Making the most of product descriptions for both SEO and UX 2

Making the most of product descriptions for both SEO and UX

Many people see SEO and UX as two separate things, but in reality, it’s a two-way relationship. You’ll find that most of the things which benefit SEO will in turn help enhance user experience. Why is this? Because search engines don’t just care about the keywords on the page, but who is providing the best experience for the user.

  • SEO and UX have a mutual interest when it comes to product descriptions
  • SEO optimised content can disengage the user
  • Engaging, unique and relevant descriptions are a win-win for conversion and SEO

When writing your product descriptions, keep the following SEO and user-friendly recommendations in mind:

Using keywords correctly

Include the name of the product in the description once or twice, and in subheadings. Not only will this help with SEO, but it will help to make it clear what the page is about to users.

Be very accurate when describing the product. For example, don’t just write ‘jeans’, instead write ‘size ten blue denim high waisted jeans with applique detail’. The more descriptive you are the better. This helps show the user what details they can expect from the product and identify the product as exactly what they’re after, therefore helping conversion.

It’s also beneficial for SEO because you are using what’s known as ‘long tail keywords’, which are basically broader terms that people might be searching for. Although long tail keywords don’t bring in as much traffic as the head terms, collectively they can bring in a lot of additional traffic.

Use synonyms, so words relating to the keyword that help to describe the product. For example, rather than just mentioning cars, include ‘automobiles’ and ‘vehicles’. Why? It helps you rank for a range of keywords and queries for SEO, but it also put other thoughts into the user’s mind, helping to sell the product. Users don’t just want to read an article which mentions men’s shoes over and over again, it’s much more enjoyable to read content that’s varied.

Want to know how to write unfriendly product description? Mention the product about 20 times in the text. This is called keyword stuffing, and not only will it get you penalised by Google, it will definitely frustrate the user and make them feel as though you’re pressuring them into buying. Imagine walking into a physical store and asking a shop assistant about a product, and they constantly repeat the product name to you. That would be annoying right?

Duplicate content: Don’t be a copycat

Avoid simply copying and pasting product descriptions from manufacturers. Search engines will consider this duplicate content and penalise you, and savvy users searching for the best price will realise the same description has been used elsewhere. With so many companies selling exactly the same product, it pays to invest in unique, quality product descriptions that stand out from competitors.

Always write unique product descriptions. Duplicate content will get you into trouble with the search engines, and it’s not great for users either. From a user experience perspective, repeating the same thing on every page doesn’t look good, and people catch on quickly, realising you haven’t bothered to write decent copy. A lot of e-commerce sites will just take the same bit of text and adapt it slightly for different products. Avoid doing this, and write completely unique content for each product. Users appreciate unique, well-written content that’s specifically tailored to them.

One or two sentences just won’t cut it

Another common mistake is writing product descriptions that are too short and don’t provide enough detail about the product. Search engines often prefer pages with more content, but you have to strike a balance because users can get disengaged by lengthy descriptions.

The best thing to do to determine the ideal product description length is to carry out A/B user testing. A good length to aim for would be between 100 and 200 words, but it really does depend on the product and sector, so do your research.

Consider adding user generated content. This will keep your product description pages fresh, help your rankings and hopefully improve conversion. Publish product reviews and user stories and blog content to offer a better user experience and help build trust in the product.

Search engines are all about the user

Remember, the main thing that search engines are concerned with is user experience. Search engine giants like Google are all about putting the user’s best interests at heart, and if your product descriptions do this, you can kill two birds with one stone. Not only will users enjoy reading them and be more likely to buy the product, but the search engines will hopefully reward you for your efforts. Writing quality content is a win-win.

Andrew Machin
Andrew Machin

With over 25 years’ experience in UX and digital strategy, Andrew has helped many national and global brands such as John Lewis, Harley Davidson, Johnson & Johnson, and Interflora create exceptional digital product experiences.

Through the success of such projects Andrew has received high-profile accolades that span innovation, strategy, and design, such as the Dadi Grand Prix Award and the Digital Impact Award for Innovation.

This experience has led to Andrew judging digital design awards, been featured in .net magazine, lecturing at Leeds university, and speaking at seminars and conferences across the UK.

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