Copywriting for better online retail SEO

DM News published an article titled ‘Copywriting for better online retail SEO‘ by Elastic Path’s VP Marketing (and search enthusiast) Jason Billingsley in their March 30 2007 online edition.

Anyone who has chatted with Jason at a trade show or other event quickly learns that he is passionate about search engine optimization and enhancing usability to increase conversions. Show him your site and, after a quick and calculated look, he’ll rattle off a dozen tips and tricks which will increase your site visibility resulting in more (cheap) organic hits allowing you to reduce spend on (often expensive) Pay Per Click ads while maintaining or increasing your traffic levels.

No, Google is not too worried, but your competition will be worried if you study Jason’s tips and follow them.

Anyhow, the article hands out a big concept which is basically a new way of looking at something you are already doing for your site – writing words. The gist of Jason persuasive case is ‘write how your customers search.’

People search similarly to how they speak. The content created should match closely to the content sought and, therefore, will rank toward the top of the search engine results page.

I find watching people use search engines remarkable due to the words they use to search – more often than not, casual phrases and conversational snippets are the norm rather than one-off, specific word strings like found in a products’ technical specifications.

Jason sets up an example of this:

For example, a typical description of a sheet set may read as follows: ’100 percent cotton, 300-thread count, cross-woven machine washable.’ However, the product will be much more findable, and will rank higher in organic searches, if the name and description contained the same language searchers are using.

The shopper would respond much better to this: ‘These winter white soft bedsheets will whisk you off to a comfortable dreamland every night. No other luxury bedding will make your bedroom as regal as the Queen Collection’s 300-thread count, 100 percent cotton sheet set. The only trouble with a luxurious, warm and comfortable set of sheets like this is having to get out of your dream bed each morning.’

As you see, these words are more persuasive and contain sets of phrases shoppers are actually looking for: white soft bedsheets, luxury bedding, cotton sheet set, comfortable set of sheets, dream bed.

So when writing your descriptions, commit the time and energy to doing it right. Think ti through and write a little story for each product. This seems like a lot of work and it is. Writing isn’t necessarily easy and writing well takes practice and well, … time.

As such, seek advice from experienced writers (freelance if needed) and absolutely talk to people outside of your vertical universe. Talk to your nieces, grandmothers and neighbors to find out how they talk about your type of goods (ergo: a ‘couch’ to one person is a ‘sofa’ to another and a ‘chesterfield’ to someone else). Make sure to get out of your company echo chamber where everyone uses and understands the same industry jargon and parlance. By doing so, you’ll find fresh insight into the ways customers search for what you have. By doing so, you’ll attract more qualified buyers, more cheaply.

Make more + Spend less = Great Success! Start by reading Jason’s tips


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