Ecommerce copywriting guide: best practices for writing content that converts
Imagine this: you’ve got a killer product. A slick site design. A solid value proposition.
But your product still isn’t flying off the digital shelf.
Probably because your copy isn’t compelling enough.
Your site is only as good as your copy, to a degree. So to drive traffic and turn visitors into customers, you need persuasive copywriting that actually converts.
You might be wondering what the difference is between content writing for eCommerce websites and general SEO copywriting. Honestly, they share a lot of the same approaches. But there are a few strategies specific to this industry that ought to be included in your homepage, product, category and blog page content.
We’ve helped dozens of eCommerce sites boost their sales with our eCommerce copywriting services, which means we’ve been able to identify exactly which best practices drive the most traffic and conversions.
And we’re going to share them with you in this guide.
Use these tips and approaches to create copy that encourages your customers to take action and increase your revenue. Don’t forget: if you need some professional advice creating your eCommerce copywriting strategy, simply reach out to us.
Here’s what this post will cover:
- What is eCommerce copywriting?
- General eCommerce copywriting best practices
- Ecommerce copywriting guidelines by page type:
- Category page
- Product page
- Blog posts and articles
What is eCommerce copywriting?
Ecommerce copywriting is basically the text (or copy) you create for any page on your eCommerce site. This can include product pages, category pages, landing pages, product descriptions and more.
Ecommerce copywriting should do two things:
- Inform and educate the user
- Propel them towards a final checkout
Brands and stores approach this in various different ways, but they often use consumer psychology, knowledge of their purchase funnel and other research to build trust with their customers.
Why SEO copywriting is still important
For your eCommerce copy to be effective, you still need to keep general SEO copywriting practices in mind - because you can only convince customers to buy your products if you successfully bring them to your site using proper SEO techniques.
The bottom line: SEO and eCommerce copywriting work together (not separately) to drive sales and revenue by performing two key things:
- Conveying your message to the reader and convincing them to take action (like get in touch, make a purchase etc.)
- Conveying to search engines what the page is about and the user intent you’re trying to serve with the page.
General eCommerce copywriting best practices
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to copywriting strategy. Like your eCommerce business, your copywriting strategy is unique. So before you jump into the strategies below, you need to identify your key USPs (unique selling points) and what you want to communicate to potential buyers.
Ask yourself: why should they buy from you? And why should they care?
Establishing your USPs will help guide you in your strategy and make your content much more effective.
However, there are a handful of practices we suggest to every business to get your content ranking of Google and attract the right customers:
1. Conduct proper keyword research and sorting
Your content will get you nowhere if it’s not optimised for search engines - so keyword research is essential for SEO copywriting for eCommerce products.
Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), conduct your keyword research. It’ll help you understand your current page rankings, competitor keywords and the user intent behind the queries or questions you’re trying to rank for.
The result? More effective content.
Any of tools (which we use ourselves) are great for getting started:
Once you find your keywords, we suggest breaking them down into five categories for more effective targeting strategies:
- Informational terms: top of the funnel
- Consideration terms: middle of the funnel
- Comparison terms: middle of the funnel
- Transactional terms: bottom of the funnel
2. Use internal links
Internal links are great for distributing authority throughout your site to help your content rank in search engine results, as well as encouraging users to explore your site more. When you link to other products and categories, your users have the chance to learn more about your brand and what you offer - giving you more opportunities to push them further down the sales funnel.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend 1-3 internal links per page, but this should be based on the type of page you’re writing for (more on that below).
3. Write with the customer in mind
Writing for web (especially eCommerce) is a bit of an art: customers have short attention spans, they’re seeking answers to their questions and the right product for their needs, and they don’t want to spend a long time looking for that information.
A common pitfall is talking too much about your store and brand. Instead, focus on how the user will benefit from your product/buying from you. Don’t make them search for the answer: give the product details upfront and don’t bore them with flowery, waffly language.
This means highlighting:
- Product features, details and descriptions (all the need-to-know things)
- Sales and discounts
- Reviews and testimonials
- Shipping and return policies
4. Follow copywriting best practices
Don’t limit well-written, compelling copy to just your website. Use it across all your content, like email marketing, social media and more.
Here’s just a few copywriting best practices that are worth researching:
- Use the inverted pyramid method: start with the essential information and tell your reader straight away what they can expect to find on this page. Then follow with the non-essential information. Most web visitors don’t scroll to the bottom of the page, so grab their attention at the beginning to increase the likelihood of conversion.
Avoid using exclamation marks or all caps: you think it’s a great way to emphasise a point - your readers don’t. It’s distracting, sometimes difficult to read and feels like you’re shouting at them. Your copy should communicate the user benefits clearly on its own and not rely on formatting styles to do the job. (If it doesn’t, you might need to re-think your copy).
Use a range of formatting styles: ensure your writing isn’t one big paragraph with bullet points, subheadings, FAQs and quote features to highlight important details and keep your reader moving down the page.
Be clear and concise: cut out the waffle and use short, digestible paragraphs and sentences in a welcoming tone of voice. Long, complicated sentences are for more academic styles of writing, not your online store. So keep it concise and easy to read.
Not a strong copywriter? Take advantage of our eCommerce copywriters who can implement these strategies quickly and efficiently for you.
Ecommerce copywriting guidelines by page type
Every page on your eCommerce site has a different purpose - and your copywriting strategy should show that. We explain our approaches below based on what we’ve seen make the most impact on organic traffic and conversion rates (for both our clients and our own eCom businesses).
Homepage copywriting tips
Your homepage content is designed to:
Engage your customers
Display the categories and products they should view first
Establish a brand look and feel
To achieve these three things, your content, design and functionality all need to work together. Check out our 9 eCommerce homepage best practices to improve CRO and drive sales, as well as our other strategies below.
Some businesses focus more on the design of their homepage, as opposed to the content, but we’ve found having between 400-600 words of unique content will get you further. This gives you more room to use keyword variations (worked into your text naturally with a sole focus), link to internal content and communicate your message effectively.
Meta & on-page keyword targeting
Branded keywords are the best way to go with your eCommerce homepage, as even the most broad of product keywords aren’t likely to rank. So use branded keywords to let shoppers who are looking for your site find your homepage easily:
Meta title (under 55 characters, including spaces): target branded keywords, including your company name.
Meta description (under 155 characters, including spaces): target branded keywords and include a call to action to motivate searchers to click.
On-page title/H1 (usually 2-5 words): this should be your company name.
Your homepage is the starting point for lots of your customers, and a good use of internal links will ensure they move further into your site (and be more likely to purchase). We recommend featuring your top categories and products here to immediately grab their attention.
Use of images
A homepage is pretty boring without quality images and video. It’s worth working with a designer or developer to see how your copy and media work together before hitting ‘publish’. The goal? They should both drive action from your visitors.
If you’ve done your keyword targeting right, you shouldn’t need to update your content since you’re already ranking for your branded keywords. But it’s a good idea to change your copy and images as necessary to reflect any sales, promotions, new products etc. that you want to draw attention to on your homepage.
Category page copywriting guidelines
Having content on your category pages helps customers understand which types of products are available in this category and the benefits - as well as tells Google what the category topic is for good SEO.
It can also be used to establish your brand’s credibility about the topic. For example, if your business is one of the largest online retailers for your products, express that in your copy to boost buyer confidence and conversions.
The aim: your eCommerce category page should help point your visitor to the topic of the page and help them decide where to go next.
We suggest using around 100 words of content at the top and at least 200 words of extra content (like useful product articles) at the bottom of your category pages.
Take a look at Unsponsored. Their top-of-the-page content is only 65 words long, but it introduces the category concisely and includes valuable keywords.
One thing they could improve? Editing their page header to read ‘Bike Components’ instead of just ‘Components’ for better clarity and SEO.
Meta & on-page keyword targeting
To get the most out of your keywords on category page content, follow these guidelines for targeting:
Meta title (under 55 characters, including spaces): target the top-of-the-funnel keywords first, then middle-of-the-funnel keywords. Your title should accurately describe the category.
Meta description (under 155 characters, including spaces): target all keywords. Your copy should mention the main benefits and focus on what action the user should take.
On-page title/H1 (usually 2-5 words): this is the category name, which should be very specific and target the top-of-the-funnel keyword phrase. For example: use ‘Women’s Waterproof Cycling Socks’ instead of just ‘Women’s Socks’ if the products are all waterproof cycling socks for women.
Basic descriptions (75-100 words minimum above the product grid & an extra 200+ words of content at the bottom of the product grid - if possible): target all keywords once, and target multiple keywords with one usage where possible (ie. when the top-of-the-funnel keyword is part f a longer middle-of-the-funnel keyword phrase). Make the top-of-the-funnel keyword bold once with ‘<strong></strong>’ tags/code.
To increase the relevancy of your content, link to 1-3 related categories or sub-categories within a category description. Not only does it help with relevancy, it also helps the user navigate to different areas of your site with ease (so good UX).
Use of images
Since category pages already display images of the products (usually as a product grid), it’s not essential to add images within the copy - particularly for copy that sits above the grid. It tends to push the product grid down - so it no longer sites above the fold - and can negatively impact your conversion rate. However if you do choose to include an image, make sure it’s shallow enough to still display the copy and product grid, and consider overlaying your title text on the image to save space.
As well as your homepage, category pages are particularly useful for highlighting a popular product or time-sensitive promotion. Just make sure you update them regularly: remove out of stock items and promotions that have some to an end, and fix any broken links.
Product page copywriting guidelines
You’ll usually have more product pages than category pages on your eCommerce site, so use this space to make your business stand out and persuade Google’s algorithm that your product page content (and overall site) is better quality than your competitors.
Product pages are high-converting pages, so ensure they read naturally, focus on the benefits to the customer and make it unique. Be specific in your descriptive details and give them all the information they need. (Because short, vague descriptions only do one thing: turn off potential buyers).
Aim to include at least 100-200 words of unique content in your product copywriting. However, if your product is complex or highly competitive, aim for 250-500 words of unique content.
Meta & on-page keyword targeting
Unlike category pages, you don’t have to do keyword research for your product pages. Why? Because the product name or model number is the keyword.
However, it’s good to use other keywords on these pages too. Middle and bottom-of-the-funnel keywords can be used alongside the product name (top-of-the-funnel keyword) within numerous elements of the product page.
Use a combination of these in your meta data:
Meta title (under 55 characters, including spaces): target the product name first, then the generic keyword second. If you’ve got room, try to include the brand name. For example: ‘Dr. Martens Vegan Jadon Platform Boots | Schuh’.
Meta description (under 155 characters, including spaces): target the product name and generic keyword. Ensure your copy mentions the main benefits and focus on what action the user should take.
On-page title (H1): Just use the product name
You should also use keyword targeting in your product descriptions:
Basic descriptions (75-100 words): stand-alone short descriptions should use the top-of-the-funnel and generic keyword 1-2 times.
Standard descriptions (130-200 words): these are great for long product descriptions where the product pages have both a short (top-of-the-page) and long (bottom-of-the-page) description. We suggest using the first paragraph (25-30 words) as the short description, and the full description as the long description. Then use the product name and generic keyword 2-3 times.
Premium descriptions (250-500+ words): this is for your top product and should explain the product’s details and benefits in great depth. Use the product name and generic keyword 3-4 times. And answer popular questions about the product like ‘What material is it made of?’
Just like every other page on your site, you should include internal links on your product pages. Pinpoint links to informational posts or those directly related to the product that could be helpful and bring value to the user. Stay away from excessive, unrelated links that could disrupt the user’s purchase intent.
Use of images
Place compelling images near your copy, but keep the description itself clear of the distractions of embedded images. If you’re able to, consider including a video of the specific product to provide more information (in a visually engaging format) and possibly increase conversions.
Content upgrades aren’t usually needed from a keyword-targeting perspective because the product page’s focus is so narrow. However, make sure you update your product pages with new product information, particularly if they end up going out of stock.
Blog post & article copywriting guidelines
A key part of your eCommerce content marketing strategy are blog posts and long-form articles. Not only do they give you opportunities to only target highly relevant keywords, they also answer your customers’ questions, provide information about your products and encourage them to buy.
Before you begin writing or rewriting your blog posts, it’s best to do an in-depth eCommerce content audit to get the most out of your efforts (something we can help with).
Content writing for eCommerce sites favours ‘big content’ for blog posts and articles. The length of the content depends on which keywords you’re targeting:
Long-tail keywords: 500-750 words minimum
Competitive short-tail keywords: 1,000-5,000 words
The longer and more informative your content, the more you can get out of the topic, impress your target audience and gain backlinks.
Meta & on-page keyword targeting
Blog content is crucial to SEO success, so pay attention to these keyword targeting strategies:
Meta title (under 55 characters, including spaces): target the main keyword at the front of the title. If there’s still space, try to include a middle-of-the-funnel keyword or another keyword variation.
Meta description (under 155 characters, including spaces): target the main keyword and other variations - these keywords will be in bold in search results. Make sure to include persuasive language or a clear CTA to increase click-through rates.
Main heading/H1 (usually 2-5 words): target the main keywords and other keyword variations. We suggest using a different H1 from your meta title, as your H1 has fewer restrictions to a meta (‘title’) tag, so you can add more keywords and write in a more user-friendly way.
Internal linking is a ‘big yes’ to blog posts and other long-form articles. Link to relevant products, categories and other blog posts for your topic (like we’ve done in this post). It’s also your only opportunity to customise anchor text for target keywords on those internal links, so make use of it.
Use of images
Big chunks of text alone can feel like too big an effort to read, so images and other media can break them up and encourage visitors to stick around. To boost reader engagement, add images for each section of your blog.
Ensure images are compressed for speed and have appropriate alt text. And edit file names to avoid the generic and not-too-pretty ‘img_54321’ title.
Blog posts and other long-form content can suffer from ‘content decay’ (when your traffic or keyword rankings reach their peak and decrease in performance over time, leading to losses in revenue). This is usually down to how search algorithms and searcher behaviour change over the years.
If you notice a drop in organic performance and clicks, it might be time to reoptimise your content with new keywords, fresh copy and new strategies. When you’ve finished, simply republish the content with a new date to show your changes.
Start building your eCommerce copywriting strategy
Ecommerce and SEO copywriting aren’t always a walk in the park, but with the advice and strategies we’ve gone through above, you’ve got the right tools to help start writing or rewriting your on-page copy and improve your metadata.
Follow these practices in our eCommerce copywriting guide to help you rank better for your target keywords, boost traffic and conversions - and turn your site into even more of a revenue-making machine.
Prefer a professional to help you create or navigate you through your eCommerce copywriting strategy? We’ve worked with dozens of online businesses to get the most out of their content. Simply get in touch to talk things through.