I remember talking to a potential client many years ago who was terribly disappointed with the results from their new eCommerce website.
This particular client had never traded online before, so went onto Google and did all of the required research.
All of this research pointed to the fact that if you really want to make a business work in the retail sector then a fully functional, fully responsive eCommerce website should definitely be part of the armoury.
So far, so good…
What this particular retailer didn’t factor in was the level of work required to really make an eCommerce website sell effectively. It was assumed that the website would just magically generate income without any promotional effort.
This retailer obviously wasn’t thinking like a purchaser, which is what you have to do in order to succeed as an eCommerce retailer.
Same but Different
In a way, an eCommerce website is very similar to a ‘bricks and mortar’ store. Both have stock and in any logically laid out store would have some sort of categorisation. Both allow you to purchase items using a number of different payment methods. That however is where the similarity ends.
In a ‘bricks and mortar’ store, purchasers have direct contact with sales staff and can see, touch and feel products to make sure that they are buying the right thing. Sales staff can answer any questions about the products and help with purchasing decisions.
With an eCommerce store, potential purchasers don’t have access to a sales person and have to rely on the information that you present to them in your website. In this way, everything you present in your website can either help or hinder a sale.
Product pages are especially important to clinching a sale, if the information you present isn’t right here then the chances of getting a sale are very slim indeed.
Getting the Product Level Right
Research has shown time and again that the less steps required to complete a purchase in an eCommerce store, the more chance of completing that purchase ( https://goo.gl/rsw88g ). The same reasoning can be made before the customer adds a product to the basket.
The pages you really want to appear in search engine results are therefore product pages, as this provides the shortest route for a potential purchaser to that all-important product information, just when that potential purchaser is primed and looking for that product.
Product pages should therefore be finely optimised for product level keyphrases including brand, product type and product name.
This optimisation gets purchasers into the page, but that’s not the main reason online retailers need to spend time optimising product pages. Once into a product page, a potential purchaser on your eCommerce website needs to not only find what they are looking for, but be persuaded to purchase that item from your store. This is where product level optimisation really comes in.
Product pages are in reality your virtual salespeople. Visitors to your eCommerce website don’t have the luxury of talking to a member of your staff and with average attention spans dropping thanks to the massive amount of information we are all asked to assimilate every day https://goo.gl/9xW5KL , eCommerce retailers need to make sure that product pages are not only easy to navigate but laid out in an easily digestible form.
Product page content therefore has two different roles. The first is to allow rankings in search engines, preferably in the first few results for a chosen product level keyphrase, the second is to convince any visitors to that page to buy that particular product.
It just so happens that adding a relevant, useful product title alongside well written product description to a product page aids both rankings and conversions, so it makes sense to provide both of these for each and every product in your eCommerce store.
Unique Descriptions for Conversions
Search engines love fresh, unique content. We all know that running an independent retail store is massively time consuming, so it’s understandable that most eCommerce retailers will take the quick and easy route, utilising their supplier’s product titles and descriptions. In 2020 and beyond this is definitely not the way to get top search engine rankings at the product level.
Writing unique descriptions for product pages can give an eCommerce website a major boost in search engine rankings for product titles, but the benefits don’t stop there.
Google in many ways model their search engine’s behaviours on real, human users. The Google search engine dislikes seeing the same old text, images and layouts time and again, exactly the same can be said for any human visitors to your website.
The fact is, if you spend time writing your own product titles and product descriptions, providing the very best information for your users on the products you are offering in your eCommerce store, the more likely you are to sell those products.
My team at Intelligent Retail have proven the concept, to sometimes disbelieving clients that spending the time optimising the product level really can make the difference between mediocre eCommerce results and game changing results that put money in the bank.
Try it for yourself, I’m sure your bank manager will love you for it!
Head of eCommerce
David has been involved with Search Engine Optimisation and web development since 1999 and has spoken at many different retail and SEO conferences including Spring Fair and SES London