If you are doing SEO for ecommerce website, you may well know that product pages are notoriously difficult to rank in the search results. Search engines tend to prefer the kind of informational, text-heavy content that addresses more comprehensive questions, while product pages often focus on quickly communicating what a product is good for and making it easy to purchase.
How do we expand on our product page content in a way that is useful to buyers while also giving the search engines what they want? Here are five suggestions.
1. Revamped Manufacturer Copy
Product descriptions provided by manufacturers are the bane of the e-commerce site’s existence. From an SEO perspective, they can tank your uniqueness score and push you off of the front page. Meanwhile, the manufacturer copy itself isn’t necessarily optimized for conversions without fine tuning on your part.
Reworking your product descriptions to give them more personality, branding, and conversion potential can be a great way to tackle these issues head-on and separate your listings from those of your competitors.
Let’s consider how the rankings for “Roku Express” are impacted by how unique the product descriptions are for the e-commerce sites on the front page. Here’s how the e-commerce sites show up in the SERP:
Nothing shocking about the first two results. Of course, Roku would be ranking for its own brand name.
How about Target and Walmart? Why might they be sitting at the bottom? Let’s have a look at the product descriptions of Roku Express for on the Target and Walmart listings:
A quick glance reveals that aside from some white space and moving some things around, the content on both of these pages is the same
Okay, working our way up the SERP, why might Best Buy be performing better? Let’s take a look at the product description there.
That’s right, it’s not the same recycled content, and in this case, neither is what you’ll find on the Amazon page, which ranks higher than anything but the Roku site itself:
Unique copy sets you apart from other search results. The product copy found at Walmart and Target is replicated across thousands of sites, so it’s no surprise that these pages would be underperforming:
Meanwhile, Best Buy’s copy is replicated across only hundreds, so it isn’t surprising that it would perform better than Walmart and Target, because it is more unique:
While it certainly takes more effort to revamp the manufacturer content, it is well worth the effort to up your uniqueness score.
2. User Reviews
According to a survey of 2,000 consumers conducted by BloomReach, about 55% of shoppers start their product research at Amazon. Similarly, a survey by Salsify found that 51% of consumers trusted Amazon to provide the most useful product information.
Salsify’s study also suggests that the readily available customer reviews at Amazon play a very big part in why they might feel that way:
Eighty-eight percent of customers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations, and research out of Northwestern University tells us that even a sprinkling of bad reviews helps sales, with an average score between 4.2 and 4.5 performing even better than 5-star reviews.
But the benefits aren’t limited to conversion rates and brand perception. A study by Yotpo found that, for 30,000 businesses, organic search traffic increased from under 5.5k to over 7.5k over a nine-month period.
Why? A study by SerpIQ famously found that a typical top ranking link in Google was about 2500 words long:
Allowing for user reviews on your product landing page gives the search engines more information to work with, and since users trust that user content more than anything you can produce, it’s exactly the kind of content the search engines want to rank.
3. Q&A and Forum Sites
Experienced SEOs know that the majority of search traffic lies within the long tail. By anticipating queries that won’t show up in the Google Keyword Planner, you outrank competitors who aren’t even monitoring these queries, building a steady stream of evergreen search traffic.
How can you determine what questions people will have about your products in order to flesh out your product pages? Q&A and forum sites are a gold mine for this kind of information.
Quora alone has 20,000 search results on the topic of Levis:
People use Q&A sites in a manner, not unlike search engines. They type in questions looking for answers. Most of those questions won’t turn up in a keyword tool, but you can bet people are searching for them.
Having the answers to these questions isn’t just good for capturing long tail search traffic, it’s also a way to anticipate and overcome objections, to address questions your shoppers didn’t even know they had when they arrive on your landing pages.
Solid marketing is based on what we call “the problem-solution” formula, an approach in which we identify a problem our audience deals with and offering them a product as the solution to that problem. From an SEO perspective, that means focusing on ranking for problems buyers want to solve with products, not just the products themselves. Collecting these questions together and answering them comprehensively obliterates the kinds of information gaps that prevent people from buying.
4. Social Media Content
Social media embeds make it possible to include social media posts right on our product pages. This opens up a few interesting possibilities:
- Embedding posts from customers who liked the product
- Embedding posts about the product that have received positive traction for social proof
- Posting a social media embed of a product video rather than just the video, making it easier for the video to get shared
- Posting Instagram or Pinterest embeds of the product rather than just images, in order to increase sharing of the product image
Engaging with these techniques across an entire e-commerce site would likely be overwhelming, but leveraging social media content on your most prominent product pages will help keep them relevant in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
To see this in action, Embed Social is a tool designed to allow you to aggregate reviews from various platforms and embed them on your site, and their testimonial page demos how that works for them:
While testimonials might seem a little old school in a world of user reviews, they do still work, especially when it comes to product pages that are struggling to pick up a significant number of user reviews on their own.
Testimonials that perform well tend to:
- Show the person’s face
- State clearly the problem that the person was dealing with
- Share something specific about how the product helped them
- Depending on the product, the person is an expert on subjects related to what the product is solving
Consider these BioClarity testimonials, for example:
Notice the last two testimonials especially. They don’t stop at saying it got rid of their acne. They get more specific and say how it has changed their skin, and provide a bit of context.
Unlike with reviews, testimonials require you to contact people directly and ask if they would be interested in being featured in a testimonial. In some cases, you can write the testimonial for them, provided they consent to this. However, I would only advise doing this if you know something of their story because the personal details are what really make the testimonial work.
Use these suggestions to build out your product pages and give them an edge over your competitors. The changes will improve your performance in the search results as well as help your shoppers through the purchasing process.