It never fails to amaze me how many people are creating stores and populating them with 1 line product descriptions. I’m stunned by this, as stores set up like this are bound to fail despite our best efforts to make them search engine friendly.
Whoever said “a picture is worth a thousand words” probably never managed to get a website ranked highly in the search engines! As far as Google, Yahoo or Altavista are concerned, a picture is not worth anything.
The reason is simple: search engines can read, but they can’t see! When potential customers perform searches, they do so using words and phrases. A professionally-shot photograph on your site looks nice, and will certainly help sell your product IF someone actually ends up on your store…. but unless it accompanies a detailed product description—containing key terms one might use when looking for the product or service online—it may never be found.
A carefully written product description makes the beauty, utility or novelty of your product legible! Not only will this help you in search engines, but it is likely to increase your sales as well.
This is not to say that obtaining high search engine rankings is the only good reason for writing product descriptions. No matter how potential customers find your site, an eloquent description of the product or service you provide can greatly enhance the confidence, intrigue, or amusement he or she will experience when browsing your selection. Each of these factors contributes to the overall enjoyment your site will provide and, consequently, increases the likelihood of generating a sale or lead.
Consider this example. Suppose you are shopping online for an engagement ring. Two sites offer virtually the same ring, but two dramatically different descriptions accompany them. One site reads:
“Diamond in prong setting, gold band.”
Now read the description offered on the second site:
“As simple, classic and honest as your proposal—this diamond engagement ring is the timeless expression of an enduring commitment. The carefully cut stone sparkles from its prong setting, rested fittingly upon a gold band. The unbroken continuity of the gold ring provides a stable contrast to the light rays which erupt unendingly from the diamond’s crown.”
Clearly the second example holds more appeal for the average consumer. One must consider the fact that, unlike a brick-and-mortar storefront, an online store does not have the benefit of persuasive sales representatives, nor the tangibility of “real life” products that a potential buyer can hold in his or her hand before making a decision.
In the absence of such sales tools, a few good photographs and a well-written product description become your most valued allies.