Post by Hayley Wolfcale, SEO Specialist
Welcome to Part II of my series on SEO copywriting! So far I’ve covered long content and the benefits of keyword research. For the purposes of this post, we’ll be exploring short content.
I consider “short” content to include product pages, category pages and other shopping or research/navigation pages.
When I say “short” I don’t mean that these pages shouldn’t have a lot of words on them, just that the intent of the page is to impart very specific information in an easily digestible way. Short content pages are often geared towards conversions and call-to-actions as opposed to long content pages which usually convey more complex information. Short content pages may be organizational – housing links to product pages – or shopping pages, where the goal is to convince visitors to hit the “Add to Cart” button, among other things.
Keyword Research for Short Content Pages
The best keywords for short content pages are usually short and sweet.
- Category pages: These pages have broad terms that often host a lot of search volume, like “Women’s Swimsuits” or “Mutual Funds.” A brand might be tempted to use these strong keywords on product pages – after all, those are the pages where visitors can hit “Buy.” But those product pages are going to include the broad keywords in some capacity anyway. A particular type of mutual fund will still include the term “mutual fund” somewhere on its individual page just like a “Black One-Piece Swimsuit” will use the term “swimsuit.” The search engine will know that these individual product pages are related to “Swimsuits” and “Mutual Funds” without optimizing for those broad terms. It’s more important to utilize those heavy hitting keywords on pages where they are the most accurate, and allow shoppers to drill down to the specific products they’re looking for.
- Product pages: These pages can be slightly tricky: not every brand’s product is going to have search recognition, especially if they use specific model numbers, unique brand terminology, or, are simply very new. It is not a best practice to use inaccurate keywords for products just because they might differentiate a brand from their competitors. If you call your jacket a cardigan- the wrong searchers are going to find it, end of story. If a brand insists on obscuring their product name, try to use the more accurate or higher search volume term subtly in the body copy of the page.
I’ve also been pleasantly surprised that many brands’ products do have search recognition, even for product names with lots of letters and numbers or odd spellings. It just goes to show that it’s always worth checking every variation in the Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
What If There’s Just No Search Volume?
I’ve worked with brands in very niche industries whose products, and even broad categories of products, simply have no search volume (or virtually no search volume). I spend a lot of time on keyword research to ensure that I haven’t overlooked opportunities, but if there really is no perfect option, it’s best to just use the most accurate term. It helps to see what type of language competitors are using, too.
Often in niche industries, people who would normally search for a product online already have established relationships with companies that make them. When this is the case, it might pay to focus on fostering relationships through social media, blogger outreach, or other similar person-to-person interactions. You can still optimize the site by ensuring that its META tags and body copy use accurate industry terms as well as clear and consistent language and tone. When people do search for a brand’s products, the site will be ready for them.
Some short content pages are very short indeed. If a brand’s product page consists of an
tag and three bullet points about the product, there is more opportunity out there. Many shoppers are looking for detailed information, a few paragraphs (or just one!) can offer valuable info and provide the copywriter with spots to use an assigned keyword. A talented copywriter can usually up the word count of a page without sacrificing readability or the overall succinctness a brand often wants when the goal is to get people to click the “Add to Cart” button.
When copy is particularly short and a brand isn’t interested in expanding it, I tell writers to do their best to fit the keywords in wherever they can, preferably as close to the top or beginning of the page as possible. Keyword density doesn’t have to be a hard goal but rather a guideline – use keywords where possible and logical above hitting that density percentage.
- Use broad keywords on category pages and more specific keywords on product or service pages
- Brands should use the most accurate term for their product
- Don’t be afraid of terms with little or no search volume. Even if a brand’s product base is obscure, its copy can still be edited for accuracy and consistency across the site.
- Don’t sweat keyword density on pages with short copy. Some keyword is better than no keyword.
Be on the lookout for Part III of SEO copywriting: META Tags!