Introduction
Every day you create lots of content for your retail web site and expect it to help you sell your products. The content should let your customer quickly find a product (on a search engine or within your web site) and offer comprehensive information. In short, it should be unique, exhaustive and accurate. Product pages with such content offer a higher probability of conversion from visitor to customer, and growth in sales.

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Content Health checklist
The fact that your sales numbers are dependent on your site content implies that the content assets should be in the peak of their health. Below is a quick checklist of components you should keep an eye on, in order to make sure that your product pages perform better.

 

Product Description
This asset is crucial due its extensive influence on both humans and bots. To humans, it explains product features and their advantages, helps understand products’ unique selling points, makes visitors stay on a page for longer time and influences them to buy a product. To a search bot such as Googlebot, they serve as a keyword container that is unique. The uniqueness is most important to get indexed higher on search results and reap SEO benefits. A copy of manufacturers’ unique descriptions is a deceptive pit in the process. It has little value for human visitors and is considered as a highly negative SEO practice that certainly demotes a product page in the search result.

 

Keywords
Although keywords are not seen by users, they are considered by major search engines’ algorithms and play a direct role in search indexing. They are used in page titles, meta descriptions, product titles, product descriptions, and may be present in product attributes. A good set will be a mix of both generic and specific or long tail keywords. In the Google Hummingbird era, you need to keep your human and algorithmic visitors in mind when selecting and using keywords.

 

Page Title
This is the first piece of information search engines read. And this is the first piece of information viewers get to see on a search engine result page (SERP). As a business owner, you need to deliver maximum possible product information within the 70 characters (with spaces) limit of page titles. If the title is smartly infused with keywords, it becomes a killer feature. Additionally, when page titles follow a pattern, their creation can be automated.

 

Meta Description
This is targeted solely at search engine bots. Usually, this content is shown on SERPs for viewers to get an idea as to what a page contains. Interspersed with keywords, a cleverly crafted 170 characters (incl. spaces) meta description talks about your product, its features and even compatible accessories.The trick is to keep the communication informative and succinct so that search engines cannot truncate any important piece.

 

Product Title
In “heading” format – the big, bold, coloured font – a product title hollers product information at search engines and visitors. It creates a momentary pause for both of them and assures them that they are on the right page. An ideal product title will be the one that describes a product in maximum 10 words. A demanding content asset, the title needs a solid understanding of a product to take a call on how to optimally use those 10 words.

 

Product Image
No one buys anything blindfolded. The likelihood of a visitor clicking on a link to a product page with an image is 5.5 times higher than clicking on the link without one. So, you have to have product images (mark the plural) on your site. These product images are the most common alternative to seeing and feeling a product in a physical store. Using product images, you can render a realistic picture of your product’s size, which is definitely important in case of wearables and gadgets. Keep in mind, multiple images are better than a single image and each image must have a unique image description in the “alt” tags.

 

Product Spec Sheet
Like product description, a product spec sheet offers numerous benefits. First, it gets the product information structured and organised. In addition, it lets you show all features of a product, allows shoppers to compare similar products and serves as a basis for navigation and filters. An exhaustive spec sheet uses the structured product information from your content management system. It is then rendered to create a complete product page and is frequently used to feed into your internal site search engine.

 

Content Quality Checklist
Once the key points are identified, the next step will be to check your content against certain parameters. Each of the parameters is explained below.

 

Structure
All atomic content units should be kept under separate attributes and preferably be indexed as opposed to keeping all of them as one big text dump. Such structuring enables reuse of data, powers search and navigation, and allows quick and effective site translation into multiple languages.

 

Accuracy
Credibility of your site depends on data accuracy. Accurate data ensures that buyers get what they see on the site. On one hand it reduces the probability of product return, on the other it increases the chances of repeat purchase. Buyers who receive products as shown on the site, accurate to the colour, convert to loyal customers. They return to your site and advocate your site within their circle; thereby increasing the chance of more footfalls.

 

Completeness
Complete product information on your site tells your buyers that you know your product. Together with accuracy, complete data makes your site a reliable place to shop. Besides, complete data directly impacts the navigational slicers (facets). More information allows for more facet options. You may slice product information by attributes or you may dice it by attribute values. Once you are done with your slicing and dicing, you may offer sorting options to your buyers as well. On the flipside, whenever a product misses a value or an attribute, it gets left out after a set of slicing and becomes invisible to visitors.

 

Duplication
Duplicate data is frustrating for both you and your viewers. While you have to collect and manage product data more than once (depending on the number of duplicate instances), your visitors get confused between similar products. Visitors’ attention gets split, they get distracted, and you lose an opportunity to sell. Therefore, to help all visitors find exactly what they are looking for, you need to ensure that your site is free of duplicate products. From a search engine perspective, duplicate products get penalized in their page indexing, which reduces the chances of a shopper landing on the product page directly from the SERP.

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Conclusion
This health check process must be done diligently, by assigning a score to each of the checkpoints and then checking them against a benchmark. If scores of the checkpoints are found below the benchmark, you should invest in content improvement. Although this work may look apparently simple, it usually requires very special content management knowledge – best done by content specialists in the shortest turnaround time possible. If your content scores are above the benchmark, then you may raise a toast to their good health. However, do not take them for granted; stay put and make sure that they remain as pink as you found them.

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