In reputation management circles, there tends to be a lot of discussion about the importance of content—as well there should be. A page that is filled with substantive, compelling, and well-written content is bound to appeal to search engines and search engine users in equal measure; or, at the very least, such a page will fare better than one that is basically devoid of content, or that is simply jammed with keywords but lacking anything substantial to say. Having good content is vital for purposes of user engagement, search engine rankings, and—the long and short of it—reputation management.
And for some businesses and brands, developing compelling content is relatively simple. This is not so for everyone, though—especially not for those doing e-commerce. When you have product pages, designed to do one thing and one thing only (i.e., sell), it can be very tough to make sure the content is substantive; and yet, thin content will lead to less love from the search engines, and potentially to big reputation management problems. What, then, is an e-commerce professional to do?
Preventing Thin Content on Your E-Commerce Site
For those serious about reputation management, here are a few ways to prevent against thin content on an e-commerce site:
Make sure there is a paragraph of text or so—even three to five sentences—on every product page. If you have an entire page devoted to certain categories—i.e., to Large Widgets—post a paragraph explaining what a large widget is, how it differs from the small widget, what it is used for, and so forth. Google needs some text to latch onto, and a descriptive paragraph like this can go a long way.
Within that paragraph copy, include a few anchor text links. Make them logical, and make them point back to other product pages, to your About Us page, or what have you; these links can help assist the search engines as they try to ascertain the contextual relationships between different pages on your site.
Do you have some images at the top of each product category page? If not, add one, and use alt text to indicate to Google what the page is all about. This is an indispensable reputation management tool!
Make sure your pages all implement breadcrumb links, indicating hierarchies, relationships between different pages, and so forth.
An H1 tag is also necessary for helping the search engines to understand what the page is all about; of course, this often helps site users, too!
Finally, give each product page a short and user-friendly URL that indicates the primary product category—do not use a long, random string of numbers and letters, which may work for Amazon.com but is probably not prudent for your company.
The bottom line is that many e-commerce product pages have very thin, flimsy content—but it does not have to be that way, and, for reputation management, it really shouldn’t be that way.