Product Details and SEO: Why Google’s Updates to Adwords and Mobile Location Search Make Writing Product Details Even More Vital

Okay, this is an update to my post about product descriptions. You’ll recall that I had a conversation with a customer who didn’t want to go to the expense of having product descriptions written for everything in his e-commerce store because his customers didn’t read them – they arrived on his site already knowing what they wanted to buy. I was happy with that because writing product descriptions is very low on my list of things I like to do. It probably comes somewhere between seeing Sunderland FC win the Premiership (not that there’s much chance of that, thank God) and England losing to Scotland at Twickenham (though when did that last happen?)

I did point out, though, that my customer’s thinking really missed the point, because the reason for product descriptions is the SEO. It isn’t the customers who already know where your site is you’re after, but those who don’t know and are looking for products you sell.

On Tuesday, this argument got stronger. The Google Performance Summit announced a number of changes to Google Adwords. They are all important, they all matter to freelance writers because they matter to freelance writers’ customers, and I’ll have something to say about all of them when I’ve digested my notes and got my thinking straight. For now, I just want to talk about the impact of Google Maps on Adwords.

map-525349_1920Did you know that 30% of searches from mobile devices are location-related? That’s what Google says, and they should know. Or that the percentage is rapidly increasing because searches related to location (“I’m in Manchester. Where will I find – say – a men’s hairdresser?”) are growing at a rate 50% faster than the overall rate for mobile searches? Google says so; believe it.

So you have – say – a kitchenware store, and you have a website that has all kinds of nifty ideas but doesn’t have product descriptions. Okay; here comes a lady who needs a set of Le Creuset casserole dishes. Le Creuset potShe’s two streets away from you and, if she searches on her mobile device for “kitchenware store,” she’ll see on her screen a local extract of Google Maps with a nice red pin right where your store is. (Did you ever wonder why Google spent such an enormous sum on sending camera cars up and down every street in the world – or so it seems? Now you know).

But what if she keys in “Le Creuset casserole dishes”? And you don’t have product descriptions, and you’ve mentioned Le Creuset on your site but the words “casserole dishes” don’t appear anywhere? But that other store ten blocks away – the one whose owner your father told you thirty years ago never to speak to – their site has product descriptions and Le Creuset casserole dishes are mentioned. Oh, well. You’ll probably sell something to someone else.

Product descriptions. You don’t like paying for them, and I don’t like writing them. But do you need them? Yes, I’m afraid you do.

If you’d like to learn more about the freelance writer’s life, you’ll find it here.