How to name your online products for maximum sales

How to name your online products for maximum sales

How well do you know your products?

Name your products on your site based on how your customers describe them, not how your supplier does.

One of the biggest mistakes that shopping cart websites make is that they assume customers use the same names to describe products that they do. They simply insert product names unchanged from the product names provided to them on their manufacturer’s product lists, or insert products automatically into their shopping cart from a data feed from their suppliers.
Using an unchanged product list from a manufacturer is relatively easy to manage from your end as a store owner, but could affect your sales because this approach has the following problems:
  • Your customers might use different terms to search for those products
  • You run the risk of duplicating content from other websites
  • You could be helping your customers find competitors selling identical products

Your descriptions vs supplier descriptions

A manufacturer’s product title from a supplier’s catalog might not match up well with the way a customer might describe a product. Customers think in terms of how they use a product and often use simplifications, language or abbreviations to describe them in a way that the original manufacturers do not.

Manufacturers use feature-based product descriptions

Suppliers tend to describe products in a functional way. This is because of the large number and variety of products that they produce. Using features to describe a product rather than its benefits makes it easier for them to accurately, unemotionally, uniquely and logically describe a large number and variety of similar products. Product titles from manufacturers therefore reflect what the product is or how it works, but not necessarily why customers might be compelled to buy it. A customer searching for a product will search for a product based on what’s top of their mind when they think about it, and that will usually be benefits or use focussed and not features based. By using the product catalog title and description you could be missing out on a huge number of potential customers.

Potential for duplicate content

If you’re using a product catalog, then many of your competitors may be doing so as well. If you are also using their product descriptions, then a large percentage of your website page could be a direct duplicate of another web page. All other factors equal, a website that’s more established than you with a higher credibility and authority in the eyes of the search engines will outrank your page with a large percentage of repeated content as the search engine will assume that this is a duplicate page – either quoted material or a copy. Your product page may not get indexed at all potentially missing out on a large number of potential buyers.
In short, it will not help your sales bottom line to use the product titles from manufacturers. Write your own unique titles that use the search words that your customers will use to look for or describe those products.

What to consider in a product title for your website

By all means use the manufacturer description of a product as a guide but if you want a successful product title that gets click-throughs and sales, you will need to consider the following things:
  • How might your customers describe this product? What words would they use to describe it to a friend on the phone?
  • Is there industry jargon in the product title? If so delete it. If your product is not specifically searched for by the jargon word, then jargon will merely confuse your customers or not show up in results for their searches. It won’t be a direct help for you in search engines either, because the people who will be searching for your products using industry jargon will be your competitors or other related businesses.
  • Might customers use abbreviations or simplifications? Customers may use abbreviations or simplifications to describe a brand (e.g. a customer might write Thomas train instead of Thomas the Tank Engine)
You don’t have to just guess what customers might be searching for. There are a number of ways you can get an indication of how customers might describe that product. Ideas for finding words that customers might use to describe these products include:
  • Visit forums relating to the product that you’re selling or somewhere where customers who might buy that product are talking about it. Look at the words they are using.
  • Look in the search statistics of your existing website to see if customers are searching your own site for that product
  • Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planning Tool to look at how many searches are being performed for a particular product term or key word in all of Australia, globally or the specific target geographical area where your customers are located.
  • Search in Google for reviews about the products you are listing. Look at how the products are described by other customers in those reviews to get a sense of the language used for this product.
Using keywords in your title that customers are searching for will help your product pages appear relevant when the search engines determine whether to include your listing in a list of sites for a search term. The relevancy of a page to a given search term is an important part of the search engine ranking process and search engine marketing experts agree that what is in your page title is weighted heavily in this determination by search engines like Google and Bing.
One important thing to remember is not to over-fill your titles full of key words. To search engines, over filling titles with keywords that make no grammatical or logical sense merely looks like a deliberate attempt to manipulate them. It is called keyword stuffing and your product page could suffer through dropping in search engine rankings for the search terms you are aiming to rank on, or by not getting indexed by the search engines at all.

Balancing information with mystery

Using the right phrases in your title is an important part of being relevant

Think about a newspaper or magazine. What is the most important part of any of the articles in that publication? The headline. A headline’s purpose is to get someone to buy the publication and to read more of the article. A product’s title is its headline and serves a similar purpose. A product title’s purpose is to generate enough interest in a product to get a website visitor to click through to read more about the product – and eventually add it to cart.
This means if your customer is reading a list of products in a search engine listing, on a product price comparison website, or browsing categories in your store, they need to be enticed to click through to the product that solves their problem and is the reason that they are shopping to begin with. An eye-catching, interesting, useful and relevant title will help you do this.
A catchy headline is not enough in itself however, a headline with plenty of creativity and mystery but no substance when the user clicks through will not result in a sale. The visitor clicking through will not find what they are looking for and have to look somewhere else. Some of those people will go back to a previous page in your website and look through them for other products that match their searching criteria, but some will stop searching your store completely and “bounce” away from your site. So you need to not only attract click-throughs with an interesting product title, but you need to give enough information away so that the right people are clicking through. This is where doing your research and working in the most searched keyword phrase to describe that product can help.

Don’t rely only on product titles for click through

Customers don’t make a click-through decision on the product title alone. Depending on how they find your page (through a search engine or whilst browsing your website) they might also consider the:
  • product image. A picture really is worth a thousand words as time-starved online shoppers are usually very impatient and visual. A compelling picture will get your customer’s attention before they read the title so make sure the image is clear, descriptive and appealing to your target customer group. Make sure your picture matches up with what’s in your title. Don’t for example have an image showing that there are 25 items in a set and then advertise “over 10 widgets” in the title as this mismatch between the title and the image leads people to think “do I get all 25, or only 10?”
  • product description (or meta description that is shown to search engines and used in search engine snippets).
  • review stars (where present positive reviews are present they can encourage click-throughs)
Take some time to browse the websites of some of the leading competitors in your industry who sell the same products as you. Work out how important the title is to their products in making their sales by viewing a lot of different websites – what do the top stores do differently?

Summary: Writing killer product titles

A successful product title is one that is:
  • Catchy – it’s the headline for your product. Make it unique to sell your product – don’t just describe it if you want click-throughs.
  • Simple – don’t make it too clever or complicated. It’s a headline, but its a name not an article
  • Uses search phrases – don’t stuff the title full of keywords but use the key phrase that people will use to find that product
  • Medium length – there’s no formula number of characters as it depends on the product but you want it more than a few words long so you can use the main search keyword for that item, and long enough so you can demonstrate what makes that product memorable, but not so long it can’t be viewed in a category grid without being cut off.
Find out what your actual customers are talking about with regards to your products by reading forums and searching for reviews on this product and similar ones. You might also find out the weaknesses of your competitors in the process! There’s no single winning formula, but careful planning of your website products before loading them in your site, as well as writing unique titles and descriptions can really help your shopping cart website succeed – even in crowded and highly competitive online shopping industries.
Ozcart Ecommerce

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