It’s no longer enough to simply rely on keyword repetition to ensure a favourable SEO performance. Times have changed and now content is king. The success of any eCommerce web site depends on search engines being attracted to the quality content it features. But if your site has hundreds of product pages (affected by all sorts of other factors), how do you ensure great content and thus improved search rankings?

At iWeb, we’re experts in building an effective eCommerce content strategy that will enhance SEO performance. We’d like to share that expertise with you – so here are a few areas where an eCommerce web site can often introduce improvements.

Offer answers with a Q&A Facility

Slightly different to the standard FAQ section, a Q&A facility introduces customer interaction and helps build relationships, which in turn lead to sales conversions.

Providing a service where customers can ask questions and receive expert advice in a timely manner is a great way to add user generated content to your pages. From the point of view of visiting customers, it offers the reassurance of a helpful company willing to engage. Plus, by publishing answers to previous customers’ questions, it can address any similar queries too. Some even encourage customers to provide the answer for other customers – enabling a sense of community.

Companies that have offered this facility have seen a large increase in conversion rates. Here are a few ‘dos and don’ts’ that may help you benefit too:

  • Ensure all content is placed on your product pages
  • Make sure helpful, expert members of staff are constantly on hand to answer questions and influence the buying decision
  • Respond to queries quickly – don’t leave it for more than an hour or two
  • Offer an e-mail notification of the answer you provide
  • Encourage other customers to answer questions – possibly by offering rewards
  • Offer users the facility to share their Q&A via social media
  • Anticipate common questions with input from your call centre or sales team
  • Improve your product description if you find you’re frequently asked the same questions

PROVIDE ADVICE with informational content

Quality content shouldn’t just be confined to product pages, but spread throughout your eCommerce web site. This is important for attracting users, no matter what stage they’re at in the buying cycle. Offering user guides, forums, generic Q&A, instructional videos or animations, etc. help to build trust in your brand.

Studies have shown that visitors who engage with informational site content are 5 times more likely to become paying customers than those that arrive directly on the product page. What’s more, they’ll do so 24 hours after first visiting your site. These users also have a greater tendency to make repeat purchases in the future. Almost half of eCommerce revenue comes from customers who have enjoyed a good buying experience, remember the site and return when they’re in the market for what you offer once more.

ENCOURAGE OPINIONS with user reviews

Nothing engenders confidence like a good user review. Even a negative review (and let’s face it, there are people that are very hard to please) can offer balance and demonstrate that you are an honest seller. You may even find that loyal customers post positive comments to balance and counteract it.

There are two main types of user review:

  • Reviews of products purchased
  • Reviews of your company & service levels

Product reviews

These are proven to improve conversion rates and have become a standard feature on eCommerce web sites. Not only that, some major retailers use them to determine what inventory to stock and what they should perhaps be discarding.

However, whilst implementing product reviews is relatively straightforward, they can be problematic in execution. So here are a few iWeb tips to help you make user reviews work better for your business:

  • Encourage feedback by e-mailing customers shortly after their purchase to ask for their thoughts on products and service received
  • Make sure the e-mail is well designed with a strong call to action
  • Offer rewards and incentives to customers for leaving a review
  • Make it easy to leave a review with a direct link from the e-mail. Don’t slow down the process by requiring a log-in
  • Allow for multiple purchases to be reviewed at one time
  • Split the review by value, price, service, etc. and calculate an aggregate rating
  • Use rich snippet markup on your product pages
  • It pays to employ your own system with original data. Be careful of duplication with when using any third party content
  • Encourage users to share their review via social media
  • Ensure reviews are placed on the product page, not on a separate URL

Reviews of your business

The main aim of business reviews is to encourage traffic to your site – so often appear on third party review sites, such as Trust Pilot or Feefo. These services will integrate with your system and email your customers asking for reviews themselves. Your service is often given a star rating or awarded an eye-catching badge, which can appear alongside your PPC ads or in Google Product Search.

Care should be taken in the timing of e-mails asking for a review. Make sure the product has arrived and there are no outstanding delivery issues. This review email should be sent before the one asking for a review of the product; you want customers to review your business and not the product.

ADD PERSONALITY with better product descriptions

Quality content won’t be delivered by a bland list of features. Neither is it okay to just cut and paste a description from the manufacturer. Every effort should be made to inject personality into the copy and encourage the customer to buy. However, it isn’t always easy and depends on the nature of the product too.

It pays to use the services of good copywriter to create a unique description of at least 250 words when the product is uploaded. Also consider adding expert opinions or third party reviews to make it stand out from competing products.

Here are iWeb’s tips for making product descriptions more enticing:

  • Write informative & descriptive copy in a consistent tone of voice with bags of personality
  • Bear in mind who your target audience is and write to please them
  • Make sure the copy sells the product – covering all features and benefits
  • Forget about SEO and keywords – it just leads to boring repetition
  • Try to inject fun into the descriptions, where appropriate
  • Less is more, but don’t make it too short – 250 words at least
  • Add a secondary expert’s opinion to explain why the product is better
  • Try to pre-empt any objections, questions and barriers to making a sale – reassure people
  • Consider how you’d explain the product if you were describing it to a friend in the pub. What would you say first? What features are important to know about? What do you think would convince them?

LINK IT ALL TOGETHER with product categories

Often a large eCommerce retailer will have many categories and sub-categories of products. Specialist stores can concentrate on a smaller inventory, so tend to enjoy a better SEO showing. That’s why category and sub-category pages can be quite a challenge.

For example, a specialist wine seller can concentrate on a smaller product range, whereas Sainsbury’s sell wine as part of a much larger offering of food and drink. So to the latter company, wine is merely a sub-category of their alcohol section. So how does the more general retailer attract the same attention as the specialist?

The key to creating an effective category page is to think of it as a hub which links to all the important information about the products in that category. To continue our wine example, our category page could link to reviews from wine experts, buying guides, articles on the region the wine is from and perhaps ideas for food with which it could be enjoyed. This content should be useful to potential customers – whether they’re wine buffs or don’t know their Chardonnay from their Chablis. It should also encourage them to try something they hadn’t considered. Users should want to read your category page content before they go on to browse your products. The idea is to fire the imagination.

This is just a brief taste of iWeb’s expertise in content strategy. For the full picture, our specialist team are always on hand to provide advice. Get in touch today and you’ll find that the contents of our experienced heads are at your disposal.