Five Ideas for an Effective Ecommerce Content Strategy

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Ecommerce stores can be great content machines, as typically you will have anywhere from hundreds to thousands of products, each with their own dedicated product page. When you throw search-engine optimisation tactics into the mix, the end result can be having thousands of search-friendly content-rich pages. Or that’s the ideal situation anyway. Many ecommerce website owners make the mistake of not adding much content into the site, and as you might know unique content is what makes the search engines really tick. This can leave a site looking a bit like a ‘skeleton’ – it has all the bones but is in desperate need of some meat to flesh it out! Find out how you can use content to help your site achieve its potential…

So what do I mean by content?

As the web is becoming increasingly competitive, one way to differentiate your website from the crowd is to provide really detailed, useful and informative text. Not only will your visitors benefit from an increased user-experience, but they will be able to find exactly what they are looking for, and begin to perceive your site as an authority in your niche. What’s more, the search-engines are getting better at recognising high quality content, and will use figures such as bounce rates to determine the quality and relevancy of a site. So in turn, the better your content, the higher your rankings will be.

There are many different ways that you can incorporate content – ranging from creating a bank of ‘how-to’ product articles, guides, and simply having a detailed description for every product. This article will outline some of the ways that you can start making your ecommerce site more content-rich:

Meaty Product Descriptions

With most online store systems they create a dedicated page for each and every product. This has many positives, and can be good for search optimisation as it offers lots of content-rich pages for Google. This totally depends though on how much effort you have put into crafting high quality product descriptions. If there is little text on your product pages then it’s unlikely to be perceived highly by Google.

You want to create a site that has a large number of pages (here is the key bit) that each contains a sizable amount of unique text. Obviously you don’t need to write an essay for each and every product, but you want to think of it in terms of ratios. For example your navigation menu, sidebars and site footers will all contain text that repeats throughout the site. The product pages should display significantly more content than all of the repeated text in those nav menus and sidebars. I would say that anything above 3-400 words of high quality keyword-rich content would be ideal, and the more the better.

Forgetting the benefits of SEO for a minute, perhaps the primary objective should be to provide information that will be useful to your potential customers, and help to assist their purchase. If you focus on providing a good user experience then this in turn will help your search rankings.

This product description from Dabs.com incorporates a video for added interest and highlights the key features and benefits of the product. This is much better than some of the simple bullet-pointed lists that you see on other websites.

Avoid Manufacturer Descriptions!

One surefire way of getting your site penalised is to use manufacturer descriptions on your site as your product descriptions. The main issue is with what we call ‘duplicate content’, and that these manufacturer generated descriptions are available for use by other distributors or retailers. What you will typically find is that there will usually be many other online retailers who are all using these manufacturer descriptions on their site.

This leads to a duplicate content issue, which you definitely want to avoid for your ecommerce site! In these cases you will see your site not getting the search rankings it deserves, and consequently a very low level of visitors. To avoid this at a bare minimum you should re-write the manufacturer descriptions into your own words so the text is completely unique.

Customer-Generated Product Reviews

Amazon products can receive thousands of reviews – all with a star rating. Reviews in general help conversion rates and encourage purchases (for good reviews anyway!).

One excellent way of not only generating high quality content, but of encouraging purchases and increasing conversion rates is to try and encourage your customers to leave reviews about their orders from your ecommerce site. Most ecommerce sites (including the giants such as Amazon) display product reviews directly on the product page, and this gives them an absolutely whopping amount of content on each and every product page. What’s more, they didn’t have to pay a copywriter a single penny to create this!

Most web developers will be able to set up automated systems that send invitations or reminders to customers post-purchase to submit a product review or leave a testimonial. Sometimes you can offer an incentive, such as a money-off discount code if they write a review, however be sure to make it not seem like blatant bribery! You should state that they are welcome to leave an honest (positive or negative) review to receive their voucher.

If you want hard evidence that reviews are beneficial then take a look at the following data from Econsultancy:

62% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site with user reviews, increasing conversion rates as well as bringing in more search traffic…

Make Your Category Pages Into Useful Resources

Another area that you can use to house informative and keyword-rich content are your category and sub-category pages. Again it’s essential that you at least have a few good paragraphs per page to give it the depth needed. Taking it a step further, some ecommerce stores use their category pages as a ‘hub’ of information, providing everything a consumer needs to help inform and guide their purchasing decision. How-to’s and product guides relevant to each specific category will help differentiate your site and keep your visitors coming back.

This category page has lots of helpful information for visitors, helping them choose the right product for their needs. Category pages should act like hubs, informing and guiding users to the correct product choice.

Have You Thought About Blogging?

If you have a store with a regularly changing product inventory – for example a clothing ecommerce site where different styles and trends change all the time, then a blog is also a great way to highlight new products and lines. By consistently pushing out keyword-rich content and linking to individual product pages on your site, this is a sure-fire way to beef-up your content and help your rankings.

Your blog articles can take many forms, from simply informing about new products, providing advice for customers on how to use your items, to the latest company news. Having a consistent publishing schedule and posting interesting content will help to encourage people to subscribe to your blog.

Become an Industry Leader with How-To Guides

Just because you have an ecommerce site doesn’t mean your text needs to be all sell, sell, sell. Provide value by creating high quality guides, factsheets and PDF downloads that will boost brand awareness and also help you to be seen as an expert. This type of content is also a great way of getting people to link to your site, which will in turn be beneficial for you rankings. High quality content and inbound links are the two essential ingredients to a successful ecommerce venture.

Don’t forget video either, this is a powerful medium that you can publish on your site and also on other social networks. Videos are more popular than ever, and they allow you to explain / demonstrate your products a lot more easily than by simply describing them in words. You can get the most value for money with your content by repurposing / remarketing and displaying the content in a different medium or form. For example you could turn an article about a product into an interesting video, and even incorporate it into a podcast or blog post if that’s your thing.

The Benefits of Content!

To summarise, the benefits of implementing an ecommerce content strategy are numerous. By providing useful information to your customers, including reviews, guides and articles, you will maximise their experience of your website and company. This will mean they are more likely to return to purchase from your site and will have a much more positive experience. Conversion rates and most likely average order values are also likely to rise.

The search engines will also pick-up on the quality of content on your site, and if you can provide insightful and useful content then you are more likely to receive higher rankings. We all like higher rankings as this means more visitors and more sales!