3 Common Product Description Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Strong, SEO-optimized product descriptions are key to finding success in online sales. Here are a few mistakes retailers make with their product descriptions and how to avoid them. 

Katie Caron
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(Photo: Pexels)

Strong product descriptions on your site can make the difference between an abandoned cart and a final sale. Since online shoppers rely on strong, descriptive content to feel confident in their purchases, it’s important for retailers to devote focused attention to how they’re approaching their product pages.

Here are three common product description mistakes retailers selling online make and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Using the manufacturer description

We get it — it’s tempting to simply copy and paste the manufacturer’s product description from an email onto your site. It’s the easiest route, but it’s likely that many other retailers have done the same thing with those exact products. Since search engines like Google reward unique content in search results, you’ll want to create unique product descriptions that will stand out from the crowd. If you don’t, your SEO could take a hit for the lack of unique content.

On top of the SEO benefits of writing unique descriptions is the fact that manufacturer descriptions aren’t always the best. With a little time and effort, you can use the manufacturer details to write something even better.

When writing descriptions, think of your target audience, the applications of the product and how you want to frame it. Is the item ideal for small or large spaces? Contemporary or Traditional spaces? Why? Let your voice and expertise come through and paint a picture for the reader of what makes the product unique and how it would be incorporated into a space.

2. Duplicate content

Duplicate content is exactly what it sounds like: content that exists in more than one place on the Internet. Let's say you have a sofa that comes in three different fabric colors. You don't need a page for each color, especially if the only thing changing on that page is the photo. Because of these duplicated pages, search engine spiders will have a hard time properly categorizing your content under the right URL. They need to be able tell how to classify your content, and duplicate content muddles that process. This ultimately amounts to a hit to your SEO.

Duplicate content can stem from a variety of causes including multiple pages for the same product’s color and size variations, printer-friendly pages and other technical issues and URL quirks. It can also stem from using manufacturer descriptions verbatim, which we've already covered. 

Google Search Console is a great tool to use to see if you have any duplicate content issues. If you check Search Appearance and then click HTML Improvements, you can see what pages have duplicate content. If you find that duplicate content seems to be an issue on your product pages, it might be time to bring in a web developer to remedy whatever is causing it.

3. Poor keyword targeting

If you want your product pages to climb to the first page of search results, focusing more on keyword research can help get you there. Search engines use keywords to rank pages, so the stronger your keywords, the higher your product page ranking.

When researching keywords, pay attention to what consumers are searching for and the specific search terms they’re using. It’s also important not to neglect long-tail keywords, which consist of a few words that are very specific to what you’re selling. An example of a long-tail keyword would be something detailed like "white tufted leather Art Deco sofa." You could include the brand name or product model number if you want to get more specific. If a consumer is searching for a specific product rather than a generic term like “white couch,” long-tail keywords will help them land on your site if you've targeted them properly. While long-tail keywords get less search traffic, they often have a higher conversion value since people are often searching for the item they want to buy.

For more comprehensive details on improving your keyword research game, be sure to check out this handy guide.

What steps do you take to make sure your product pages are fully optimized? Let us know in the comments!

Photo: Pexels

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