Product copywriting gets progressively more difficult with larger product selections. Oftentimes, this endeavor seems so overwhelming that eCommerce marketers have no idea where to start — and end up doing nothing.
Just like how ignoring your bills at home won’t make them disappear, ignoring the ever-important task of reworking your product copy is not the solution to your website woes.
How to Scale eCommerce Copywriting
Here’s how to scale your eCommerce product copywriting project so you feel less overwhelmed, more in control, and more likely to attract and convert customers.
Step 1: The first step to scaling … is not to scale
You’re probably confused. “Wait, didn’t she just say that she was going to help me scale my copywriting project???”
Before you run away in tears, let me explain. You shouldn’t blindly go about rewriting products. Instead, you need to prioritize. Take the following things into consideration when deciding which pages to improve first:
- High-converting pages: Make what’s already working even better. Put the products that drive the most conversions first on your optimization to-do list.
- High-ranking pages: Again, if you have specific products that rank well in the search engine result pages (SERPs), prioritize those first for optimization.
Pro-Tip: Look for Below-the-Fold Performers
Landing pages that receive significant traffic from keywords ranking in positions 6-10 on the first page are diamonds in the rough. Prioritize these because even moving up one or two positions can pay off big. Likewise, review your “page-two performers” for the same reasons.
It may seem counter intuitive to prioritize improving your more successful pages over your less successful ones, but here’s the rationale: Your high-ranking and high-converting pages are your money makers. Your goal is to make more money and drive more traffic to your website. So, why not improve the good stuff first, and then focus on the pages that could use some extra work?
Step 2: Prune/Noindex low-ranking, low-converting pages
Now that you’ve identified which pages should be optimized first, it’s time to look at those under-performing pages. You’re probably the last person to admit it, but I bet you have a bunch of products that haven’t driven a single visit or transaction in a long time.
I’m not suggesting you get rid of these products entirely. That’s more of a merchandising decision, and those products may do quite well in the catalog at certain times of the year. Just make them invisible to Google by noindexing them. This way, you’ll prevent index bloat, which can hurt your rankings in the SERPs.
Noindexing ensures your low-ranking products don’t appear in the search results, and it’s a process that can be reversed in the future. If you decide to eventually improve these pages by fixing thin, duplicate content, you can remove the noindex, follow tag.
More in-depth information about this can be found in Everett Sizemore’s guide to pruning eCommerce pages. He digs deep into your options for pruning thin, duplicate and under performing content.
Step 3: Improve/rewrite thin and/or duplicate content
Oftentimes, eCommerce sites have tons of products with copy that’s rehashed on dozens of other sites (i.e. manufacturer product descriptions). This duplicate content hurts rankings in the SERPs, so it’s wise to make these products a priority. Run a Copyscape scan to determine which products of yours contain duplicate content, then rewrite accordingly.
Likewise, you’ll want to beef up thin product descriptions. This makes them more engaging for the user and shows Google that your copy is, in fact, valuable content.
Consider boosting your product descriptions to at least 150-300 words, or if you have a premium product that ranks super well and drives a lot of sales, pump it up to 400-500 words. And please — don’t just write words just for the sake of reaching a word count! Make sure your content is unique and helpful for the user, while incorporating natural keywords and SEO best practices.
The Siteliner tool, also owned by Copyscape, will help you determine which internal duplicate content to rewrite first.
For more insight into copywriting best practices, download our eCommerce Copywriting Guide.
Step 4: Determine the types of product descriptions you’ll be writing
There are dozens of ways you can go about writing your products, but here are a few ideas that may work for you:
- Standard product descriptions: Long product descriptions that highlight primary features, like this product page from Pawstruck. They can also be set up in a tabbed format (like this wedding dress from Moonlight Bridal) or with intro copy and additional bullet points at the bottom (like this product from Summit Supply).
- Premium product descriptions: These should be reserved for your top-selling, most popular products, like this product from Fitbit. Note how engaging and informative this page is, with lots of high-quality content like video and interactive infographics.
Step 5: Have a defined, well-rounded team in place
Improving your product descriptions is not a one-person job. You need a team of SEO experts, knowledgeable staff and a skilled writer(s) working together to get the results you want in a reasonable time frame.
Typically, our team for tackling our own copywriting projects consists of the following:
- Two strategists: Your strategists will essentially steer the direction of your entire copywriting project. They’ll complete keyword research, keep tabs on page analytics and integrate SEO best practices into your project to strive for constant improvement.
- One copywriter: You have some options on who you choose to write copy for your website. You can hire a copywriting agency, find a freelancer through a website like Upwork or Writer Access, or bestow this duty to someone in-house.
Note: Should you decide to outsource your strategy and/or copywriting work to a third party, you’ll want to make sure whoever you hire has a firm grasp on your product or service — especially the copywriter. It’s wise to have an on-boarding meeting with your copywriter to cover tone of voice, as well as the technical aspects of your products, so they have enough information to work with.
Pro-Tip: Don’t dismiss artificial intelligence.
If you have a lot of products (think thousands), it may be wise to take advantage of technology and use artificial intelligence to craft some copy. Keep in mind that you’ll still need an actual human to oversee this process and create the templates for the AI to work off of, and you’ll need to supply the necessary data for the template via an Excel, CSV or JSON file.
Some examples of AI copywriting tools include:
- Wordsmith: The brainchild of Automated Insights, essentially works like Mad Libs. Your copywriter will upload your product data sheet and then build a template that will serve as the foundation for your product descriptions. They’ll then add on synonyms and sentence branches to change up the copy enough so it doesn’t read like a robot wrote it. This takes a bit of effort at first, but it sure beats writing out hundreds of product descriptions from scratch! Wordsmith will then take the data from your imported sheet, throw it in the template and then push out your product descriptions for you to download in spreadsheet format. How easy is that?
- Quill: Like Wordsmith, Narrative Science’s Quill platform takes the drudgery out of writing product descriptions. It scans your data for you to create compelling copy that highlights your products’ best features. But unlike Wordsmith, there’s no need to manually build a template and add synonyms, as Quill’s team will develop a custom API for your business.
Note: Unless you sell only one type of product, not all your products will use the same template or data sheet. For example, if you only sell picture frames, you can probably get by with having only one template and one data sheet, as all of your products’ specs and features will be similar. However, if you sell picture frames, furniture and kitchen appliances, you’ll definitely need more than one template and set of data to create compelling copy for your products.
Step 6: Stay on track
Stay organized and track your progress with a tool like our Product Page Copywriting Dashboard. We use this exact template here at Inflow and it’s immensely helpful for keeping the whole team on task while crafting SEO-friendly product descriptions. In it you’ll find space to store your keywords, product URLs/SKUs, revamped on-page copy and other important details like meta titles/descriptions and organic traffic.
But this tool isn’t just helpful from a project management and organization standpoint. It’s also useful for communicating information about products to copywriters, ensuring they have enough information to work with to craft compelling descriptions. Make sure your staff members fill in the necessary information for your copywriter and strategists, and then have your SEO and copywriting team fill out the rest.
Ready to give your eCommerce site a makeover? Download our Product Page Copywriting Dashboard and get crackin’.