Developing Original Content

There's so much content on the Internet. This is why it is very important these days to develop more unique content for your products and website pages.

Your customers need compelling and unique content because it:

  • Establishes credibility and authority
  • Increases conversion rate.
  • Distinguishes you from your competition.

Using unique content is very important to search engines as well. Using text from a data feeds or copying and pasting from a manufacturer's product description is easy.  But, it has negative SEO consequences. Google Panda updates taught a lot of content farms and retailers the importance of having high-quality, original content on their web-pages.

Coincidentally, once you create this unique text... Be stingy with it! Your content isn't "unique" once you share it through product feeds to affiliates and shopping engines.

What content do you need? How much text? How many different pages? Do you really need 400-500 words on every single product?

The first thing we do is look at is what the manufacturer provides. This content gives you some ideas for what features to touch on. But it should be re-written in your own words and avoid the use of jargon. Simply turning manufacturer text into plain English is sometimes enough for smaller product pages.

Decide what pages you need to create

The type and number of pages you create depends on the size and scope of the product. As a retailer, you usually have a pretty good idea what's going to sell and what's not. If your best-selling line has a complete relaunch every few years, that event is going to need to put more work into it than a new book or $5 accessory.

A good rule of thumb is to associate dollar value of the product to content creation. 

The "$100 Paragraph Rule".

For your top 200 products, write a good 3-4 sentence paragraph for every $100 in the item price. For example, a product which retails for $699 equals 7 paragraphs, which is just about right. The higher the price the item is, the more effort you should put into creating the product page content.

Next, re-edit and organize this content into usable structure.

If you were ever taught the "inverted pyramid" style - to write so that the story made sense even if you stopped halfway through.  Or, if marketing people need to cut a few paragraphs off the end to make your story fit the space available. The same style works great for the Web.

Be concise for the folks who just want the basics. Hit the high points of a product in the first paragraph or two, and make a solid recommendation on what they need.

People scan when they read on the Web. They want the high points.

    * Use bullet points, keeping the text on a single line
    * Boldface important terms
    * Edit text to be as concise as possible
    * Keep paragraphs short.   
    * The first time you use a new word, define it.
    * Turn features into benefits.
    * Write compelling headlines with call to action.

Write with SEO in mind, but don't get obsessive

    * Do a little SEO keyword research using the Google Keyword Tool.
    * Name products using keywords that customers use.
    * Use the product name / keywords instead of pronouns.
    * Mark up your HTML with headers, (h1, h2, h3) and internal anchors (some CSS knowledge required.
    * Use your best SEO keywords in anchor text in links.

Writing unique content is vital for online retailers. Simply copying and pasting manufacturer text for your product descriptions or using data feeds verbatim is a sure-fire way to shoot your SEO in the head, since Google tends to discriminate against duplicate content. Retailers who create unique, compelling content give themselves a distinct advantage over their competitors who don't.