by Juan Robin II
Looking for actionable information about how to write effective product descriptions?
You’ve come to the right place.
In this 4,000+ word product description guide, we’ll take a look at:
Table of Contents
What Is A Product Description?
A product description is the most important, high-touch marketing copy that helps your website visitors understand whether a product is for them and will influence the outcome of their purchasing decision. This is the perfect opportunity for you to showcase who the product is for and who it isn’t by not only presenting features but also the benefits, in such a way that it will compel your ideal customers to make a purchase.
Sadly, product descriptions are often overlooked and kept very simple or stuffed with generic blocks of text that just describe a product and not only harm your reputation but also affect your website’s ability to rank for a particular keyword.
The great thing is you can do something about it.
While we can’t promise that this guide will help you write the perfect product description for your eCommerce website every single time or your clients’ eCommerce websites, it certainly the best place to start. The truth is that you’ll only learn by actually putting everything in this guide into practice – so make sure all your reading doesn’t go to waste.
The Step-by-Step Process of Writing A Great Product Description
Before we dive into some examples, let’s take a look at what we’ve learned by taking a look at some of the most successful eCommerce stores in the world.
1. Put Yourself in Your Ideal Buyer’s Position
If you would be on the fence, what would you want from a product description?
The best advice that anyone will be able to give you without knowing your situation or saying “it depends”, is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself the following what would I want to know if I’ve never heard of [BRAND] and [PRODUCT]?
2. Focus on Benefits Not Features
Describing your product to your website visitors as if they’re already 100% sold and just want to know more about your product will not result in an effective product description.
Most, if not all, won’t be certain that they need your product once they land on a sales page so you need to make use of the product description as an opportunity to showcase why people need your products, by presenting benefits, not features.
- Noise Removal
- Chatbot integration
- Built-in pockets
- Speak without the noise – be heard by call participants. Remove all background noise.
- Automatically responds to your customers’ questions (and actually sounds like a real human)
- Safely stores your phone, keys, and credit cards while you run
Notice the difference? Not only does talking about the benefits of a product make it easier for potential customers to see the value, but it’s also far less generic and boring than just listing everything that’s included with your product. Although being fully transparent about what’s included should always be a priority, so sacrificing that is not an option.
3. Use Social Proof to Your Advantage
If you were about to purchase a product, wouldn’t know that you’re in the good company put you at ease?
Never fake social proof.
Not only is this highly unethical, but it’s also extremely unprofessional. If you don’t have people happily using your products, don’t mislead people into purchasing them by making it look like you do.
If people haven’t given you direct feedback in the form of testimonials there are still alternative ways to improve the credibility of your product pages. One of which is the popular “as seen on” or “already with us” section that is common on a lot of websites.
You’ve seen it before, almost every website has it.
Knowing you’re in good hands makes you comfortable.
The use of social proof on the Rank Math homepage
No surprises here, the lemlist homepage also has it.
The use of social proof on the Lemlist homepage
And so do thousands of other successful, highly-converting websites.
The use of social proof on the Kali Forms pricing page.
And one final example of social proof on the ContentKing pricing page.
Another slightly different approach is case studies. No, I’m not talking about the kind of SEO case studies you’ll find here on Gotch SEO. To support and add to your product descriptions being able to showcase how you’ve been able to help current customers, just like Servebolt does is another great, and perhaps even more effective, way of incorporating social proof on your website.
As for how this ties into product descriptions, I would personally recommend writing a small outtake that includes all of the most important information for each case study. This will allow you to link to the full case study for those who want to learn a lot more about exactly what you did and how it was helpful.
4. Make Your Product Description Easy-to-Follow
Don’t make it hard for your customers to find what really matters to them and make it easier for them to see what you really want them to.
While the content of your product description is important, on its own, it can’t make a huge impact if your page layout makes information hard to read and hard to find.
Poor product pages that likely can’t be considered helpful will have blocks of text, no images and information that hasn’t been arranged in any logical way. Of course, ensuring that your product description’s content is fairly good, but ensuring that it’s structured and organized well is equally important.
5. Leverage Product Data To Acquire Rich Snippets
As we’ll look at later on in this post. Amazon makes use of structured data –often referred to as Schema markup – to display additional information in search. This can be extremely effective in some cases because it helps your website stand out among the others – increasing the chances that a searcher will click on your result.
The Rank Math WordPress SEO plugin is the perfect way to do this. The good news is that whether you’re using their full suite of SEO tools for your WordPress websites or not, you can still leverage their WooCommerce SEO functionality in combination with any other SEO plugin.
If your eCommerce website uses WooCommerce, which is a highly flexible platform for creating complex stores and have installed Rank Math, just head to your product page.
And then click edit on the specific product that you’d like to edit and scroll down to the meta box and click Rich Snippet. This will then let you enable the Product Rich Snippet to show searchers additional information without them clicking through to your website.
Disclosure: I do work with Rank Math but am an avid user of their plugin – and recommended their tools – long before doing anything together.
6. Use Language That Sells: Power Words Not Keywords
While keyword stuffing used to work well on Google back in 2011, (thankfully) those days are over. Google has gotten a lot better at understanding what users actually want (search intent) and catching out people who are trying to game the system.
Here’s what you should focus on instead.
Nope, it’s not time to go and shave. This is a screenshot of one of the examples that we’re going to be taking a look at later. They use power words to evoke emotions and develop a connection between their potential customers and their product.
This is the time to let your product shine, don’t just paint the picture by telling a descriptive story, use powerful, convincing and specific words so your customers will understand exactly how good your product is.
7. Use Great Product Images
I’m not going to lie, this isn’t easy to do for physical products especially if you’re on a budget. The good news is that if you’re selling digital products and courses, producing aesthetic and appealing images isn’t actually that difficult. There are so many pieces of photo editing software to choose from and the key is keeping designs simple.
Physical products, on the other hand, are a completely different story. The example of Dollar Shave Club that we’re going to look at later on is a great example.
You want your images to be true to life and realistic but you also want them to look good enough to be on your website.
How difficult producing images like this really depends on what the product actually is. In any case, images should:
- Be visually appealing (in terms of color and angle)
- Be realistic (set reasonable expectations)
- Be high-resolution – this not only looks more professional but also makes it easier for potential customers to zoom in and see minor details before purchasing
- Capture the important aspects of your product (effectively portray sizes)
One creative example of this for a clothing brand would be to have the model try all various sizes of a t-shirt or hoodie so that the customers can see how the fit varies as this will help them make a better choice for themselves.
Bonus: Templates To Help You Write Better Product Descriptions
Obviously, I must preface the examples below with the fact that they’ve been written for a very general and non-specific course and follow the templates almost exactly. The truth is that you shouldn’t need a template to follow word-for-word, but these are great guidelines when you have no idea where to start and what to include.
Template #1: The “Ideal You” Template
Have you ___________________________? (struggle)
Learn to _______________ (key takeaway to overcome struggle)
without _______________ (pain and/or challenge).
(Product name) ______________
is ______________ (product benefits).
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Template #2: The “Perfect For” Template
Perfect for ___________________________ (ideal situation),
these _______________ (product name)
can be/will _______________ (tell a quick story).
(Product name) ______________
are ______________ (top features)
to _______________ (product benefits).
No more _____________________ (pain and/or challenge).
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Template 3: The “I’ve Been In Your Shoes” Template
I created _________________ (your product)
when I was ________________ (describe yourself before you created a solution)
and ______________________ (pain or frustration).
I wanted _____________________ (best case scenario).
That’s why I created _____________________ (product name)
with ___________________ (top features).
Now I _______________________ (product solution)
I created this in-depth SEO training course for people in the position I was two years ago. Not knowing what to outsource and where to begin. I wanted the ability to take days off without knowing that I’d be falling behind on client work. That’s why I created this set of SOPs to streamline and take the guesswork out of growing your agency. Now you never have to worry about creating your own SOPs for VAs and employees to follow and keeping everyone up-to-date anymore!
Product Description Examples
AppSumo – originally founded back in March of 2010 by Noah Kagan – is a deals marketplace for digital products and online services. They are extremely well-known for offering lifetime deals on SaaS products or subscription products that you would typically have to pay for every month.
As you might’ve seen if you follow Nathan Gotch on Twitter (@nathangotch) which I highly recommend you do, you’ll know he isn’t a fan of fake scarcity and urgency.
One #onlinemarketing trend I would love to see go away forever is fake scarcity/urgency.
Leveraging scarcity is one of the most powerful weapons of persuasion. But you don’t need to do it in an unethical way.
Is an extra 5% conversion rate worth sacrificing your ethics?
— Nathan Gotch (@nathangotch) September 8, 2019
The truth is, however, that AppSumo’s model doesn’t rely on fake scarcity because once a deal disappears, it really is gone unless the company decides that they’d like to resurface the deal for a second time. As you’d expect, this use of scarcity is effective. Just like Snapchat, where messages and images are ephemeral the concept just psychologically encourages action and faster purchases.
Urgency and scarcity are now widely used across marketing campaigns to increase engagement and boost conversions simply because it works. I personally (and I’m sure Nathan himself would agree) don’t like the general concept of overusing it and would carefully consider doing something with a client or on my own site that uses scarcity.
That being said, AppSumo is a different case, their business model of negotiating exclusive deals is successful and their website is also a great place to look for inspiration when writing your own product descriptions.
For the purposes of this breakdown, we’ll be taking a look at Krisp – a noise-canceling application that aims to make calling easier and more productive by removing background noise.
In case this is the first time you’ve stumbled across AppSumo – their deal pages are always very conversational. They make use of creative headlines and tell stories that help customers understand when and why you’d need the product.
AppSumo’s Product Description Model:
- Set the scene, introduce (or re-introduce) the problem.
- Enter [PRODUCT NAME]
Sounds simple enough to replicate, right? Yes, but don’t forget that you still need to give customers all the information that they’re looking for.
So, as you scroll down, the page transitions into an easier-to-digest section that breaks down exactly what you get. This is the section that most people skip to and read.
And towards the end of the page it again reminds people what they’ll get when they purchase the product and how it helps them as well as diving deeper with a demo video and screenshots showcasing the interface.
Apple obviously speaks for itself and needs no introduction.
They can also truly be considered a gold standard when it comes to eCommerce websites. Though keep in mind, Apple’s market share and authority in the industry also means that they don’t really need to go through a lot of the effort that your business and eCommerce website will need when it comes to building trust with potential buyers.
Just keep this in mind as we analyze the way that Apple’s product descriptions work – I really don’t want to say the infamous “it depends”, but I suppose it really does when it comes to looking at situations like Apple’s MacBook Pro line-up. Most people already know that they want to purchase the computer once they make it to the product page so it simply becomes a matter of comparing the different models and specifications with their respective prices to make a decision based on the buyer’s specific requirements.
This also contributes to the logic of having a reverse product description, where instead of being taken to a landing page, a user will see the information that is most important to them – also one of the easier decisions to make – the size of the computer you’d like to buy.
And only then further down on the page are you able to start comparing the base model that you’d like to purchase as is or then customize even further before buying.
This makes sense for Apple, but in most cases won’t for you. Why? Well, easy:
- Apple doesn’t need to convince you that their products are very well built. Everybody already knows this.
- Apple doesn’t need to reassure people that their site is secure and people can enter their financial information.
- Apple also doesn’t need social proof to encourage people to purchase their products.
3. Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club is an American company based in Venice, California that sells razors and a sorted array of personal grooming products.
Simply put, they’ve got everything you need to look, feel and smell your best.
They’ve not only managed to build an incredibly successful business but also a website that now generates over 450,000 monthly visitors from search per month – with their brand keywords having search volumes that are far past the half a million mark.
I’m sure you get it by now – enough with the introduction already, right?
The product pages and their respective descriptions on the Dollar Shave Club eCommerce website also serve as a great example of how to present a large amount of information in a way that is not only easily digestible but is also laid out in a way that is easy-to-remember and read quickly. All while still making the product interesting and not confusing or making information hard to find for website visitors so they stay on the page instead of bouncing elsewhere to find the information they’re looking for.
So, without further ado – let’s break them down.
The images on the Dollar Shave Club do a great job of showcasing their products in an extremely visually appealing way. As I mentioned earlier in the article, this isn’t easy to do if you are on a budget, however for some products you may be able to avoid the need to produce “real” images and can stick to using mockups as long as they are true to life and portray your product in an appropriate way.
Just give me the price already
Don’t try to hide any crucial information (such as your product’s price) from people. Show this in an area that is above the fold or give them an easy way to jump further down on a page to the section that shows the breakdown of the price.
Price is inevitably going to be one of the main factors in someone’s decision to buy or not to buy your product so removing it or representing it in a way that makes it difficult for the user and results in bad user experience.
Evoke Emotion and Convey Quality with Power Words
Most SEOs writing product descriptions for eCommerce websites aren’t marketers or copywriters which often results in copy that doesn’t do your product justice. Here, I’m referring to the section in the image above labelled with the #3.
Butter up for an effortlessly gentle, delightfully smooth shave.
Now, be honest with yourself – how does this to compare to:
Buy Our Shave Butter Now For A Better Shaving Experience
While the second one certainly isn’t the worst we’ve seen on the internet, it doesn’t actually describe your product, evoke emotion and help paint a picture in the potential customer’s mind.
*This is not an endorsement of Dollar Shave Club, I have not used their products and do not currently work with them so I cannot comment on the quality. However, given that they have formed a large part of this post, that might change soon 😉
Don’t just shove reasons people should get your product in their face – make them want it.
Here, I’m referring to the section in the image above labelled with the #4. Just underneath the introduction to the product that rolls of the tongue and develops an initial connection/interest with the product – people not only see what the product does on its own.
They see what the product can do for them as well as why and how.
Example #1: Helps reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs
While this isn’t a particularly glamorous thing to talk about in this post, ingrown hairs are an apparent problem. The inclusion of this short bullet point perfectly portrays how the product can benefit people.
Example #2: Helps to fight razor bumps by providing a smoother shave
As for example #1, use your product description as an opportunity to present your product as a solution to your customers’ problem(s).
What is Amazon? If only that question were easy to answer.
Amazon Inc. is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with, Apple (which we looked at earlier), Facebook and Google. They have multiple business models spanning across eCommerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, artificial intelligence and more.
There are a few things we notice solely from looking at this search result – mainly the fact that they use the review snippet to enhance their search results.
This has been proven to result in higher click-through rates, simply because it is more visually appealing and stands out from regular/standard search results. Since this is something really easy to configure for your product pages, I highly recommend trying it out using a plugin like Rank Math (the option I recommend) or another plugin dedicated to solely adding structured data like WP Schema which is another popular option.
In describing their product, Amazon also takes this opportunity to showcase other similar products. This can be really useful if you have a number of similar products but each may only be suitable for specific use cases or have certain extra benefits.
It can also be one of your best opportunities to upsell people to a more expensive product or even order bump them to other products and extra add-ons that they may be interested in.
Aside from all of the profit-driven decisions, there are also other reasons to do this though which makes the entire experience more enjoyable for your customers. Seeing the product that someone is about to purchase compared to another similar product not only gives them the opportunity to make alternative choices but it also helps them reaffirm their decision.
Are you really leading them to make the best decision possible?
For the sake of your own product descriptions, this doesn’t only need to be in the form of a comparison to other similar products or that you offer, it may also be a great opportunity to show people how you stack up against your competitors. After all, for most companies and their products, the decision won’t always come down to choosing from one of their products. More often than not, people will be taking your competition into consideration so use this opportunity (since you already have the attention) to close the deal.
When doing these comparisons there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Do not hate on your competitors, give them the praise they deserve for the features that their product does have
- Don’t lie – I sure know a few examples of people who flat-out use this as an opportunity to mislead people which they know aren’t going to do their research anyway.
- Don’t go into so much detail that you lose people’s attention.
Although this is no easy feat, the key is to strike the right balance of SEO and UX. This means you shouldn’t making compromises that sacrifice the user’s experience.
5. Chain Reaction Cycles
For our next example, we’ll be taking a look at Chain Reaction Cycles – an online retailer of cycling goods based in Northern Ireland.
The reason I chose this site is because it is a little bit of a different industry because the products they’re selling are just so different and certain information needs to be presented before cycling enthusiasts or professionals could even consider purchasing from them.
While their website’s design is by no means the most modern out there, they do a great job of presenting technical information in a way that everything is still easy to find.
In the second, smaller box (above) labelled with the number two, you’ll see another easy way of incorporating social proof. While displaying reviews on your own site and adding logos in an “as seen on” section is also popular, it’s also easy to fake. Using the Trustpilot review badge makes their exceptional reputation even clearer to customers.
Beyond this they also make it easy for customers to jump to other information to answer any questions and doubt they may have before purchasing the product right away.
While, the option to get in touch with support to ask questions should always remain in place, making useful information as easy as possible to access to remove as much friction as possible from the buying experience
Summary: Is Writing Effective Product Descriptions Difficult?
If you’ve been in the SEO industry long enough, you’ll agree that most SEO questions can be answered by really thinking through what it is that the user actually wants.
That’s exactly why this guide has been written to not only help you write better product descriptions for search engines, but also for potential customers. If you’re about to launch an eCommerce store and feel overwhelmed with the amount of small yet important things you need to remember and keep track of, you should read this eCommerce SEO checklist from ContentKing next.
What tips & advice would you share with someone looking to write more effective product descriptions?
Tweet @alexjpanagis or leave a comment below to join the conversation!!