Generic product descriptions can harm your search ranking. Google said it!

March 22, 2010 •

Google’s Head of Spam, Matt Cutts, recently revealed what SEO copywriters have known for years: including generic product copy (e.g. manufacturer supplied) in your product descriptions can cause problems with your search ranking.

So yes, you’re far better off writing your own product descriptions.

Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds!

I know that sounds scary, especially if you have a big catalog. But it doesn’t have to be that scary. Whether you write them yourself, or you engage an SEO copywriter to do it (not me, as I’ll have to charge too much), the key to streamlining is knowing what you want to say.

Questions to ask yourself before writing your product descriptions (or having someone else write them)

For each product, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the product?
  • What benefit does it promise for the reader?
  • Do you have any stats, research, photos or testimonials to validate this claim?
  • What are its noteworthy features, and can you supply information about them?
  • What variations are available (e.g. colors, sizes)?
  • How would your reader achieve their objectives without this product?
  • What makes this product better than competing products?
  • Why should readers buy from you and not some other retailer of the same product?
  • Do you know of any barriers to sale that might make a reader less likely to buy from you?
  • Can you think of any other questions a reader might ask themselves while reading your copy and/or thinking about this product?
  • What is the call to action for this page (i.e. what do you want the reader to do immediately after reading this page? Call you? Email you? etc.)
  • Primary Keyword Phrase for this page (for SEO)
  • Secondary Keywords for this page (for SEO)

Note that I’m assuming you know your reader and your brand personality, etc.

Once you have answers to all the above questions, you’ll find most SEO copywriters will be far less daunted by the task. Although it’ll always be a high-volume job, at least you have your information together, and THAT is the key to a happy copywriter. If you don’t, there’s no way they can complete the job in an efficient and hassle-free way, which means they’ll either do it badly, stop doing it, or charge you more than you bargained for.

SEO Copywriters who can help you write your product descriptions

Below is a list of SEO copywriters who can help with your product descriptions.

(SEO copywriters, please comment: If you’re a genuine SEO copywriter who can write good product descriptions, even at high volume, please feel free to list your name and link to your website below. I’ll be moderating the comments to ensure quality.)

Feel free to comment...
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Angie Nikoleychuk wrote on March 22nd, 2010

Hi Glenn Couldn't agree with your post more. That is an excellent list of questions that keeps a huge job more manageable. I find it's important to answer questions like that...it's almost like steps to follow. I'm more than happy to provide product descriptions. You can find me at Angie's Copywriting (http://www.angiescopywriting.com/)

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Gina Lofaro aka the wordmistress wrote on March 22nd, 2010

And who wants to read anything generic anyway, right? Considering that some products which are primarily available online all feature the exact same descriptions, it makes you wonder why you wouldn't just buy from whichever site had the prettiest pictures! And sometimes even those are identical. Every item for sale - whether a service or a product - deserves the best chance of being snapped up over a similar, or identical one available elsewhere. Having personally written more than 2,000 keyword articles over the years, I'm abundantly aware of the need to insert some well-placed keywords in product descriptions, but for them to also comply with the reader-friendliness objective. I would be keen to hear from potential clients who require product descriptions that sing the praises of their goods. For more information on how I can help, visit: http://www.wordmistress.com.au/services. Thanks for the opportunity, Glenn! :)

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Matt Burgess wrote on March 22nd, 2010

Glenn, I'm completely blown away by this post. You've successfully distilled everything that I always ask clients into one simple list. Bookmarked... and definitely going to make an appearance in my "Things that were delicious this week" column!

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Sally Ormond wrote on March 22nd, 2010

Thanks for this post Glenn - it basically reinforces everything I tell my clients. If you want your product to stand out, you have to differentiate it from everyone else's - simple! If anyone is looking for an SEO copywriter they can find me at Briar Copywriting (http://www.briarcopywriting.com). Sally

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SEO copywriter wrote on June 30th, 2010

Hi Matt, This is really a nice piece of information on SEO. I hope that this information will be helpful for all the SEO copywriters around the globe. Thanks again

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Kenneth wrote on November 2nd, 2011

Clearly this is a writers website. I talked to many people when I started researching this issue and most differ greatly in their take on this situation. Why would you want a totally uninformed, unfamiliar person to write a product description to base your purchase decision on vs. the company that manufactures the product and understands it working, specs and possible alternate uses.. Google is padding the pockets of themselves and their cronies, SEO writers, services and the like at the cost of correct and accurate information to aid the consumer.

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