7 ways to improve product descriptions in your online store

These days, it seems as if everyone and their mother have an online store. Platforms such as WooCommerce and Shopify make it easy to start one, so why not? But, creating a shop doesn’t equal success. There are a lot of moving parts before you can celebrate sale after sale. One of those is writing great product descriptions.

Why would you improve the descriptions for your products?

Two of the most important tools you have at your disposal to sell your products are product photography and writing product descriptions. An online store has to work extra hard to make products on your product pages tangible for your customer. Customers can’t handle your products in the flesh, so they have to make do with a description and imagery — so these better are great!

Unfortunately, many ecommerce sites don’t take this to heart. There are a lot of opportunities for online stores to improve their offerings. That also means there’s a lot of room for forward-thinking online stores to conquer the market. Whatever you do, there’s always a chance to improve your product descriptions. Don’t rely on tedious and standard stuff!

You need more reasons to improve your product descriptions? Good product descriptions help you:

  • communicate benefits more clearly
  • establish a voice
  • improve customer experience
  • increase the chance of ranking your product in the search results
  • get higher conversion rates
  • get more return customers/build relationships
  • create trust

See what we mean?

1. Always focus on your customer

Step number one in almost everything SEO is doing keyword research. The same goes for improving product descriptions. You need to know the product, the customer, and how they write or talk about this particular product. You need to know how the customer comes from realizing a need to buying a product from you: the user journey.

It might be that the manufacturer came up with a snazzy name and description that in no way aligns with the consumer’s thoughts about this product. A particle destroyer doesn’t scream vacuum cleaner, right? Don’t amplify that; keep it sensible and understandable.

Doing keyword research for products also gives you an idea about how to talk about products — not just about which words to use. Find out the real value of the product and use consumers’ way of talking to communicate that.

2. Don’t rely on generic text from manufacturers

It’s easy to use the descriptions provided by manufacturers. The content is in the data set, so why not use it? Well, there are a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t use that default description. One, many other online stores selling the same products use these descriptions. Two, many other online stores selling the same products use these descriptions. See, duplicate content!

Standard manufacturer descriptions are abundant in the search results

It’s hard to stand out if you are like everyone else. Of course, it’s hard for some products to come up with a description that accurately describes the product in your unique way. Plus, you might have many slight variations of a product, causing much frustration in writing those individual descriptions. Still, if there’s only the slightest possibility of writing something that stands out — go for it.

In researching, search for your product in Google and see which competitor comes up. Analyze their writing and see how you can top that.

3. Don’t write for search engines (but do)

One of the most important things to remember is that you are writing for humans, not machines. Of course, writing a good product description makes it easier for search engines to understand it, but that shouldn’t be your goal. Your goal is to communicate the product’s value to customers and sell it as a solution.

Doing keyword research will give you an idea of which terms a product ranks for — and you know what people use to describe it. Combining these helps you write great product descriptions that can do well for search engines and consumers alike!

Don’t forget to use Yoast SEO to get your product pages ready for the search engines, plus, if your site runs on WooCommerce, you’ll enjoy our WooCommerce SEO add-on. If you want to broaden your horizon and increase the chance of your site turning up in Google, you could start blogging on your ecommerce store.

4. Focus on solving the user’s pain

It’s easy to list a selection of plusses that you think are a good fit for the product. Maybe add some specifications while you are at it. But, then you might end up with a product description written from your perspective and not the consumers. What are they gaining from using your product? What’s the solution? How do you plan to solve the user’s pain?

Remember, you are not selling dental picks, but you are selling a solution for bleeding gums. Sometimes, consumers don’t even know the name of the product they are looking for — they want to get their problem fixed. Selling your dental picks as simply that might mean missing out on the people looking for a quick and easy way can help them reduce their woes.

Focussing on the user intent makes it possible to uncover those problems and helps you offer solutions with your product.

The new Renewal toothpaste by Colgate does set out to solve those bleeding gums

5. Stay away from cliches and avoid using superlatives

Calling every product the best will achieve the opposite — nobody will believe anything anymore. Words have power, but you need to learn how to wield that power. Think carefully about which words you use because most of the time, less is more. Omit needless words. By using stripped-back language, that single power word can do the job. Of course, if your products have won awards or other accolades, you can brag about it — please do so tastefully!

Helly Hansen’s jacket might bring in awards, but this description is nearly indecipherable

The same goes for cliches in your writing. Don’t use cliched language if a regular piece of text can do the job. Keep in mind that not everyone knows the same idioms as you do. Keep your content easy to understand, easy to scan, and easy to remember.

Dickies gets straight to the point with a list of the most important features, supported by icons that you can quickly scan

6. Make it personal

Not every piece of text has to be borings and distant. You can use your voice and make it more personal. Develop your tone of voice and stick to it! It makes you recognizable, it helps your branding, making you stand out from the crowd.

Keep in mind that you are not simply selling a product to a person, but you are selling an experience. And, since you want that customer to return sometime in the future, it better be a good experience!

J. Peterman’s unique voice comes through loud and clear

7. Use user stories and examples

It shouldn’t always be you that tells the story of a product — the best seller of your product is someone who bought it already. Ask existing customers for input and use their insights to enhance your content. You might even incorporate their stories in your product descriptions.

Use visual and textual examples of your product in use by actual customers. By doing this, potential customers get a better feel for the product, its benefits, and usage.

Improve the product descriptions for an online store

In this article, we’ve highlighted seven ways to write better product descriptions for your ecommerce site — be that a Shopify or a WooCommerce site. Of course, there are many more ways of doing that, but with these simple tips, anyone can improve the marketing copy of their products. Looking for more ecommerce SEO tips? We have an ultimate guide on ecommerce SEO that touches on a lot of subjects.

Coming up next!

  • Comference online 2021
    Event Comference online 2021 October 14 - 15, 2021 Team Yoast is Sponsoring Comference online 2021, click through to see if we'll be there, who will be there and more! All events we will be attending »
  • Yoast SEO news webinar – August 31, 2021
    SEO webinar Yoast SEO news webinar - August 31, 2021 August 31, 2021 Register for our SEO news webinar in August 2021. Our SEO experts Jono and Joost will talk you through the latest Google and WordPress news. All Yoast SEO webinars »

19 Responses to 7 ways to improve product descriptions in your online store

  1. Yasir Alim
    Yasir Alim  • 3 months ago

    Hey, this helped me a lot.. as I have installed this plugin on my website too. I kept searching for good tips and advice to get my product description with high stars. Thanks a lot

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 months ago

      You’re welcome, Yasir! Lots of luck with your product descriptions :)

  2. creatives1618818791
    creatives1618818791  • 3 months ago

    Cheers to storytelling would always be my go-to whenever we build a client’s product descriptions.

  3. Ainsley
    Ainsley  • 3 months ago

    Wonderful, Thank you for such a concise and pleasant read. I feel much more confident about writing product descriptions now. I imagine there will be a lot less time wasted on head scratching and face palming During shop maintenance!

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 months ago

      You’re welcome, Ainsley! Glad to hear you found it helpful :) Lots of luck with your product descriptions.

  4. Nusrat
    Nusrat  • 3 months ago

    Your article is very helpful for every online store like mine. Just the info I needed!

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 months ago

      That’s wonderful to hear, good luck with your online store!

  5. copperreflections
    copperreflections  • 3 months ago

    Thank you for the great article. We have a handmade jewelry website and everything is made the same way but with different designs. So we try to focus on the designs and also the benefits of buying our jewelry as they are safe to wear and do not require maintenance.

    • Edwin Toonen

      Yeah, that’s a good way to tackle this!

  6. Connie zimmermann
    Connie zimmermann  • 4 months ago

    Best line!!

    “Customers can’t handle your products in the flesh, so they have to make do with a description and imagery “

  7. Connie zimmermann
    Connie zimmermann  • 4 months ago

    Thank you so much for your intelligence, effort and skills in writing this article. It is wonderful and I will try to keep this all in mind as I build my site. Grateful!

    • Edwin Toonen

      No problem, Connie. Glad you like it!

      • Sergey
        Sergey  • 3 months ago

        How about the length of the description, what is the minimum number of words preferable for the description (it is clear that the longer the better, but what is the minimum?)
        Thank you!

        • Edwin Toonen

          Hi Sergey. There is no magic number for product descriptions. Use as many words as it takes to describe your product thoroughly, but don’t write 1200 word essays on it. Of course, much depends on the product. Not every product is as easy to sell.

  8. Evision Altanta
    Evision Altanta  • 4 months ago

    Thank you for sharing. Yes, I agree with all that you have shared. But for better descriptive writing we need to be persuasive for that one must be familiar with rhetoric devices and with keywords too.

    • Edwin Toonen

      You’re welcome!

  9. Mahmudul Hasan
    Mahmudul Hasan  • 4 months ago

    It’s really hard to write product description that unique. There are thousands of product on my store, so it’s tedious task.
    Anyway, Your guide is excellent. It help me lot. Thanks

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 4 months ago

      It is! You could always start with the most important ones and work from there. Lots of luck, Mahmudul :)