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Ecommerce content strategy: 5 clear tactics proven to work

From understanding your target audience intimately to nailing your content structure and execution, our complete guide will help you pull people in and close them.

Creating an ecommerce content strategy that works well is no easy task. Get it right however and you’ll be pulling in valuable visitors each and every month, spending money because they found you in the search results for things they’re interested in.

How can you achieve this? By creating unique, structured, and engaging content for your online store! But before hitting the keyboard, you need to answer some fundamental questions. In this article, I’ve mapped out 5 clear tactics that will ensure you’re ready to start winning the ecommerce content game.

And if you want a primer on how to find your most important informational, navigational, and transactional keywords, check out our complete guide to ecommerce keyword research.

1. Understand your store’s audience, inside and out

The best product descriptions and blog articles are not written for everyone. They’re written with a specific audience in mind: your main customers. Now, these are not automatically the people following you on social media. They’re the folks who actually buy your stuff!

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Finding out who they are is a high art, so use all transactional data and customer intel you can get. Your analytics tools (like Google Analytics) will already have basic demographic data on your website visitors, so you can try to build personas based on their ages, genders, interests and so on to help your strategies even more.

I also recommend setting up survey forms (using a tool like Hotjar or TypeForm), or even organizing real feedback chats with your customers. This will give you tons of brilliant insights into their needs and expectations.

Once you know your audience, try to speak their language while maintaining your own brand voice. Feel free to address readers directly by saying you. Use humor – or not, if your audience is rather fact-minded. Whatever you do, keep your voice consistent across your entire site.

Search engines use content to understand a page’s purpose and context, but these days they’re far too elegant to require keyword-stuffed nonsense. You should always create pages with your human visitors in mind. As search engines work to evaluate and rank content like a human would, they’ll appreciate the effort too!

3000-Puffa-Xray ecommerce

The above example has a rather strange product description, but I guess it works in their favor, as the audience will resonate with such memeable content!

Nailing the perfect voice for your audience is key. But customers also search for products by specific attributes like size, color, model number, year, make, and more. Include these when relevant in your product detail pages and technical attributes (such as title tags, descriptions, and structured data)..

2. Use a clear structure for product listings and URLs

Customers appreciate a clear and consistent product presentation, offline and online. This calls for a structured approach to listing and organizing your products:

Product name structure

Start by adopting a consistent structure for product names, also known as ‘product titles’, in your inventory. These are prime SEO real estate because they’re prioritized by crawlers and serve as the headlines on individual product pages.

Here are some keys to implementing an efficient product name structure:

  • Set up a consistent pattern, like [Design/Model], [Category], [Size], [Color], [Brand name]. For example: Signature Logo T-Shirt, XL, Blue, Women’s, Ryte

  • Avoid listing products in the same category/segment while using a different name format (this looks sloppy in list view)

  • Include best-performing keywords in your product names, like ‘for exercise’, ‘for serving coffee’

  • Mind the maximum product title length on each platform (Amazon: 150-200 characters, Shopify: 255 characters)

  • Don’t worry about titles being cut off (e.g. in mobile view) but front-load the most crucial information.

  • Refrain from adding too many keywords, and avoid being too spammy with your product page titles

Product description structure

Similar to product titles, the product descriptions for items in your store should follow a set format. Think of it as the digital equivalent of a retail store, with similar products displayed in a neat, recognizable style.

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Avoid using different fonts or switching up your paragraph structure and frequency of subheads/bullets. Amazon makes this easy by automatically displaying up to five bullet points above-the-fold next to your product images, followed by the actual description below. On your site, try to settle into a format that works for your audience in terms of density, length, and style (more below in Content Creation).

Tip: Advertising on marketplaces? Enhance product listings with metadata! There’s more than meets the eye to a good product listing. Behind the scenes, Amazon lets you specify tons of criteria for products, like ‘target audience’, ‘intended use’, ‘occasion’, and several ‘search terms’. These are totally invisible to customers, but heavily affect search results.

Other platforms, like Shopify, allow for adding tags and grouping products into collections for a clearly structured presentation. Also, if your products have barcodes, include the barcode number somewhere (you’ll be surprised by the impact).

URL structure

Top-notch content sparkles when it’s supported by a consistent website structure. Aim for a clear URL format to help visitors navigate around the site. Ideally, the URL structure reflects your category architecture as well as your breadcrumb navigation.

Simpler is better – figuring out your game plan before creating your product listings will avoid tons of issues down the line (duplicate pages, 404s… yikes!). Work with something like mydomain.com/category/product-name/ and deviate at your own risk.

Tip: Create category names according to top keywords. For maximum winnings, create category pages according to the most highly searched keywords used by your customers. Check out our guide to ecommerce keyword research, then match categories to top keywords for guaranteed search traffic – and to make sure you’re offering what customers want.

3. Write engaging ecommerce content that boosts conversions

With your product offering on a solid structural foundation, let’s add some oomph by creating useful and engaging content for your transactional pages. And while we’re at it, let’s spruce up some existing content with a few quick fixes.

Ramp up your product descriptions

At face value, product descriptions are meant to make a compelling case for purchasing your products by showcasing all the important features and benefits. Beneath the surface, they can also help you climb to the top of SERPs by incorporating topics and keywords that help Search Engines figure out your relevance for a given query.

There’s no clear-cut recipe for putting the perfect description together, but at this point you have all the ingredients in place, and you can begin testing to see what makes your secret sauce.

By now you should have identified your best-performing keywords, the perfect voice for your audience, and a consistent structure for product titles and descriptions. Now it’s time to shake and bake them into winning content while keeping these pointers in mind:

  • Length is entirely relative for product descriptions, just make sure to lead with key facts and the most relevant information.

  • Incorporating detailed specifications is highly useful for some descriptions and can be pulled from databases, and nestled within HTML drop-down menus to keep pages clean

  • Keep paragraphs short and allow for plenty of spacing

  • Emphasize key benefits in subheads or bold text, perfect for those who skim text

  • Distill complex technical information into bullet points

  • Include internal links to related products and informational pages

Customers make up their mind within seconds. Are your product descriptions easy to ‘scan’? Is your font size large enough (on mobile)? Are you overwhelming customers with too much text?

If you need to provide more details, guides, use cases, and so on – link to informational content hubs! More on that further down 😎

Think of content beyond text, and incorporate more visuals

A picture is worth a thousand words. Supplement your product pages by adding unique product photos, replete with descriptive alt text that assists with visual image search and accessibility.

Think about including educational videos and buying guide infographics that compare several products, which increase the helpfulness of your pages as well as your authenticity. Content pieces like this also make for high-quality, linkable assets in their own right!

Sharing is caring, and being referenced from another reputable website is a nice endorsement that search engines consider when it comes to ranking.

Include social proof where possible

Benefit from word-of-mouth buzz by including customer testimonials and reviews in your listings. Sure, you will definitely need to monitor and moderate to keep things clean (user-generated spam is a real threat to your reputation). But you stand to benefit from authentic ‘voice of the customer’ feedback that research proves as a leading factor in purchasing decisions.

Ratings also organically incorporate relevant keywords within your page that you hadn’t even thought of! This can be super helpful for winning over lucrative longtail keyword traffic (i.e. keywords with a lower search volume but really specific goal).

If your products don’t have any feedback widgets or aren’t featured on review sites, maybe post a testimonial from one of your team members (with photo), sharing what a major seller the product has been with customers. As a general rule, shoppers like to buy what’s popular. So if your products are reviewed in magazines or online rating platforms, share the exposure on product pages with a link.

Test for success

You can rely on A/B split tests via tools like Google Optimize to see what kind of product descriptions, call-to-actions, images (whatever!) work best for your audience. Find your groove by testing different lengths, (key) words, formats, and more to see what resonates with customers.

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(Credit: Ryte)

A/B tests send some traffic to a test version of a page where something small was modified, and the other visitors view the normal page with nothing changed.

This uses some fancy JavaScript, and allows testers to continually test to see which page version converts better so that they can hard code it within the site.

4. Extend your reach with content hubs

Content is king! Because without context and background information, your products are just… stuff. When you maintain informational content hubs on your site, you’re not only adding storytelling and cultural relevance around your listings – you’re also attracting organic search results with magnetic pull.

AIDA-vs-content-funnel-mapping ecommerce

Appealing to all those recently-discovered informational keywords, with content hubs such as FAQ sections, blogs, how-to guides, and so on, creates a giant opening into your sales funnel. This enables you to start the fun process of winning them over as smitten customers.

Host an engaging blog on your website

Instead of waiting for media outlets to feature your company or products, control the conversation by adding a blog to your website. Well-written long-form content has been proven to boost search rank, social media shares, and time spent on site.

Generate topics by documenting the development process and innovation behind a product. Interview some of your engineers and experts. Even write about big-picture topics like sustainability to position your brand and get those related search terms.

You could even establish recurring segments and themes such as Q&As with influencers, your take on trending topics, and anything else that really resonates with your target audience.

Some tips for writing killer blog posts:

  • Define a focus key phrase for each story (ideally including your highest-value search terms). Website plugins like Yoast even help you ensure you’re using it enough.

  • People love to skim. Keep paragraphs short and concise, as well as providing lists or tables when necessary.

  • Measure readability with Flesch Reading Ease and other tools.

  • Avoid using the passive voice and posting duplicate content.

  • Get your main point across in the first paragraph with a TL;DR summary (Too Long; Didn’t Read).

  • Branch out into non-textual mediums such as podcasts and video, while also publishing the transcription on your blog.

Answer customer questions proactively in optimized FAQ pages

Search engines prioritize pages that answer common questions about a product in the most helpful way. This can be you, so find out what these questions are – and answer them on dedicated FAQ pages!

These pages should be structured by topic and lead to a detailed guide if necessary. No one likes to have a one-pager filled with questions and answers, but having one question per page isn’t good for search engine discoverability either.

Ideal-FAQs-structure ecommerce

I recommend you to source all important questions from your keyword research, customer support, and sales teams and then cluster them thematically. Then create an FAQ page for each topic, answering those questions and linking to any related help guide or product page when required.

A strong FAQs section takes the strain off your customer service employees and phone support, as well as improving your chances of winning gorgeous Featured Snippets!

Tip: Benefit from conversational commerce. One of the biggest buzzwords in online shopping right now is ‘conversational commerce, meaning purchases through verbal/text command via messaging apps, chats, and voice assistants like Alexa or Apple HomePod.

Usually, only the top-ranking results are shown to customers. So building helpful answers around your products brings you first in line when people ask: “Siri, what’s the best SEO and website optimization platform for my business?” (You already know it’s Ryte.)

Publish guides and explainer content

Customers are especially receptive to helpful, actionable content during the consideration stages of their journey. Do some research into what drives awareness among customers and what kind of informational content they look for.

Then capture those searches with helpful guides on your site that introduce your product as the hero for solving those queries.

5. Pursue content creation beyond your own website

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Consumers prefer brands that are responsive, knowledgeable and helpful. Expand your position by chiming in on social media whenever questions regarding your products or business segment arise. If you sell on Amazon, you’re already receiving invites to answer whenever customers have questions about your products.

Get invited by blogs or magazines to write by-lined articles as an expert, while linking aggressively to your online store or blog section. If nobody invites you to share your opinion on their platform, there’s always a vanity story post on LinkedIn. You got this!

Also feel free to draw inspiration from our article on 5 content marketing ideas that do NOT involve your blog.

So there you have it, our guide to ecommerce content strategy. I’m sure it got your creative juices flowing, but don’t worry just yet if you haven’t figured out that devastatingly brilliant strategy. These things take time! I suggest you investigate each of these points one day at a time during your discovery phase, and you’ll have a much better idea of what your website needs.

And don’t forget to check out our related guides to technical SEO for ecommerce, keyword research for ecommerce and internationalizing your online shop.

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Published on Feb 23, 2022 by Izzi Smith