Product naming for SEO – choosing the right ecommerce product title, why product name is important and why product optimisation matters
What is ‘Product Naming’?
For those in the eCommerce world, product titles and product descriptions are a standard part of their lives – they have been a fact of copywriter life since it was first possible to sell or advertise a product on the internet.
What is newer, though, is the need to consider the effects of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) when applied to product names and related content, and how these impact on product visibility and accessibility.
Why Is Product Naming So Important For SEO?
Consumers rely on search engines such as Google and Bing to find the products they want to purchase. The search engine displays the relevant search results by matching the search query to associated key words they find on websites.
With that in mind, it makes good sense to write products titles and descriptions in a way that enables your customers to find you more easily. However, we aren’t talking about constructing product names or descriptions that only exist to be recognised by bots or AI as a way of spamming users with useless search results or advertisements. We’re talking about writing engaging content that is helpful for consumers.
Product title and description optimisation for search engines is part of that. SEO for products is just like SEO for anything else – If your customers can’t find your product online, does it really exist?
How to Choose the Right Ecommerce Product Title
It seems like writing engaging content for product title and description SEO should be a simple task, but many business owners or copywriters have sat down at their desk with confidence, ready to upload a swathe of great new products when – lo and behold – they’re out of ideas when it comes to choosing product names.
Thankfully, our team at Jezweb has compiled a helpful list of some key DO’s and DON”TS when it comes to writing a great product title, because it’s a very important subject. Getting it right can boost your online business in several ways:
- Increased overall SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) ranking results
- Growth in product visibility
- Improved CTR (Click Through rate)
- More sales.
Product Title Do’s
At Jezweb we like to start our days with a bit of positivity, so let’s first explore what we should be doing when it comes to product naming for SEO, and so, avoid the things we have put on the ‘don’t do’ list.
DO Keep It Simple
You should always use clear and straightforward words to describe your product. Remember, search engines and real people alike will tend to skim-read product titles and descriptions to decide if it’s what they’re searching for. Consumers also have varying levels of literacy and may speak more than one language, so the use of unnecessarily complex words or language can exclude a sizeable section of the market.
By choosing a product title that is written in plain language, you’re being more inclusive and making yourself more accessible – both big factors in reaching a wider audience.
DO Write For A Human Audience
While it is always tempting to tailor your product names, product descriptions and other web content for search engine bots in a mission to please the searching engine gods, gone are the days when these bots are so easily manipulated.
Bots are now highly intelligent; they can spot genuinely helpful content that has been written with intent for their human users as well as content that has been created as a buffet for bots. The latter is brazenly loaded with unnecessary keywords (keyword stuffing), lacks authentic detail, and is an offence that can see you penalised by search engines.
DO Include Important Product Details
Depending on the item that you’re listing, there may be a few defining key traits that users will be attaching to their search for that product. For example, a woman searching for a specific shirt might type in the following search query: Black Women’s Long Sleeve Shirt Nike.
A good product title doesn’t need to be an exact match for this query, but should contain some of the key traits the woman is searching for, which might include:
- Bundled item quantity (10 pack/ pack of 3).
Though searched for, size may be listed in a product description, as opposed to the product title, so that the product title can be simplified (this makes it easier on users who are skim-reading).
DO Change Product Title Details Seasonally
Product titles should be changed regularly to reflect trend searches and continuously maximise search results. For example, users search specifically for ‘long sleeved shirts’ in winter, because it’s cold, but not so much in the summer. Therefore, including the term ‘long sleeve’ in a winter product title would increase engagement.
DO place Famous Brand Names in Product Titles
It is a good idea to include the name of the collection or category group that the product item belongs to, only if that collection is something searchers are familiar with and are specifically looking for. Nike is an example of a highly popular fashion line and it is feasible that women would be searching specifically for that Brand name.
If the brand is the highest priority to their potential customers, ecommerce copywriters should place the brand name in the first part of the title, followed by the item type, style (if applicable) and colour.
Let’s look at how this works. A quick Google search of the example search term ‘Black Women’s Long Sleeve Shirt Nike’ brings back these results:
As we can see here, brand name is important enough to be mentioned first. It is then followed by some variations in gender, colour, and style information.
DO Use (Manufacturer Part Number) in the product title of Technical Items
Other types of items will have different title needs. A good example of this could be technical items or specialised equipment such as sound systems, tools, motor vehicle parts, paints – anything that has an extremely specific function and needs to be understood globally.
Items like this will often be listed with their MPN (Manufacturer Part Number) in the product title or description, because searchers are likely using that number to locate the item online. Sellers may also include information in the product title that communicates the items compatibility with other items.
Below we have included an image of some products listed this way that have been well-written, and readers can see why the products needed to be listed this way:
- The brand has been included in the display using the brand logo, for easy and non-text-based recognition.
- The part number is listed.
- The part’s compatibility is outlined.
- The product name includes the item type and specifications.
This is an exceptionally clean and appealing example of how to effectively show products in an informative, uncluttered way.
DO Effectively Use Product Title Character Limits
When you’re writing a product title, you’re restricted by the character limits set by the platform you’re working with. Though some of them may give you up to 200 characters per title to use, we recommend sticking to a title with a character length of between 30-70 characters.
However, while you don’t want a product title looks too long, ‘spammy’ or disingenuous, you also don’t want to write such a short product description that its generic nature buries it under thousands of other search results.
If your product title is too broad in nature, search engines might not understand what your product is, which means that the product might not be recognised or be very competitive.
Character Limit Goldilocks Zone
We’re looking for the goldilocks zone here: A title that is long enough to be unique and informative, but short enough to avoid being overwhelming or looking fake. Google provides some good product title advice on this subject, highlighting that context is important, because different items will have different needs that should be highlighted in the title.
DO Use Popular Keywords And Search Terms
Make sure to conduct some keyword research on your items before writing titles. A good place to start is simply by searching for similar items online. Have a look at how other stores are writing them and which styles are getting the most exposure.
Checking out the Google Shopping results for similar items to yours is an especially good way to start out, because sellers listed by Google must go through an extensive approval process before they can list their items – most of the leg work has already been done!
DO Use Keyword Tools
You can use some great free keyword tools to help you find extra inspiration, and show you what users are searching for such as Google Chrome extensions Keywords Everywhere and Ubersuggest by Neil Patel. The major bonus is that by doing keyword research for your product titles, you’ll start to naturally use those tools for other things like SEO for product descriptions and content writing.
DO Conduct Some Competitor Research
As mentioned above, having a close look at what your competitors are doing is a smart place to start. Pay close attention to the ones who are doing well, and the way that they write their product titles. Although their SERP ranking will be greatly affected by broader SEO content, web design, and web development factors, this is great way to see what they’re doing well.
You might also come across companies that you thought were your competitors, but who are performing poorly online when it comes to SERP rankings and visibility. It’s good to see what people are doing wrong so you can avoid making the same mistakes!
DO Use Correct Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation
Grammar and Spelling
Make sure to get your grammar and spelling correct – your product titles represent your business and also your ‘care factor’. Potential customers want to know that you care enough to create professional looking listings.
Capitalise the first letter of every word, except for conjunctions (or, and, if, the, a, an, in, on, over, with). For example: Nike Women’s Top with Zip Sleeves Black 2-Pack.
Use numerals where possible, instead of word form. In the above example you can see that we have written 2-pack, instead of two-pack. This saves characters and makes it easier for a wide audience to scan and understand.
Stick to standard text when writing product titles, special characters and symbols such as emojis or stars may not display properly on every eCommerce platform and can make titles look cluttered and fake.
Product Title Don’ts
Now that we have a much firmer understanding of what we DO want in our product names and titles, it’s much easier to digest what we need to avoid.
DON’T Use Overbearing Grammar Or Non-Descript Words
Using all caps or unnecessary punctuation in your product titles can make items look ‘shouty’ and too desperately marketed, which puts many potential buyers off. You may also be non-compliant with a selling platforms product titles guides, and either be penalised by having your item removed, or simply not being displayed in the first place.
Using words such as ‘high quality’ and ‘authentic’ might seem like a great way of signalling to a buyer that your product is genuine. Unfortunately, doing this creates the opposite reaction – most buyers feel that a genuine, quality product has no need to mention this in its title. Good products stand on their own feet and they don’t need to be over-marketed. You should avoid making your product seem desperate.
The below images are a good example of what not to do when listing a product. In the following 2 images, several issues have occurred, including:
- All in caps.
- Exclamation marks and forward slashes (pointless punctuation).
- Non-descriptive, spammy terms (Genuine).
- Unnecessary words (Size, BNWT).
DON’T Use Irrelevant Or Subjective Information In Product Titles
Information that relates to your company, yourself, objectives, running promotions or pricing can all be included in either your product description or your website in general. Including it in the product title is excessive and not informative for searchers. If they want to know more about your company, brand, or current sales – they’ll look for it.
DON’T Put The Price in The Title
Item pricing is displayed in the product description to avoid a buyer dismissing your product immediately, based on price alone. Most buyers are price sensitive and having too low or too high of a price displayed initially can be a barrier to sale.
Once a buyer is interested in your product enough to click through to the page, they are far more likely to accept the listed price because it is displayed alongside other qualifying factors that indicate quality, specifications and special details.
DON’T Cheapen The Product
Some examples of what to leave out of product titles in order to avoid cheapening the product, can be found in the images below. They contain phrases and information such as:
- Dollar pricing
- All caps
- Subjective descriptions like ‘cool’
- Multiple colours
- Obvious and unhelpful keyword stuffing
- Nondescript terms like ‘fashion’
- Promotional information such as ‘REDUCED’
- Unnecessary information, such as condition – ‘New With Tags’ and ‘NEW’.
Promotional information should also be limited to product descriptions for the same reasons as pricing. For psychological reasons, most buyers want a sale item but don’t want to actively search for it – they would rather see it as a bonus. As humans, we don’t want to be sold to, but we love to buy – and there’s a precarious balance to be struck there, when it comes to communicating through products.
DON’T Include Personal or Company Descriptions
While it may seem like a great idea to try and communicate something about yourself or your company to intended buyers, product titles aren’t the way to go about it. There are so many other opportunities to accomplish this without using up your precious character limit or making product names too busy or confusing.
Likewise, choosing unnecessary descriptive terms adds to the bulkiness of the title without contributing anything of meaning, and may potentially dissuade a buyer instead.
- Don’t include company name or information about yourself as a seller (E.g. Great Company or Locally Owned).
- Don’t use subjective terms in your product title (E.g. Hot Item, Best Seller, Amazing or Fantastic) .
- Don’t use promotional words or messages (E.g. Sale, Free Shipping, Price Drop).
- Don’t use all caps.
- Don’t use unnecessary punctuation.
Product Description Writing Checklist
Getting your product title right is just the beginning! There are several other factors to be weighed to get a great overall sales result. Here is a detailed checklist to follow when uploading new product:
- Research and create great product descriptions.
- Use great resources from reputable sources to help you craft the perfect description.
- Use updated, high quality images.
- Include all the relevant product information in the listing such as:
- Intended use information.
- Include strong keywords and relevant search terms.
- Include ‘How To’ guides and function descriptions, where relevant.
- Include brand logos where possible, to reduce consumer text overload.
- Check UX design elements (User Experience) such as:
- Website functionality
- Logical categorisation
- Aesthetically pleasing layouts.
- Use breadcrumbs for easier navigation.
- Update stock levels regularly to stay accurate.
- Use pictures and videos as much as possible.
- Link from the product to related products and pages.
- Check for mobile responsiveness and tablet compatibility.
- List product variations such as colours or prints.
eCommerce for Shopify, WooCommerce and Google Shopping with Jezweb
The digital marketing team at Jezweb are experts when it comes to SEO for products and getting the absolute best from your online store. We know how to write SEO friendly product descriptions and give you the support you need in every other area of your website.
Offering a full suite of services including web development, web design, Search Engine Optimisation, copywriting, marketing and many more – we’re best placed to push your product listings up the search engine rankings, while optimising everything else along the way.
If you have an online store, you’re thinking of implementing one, or you just don’t know where to start – send us an online message by clicking here or give us a call on 1300 024 766 to get started. We’re a local Newcastle business with a solid background in the services we offer and a host of happy clients.