When you’re setting up or optimizing an ecommerce site, you’ve got tons of things to keep track of, like a business plan, pricing, photography, design, marketing.
After all the set-up, it’s easy to ignore the products you’re selling, which are the real star of the show.
I’ve seen countless websites fail their products in one common way: by not writing powerful, unique product descriptions.
People genuinely struggle to write copy that isn’t boring or generic. But you don’t have to be J.K. Rowling to write good copy.
If you just focus on writing unique product descriptions, you’ll put your ecommerce site well ahead of the competition.
Here are 20 reasons why you need unique product descriptions on your website.
1. Higher Search Engine Rankings
If your content duplicates, steals, or borrows heavily from other sources (like copy and pasting text from a supplier), you will hurt your rankings.
Your site may rank higher, or the supplier’s site may rank higher, or any number of similar sites that have duplicated the copy might rank higher.
If you’re not generating unique product descriptions, you’re taking a gamble.
There isn’t an official penalty from Google for duplicate content. But it muddies up the waters and impacts your search engine rankings.
That’s significant enough to make it worth your time to generate your own original product descriptions.
2. Increased Organic Traffic
The first point, higher rankings on search, can generally lead to more organic traffic.
But unique product descriptions have a broader effect on your organic traffic.
Consider this example:
Say you’re an online coffee seller.
You can either have generic copy that talks a little about the flavor and roast.
But if your product descriptions are unique and optimized around the specific aspects of your coffee – food pairings, regions it’s grown, tips for brewing – then you will capture people whose search intent focuses on those things.
You cast a much wider net.
Making original, high-quality content that adds value to visitors is a consistent way to increase organic traffic.
3. Increased CTR on SERP
Your product descriptions don’t just sell the products on your website.
They can sell your website itself to potential visitors.
When you write unique product descriptions, your website stands out on the search results page.
The SERP is one place where clever, concise copy can bring a massive return on your effort.
Google only displays up to 50 to 60 characters for your title and up to 160 characters for your snippet.
That’s shorter than a tweet.
While you should use the relevant keywords, don’t just “stuff” them in.
Make sure your titles and descriptions are unique and frontload the most pertinent or attractive aspects of your products.
Services like free shipping are also worth including if there’s room.
4. Reduce Costs of PPC Ads
When you write unique product descriptions, you can also write better, more unique pay-per-click ads.
Conversely, if you’re using unoriginal or stock product copy, your PPC ad copy will be limited.
The critical factor here is your ads’ quality score.
By improving the relevance of the bid-upon keyword to its ad group, the landing page experience, and the relevance of the ad text, you can reduce your PPC ad spend considerably.
Unique product descriptions affect all three of those factors.
They influence what keywords you bid on and their relevance to their page.
They also affect the landing page experience.
5. Better Landing Pages for Ads
Speaking of landing page quality, unique product descriptions can make better landing pages for ads.
This improvement isn’t the same as the landing page experience that Google outlines, which includes things like fast load times and mobile optimization.
A better landing page for an ad also means copy and design meant to capture this traffic that you’ve paid for.
Your product descriptions can include persuasive copy that is geared toward visitors coming from paid search.
If you’ve done the work to capture searchers’ intent with the ad, you want to meet their expectations once they’re on your site.
6. Support Your Keyword Strategy
Your keyword strategy is the foundation of your general SEO strategy.
It helps you capture traffic through search intent and plan your paid search ad strategy.
Researching and implementing a keyword strategy is a cornerstone practice.
Yet, if you try to match up a keyword strategy with content that’s not written to accommodate it, your whole SEO plan will be built on an unstable foundation.
You need to ensure the content on your site matches up well with your keyword strategy.
7. Eliminate Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is an essential watch-out for on-site SEO.
It affects many of the points listed so far, like search rankings, PPC ad cost, and landing page quality.
As such, it’s an excellent metric to optimize against in and of itself.
You should optimize your site to have unique content as a rule, but when time and money are tight, it can be seductive to use stock product descriptions.
Resist this urge.
8. Reduced Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is one of the best measurements for how well your product descriptions meet a potential buyer’s expectations.
Bad copy or content that doesn’t match up well with the title and description on a SERP are common reasons why a website has a high bounce rate, too.
Unique product descriptions can reduce your site’s bounce rate, cutting down on the dreaded “pogo-sticking” phenomenon.
9. Improve Return Visitors Rate
Every business loves repeat customers.
This truism is even more true for online retailers.
Return visitors are 70% more likely to add a product to their cart and complete purchases 75% more often.
Leveraging unique product descriptions improves return visits.
In fact, only 8% visit a brand’s website for the first time with an intention to buy.
By writing unique, attention-grabbing copy, your site will make an impression.
It makes it easy for visitors to simply search for your company name or something they remember from the product description to find their way back.
10. More Conversions On-Site
It’s not too much of a generalization to say that stock product descriptions aren’t great.
And even if they are well-written, they’re not optimized for your site layout or purchaser funnel.
Writing unique product descriptions takes your e-commerce site to the next level.
You can speak more effectively to your conversion strategies and integrate your site with the rest of your marketing.
11. Scannable, Skimmable Text
Your product descriptions should almost always be short and to the point.
Users don’t read.
If your product descriptions aren’t written with this in mind, you won’t capture nearly as many conversions as you should.
12. Stand Out From the Competition
If your competitors all drove white Toyota Camrys and you drove a red Tesla Model S, which do you think passersby would notice?
The truth is, many products are very similar to each other.
Or they are to most consumers, at least.
If you don’t have some attention-grabbing sizzle, it will be hard to get your products into buyers’ hands and show them why yours are better.
13. Become the Authority
Authority is a widely misunderstood topic, but its effect is certainly felt in search rankings.
The only way to gain website authority is by getting linked to by high-quality or reputable sites.
The most effective way to build an attractive link profile is by having strong content or high relevance to the sites in your industry that matter.
Now ask yourself if generic product descriptions fall into that rubric?
14. Address Your Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are an important and often neglected part of the marketer’s bible.
While they’re not strictly SEO-related, they represent a part of the operation where SEO and marketing should be closely aligned.
If you want to connect with your essential buyer personas, tailoring your product descriptions is a must.
15. Create Trust With Your Visitors
When you visit a site that looks like it could have been made in an hour on WordPress or Squarespace that uses stock imagery and copy, most people will have their defenses up.
Even if they don’t explicitly realize there’s something that’s making them feel distrustful.
People are experts in recognizing stock photos and content.
If you’ve done the hard work of getting visitors to your site, it’s still easy to lose them if they immediately lose trust in it and bounce off.
16. Go Beyond Describing to Selling
A product description should describe the products, right?
Sure, if your site’s sole purpose is to describe products, then that’s fine.
But if your ultimate goal is sales, then your product descriptions need to sell.
Copy that sells can be broken down into a formula, but either way, it doesn’t come from stock product descriptions.
When you write unique product descriptions, you can leverage some creativity to sell.
17. Surprise & Delight Visitors
Writing truly unique product descriptions allows you to have a little bit of fun.
The capacity for fun varies from industry to industry.
If you’re selling medical equipment, you’ll keep the quirkiness to a minimum.
But if you’re offering consumer goods or products, you can let your personality shine.
Whether your brand is more like Yeti or Everlane, there’s a lot of capacity for your product descriptions to show a little personality and connect with your visitors.
18. Keep Content Fresh
Fresher content can perform better in certain verticals/niches/markets.
If your product descriptions never need to be updated, then you don’t need to update them all the time. (It won’t hurt to update them periodically, though.)
But if your products are seasonal or regularly updated, then you should make sure you keep them up to date with new and unique product descriptions.
19. Reduce Customer Service Load
What if you could get all the benefits of better SEO, higher conversion rates, lower ad cost, and have a positive knock-on effect for your customer service team’s load?
Unique product descriptions can answer customers’ questions before they have them.
When your customers have fewer questions you, can proactively reduce the load on your customer service team.
20. Prevent Exchanges & Returns
Dissatisfied customers are only slightly worse than disinterested ones.
High churn and a high volume of product returns is the death of many a retailer. Exchanges and returns eat up your margin and ding your brand image.
Writing detailed and unique product descriptions is a good way to reduce the number of returns you deal with.
Being clear and upfront about what your products are, rather than relying upon supplied copy or stock descriptions, is the best way to paint an accurate picture for your customers.
- How to Create a Content Strategy for Ecommerce Sites
- A 10-Point Ecommerce SEO Checklist
- 15 Must-Have Features for Ecommerce Sites
Featured Image: Unsplash.com
All screenshots taken by author, April 2020