7 ways to improve product descriptions in your online store • Yoast

Nowadays, it seems everyone and their mother have an online store. Platforms such as WooCommerce and Shopify make it easy to start one, so why not? But creating a shop doesn’t equal success. There are many moving parts before you can celebrate sale after sale. One of those is writing great product descriptions.

Why improve the descriptions of your products?

Two of the most important tools you have at your disposal to sell your products are product photography and writing product descriptions. An online store has to work extra hard to make products on its product pages tangible for its customers. Customers can’t handle your products in the flesh, so they have to make do with a description and imagery — so these better be great!

Unfortunately, many ecommerce sites don’t take this to heart. There are a lot of opportunities for online stores to improve their offerings. That also means there’s a lot of room for forward-thinking online stores to conquer the market. Whatever you do, there’s always a chance to improve your product descriptions. Don’t rely on tedious and standard stuff!

Do you need more reasons to improve your product descriptions? Good product descriptions help you:

  • Communicate benefits more clearly,
  • establish a voice,
  • improve customer experience,
  • increase the chance of ranking your product in the search results,
  • get higher conversion rates,
  • get more return customers/build relationships,
  • create trust.

See what we mean?

Use Yoast WooCommerce SEO or Yoast SEO for Shopify

Before we get into how to improve your product descriptions, we want to mention that we offer some awesome ecommerce tools: our WooCommerce SEO plugin and the Yoast SEO for Shopify app. These add-ons help you maximize the performance of your online store. Plus, as a bonus, you’ll also get access to Yoast SEO academy, including our ecommerce training course, and if you’re using Shopify, our Yoast SEO for Shopify course, too!

In both the WooCommerce plugin and the Shopify app, you’ll find an analysis that gives you feedback you can use to optimize your product pages. This analysis specifically aims to improve your product content and the SEO of your product pages. It enables you to build unbeatable product pages that are ready to get ranking.

We have more detailed articles about product descriptions on each platform. So, if you’re interested, you can read more about writing great product descriptions with WooCommerce SEO or how to write great product descriptions in Shopify.

1. Always focus on your customer

Step number one in almost everything SEO is doing keyword research. The same goes for improving product descriptions. You need to know the product, the customer, and how they write or talk about this particular product. You need to know how the customer comes from realizing a need to buy a product from you: the user journey.

It might be that the manufacturer came up with a snazzy name and description that in no way aligns with the consumer’s thoughts about this product. A particle destroyer doesn’t scream vacuum cleaner, right? Don’t amplify that; keep it sensible and understandable.

Doing keyword research for products also gives you an idea about how to discuss products — not just which words to use. Find out the real value of the product and use consumers’ way of talking to communicate that.

2. Don’t rely on generic text from manufacturers

It’s easy to use the descriptions provided by manufacturers. The content is in the data set, so why not use it? Well, you shouldn’t use that default description for a couple of reasons. One, many other online stores selling the same products use these descriptions. Two, many other online stores selling the same products use these descriptions. See duplicate content!

Standard manufacturer descriptions are abundant in the search results

It’s hard to stand out if you are like everyone else. Of course, it’s hard for some products to come up with a description that accurately describes the product in your unique way. Plus, you might have many slight product variations, causing frustration in writing those individual descriptions. Still, if there’s only the possibility of writing something that stands out — go for it.

In researching, search for your product in Google and see which competitor comes up. Analyze their writing and see how you can top that.

3. Don’t write for search engines (but do)

One of the most important things to remember is that you are writing for humans, not machines. Of course, writing a good product description makes it easier for search engines to understand it, but that shouldn’t be your goal. You aim to communicate the product’s value to customers and sell it as a solution.

Doing keyword research will give you an idea of which terms a product ranks for — and you know what people use to describe it. Combining these helps you write great product descriptions that can work well for search engines and consumers!

Don’t forget to use Yoast SEO to prepare your product pages for the search engines; if your site runs on WooCommerce, you’ll enjoy our WooCommerce SEO add-on. If you want to broaden your horizon and increase the chance of your site turning up in Google, you could start blogging on your ecommerce store.

4. Focus on solving the user’s pain

It’s easy to list a selection of plusses you think fit the product well. Maybe add some specifications while you are at it. But, then you might end up with a product description written from your perspective and not the consumer’s. What are they gaining from using your product? What’s the solution? How do you plan to solve the user’s pain?

An example

Remember, you are not selling dental picks, but you are selling a solution for bleeding gums. Sometimes, consumers don’t even know the product name they are looking for — they want to fix their problem. Selling your dental picks as simply that might mean missing out on the people looking for a quick and easy way can help them reduce their woes.

Look at the difference between these two product descriptions. The first one is generic:

Introducing our high-quality Dental Picks! These dental tools are perfect for maintaining oral hygiene and keeping your teeth clean. With their durable construction and ergonomic design, our Dental Picks are a must-have for anyone looking to improve their dental care routine.

Featuring a sleek and compact design, our Dental Picks are easy to use and provide effective cleaning between teeth. Made from premium materials, they ensure durability and longevity for long-lasting use. Whether you’re at home or on the go, our Dental Picks are the ideal companion for maintaining a healthy smile.

Upgrade your dental care routine with our Dental Picks today and experience the difference for yourself!

The second example focuses on the benefits that dental picks have for the user:

Are your bleeding gums causing you discomfort and frustration? Say goodbye to oral woes with our innovative Dental Health Solution Kit. Designed to provide a quick and easy way to reduce bleeding gums, our kit is your ultimate solution for achieving optimal oral health.

Unlike traditional dental picks, our Dental Health Solution Kit goes beyond simply cleaning teeth. It is specially crafted to target the underlying causes of bleeding gums, effectively soothing irritation and promoting gum health. With our kit, you can finally experience the relief you’ve been searching for.

Don’t let the pain of bleeding gums hold you back from enjoying a confident smile. Our Dental Health Solution Kit is here to rescue you from your oral troubles. Take the first step towards healthier gums and a happier you.

Focussing on the user intent makes it possible to uncover those problems and helps you offer solutions with your product.

The new Renewal toothpaste by Colgate does set out to solve those bleeding gums

5. Stay away from cliches and avoid using superlatives

Calling every product the best will achieve the opposite — nobody will believe anything anymore. Words have power, but you must learn how to wield that power. Think carefully about which words you use because, most often, less is more. Omit needless words. By using stripped-back language, that single power word can do the job. Of course, if your products have won awards or other accolades, you can brag about it — please do so tastefully!

The same goes for cliches in your writing. Don’t use cliched language if a regular text can do the job. Keep in mind that not everyone knows the same idioms as you do. Keep your content easy to understand, easy to scan, and easy to remember.

Sticking with the dental picks example, please don’t do this:

Looking for a game-changing solution to keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape? Look no further than our revolutionary Dental Picks! These bad boys are the ultimate weapon in the fight against plaque and gum disease.

With their cutting-edge design and precision-engineered tips, our Dental Picks are like a knight in shining armor for your oral health. They effortlessly glide between your teeth, removing stubborn food particles and banishing plaque with the power of a thousand suns.

But wait, there’s more! Our Dental Picks are as versatile as they come. They can tackle the toughest tartar, defy the most challenging cavities, and make your teeth shine brighter than a Hollywood smile. Say goodbye to boring dental care routines and hello to a dazzling, award-winning smile.

Experience the dental pick revolution today and join the ranks of satisfied customers who have witnessed the magic firsthand. Don’t be fooled by imitations, choose our Dental Picks for a smile that will leave everyone speechless!

Helly Hansen’s jacket might bring in awards, but this description is nearly indecipherable
Dickies gets straight to the point with a list of the most important features, supported by icons that you can quickly scan

6. Make it personal

Not every piece of text has to be boring and distant. You can use your voice and make it more personal. Develop your tone of voice and stick to it! It makes you recognizable and helps your branding, making you stand out from the crowd.

Keep in mind that you are not simply selling a product to a person, but you are selling an experience. And, since you want that customer to return sometime soon, it better be a good experience!

J. Peterman’s unique voice comes through loud and clear

7. Use user stories and examples

It shouldn’t always be you who tells the story of a product — the best seller of your product is someone who bought it already. Ask your customers for input and use their insights to enhance your content. You might even incorporate their stories in your product descriptions.

Use visual and textual examples of your product in use by actual customers. This gives potential customers a better feel for the product, its benefits, and usage.

Improve the product descriptions for an online store

In this article, we’ve highlighted seven ways to write better product descriptions for your ecommerce site — be that a Shopify or a WooCommerce site. Of course, there are many more ways of doing that, but with these simple tips, anyone can improve the marketing copy of their products. Looking for more ecommerce SEO tips? We have an ultimate guide on ecommerce SEO that touches on many subjects. Or, if you’re using Shopify, you might want to read our ultimate guide to Shopify SEO.

Read more: Write great product descriptions with WooCommerce SEO »

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