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Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post! 

I just had my Magento ecommerce website revamped and I’m working on creating blog content and rewriting 6k product descriptions. This all seems overwhelming to tackle and I have a lot of questions…

Question 1: What’s the best way to figure out what your customers are searching for when it comes to a specific product? (Example: candy coatings vs candy melts vs confectionery coatings). Can I use all these keywords or should I pick and stick to one?

In general, it helps to do some keyword research first, and have an idea of how people search for the words. You can use Google’s Keyword Explorer tool for this, or a third-party site like BuzzSumo or Answer the Public (different purposes).

Chances are, different targets search for these things in different ways.

A professional baker/decorator might search for “confectionary” while a mom making a kid’s birthday cake might search for “coatings.” (Note: I don’t know those for sure, you’ll need to do the research.)

When it comes to choosing which ones to use in content, understand that Google will recognize if certain words are very similar or related to one another. I would expect them to equate coatings and melts for example.

The best way to know for sure is to do some sample searches and see what other sites that are ranked in the top 10 are doing. Note that you may see some false positives here because the area is competitive, so don’t just copy what high ranking sites are doing without considering if they’re going against guidelines to do it. They will eventually get in trouble for it.

Question 2: Can I use the same description and meta description across multiple products that are the same but have different colors and just change the color name across the descriptions? For example, pink candy coatings and blue candy coatings both have the same description except one says pink and one says blue.

Do you need a page for each individual color? A much better user experience would be to have a candy coatings page where the user can then select the color or colors they want to add to cart.

Question 3: Should I be including my keyword at the beginning of product descriptions and meta descriptions? (Does it have to be the first word?)

No. This is old school thinking. The keyword should be in the title and the H1 heading, but beyond that, just make it useful and readable.

Question 4: When I search for this product on Google, my blog page with directions to melt candy coatings comes up on the first page of Google but my product category page does not. What’s the best way to utilize this?

Think about the intention of the query. If someone is searching for “candy melts”, Google may be interpreting that as “how does candy melt” or “how do I use candy melts” or “what temperature does candy melt at”.

Chances are that the keyword you’re ranking for has more of a “how to” intention than a direct purchase intention. If that’s the case, just make the blog post helpful (which you obviously already have) and include the opportunity to buy (link to a buy page) the candy on the page.

Question 5: Any tips on writing meta descriptions? Should price be included? How do I decide on what’s the best info to include?

Look at your competitors and see how you can stand out with your description. If you have the best price or if everyone else includes price, include it. If you offer free shipping, include that.


Always think about what would help your customers the most. Particularly in a mobile environment, more functionality on a page rather than needing to load separate pages is almost always better.

Consider your customers before you consider search engines and you will generally come out ahead.

More Ecommerce SEO Resources:

Have a question about SEO for Jenny? Fill out this form or use #AskAnSEO on social media.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Paulo Bobita

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How Much Should I Budget For Ecommerce, Seo And Ppc?

What are Ecommerce brands like yours spending on search engine marketing?

It is a question which all marketers have probably wondered at some point; How much marketing budget should be spent on SEO and PPC? It’s quite the balancing act, either risk spending too little and see no results, or spend too much and watch ROI tumble? We take a look at some industry benchmark data specifically for ecommerce brands and see how marketing practitioners are spending their budgets.

What are your goals?

If your goals focus on an increase in brand awareness, or customer retention, then you might want to focus your budget towards social media and email marketing. So carefully consider the benefits across different channels that you can effectively use to meet your objectives before diving into budgeting!

Marketing budget benchmark data

Over 4000 ecommerce merchants including leading retailers within the IR500, responded to a survey by Marketing Sherpa following a research grant from Magento, the ecommerce software provider.

The eMarketing Sherpa eCommerce Benchmark Study found what percentage of their marketing budget eCommerce brands are spending per channel based on the company’s revenue.

Image source: Marketing Sherpa

Ecommerce brands spend 10-24% of their budget on SEO

Low revenue companies with an average of $1 million turnover spend more than double the percentage of their budget on SEO (24%), compared to larger revenue brands with an average of $100 million turnover (10%).

It’s fair to say that most companies with a revenue in excess of $100 million have been established online for longer than companies with an average of $1 million in revenue. Therefore, this “doubling-down” on average SEO spend shown in this data reflects that new companies have to put in more budget to get SEO off the ground.

Long established companies with a bigger reputation will have already built more authority over time and therefore require a smaller percentage of their revenue to be spent on building links.

Ecommerce brands spend 29-57% of their budget on Paid Search

This research shows that ecommerce companies with on average less than $1 million revenue spend the highest percentage of their marketing budget on the paid search channel, with 35% of marketing budget going on this channel.

Ecommerce brands spend 39-81% of their budget on SEO & PPC combined

The research shows that companies with an average of $1 million in revenue spend the large majority (81%) of their marketing budget on SEO and PPC combined.

Larger brands with $100 million average turnover spend more than a third (39%) of their entire marketing budget on SEO and PPC combined.

What should I budget for ecommerce SEO & PPC?

According to BRAD’s 2023 research of over 6,000 brands, the majority of marketing budgets are based on 2-15% of revenue, which means $1 million turnover companies are budgeting 81% of their revenue on SEO and PPC at $16,200 – $121,500 per year ($1,350 – $10,125 per month).

Corporate marketing budgets are typically a larger percentage of revenue with larger turnover companies spending 7-66% of turnover on marketing. Therefore $100 million turnover companies are budgeting 39% of their revenue on SEO and PPC at $2,730,000 – $25,740,000 per year ($227,500 – $2,145,000 per month).

What does your own data tell you?

Although this research is incredibly insightful to understand what your competitors are doing and the ecommerce industry as a whole. The most important and relevant benchmarks are always your own. If you’re lucky enough to have one or more years’ worth of data with ecommerce tracking, this data is not to be ignored.

If your website is driving a good amount of revenue from a variety of channels, then shifting budgets between channels, especially SEO and PPC, should be very carefully monitored and tested.

As with all marketing activity the rule for budgeting for SEO and PPC is simple, plan, test, analyse and refine.

Testing Page Titles And Meta Descriptions To Boost Seo

Part 5 in James Gurd’s website optimisation series

In Part Five of this SEO series, I’ll show how to improve page titles and meta descriptions to increase traffic from natural search. This type of testing should be an integral part of any optimisation program and these two elements are often overlooked.

As many of you will know, there are two key elements that appear in every listing, regardless of whether or not you have optimised your webpages to display targeted content:

Page title

Meta description

Why is this important?

While the meta description doesn’t directly affect the ranking in Google it should ideally be unique to the page to avoid problems with duplicate content.

The meta description is dead. Long live the meta description!

Many people dismiss the meta description as an SEO irrelevance because search engines no longer give it much love. However, the core goal for SEO should be to attract customers to your website, not obsess over how much search engines love you. The latter will come inevitably if the former is achieved.

Deciding which pages to run tests on

1.    What is the market potential for the keywords the webpage is targeting?

Use tools like the Google External Keyword Tool and Google Insights to identify the total number of local market searches and which keyword searches are trending.

2.    What is your market share growth potential?

What is the gap between your current keyword traffic and the total available in the market? If you have high market penetration, the growth potential is limited.

3.    Do you have a competitive product offering?

There are many factors to this but focus on the most obvious: are you price competitive, do you have an authoritative product range, is your delivery offer competitive?

4.    Do you have the right content to deliver value to new visitors?

This relates to product and non-product content. Will a customer find the information they need to make a purchase decision? Does your website provide sufficient information for people researching who aren’t yet ready to make a purchase but want their questions answered.

5.    Are your webpages performing well?

You can create a propensity matrix by scoring each webpage against these criteria, helping you to define a priority list for testing.

Using data insights to drive page title and meta description testing Keyword research

You can use free tools like the Google External Keyword Tool to identify keyword combinations that have a high search volume. The trick is to be as precise as you can, so the keywords you select match exactly with what your webpage provides to the customer. Here we can see the volume of monthly searches for

For example, if you are testing the page title for a webpage that sells “Organic facial serum” then avoid generic keywords like “organic skincare” as people searching for this will be expecting different content.

Screenshot: Google UK search terms related to “Organic facial serum”

Adwords data

You can translate this learning into actions for your SEO activity, using paid search insight to shape your testing plan for page titles and meta descriptions.

Google Base

If you’re running an e-commerce website, you might already have a Google products data feed set-up. You can use this channel to test different product titles.

You can use Google Analytics to measure the impact of the traffic before and after testing, to learn what product title format drives the most traffic and conversion.

As most websites use the product title to drive the page title for product pages, you can apply this learning to your main website product titles.

A good example is for a retailer of skincare products I’ve worked with that sells a range of organic and natural skincare products. The page title is structured to include the product brand name + website domain, leaving a maximum of 40 characters for the product title to ensure the total page title remains within the recommended 64 character limit. The challenge was to include the primary keyword targets “organic” and “natural” within the product title. This wasn’t possible without cutting key product descriptors essential for customers, so different page titles were tested, one version using “organic” and one version using “natural”.

Recommended reading:

Benchmarking current performance

You’ve got to know what you are measuring to be able to decide whether or not your test has worked. This means knowing what your SEO KPIs are before, during and after the test.

The following are the recommended metrics:

2.    Keyword Visits

3.    Page Views and Bounce rate

 4.    Goal conversion

5.    Revenue and Per Visit Value

I’m not suggesting these are definitely the best metrics for your website but they are the basic KPIs that I look at when evaluating SEO tests.

Stick or twist?

Yes and no. The beauty and frustration of SEO is that search trends and customer behaviour are prone to change. There are so many influences on our search behaviour that what may work now, might not hold true in 6 months’ time.

Keep an eye out for next month’s article, “Using web analytics data to identify poor performing organic keywords”.

Missed Steps One to Four? Catch up on the earlier reading when you’re ready:



How To Write A Follow

How to Write a Follow-Up Email After an Interview

How and why to write the perfect thank-you email after an interview

Written by

Anna Talerico

Published August 17, 2023

Updated June 28, 2023

Why send a follow-up after an interview? Benefits of sending a follow-up

Writing a thank-you note after a job interview is often overlooked or neglected by many applicants because of fear that they might be perceived as being too pushy or feel it is an unnecessary step. But sending a follow-up has several benefits:

Makes applicants stand out

As mentioned, most applicants neglect or forget to send a follow-up, which means that sending one can help you rise above the crowd.

Shows respect and affirms your desire for the role

Employers who interview applicants have to take time out of their ordinary schedules to conduct the interviews. Sending a thank-you note makes them feel appreciated and respected.

Gives you a chance to clarify or emphasize certain points that were discussed in the interview

If you forgot to say something really important during the interview, you can address it in your note. Just remember to keep it brief.

Demonstrates your written communication skills

A thank-you note provides the opportunity to show that you have the writing skills required to put a myriad of ideas into one brief note. The ability to write and communicate clearly is vital for nearly any position, so you should take every chance you get to show off this skill.

How to write an interview follow-up email

If you plan to write your thank-you note from scratch, follow these steps to ensure you’re reinforcing the good impression you’ve left with the employer:

Ask for a business card or contact information from every person who interviews you, and send a “thank you” email to each one of them. Customize the email for each person, as they may forward the emails to each other, and you want to make sure you don’t get caught sending boilerplate emails where the only difference is the recipient’s name.

Confirm the name, title, and email address of the person you’re addressing

Write an opening sentence thanking them for their time and saying you enjoyed meeting them

Refer to any notes you took in the interview and highlight what you liked about the opportunity

Recap your most relevant skills and attributes

Write a closing sentence thanking them again and confirming your availability to answer any follow-up questions they have

Additional items to include (if appropriate)

There are instances where it may be appropriate to include additional items in your email. Taking this extra step to engage the interviewer further can go a long way toward making yourself stand out from the crowd of applicants.

Consider including:

Hyperlinks to things that were discussed in the interview (portfolio, examples of published articles, etc.)

Attachments, such as work you’ve completed in the past, such as Excel or PowerPoint files you created. (Note: Be sure you are not sharing confidential information)

A link to your LinkedIn profile

References, if you were asked to provide them

Interview follow-up example

You can work from the example below to create your own message. Be sure to edit, customize, and proofread your message before sending it.

Subject: Thank You – Interview Follow-Up

Dear [Name]:

Thank you for taking the time to interview me today for the Financial Analyst position at CFI Education Inc. I really enjoyed discussing the opportunity with you and think it would be a great fit for both of us.

One of the main things that stood out to me was the great culture at CFI. I can easily see myself fitting in with the team and thriving in that kind of work environment.

Additionally, the company’s mission of helping anyone become a world-class financial analyst really resonates with me, and I’d be excited to help support that mission.

Once again, thanks for your time and consideration. If there’s any additional information I can provide you with to help with your decision, please let me know.

Best Regards,


Interview follow-up best practices

Don’t forget these general best practices in writing your interview thank-you message:

Send the email within a few hours of the interview, as hiring managers often make decisions quickly.

Be polite and professional in your language.

Highlight what you liked about the job, company, culture, and mission statement.

Reiterate your skills and strengths that best match the job opportunity, emphasizing anything new that you learned during the interview about the company’s needs.

Don’t appear overconfident by sounding as if you already assume you’ve gotten the job.

Be sure to actually include a “thank you”!

Offer to answer any additional or follow-up questions the interviewer may have.

Additional resources

How To Write Alongside Ai Writing Software & Tools

From our internal discussions of how these developments can or should be used, to answering the volley of questions clients have regarding these new tools — AI writing software has become an evolving topic in recent times. 

In terms of writing, content generation, and other creative outcomes, artificial intelligence sparks a list of pros and cons for those using the software tools — including freelancers, marketers, students, and other groups who depend on the pen. 

It is no secret that AI development isn’t going anywhere, in fact, a proliferation of tools should be expected over the next several years. So how are we, as a leading digital marketing agency, working alongside these new tools? And how can YOU leverage these different AI writing software for your own gain? 

ChatGPT & Its Impact on AI Writing Software 

ChatGPT is a topic of conversation for just about anyone today. The free, revolutionary tool is piquing the interest of all industries and individuals, who are vetting the software for its ability and performance. 

Released in November of 2023, the artificial intelligence tool developed by OpenAI has caught fire, quickly surpassing over 100 million users within two months of its release — making it the fastest-growing consumer application ever created. 

ChatGPT is a member of the “generative pre-trained transformer” family of language models and is constructed to mirror human conversation. If you’ve ever played around with this AI writing software, you are well aware of the diverse possibilities the tool can spit out and produce. From writing blog posts to developing unique computing code in just a few seconds, the platform continues to impress. 

While ChatGPT is an impressive tool, it does hold limitations. It is possible of producing inaccurate and unclear answers for some prompts, as well as its knowledge base of post-2023 being very small. 

All that being said, ChatGPT is opening new doors for organizations and individuals in all facets and is in the process of rewriting how work and creativity happen. 

Are Humans Going to Lose Their Jobs? 

The short answer is, no. 

Since the launch of AI writing software over the past decade, and more recently ChatGPT, some creatives like content writers fear their days of employment are numbered. AI and automation will continue to improve, and its current skill set is totally capable of replacing the role of some lower-level task needs that go into the writing process. 

So will tools like this potentially eliminate some jobs? Yes. 

However, more than anything, AI writing software will reduce job duties and expedite the content creation process. The overwhelming majority of creatives who make a living on brainstorming, drafting, and delivering content have nothing to worry about, as these tools are more of a sidekick, rather than a superhero. 

This is due to the box that an AI writer lives within, while the human brain can explore outside these boundaries. Those who understand the value of these new tools will be able to exploit their capabilities for their own gain. AI writing tools like ChatGPT can become an enhancement tool to improve the efficiency, satisfaction, and revenue content writers can generate. 

Lack of Creativity: AI writing tools may struggle with creative writing tasks such as writing fiction, poetry, or scripts. These tasks require creativity and an understanding of cultural nuances that are difficult for AI to replicate.

Lack of Emotional Intelligence: AI writing tools may not be able to understand or convey emotions effectively, which can make them unsuitable for writing tasks that require emotional nuance.

Limited Contextual Understanding: AI writing tools may not be able to understand the context of a piece of writing, leading to inaccuracies, confusion, or misunderstandings.

Limited Knowledge Base: AI writing tools may not have access to the same knowledge base as humans do, which can lead to gaps in knowledge and understanding.

Inability to Write in Different Styles: AI writing tools may not be able to write in different styles, which can limit their usefulness in certain contexts.

Dependence on Training Data: AI writing tools require large amounts of training data to work effectively, which can limit their effectiveness in niche areas with limited data.

Potential for Bias: AI writing tools can potentially perpetuate bias and discrimination if the training data used to create them is biased. 

Limited Creativity: While AI can generate content in a relatively short amount of time, the content produced may lack the depth of creativity that is present in human writing.

What is AI Writing Software Good At? 

AI writing software is going to grow in depth of skill as algorithms become more intelligent and code improves, however, in its current state, it excels at a handful of specific tasks. Those include: 

Generating Routine Content: An AI writing tool can generate routine content, like a product description, news article, and blog post. These tasks involve generating factual information in a clear and concise manner, which is well-suited to AI’s strengths.

Proofreading and Editing: AI writing software can help with proofreading and editing by detecting grammar and spelling errors, suggesting corrections, and improving the overall readability of a piece of writing.

Generating Summaries: AI writing software can generate summaries of longer texts, such as research papers or news articles. These summaries can be useful for quickly understanding the key points of a text.

Language Translation: AI writing software can also be used for language translation, allowing people to communicate more easily across linguistic barriers.

Personalization: AI writing software can help personalize content, such as email marketing campaigns or social media posts, by analyzing data on user behavior and preferences and generating tailored content.

Generating Reports: AI writing software can also generate reports and other business documents based on data inputs. This can be useful for automating routine reporting tasks and freeing up employees to focus on more strategic work.

Summing up, AI writing software is best geared for tasks that involve generating factual information, analyzing data, and optimizing content for readability and engagement. While it may not be able to replicate the full range of human creativity and cultural understanding, it can still be a useful tool for improving writing efficiency and effectiveness — saving time and cutting out painful repetitive tasks/research. 

What Capabilities Do Human Writers Have That Can’t Be Replicated? 

There is something that AI can’t replicate, and that is being a living, breathing, human — and what comes with that is some mental capability that can’t be matched piece to piece. While, artificial intelligence is powerful and fast, and certainly can outperform the human mind in some areas, the overall skill base of a talented human reigns superior — especially when it comes to writing. 

What human writers can do, that can’t be done or done better by AI generated content include: 

Writing to a deeper degree of detail and context 

Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of community and world happenings 

Matching and developing brand tone and voice 

Understanding and making more accurate edits/alterations 

Writing in a manner that feels organic, natural, and real 

It doesn’t take a trained eye to be able to notice the difference between AI-written work, versus human-created content. Here are two examples, which one is written by AI and which by a human? 

The prompt given to both the AI and human writer: “Write two sentences about walking in the woods.”

Ex. 1: “Walking in the woods can be a peaceful and rejuvenating experience, as the sights and sounds of nature can help to soothe the mind and reduce stress. The changing scenery, fresh air, and exercise can also provide a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.”

Ex. 2: “When you take a walk through the woods, from the ground up, you begin to connect with the Earth on a different level. Your senses are exposed to the sights of grasshoppers jumping, the smell of flowers blooming, the sound of birds singing, the feel of a soft breeze blowing, and the taste of new beginnings arising.”  

If you chose example two as the human response then you’d be correct. The giveaways that you’re reading AI writing include it sounding choppy, surface-level, generic, and lacking unique detail. 

How to Benefit From AI Writing Software (As a Writer Yourself) 

An AI writing assistant can help with idea generation, content organization, and overall productivity, ultimately leading to better engagement and higher conversion rates.

Save Time

AI content writing tools can save you time by automating the content creation process. These tools can quickly generate high-quality content for various purposes, such as creating articles, making social media updates, developing email newsletters, and more. These tools use natural language processing algorithms to analyze and understand human language, enabling them to generate text that is readable, coherent, and engaging. 

AI copywriting tools can also help you with editing existing content, as they can scan through massive amounts of information and extract relevant fixes for your content. This streamlines the content creation process, allowing you to produce multiple articles in a short time.

Expedite Outlining

Outlining with AI provides you with insights and suggestions for structuring your content. AI-powered tools can analyze your topic and suggest a comprehensive outline that covers all the essential points. You can also input your ideas and let the AI tool organize them into a logical structure. 

This way, you can create an outline faster and with less effort, without worrying about missing critical points or wasting time on mundane outlines. Powerful AI writing tools can also help you identify gaps in your outline and suggest relevant information to fill them. 

Generate Ideas Increase Overall Productivity 

Writing alongside AI writing software can increase overall productivity and scalability of content for your business. It can cause a ripple effect in the sense that it speeds up the outlining and writing process which means you can produce more content for your site which then helps users find your business online. This is a huge step in the scalability of content creation for both small and large businesses. AI writing software can be used to generate a few pieces of content for a specific campaign or help writers produce hundreds of articles a year, depending on the needs of the business.

Next Steps With AI Writing Software 

AI writing software isn’t complacent, and neither are the engineers behind it. This technology will only continue to get more capable and dynamic as the decade continues. Humans will need to stay current with these developments in order to know how to best use these tools for benefit — and avoid becoming efficient and outdated themselves. 

As a leading marketing agency, we see AI writing software as a positive tool that compliments our talented writers, and into the future will only help us continue to produce better original, SEO-focused, and user-geared content. 

Here is what to expect from AI writing software as it continues its metamorphosis: 

Enhancing Creativity: AI writing software needs to enhance its creativity to generate content that is more imaginative and unique. This involves developing models that can simulate human creativity by generating original ideas and concepts.

Developing Personalized Content: AI writing software needs to develop personalized content by analyzing data on user behavior and preferences. This involves developing models that can tailor content to individual users, creating a more engaging and relevant experience.

Addressing Bias and Ethical Concerns: AI writing software needs to address bias and ethical concerns by ensuring that the models used are free from bias and do not perpetuate discrimination. This involves developing models that are transparent and explainable, allowing users to understand how decisions are being made.

Integrating with Other Technologies: AI writing software needs to integrate with other technologies, such as voice assistants, chatbots, and virtual reality, to provide a more seamless and immersive user experience. This involves developing models that can work across different platforms and devices, providing a consistent and cohesive experience.

A Merger of the Two Talents 

It is irresponsible and shortsighted to ignore these new developments. AI writing software is here to stay, but it is not a panacea for organizations looking to cut corners or replace human talent. 

The best approach is a merger between tech and human ability.  

As a leading digital marketing agency, we are remaining at the forefront of how to best utilize and marry artificial intelligence and real brain power. 

Here is how we view AI writing software and tools are best used: 

They are supplementary pieces to human writers 

AI is great for generating alternative ideas 

Beneficial for creating outlines 

Helpful for developing introductions and conclusions 

Excellent at writing on non-niche, more surface-level topics that have straightforward answers (ex. How to ride a bike) 

Good for “listicle” type content writing 

AI writing software is the new, exciting kid on the block. As businesses, freelancers, and all other parties continue to explore and play with these new tools, productivity, and content quality should increase. But make no mistake, using ChatGPT or other AI tools as your sole content production source, you will run into issues like: 

Possible inaccurate info 

Mediocre SEO performance 

Lackluster creativity 

Missing contextual updates/news  

Whoever can best balance the talents of AI and human skill sets, will quickly reap the benefits and see their content efforts grow in success. Looking for more tips or how to best use AI writing software? Let’s talk content.

The Checklist: How To Write And Format Web Content

Writing for the Web is not like writing a college paper (thank goodness), which means you probably don’t have a lot of practice at ideal formatting. Unlike the world of academia where literally millennia have gone into developing forms and formats, webpages have only had a couple brief decades to find their bearings. To help those still in the early phases of writing web content (a.k.a. the phase of confusion and panic), here is a basic checklist to go through before publishing work.

Are My Sentences Too Long?

Every sentence will express a very different thought, so variation is natural and even good in writing. However, sentences that extend too long will simply confuse and infuriate readers. Try to keep your sentences no longer than about 40 words, which equates to about two lines in average web publications.

Are My Paragraphs Too Long?

Advice varies on how long paragraphs should be, but the general consensus is they should be “edible.” What this means for the standard user is typically somewhere around three to five lines of text, or roughly 50 to 100 words. Variation is certainly acceptable, but it shouldn’t extend too far beyond the crunch three to five lines.

Are My Sentences Too Complex?

Are you using several independent clauses, all joined together, one after another, in a series of commas that seems to never end, running on forever like it’s being chased, kind of like I’m doing now; perhaps it doesn’t even end with a typical period but instead continues, frivolously, self-interjecting, whisking around – like it’s beating brownie batter! – and, in the end, doing nothing more than confusing all your readers. There can be something elegant and beautiful about complex sentences, but they diminish reader comprehension and patience.

As a general standard, try not to have more than two independent clauses in a sentence (that will usually mean no more than one comma) and use abnormal punctuation sparingly. Sentences that are currently too complex can easily be re-cast into multiple sentences or slightly new phrasing.

Are My Headlines Active? Is My Headline Too Long?

The headline should only take up one line of text, which means that it shouldn’t exceed about 50 characters (assuming you’re using a standard H1 tag size). That’s roughly six to eight words of content, varying pretty broadly dependent on how long the words you use are.

Do I Have an Introduction?

Even with the best headline in the world, you will want to introduce the content to come. This can be anything from a two line summary of what you’re about to say to a five line background on how the industry was started. The point is that you should prepare readers so that your direction and organization are both clear before you present your data, arguments, or other content.

Have I Proofread This Piece?

Nothing says “I don’t care” quite like a blatant tiepoh in the middle of your piece. Most people require at least a couple proofings before they catch all the errors, and even then some are bound to slip through. Make sure you’re taking the necessary precautions by doing your due diligence even after the final paragraph is written; just because you’ve finished writing doesn’t mean the article is complete.

Am I Inviting Feedback?

Keep in mind, as a rule, that rules should regularly be broken. What about you? Which of the above rules is it nearly impossible for you to prevent yourself from bending in each article?

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