Maureen Wilkey from Internet Retailer hits on many of the reasons we started Phrasetech in her recent article “Words Matter.” A huge challenge for retailers is how to always be producing original content on product pages. According to the article, roughly 34% of shoppers start their buying pathway on a search engine. Per the recent changes from Google, search rankings are now influenced by natural, unique language that more closely matches what shoppers are querying. So in following one of the most powerful areas to focus and execute on the search opportunity lies in the generation of product page content, specifically with product descriptions and bullets. The location of where a product appears on a search engine result page can depend greatly on the content, so the idea is that unique product descriptions will be rewarded and subsequently displayed higher on search results pages. Here in lies the big challenge and one that we at Phrasetech set out to solve. The problem and subsequent opportunity stems from the manual labor and processes needed to generate unique copy for each product. It’s costly, tedious, rife with errors and as a result often outdated, unstructured and static. Maureen does a fantastic job outlining a case study with JNCO Jeans to exemplify this concept:
JNCO Jeans identified 888 keywords that were on their wish list to organically rank highly on search engine result pages.
PROBLEM: They conducted an audit of their content strategy and found that many of the keywords they knew shoppers were using were not present in the product descriptions on product pages.
SOLUTION: They did a manual re-write of all their product descriptions and included the missing keywords identified in the content study as well as increased the word count per description from 50 to 200 words.
RESULTS: Before the content review and product page re-write, JNCO ranked in the top 10 Google organic search result pages for 60 of the 888 keywords that were on the wish list.
After a few months of the re-write JNCO saw their top 10 Google organic search result pages increase to 120 keywords – which is a 100% lift.
Two months later the increases kept coming with top rankings on 323 keywords.
The challenge for JNCO and many others who will go down this path is keeping up with the content production needed to make this a sustainable strategy. One of the key factors with this kind of a content strategy is how to generate and update product descriptions, product bullets, category pages etc. Updating product descriptions is a nightmare because it must be done manually. Either someone at the retailer has to manually update the content or a third party such as an agency. Unfortunately, this does not scale and is a real pain point for all retailers, especially for the largest retailers with hundreds of thousands or millions of SKUs. Here at Phrasetech we are solving this problem with technology, specifically a proprietary natural language generation engine built specifically for on-line retailers. So for example, JNCO Jeans found through their content study that shoppers were searching for “skater jeans” and after reviewing the content found this term was not present in any of their product descriptions. They did the right thing, and updated the site, but no doubt it was through manual processes. With Phrasetech, we are able to add keywords into product descriptions instantly and re-run the product description copy for immediate posting to the site. The real leverage with having copy in the Phrasetech engine boils down to large advances in change capabilities and updating which translates into reducing backlogs and time to market. If JNCO Jeans had “skater jeans” posted throughout the site 2 months earlier, what would the revenue impact be? Further, when JNCO Jeans discovers a new search term that its customers are using, they can beat the competition to the search market with immediate updates while the others struggle to update their sites manually.
Although we are discussing content, the end result has revenue impact. Most retailers know that a 1% boost in organic SEO rankings equates to a certain % increase in gross revenue. This is an attractive area to focus because of the margin differences between organic tactics and paid campaigns that come with a higher traffic acquisition cost.
So yet again, content is king, but for online retailers the devil lies in the process and cost by which content is generated and updated. There are tremendous advances to be had with unique content that both end consumers and search engines want. The challenge is how to generate quality product page content at scale and in time to capture market opportunities. Kudos to JNCO Jeans for seizing the day.