Edwin is a strategic content specialist. Before joining Yoast, he spent years honing his skill at The Netherlands’ leading web design magazine.
Product descriptions can make or break a potential sale in your online store. Badly written ones decrease trust — making it harder for customers to pull the trigger on the sale. Plus, depending too much on descriptions provided by the producer is a no-go. But how do you write good product descriptions and how do you apply them to your WooCommerce online store? There’s a handy plugin that can help you write product descriptions: WooCommerce SEO.
Table of contents
What is a good product description?
A good product description describes a product in an attractive way and is written with the proper audience in mind. It differs from stock descriptions that appear on every other site and are tailored for your business. It uses proper, easy-to-understand language — without overusing that language and reaching for hyperbole and superlatives.
To describe your products in such a way that it appeals to potential buyers, you can look at several marketing theories for help. Try to think of your products and see if you can write about them with the problem/agitate/solve copywriting formula in mind, for instance. Or use the age-old AIDA model or something like the feature/advantage/benefit one. So, don’t list features but list benefits to the consumer.
Solve that problem, offer that solution
Here’s an example of an intro written via the problem/agitate/solve formula:
- Problem: Maintaining content is hard, especially when you have to update old content that is no longer relevant or in line with SEO standards.
- Agitate: It is almost impossible to find the time to do everything you have to do, and rewriting outdated content is often seen as a chore.
- Solution: The Yoast Duplicate Post plugin for WordPress makes content management easier thanks to the Rewrite and Republish feature. You can update or rewrite existing posts in just a few clicks.
Writing like this gives you that “hmm, I have that exact same feeling”, while also getting a solution to those problems. Of course, this doesn’t work for all products out there, but still. One of the most important things to remember is that you are offering a solution and not a product — find a way to communicate that solution in a way that makes it a no-brainer for the consumer to want it.
We have a post with seven tips to improve your product descriptions that dives into more detail on that. Of course, our new ecommerce SEO training course has a lot more on how to turn your online store into a money-making machine. In the post you are reading now, we’re showing you how the WooCommerce SEO plugin can help you write better product descriptions for your online store.
WooCommerce SEO has a dedicated product-analysis
WooCommerce is one of the leading platforms for online stores. It works very well, but there are some things to improve upon. To help with that, we’ve come up with the WooCommerce SEO WordPress plugin. Recently, we’ve added product-focused SEO and readability analyses to it which helps you write a product description that is both SEO-friendly as well as buyer-friendly.
The plugin has always used the analysis found in Yoast SEO but that one was not tailored to product descriptions. You have to remember that a blog post is not the same as a product description — both have different rules. Now, we have a way to check product descriptions in WooCommerce SEO. This one uses different ranges to score your product content on and even some new product-specific checks.
For instance, it checks if you use lists in your descriptions and if you haven’t forgotten to fill in your short description. It also loses some checks that don’t make much sense on product pages. One of those is the internal links check because you want to keep it on the product page to buy the product and not send them to another page.
Of course, WooCommerce SEO comes with a lot of other cool stuff. For instance, the plugin comes with a Google preview, especially for products. This means that you get a feel for how your product will look in Google’s SERPs — reviews stars and all. It also improves the product schema structured data of WooCommerce, making it easier for Google to understand your products. If you combine it with Yoast SEO Premium you’ll also get the additional features from that plugin as well
Help your online store stand out!
Get this and much more in the Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin!
Inspect the product-specific SEO analysis
As an avid user of Yoast SEO, you’ll feel right at home. And, if you are a user of WooCommerce SEO you’ve probably written quite a few product descriptions following the feedback you get from the bullets. But, as of WooCommerce 14.4, that feedback has been tailored to products.
The new product analyses in WooCommerce SEO look just like the one you’re already familiar with
Focusing on improving the readability of your product descriptions will pay off. No one wants to read about your solutions in a language that Shakespeare wouldn’t even understand. Simple language is inclusive language. After all, the goal of those descriptions is not only to be found by search engines but more importantly, to get people to buy the stuff.
The readability checks in WooCommerce SEO help you make your content easier to read. Easier to read equals easier to understand equals easier to act upon.
To make the readability analysis make sense for product pages, we made some changes. In a blog post, having loads of content might make more sense than in a product description. So, WooCommerce SEO works with smaller ranges than Yoast SEO. For instance, the text length check now has a minimum of 200 words on one product page. And the subheading assessment only comes into action over 300 words. These kinds of changes make the analysis much more useful for products.
All of these checks and the corresponding feedback help you to produce better product descriptions.
While the readability analysis aims to improve the content itself, the SEO analysis aims to make that content findable by search engines. Plus, it checks whether you have included everything Google needs to understand and present your site properly.
In the SEO analysis, you’ll find checks for images and image alt text, text length, meta description usage, subheading use, and much more. It also includes several keyphrase-based checks like keyphrase distribution, keyphrase density, keyphrase in introduction et cetera. These serve as a reminder for you to see if you’ve used your keyphrase properly in all the right places.
How to optimize product descriptions in WooCommerce
By default, WooCommerce doesn’t come with special SEO options to improve your product content. Using Yoast SEO, you get the standard SEO analysis, but only with WooCommerce SEO, you’ll get the special product-specific analysis. So, let’s get to meet that analysis — here’s how to optimize product descriptions in WooCommerce SEO.
- Add a new product, fill in the product name, and set a focus keyphrase in Yoast SEO The road to the ultimate product description can start with a new product or an existing one. Be sure to add a proper name for your product and — in many cases — you’ll also use that product name as a focus keyphrase to have WooCommerce SEO analyze and improve your product content.
- Fill in the rest of the product data — don’t forget the product identifiers! Keep filling in the product data and add anything that makes sense for your product. Please don’t forget the product identifiers — if you have them –, because Yoast SEO will output these in the product structured data. Not adding these might lead to warnings in Google’s Rich Results Test tool.
- Add product categories and tags Your product has to fit into the proper category to be found by consumers. Find the categories and/or tags you want to add your product to and pick the correct one.
- Set a product image Product images are essential to help sell your product. First, add a proper product image from the sidebar and later on, you can add other images. WooCommerce SEO checks the availability of images in your product listings. In addition, it also checks if you’ve added an alt text and if you’ve added the focus keyphrase to that alt text. You’ll notice that the product image immediately appears in the Google preview as well.
- Write an enticing short description for your product Many WooCommerce themes use the so-called product short description as an intro to the product page, for instance. Or, you can add it to different places yourself, using a shortcode. The WooCommerce SEO plugin will check if you’ve filled it in and if the short description has a decent length. You can’t forget to add one ever again!
- Write a great product description Time to start on that description. Use the insights you gained to write a description that properly ‘sells’ your product. Keep in mind that you are offering a solution to the issues a consumer has. Use language they are using and make it easy to read. Keep it simple and don’t use too much hyperbole and exclamation marks. Don’t shout, simply convey your solution.
- Be sure to follow the SEO tips from Yoast SEO to optimize the description Keep SEO in your mind while writing your descriptions. Make sure that you are using your product name and focus keyphrase enough in the text, but don’t overdo it — you don’t want to be spamming Google. Use the keyphrase in all the important places, WooCommerce SEO will remind you of that. The one in the screenshot still needs some work.
- Don’t forget to improve the readability The readability analysis keeps an eye on how you use transition words in your text. In other words, how you make your sentences flow and how they connect your different thoughts. Using transitions words properly makes a text flow naturally and speeds up understanding. The same goes for passive voice usage. Use a lot of passive voice in your content makes it sound distant. Use the active voice to make the structure of sentences less complex and more inclusive. The readability analysis also looks at text hierarchy. Are your paragraphs short and sweet — and your sentences as well? Do you use subheaders to break up the text into bitesize chunks?
- Use a list to make the description easy to scan The plugin will check if you’ve used a numbered or unnumbered list in your product description. Lists are a great way to make information scannable and they are a welcome addition to your product pages.
- Add more images — don’t forget the alt-text! As said, images sell your product so you can never have enough of them. We look at the number of images in your product description and warn you if you haven’t added enough of them. The WooCommerce SEO plugin also checks if you’ve added a proper alt text to make the images more accessible.
- Fill in a nice meta description and SEO titles You want your product to stand out in the SERPs and one way to do that is by making sure that your product title and meta descriptions are enticing. Get people to click on your page and not the one by your competitor. You can use the standard template or write a specific SEO title for your important products.
- Check the Google Preview — adjust if needed Another awesome tool in WooCommerce SEO is the Google Preview. This preview shows you exactly how your product might look in Google’s search results — including an image, ratings, price and stock availability. See if this is what you want and make adjustments where necessary.
- Do a final check of your product Filled everything in? Happy with how you are describing — or, rather, selling — your product? Good! Do a final check to make sure that all the advice has been followed, and that your Google preview looks great. See anything you can improve, go change it. If not, hit Publish and show your product to the world.
Write awesome descriptions in WooCommerce SEO
Hopefully, this post gave you a good idea of how to improve your product descriptions using WooCommerce SEO. Keep an eye on the feedback and you’ll get a feel for what the plugin is looking for. Keep in mind, not every single bullet has to be green. Sometimes, you want to make your own decisions and that’s fine! Just make sure that the overall scores are green, as you see in the screenshot above.
Coming up next!