Optimize Product Pages & Increase Sales
Whether you are a planning on developing a new ecommerce website, or refreshing an existing site, focus on providing valuable and descriptive content for each product page. Not only will you see better conversions, but you will obtain much higher rankings within the search engines. Let’s face it: many people shop on line to find product details and competitive prices. If you provide them with the details they need to make a buying decision, and a price point in line with the competition, you stand a better chance at converting them into a customer.
Are you thinking...but I am selling a simple widget where we can’t elaborate on details! Believe me, you can find details for any product. Use the basic checklist below to help you come up with creative content for your product line. Feel free to change and adapt this list for your own ecommerce storefront. However, make it a standard procedure to reference this list whenever you add a new product to the site.
This investment of time will not only help with search engine optimization, but with customer usability. Don’t just make the description unique to make it unique, update it with better technical data, benefits, etc…
Product content development checklist
Features – what is the draw to this product; list out the major benefits, features, and specifications
Materials – what is it made of; describe the texture, components, fabric, surface, etc…
Options – what sizes, color, styles, etc… does the product come in-make sure to list out dimensions (width, length, height, etc…)
Add-On’s – what can be used with it, or does it need to function; batteries, extra modules, or devices
Issues – what are potential issues with this product; explore reviews on other sites, or use your business experience to develop the list
Directions – how does it work; include links to user manuals from manufacturer’s sites or write your own manual
Rating – establish a rating system that notifies the customer of its attributes (compared to other products you sell; e.g. durability, taste, ease-of-use, quality, etc…)
Final Thoughts – overall consensus on the product, and recommendations for who it would be best suited for
Focus on quality not quantity. Remember, the better information you provide, the more conversion you will see, and with fewer returns! To see some live examples from sites that have engaging and informative product descriptions check out:
patagonia.com – another great example of a site with rich product descriptions. Interesting product information, detailed specs, and an explanation of the material/technology used in its creation. See Patagonia Men's Short-Sleeved Squeaky Clean Polo Shirt
petco.com – get inspiration from a simple product at Petco and the Air KONG Bowling Pin Tennis Squeaker Dog Toy. Although it is a simple product, there is information on its use, features, and directions.
Are you inspired? Make your own checklist to develop unique content for each of your product pages. Start small with 10-20 of your top selling products.
Now that you have your content developed, use the next checklist to verify the optimization of the product page for search engine ranking.
Product optimization checklist
Take a snapshot of the current sales generated for the product in the last 60 days. You can get this information from your analytics platform, or your sales reports. You can go back further, or compare with previous years. The goal is to set a baseline and compare the end results to this baseline.
Take note on where the product page is listed within the search engine result page. Check the top search engines with your selected product keyword, and see if your product shows up on the first 5 pages. Record your findings; list the date, the search phrase, and the position (if any).
Meta title tag - include specific keywords first. Focus on keeping the title short and succinct. The more keywords you add to the title, the more diluted it becomes.
Meta description tag - add specific keywords to the beginning of this area, and focus on keeping the words to a minimum. Some say 2-3 lines.
Meta keywords – although not as popular as they once were, include 5-10 keywords that you are working to rank for within the search engines.
Add your primary keywords in beginning of the content; e.g. within first 50 words after tag.
Add your primary keywords at the end of content e.g. within 50 words before tag.
Concentrate on keyword density – ensure there are multiple references to your primary keywords throughout the content, but don’t include the keyword just to include it. Make the content flow well, and sound natural.
Make your keywords bold – when possible, bold the primary keyword terms within the content.
Add keywords in the ALT / TITLE attributes of text and graphical links.
Add related products that customers will find of value.
Include links in the content to other products, and cross reference those products to each other. This not only increases awareness, but helps the search engines navigate and index your site pages more efficiently.
Add selected products to the homepage text – this is an optional step, and should be used occasionally when you are working on competitive key phrases. Obviously, you can’t list every single product on your homepage. However, the homepage usually has the most clout with the search engines, and can help your more hidden inner pages earn high ranking.
Add follow up within 2-3 weeks to check status – once you have made all your changes, set a reminder to review your results from step 1 & 2. You should see some increases in ranking as well as sales!
You may also want to add additional photos, videos, reviews, and product feature comparisons to your product pages.
Take the time and try editing/optimizing a handful of your products, and you will quickly see that these recommendations will help your store gain valuable search engine exposure. And even more importantly, help your customer to make the decision to purchase from your store.
Please feel free to leave a comment or question below.
Raphael Duhayon says:
Good article, Luis.
I would encourage all website owners to use web analytics and multivariate testing packages (like Website Optimizer) to improve user experience and sales, and to register and configure their site(s) In Google Webmaster Tools.
I would also add product reviews and ratings to help consumers in their purchase decisions.
Louis Camassa says:
Raphael-analytics and testing is a very important part of the optimization process. Without creating the baseline, you will never know how the changes affect your bottom line.
Product reviews is definitely a standard system that should be in use. However, make sure that you post both the positive and negative reviews of the products so customers get a comprehensive view of all feedback (good and bad).