they have purchased them. In some cases, you may receive unsolicited testimonials directly to your customer support address. If this happens, it’s a perfect opportunity to ask the user to post their review publicly on the product page.
Avoid buying fake reviews, as the average user can identify when a review feels off. Likewise, avoid deleting negative reviews. One negative review can be more valuable than a dozen positive reviews, from the user perspective. In many cases, the flaw isn’t something they care about and they may purchase anyway. If you’re hiding negative reviews, on the other hand, your all-positive streak looks suspicious. Furthermore, you run the risk of the original reviewer coming back and calling you out on removing their review.
5. Add Videos if Possible
A tasteful, uncluttered video can be a great promotional tool. You don’t need much; just a 30-second overview of the product, its main features and its purpose. Avoid reading directly from your product description; the search engines don’t pick up on that duplicate content, but the user will and may consider it low-effort. The video itself should be simple, avoiding bombastic in-your-face techniques used by television commercials in favor of a basic depiction of the product.
If you have hundreds of products, producing that many videos can be an expensive and time-consuming task. In these cases, emphasize videos on the most popular products. Use analytics to determine if videos will help boost the sales of your mid-range products, and if so, make videos for them as well. You can always take your time in creating such videos; there’s no reason to rush them out all at once.
6. Consider Product Usage Guides
Guides are an excellent source of evergreen content for content marketing online. With a product usage guide, you provide ongoing value to your customers and can draw in customers from outside of your storefront. Post such guides on your blog and link them in your product description. Make sure you link the product in your guide, to encourage outside readers to visit your store.
Some products suit themselves to guides better than others. Most users won’t need a guide for using your t-shirts, for example. If you sell expensive shoes, a guide for care may be in order. If you sell replacement parts for machine, a guide for replacing that part can go well. Guides for taking care of plants, guides for installing cases and technology accessories and other such product guides can be a valuable boost.
A guide doesn’t necessarily reside on your product page, but it gives you an extra line or two of content for that page. Additionally, a guide description is likely unique on your site, so it provides more unique content for that description.
Once you’ve spruced up your content and added more value, you should see your incoming traffic increase. Unique content is favored by Google, and users will be draw to unique product descriptions. It’s much better than robotically generated minimalist product descriptions.