tl;dr: Adding descriptions to your store’s collection pages will help your collections rank higher in Google. Done right, collection descriptions can help your overall site SEO.
What’s a collection description?
Why is that? How do they help you rank higher? Well, how does Google does to rank anything? It’s the content in the body of your page that helps Google know what a page is all about.
So if you want Google to know more about what your individual collection pages are all about, you’ll want to make sure each has a collection description. Adding a collection description will give the body of collection more content, helping Google more easily rank it.
Plus, adding collection descriptions has the secondary benefit of improving the User Experience of your store for your visitors.
Your collection descriptions will help your visitors know what a collection is about, what to expect, and what products are included. This makes collection descriptions a great spot to naturally include keyword-rich content or links to recommended products, which is what Google is looking for.
What does a good collection description look like?
What can you do with your collection descriptions to maximize their benefit for SEO and point your customers in the right direction? Well, let’s look at a few examples from the wild and start to identify what makes a ‘good’ collection description.
Big picture, your goal is to write long(er) + useful + helpful collection descriptions for your collection pages — instead of just showing an endless grid of products scrolling down the device like a parody of that scene from The Matrix.
Examples of good collection descriptions
You want to include collection descriptions that offer context and direction for what a visitor is looking at (and helps Google know how + where + why to rank your page).
Here are four examples of Collection Descriptions from stores on Shopify. I think each of these is a good example of how to do Collection Descriptions well.
Backjoy includes descriptions in a selection of their collections. Their collection descriptions do an excellent job of providing context, and the link to their ‘pick the right seat’ infographic is an excellent use of this space.
Whispering Willow Soap has shorter collection descriptions without any links to recommended products or posts. These collection descriptions still provide the visitor with context about the collection and include rich text and keywords for Google.
100% Pure used to have high-quality, rich collection descriptions at the top of their collection pages. But as of this article’s publish date, they’ve moved their collection descriptions to the bottom of the page.
These are still fine, but there are some SEO considerations about having collection descriptions at the bottom of the collection (below the product grid) vs. above the product grid. But that’s a topic for another day.
Antique Jewelry Mall has great collection descriptions. These are well-written and helpful for visitors or for Google. There are some potential improvements like adding in a short list of recommended products or expanding the description to ~300 words, but this is a solid example of how to do this correctly.
What makes a collection description ‘good’?
Good collection descriptions do a few things well. (They don’t necessarily do all of these, but they do some of these). Big picture, they help improve the User Experience of your collections. How do they do that?
- First, they provide an overview (without going into too much detail) of the collection and products.
- Second, they include relevant SEO words, phrases, and questions that people use to search for your products.
- Third, they include links to recommended products or articles/posts/pages that help visitors who landed on this collection better understand the context and what to check out next.
- Fourth, they have ~100 – 300 words of content. That’s enough to be helpful + useful to visitors and Google, but short enough to not clog up the screen on mobile.
Remember, the goal isn’t to have the perfect collection description; it’s to have a better collection description. I encourage you to aspire to have a better-than-average collection description. (If you have no collection descriptions, aim to add a bit more content to your collection pages.)
Your ‘do this, not that’ action plan for better collection descriptions
Ready to get started crafting high-quality collection descriptions for your top collections in your store? Here’s what I recommend you focus on:
- First, pick your ‘top’ 3-5 collections
Crafting high-quality descriptions for every collection in your store at once is way too heavy of a lift. So, I recommend that you start with just your ‘top’ collections. What’s that mean? Well, you’ll want to:
Pick ~3-5 of your collections that receive the most purchases or traffic.
This way, when you add a description to these collections, you’re helping improve your best-performing collections. (And after that, you can move onto the next best performing collections. Progress!)
Or, start with collections linked to from your header navigation or homepage content. Start with the first ~3-5.
If you’re having trouble picking your top collections, you can start with a selection of the collections linked to in your header navigation. (These — and collections linked to from your homepage content — are often the easiest for Google to find. As such, adding rich collection descriptions to those collections will help Google more easily find them.)
Once you’ve picked your initial ~3-5 collections, you’re ready to move forward to the next step.
- Second, for each collection you picked, write a robust ~100-300 word description that explains what that particular collection is about, what the reader can expect, and answers to many common questions.
Can it be more than 300 words? Sure! But you want to aim to have just enough content in your collection description, so it isn’t overwhelming to a visitor. This is a description, after all — not an essay. (You can, however, link to a blog post or page you write that goes into greater detail on that collection description with featured recommended products.)
More so, you can always come back and add more content later. So aim to get something in place that you optimize and refine in another ~3-6 months.
- Third, include 1-2 ‘internal links’ in your collection description to products in the collection of blog posts
This approach has two significant benefits for your store.
Links to recommended products in collection descriptions make it way easier for your customers (and Google) to find the products.
Instead of clicking a link in Google and being plopped down into a page with just the product grid, your visitors have context on the collection and which products in the collection they should check out first.
On top of that? These ‘internal’ links to products and posts on your site are a powerful SEO element.
These links tell Google, “Hey, you should check out this product. It’s important.” And then instead of needing to scroll or click through your collection’s product grid, Google can immediately jump to those important products (and posts).
You want to aim to include a few (1-3) internal links in a collection description. Make sure these link to relevant products or blog posts.
- Fourth, consider featuring short 1-2 sentence customer testimonials (or kind words from customers) in your collection descriptions
If your customers have shared positive feedback, kind words, or testimonials! with you about your products in a collection, consider incorporating a short selection of those positive words into your collection descriptions. (~1-2 sentences is a great length.)
This ‘voice of the customer’ content is excellent to include in your collection descriptions. It helps customers overcome objections or hesitations and understand the benefits and features of your products. Plus, it’s additional, high-quality content for Google to find and read on your collection pages.
- Once you’ve finished with your first batch of collection descriptions, start on a new batch without descriptions
Your goal is to get collection descriptions up for all the top priority collections on your store.
Top Priority Collections
- Collections linked to in your navigation or mega menu
- Collections linked to in your footer
- Collections that are making a lot of sales
- Collections that are especially timely or seasonal (e.g., BFCM collection, Christmas collection, Hanukkah collection)
- Collections that are newly launched (tackle writing descriptions for new collections as you put those collections together)
“What am I supposed to say in my collection description? How do I know what words to use?
When it comes to figuring out the words to use, here are four options to consider.
- Interview yourself. Start recording yourself in the Voice Memos app on your iPhone or Android phone and record your answers to a few questions.
- Describe this collection. What’s in it? What type of products?
- How does this help them? What are three benefits for customers who buy products in this collection?
- What feedback do you get from customers about these products?
- What are two or three products you especially recommend in this collection? Why those products?
- What positive things do customers say about the products in these collections?
- Mine your customer support emails. What questions do your customers ask you about this collection? About the products in this collection? Take those questions (and answers!) and use them as notes for whatever you write here. After all, if some customers write in with those questions, it stands to reason that more customers have those questions and will find this content helpful.
- Talk with your customers. Ask them questions. Write down what they say. Call up a customer who recently ordered from a collection that needs a description. Ask them a few questions about what they were looking for, what they found, and what got them off the fence and motivated them to buy.
- Reuse existing content. Reusing existing content (from, e.g., emails, blogs, articles, podcast interviews, social content, Instagram, and Facebook) is a great way to tackle this content creation and approach it on easy mode. As you’re writing content for your collection descriptions, you can take a look at your previous articles, emails, and social posts to see how you’ve described those collections in the past. (If you’ve written an email featuring a collection, you can mine the content of that email. If you’ve featured a collection on Instagram, you can reuse that content.) Be excited to reuse your existing content in this way, it’s a great way to get more value out of your writing.
The Bottom Line
Remember, the goal isn’t to have the perfect collection description. The goal is to have a better than average collection description. (If you have no collection descriptions, aspire to add a bit more content to the page.)
- Ideally, you’re adding ~100-300 words with a few links to recommended products or blog posts/content.
- Maybe you include a short 1-2 sentence testimonial from a customer (e.g., “Their BBQ accessories are great, I’ve been a customer for 31+ years!” H. Hill.”) for a bit of social proof and additional content.
- But if all you can muster is ~15-30 words for some of the collection descriptions in your store? That’s fine too. Maybe you’ve ruthlessly prioritized. Or perhaps you’ve run out of steam. Either way, you’ve improved your store, and that’s what’s important.
Questions? Looking for help figuring out what to include in your collection descriptions? Or looking for some expert help in getting this task done? You should reach out to me (Kai@DoubleYourEcommerce.com) and say hello. (Or tell me about your store right here: DoubleYourEcommerce.com/intake/).