Growing regional/national to major international brands have a lot of questions about product description page (PDP) optimization.
How much can be automated?
Does it matter if some of them have duplication?
What do we do with variable products that exist on a single URL?
Can I use manufacturer-provided product descriptions?
The problems with product descriptions are then exacerbated with larger product catalogs and more complex technology stacks.
However, with enterprise ecommerce stacks, you can also find opportunities to automate and make quick work of many product description issues.
This is where the PIM (Product Information Management system) can be both an SEO and user experience dream.
In addition to product descriptions, the PIM can help stakeholders influence the user experience and bridge the gap between a user searching for and researching products to complete their purchases.
For many, the PIM is just another part of the tech stack.
But it can improve user experiences and enrich the PDP (Product Details Page) with information important from an SEO perspective, as well.
For this article, I’ll be leaning on a combination of both, as businesses in the ecommerce industry such as Bain & Company have claimed that companies who improve customer experience with tools can increase revenue by up to 25%.
Given that Google is working harder to improve user experiences on the web via Core Web Vitals, Speed, Mobile Friendliness, EAT and more, using the PIM to improve user experience can be more than just adding keywords to the page.
Often, the PIM is also responsible for product imagery, as well.
Sometimes this can be the Digital Asset Management system’s job, but for this article, I’m assuming the PIM handles them.
Automating Product Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
Typically, the PIM will contain several fields relating to the product, including but not limited to:
- Product name.
- Product technical specifications (colors, size, material).
- Product description.
- Product identifiers (SKU, ISBN).
While Google is actively overwriting both elements, they are still processed and cached by Google.
Although only the title tag is factored into “ranking,” the meta description is still important from a CTR perspective.
Utilizing the PIM can also help alleviate duplication issues with title tags and provide better document information architecture for Google.
You can do this by having the front-end platform (the storefront) dynamically use the same information from the PIM as it does to populate the product description page template.
This information can also help Google serve content for hyper-specific queries, and return URLs from your site that are otherwise not in the immediate serving index.
Including more information in the title tag and meta description also helps steer Google to more accurate rewrites of your title tag and meta description.
This helps you avoid accidentally giving the user misleading information and a negative search experience.
Automating Product PDP Descriptions
Many product pages consist of generic product descriptions the manufacturer has likely provided.
Duplicated product descriptions aren’t usually an issue because the content of a PDP is more than just written words. It’s the page’s value proposition in its entirety.
The objective is to make the duplicated description a supporting element of the page and not the focal point.
Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that this doesn’t cause a penalty scenario, and is only an issue when they don’t want to show multiple results by just listing the same content.
The way around this is to use the PIM to add value.
For most queries relating to “generic” products, Google augments the search results to include a mixture of local and online results.
This means that Google has to decide to rank either local or “best” sources with duplicate value propositions.
Most PIMs contain stock data, and most businesses who operate online and offline will have integrations that allow you to include the following information and elements on PDPs:
- Availability in local stores (which you can further personalize if you are logged in to show availability in stores close to their defined location preferences).
- Delivery lead times for home delivery.
- Lead times for in-store pickup.
This gives the page another beneficial purpose and a reason for Google to choose to rank your PDP over others.
Defining Taxonomies & Relationships
In most PIMs, you can define taxonomies and relationships with other products within the database.
This information can then be used, along with personalization elements, to create additional content blocks (and additional value propositions) on the PDP page, giving it additional user value.
You can also use these elements to encourage both cross-sells and up-sells, improve user average order value (AOV), and help select the correct complementary products.
For example, buying a lamp from the page presenting the correct bulb as a related product saves the user time and effort in determining (and searching for) the correct bulbs.
Taxonomies and tags can also be integrated with most internal site searches, so making sure key products and variations are tagged correctly and have accurate taxonomies can help users with product discovery on your website.
The PIM is an underutilized asset in the ecommerce SEO arsenal and can be overlooked or seen as “not part” of the marketing toolkit.
Including PIM stakeholders in marketing meetings with those responsible for extracting PIM information into the ecommerce storefront can help you find opportunities to enhance your product description page’s SEO value further.
It can provide additional opportunities to improve user experience, conversion rates, and AOV, as well.
The more specific and descriptive your product pages, the better Google and other search engines can determine their relevance to queries by highly motivated searchers on the hunt for products like yours.
Use the tips above to maximize the value of your organization’s PIM by putting it to work for your SEO goals, as well.
And if you’re just getting started in ecommerce SEO or looking for a best practices checklist to make sure you’re making the most of all opportunities, you’ll want to check out Ecommerce Product Page SEO: 20 Dos & Don’ts.
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