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How to Leverage Keywords and Optimize Your Product Listings

Using robust keywords is critical for your pages and product listings on every eCommerce marketplace. Here's how you can leverage keywords in your product listings to rank higher in online searches and attract customers to your online store.

Virtually every utilitarian eCommerce marketplace is dependent on keywords. Utilitarian marketplaces are where customers go to look for a specific item. This is different from discovery eCommerce marketplaces where shoppers go to spend time browsing.

Keywords can be a powerful way to boost sales and reach more customers. Knowing how to leverage keywords when writing product listings is a vital task for sellers across many eCommerce marketplaces, from Amazon to eBay to Wayfair.

But it takes more than just throwing a few important keywords into titles and product descriptions. It involves understanding where your customers are coming from and what exactly they're looking for.

Here's how you can leverage keywords in your product title, description, and alt tags to rank higher in online searches and attract customers to your online store:


Finesse Your Buyer Personas

Before you can put yourself in your buyers' shoes and create a list of keywords that would help them find (and buy) your products, it's important to nail down your buyer personas.

You may have already thoughtfully considered and crafted mock audiences, but you should regularly update your product descriptions based on seasonal events and holidays to cater to different buyer personas.

You can then assess your month-over-month and year-over-year sales volumes to determine which product copy is actually converting buyers and boosting repeat purchases.


Create a List of Keywords to Target

After you've drilled down your buyer personas, write up a list of keywords that would help them find (and buy) your product. Free keyword research tools can help you identify search queries with transactional intent, which you can then incorporate into your product titles, descriptions, and alt tags.

Keep in mind that even if the eCommerce marketplace you're using doesn't have a robust paid-media or SEO component like Amazon does, it's still valuable to use keywords and language that your buyers would be using themselves.

After you've created an initial list of keywords, do a search and see what is working (and what isn't) for your competitors. Use that knowledge to help populate your product title, product descriptions, and bullet points with the keywords that are relevant and avoid those that aren't.


Update Your Product Titles

One of the most important fields with keywords is the product title. A stand-alone title is powerful. The more descriptive and keyword-rich the title of the product, the better.

Ready to update your product titles? Start with these tips for writing product titles - 

  • If your target buyer is looking for gag gifts, use adjectives like "funny" and "hilarious" in your product titles.
  • If your target buyer is looking for a gift for their employer or colleague, use phrases like "commute-friendly" and "professional".

Insider Tip: Be sure to follow our advice for writing successful product titles.


Expand Your Product Descriptions

Product descriptions often offer the largest screen-space for you to control the purchase experience of your customers. As such, it's the perfect opportunity for you to use high-performing keywords.

The content of a production description, which should establish trust and rapport with your buyers by offering information such as use-case scenarios, ingredients/materials used, FAQs, shipping and returns information, and more, should be optimized with keywords.

One cautionary note: avoid copying product descriptions from the manufacturer or from other sellers of the same or similar items, as this will diminish the effectiveness of your keyword optimization strategy.


Use Bullet Points

Using keyword rich bullet points in your product description will also increase the likelihood that your item will rank higher in searches. Bullet points are generally used to list additional product attributes and benefits. This copy provides a place for keywords to boost search rankings. These bullet points should include keywords not included in the title and/or product description.


Use Alt Tags in Your Images

A good product shot is worth a lot, so be sure to use a high-quality photo of your product. Not only does that make good eCommerce sense, but it also gives you an opportunity to use the image file name to insert additional keywords. Furthermore, an alt tag (also called "alt description") is an HTML attribute that is also recognized by search engines.


The smart use of keywords within your product title, description, and images will push your product higher up in the search rankings, resulting in increased visibility and ultimately leading to more sales and greater profits.


Chris Capelle is a technology expert, writer and instructor. For over 25 years, he has worked in the publishing, advertising and consumer products industries.

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