When deciding to start an ecommerce business, product descriptions take a backseat to more pressing matters — like launching a site to post product descriptions on. But sooner or later, you have to address product descriptions because, trivial as they seem, they really do impact sales.
Your first instinct may be to copy the product description from the manufacturer. After all, they must have done a good job writing it the first time around. But that’s the problem — they wrote their product description so well, everyone is using it. Including your competitors.
Copying product descriptions does more damage than good, and for several reasons:
- Google algorithms penalize content duplication, hurting your SERPs.
- You open yourself up to copyright infringement from plagiarism.
- You miss an opportunity to “win over” shoppers who pay attention to product descriptions.
Rather than risk it, it’s better to just write your own or tweak theirs. Below are 5 tips to optimize your product descriptions and avoid duplicate content.
1. Use Sensory Words
Would you rather have a piece of fruit, or a fresh, juicy piece of fruit? Words can paint a more vivid and enticing picture of the product, especially pertinent to ecommerce where shoppers can’t actually examine it.
As we all know, some words are better than others. But what you may not know is, there have been copious linguistic studies on which words have the most power, in particular to sales. While we don’t have time to list them all out here, Buffer offers a comprehensive quick-reference guide for your writing companion.
If you’re in a pinch, you can simply “rewrite” the manufacturer product description with different words, synonyms. But it’s not as easy as swapping one word out for another. Keep these tips in mind:
Think of alternatives for cliches and marketing buzzwords most websites use. Avoid words like “nice,” “very,” “stunning,” “excellent quality,” and any other phrases that keep showing up on other ecommerce sites.
Think of synonyms for superlatives. Words like “best,” “cheapest,” and “most wonderful” sound insincere and duplicate tons of product descriptions from other ecommerce websites.
Think of LSI keywords when describing a product. First, they are good for SEO; and second, they allow you to use a rich vocabulary, collocations, and word combinations for the original nature of your writings.
You can’t avoid paraphrasing in descriptions, especially when you need to write 50+ texts for products of the same category. However, there is a fine line between paraphrasing well and, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “doing it wrong.” Consider these guidelines:
- Change parts of speech wherever applicable. (Nouns to verbs, adjectives to adverbs, etc.)
- Expand or shorten phrases.
- Rearrange the order of sentences, bullet points, and/or paragraphs.
- Convert text blocks into bullet points for better scannability. Shoppers can see the most important information right away without wasting time looking for it.
4. Use Citations and Testimonials
Citations and testimonials are a loophole for using impressive content that you can’t duplicate. Not only is good for avoiding plagiarism, but also social proof helps convince unsure customers that your products are worth it.
Don’t be afraid to add positive reviews to your product descriptions. Structure them as citations from happy customers and include their photos for more credibility. Doing so, you kill two birds with one stone: avoid plagiarism and show your product as popular.
5. Use Plagiarism Checkers
Last but not least, double-check to make sure your product description is 100% unique. To save time, you can use an online plagiarism checker. Often free, these provide indispensable help in avoiding duplicate content and perfecting your original writing.
To compare your writing with whatever has been posted online, you can use Plagiarisma. If you need to compare your text with a specific document, file or URL, you can use this free tool from PrePost SEO.
A good product description is short and to the point. Power words and search engine-friendly keywords do wonders, but only if you’re the only one using them. You can’t stand out if you dress the same as everyone else.
For specific tips for Amazon, eBay, and Etsy product descriptions, check out these best SEO practices.
About the Author: By Lesley Vos, a sales copywriter and freelance blogger at bid4papers.com.