Can You Spell SEO? Webstore Writing That Shows Up – Part 1

March 4, 2016

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

You’ve seen it. Most e-commerce website content is industry jargon, the manufacturer’s content copied verbatim or non-existent. Nothing stands out, everything’s the same, and you begin to wonder why you’re not ranking higher on search engines.

With the onset of Panda, Google  doesn’t rank standard manufacturers’ content or other types of copied or “thin” content as high as pages with high-quality, unique content.

So what’s a retailer to do?

Glad you asked! In this two-part series, we’ll walk through eight ways to drive attention and traffic to your website.

1. Provide a Complete Picture

Remember that users have one of two main goals when visiting a website: purchase or research.

To satisfy both these aims, you can’t afford to give the manufacturer’s standard content information.

Let’s say you’re selling Hobo bags, and all you put on your product pages is a price and a picture. Well, everyone has a price and a picture. Why should Google rank you higher, and why should a shopper go with your site instead of the next site with a price and a picture?

The moral: Give details! Let people know what your bag is made of, the dimensions, the colors, who would love this bag and more. The Panda algorithm also decreases your chances of showing up at all in the top results if you use recycled product descriptions or unoriginal content.

TL;DR: Build out a full product description with lots of details. Let people know what they’re buying.

2. Key In on the Keywords

Include words that people actually use when they search. Key phrases like “blue bag” and “hobo bag” can be included if your product is a “blue hobo bag.” But you need to be careful not to repeat the same keywords and key phrases several times. This is called “keyword stuffing,” and Google will penalize you for it. These days, with Google transitioning to more of an intention-based search, you don’t need to overuse keywords, anyway.

Furthermore, both readers and search engines dislike overly optimized copy. If you’re writing for search engines instead of readers, you won’t rank as high on Google, and your readers will most likely distrust your site.

Your content page is your opportunity to showcase your company’s voice — don’t waste that space by repeating yourself. Be original, and showcase your personality. Nobody likes a spambot: not readers, and definitely not search engines.

TL;DR: Write for readers, not search engines. If you’re writing for search engines only, you’re doing it wrong.

3. Make Those URLs Talk

Using speaking URLs is a great best practice to get into. Speaking URLs  consist of words that a human being would actually say, rather than random letters and numbers, and provide a logical snapshot of how your site is structured. A speaking URL enhances visitors’ understanding of your product by spelling out what the product actually is.

If you use them properly, they can do half your work for you.

An example from a company that sells kegerators:

In this example, visitors know to expect a Beerco brand kegerator for draft beer. Such URLs are frequently reposted by other websites.

Most modern website software will allow you to create SEO-friendly URLs. If you can, do so.

TL;DR: Structure your URLs so that people know what they’re getting even before they reach the product page.

4. Get to the Point

Get to the point of your topic sooner rather than later.

Most users won’t wait around to figure out what you’re trying to say. If your audience can’t decipher your main message in the first couple lines of your copy, you’ve probably already lost them.

Avoid using technical and industry jargon that outsiders wouldn’t understand — along with buzzwords that don’t actually mean anything. (If you’re saying phrases like “maximize your synergy,” you just sound like a robot.)

In-house content writers can easily slip into this corporate-speak while writing descriptions, so make an effort to keep this type of language off your pages. Remember that your shoppers aren’t usually a part of your industry. They either won’t understand the insider jargon, or they’ll feel that your website is trying to trick them in some way. Neither of those is good.  

TL;DR: Be clear and concise. Use easy-to-understand language and keep the buzzwords away.

In part two of this post, we’ll look at four more best practices to help interested consumers find your products.

For a comprehensive look at SEO and how retailers can use it to drive more sales, download A Retailer’s Guide to SEO.

Blog post by Chris Sciulli, SEO campaign specialist, ChannelAdvisor