Ouch! Get busy and modify those product descriptions! You're wasting efforts on other SEO if you don't have unique product descriptions. One reason (there are more) is you've got duplicate content - the same product descriptions found on your competitors - or at best on the manufacturer's - websites. Clean them up and optimize them ASAP!
I second the duplicate content remark. You want your own flavor on the descriptions and it will work to your advantage. Make them rich.
Matt Cutts himself pointed out the importance of this in Vegas during a site review.
Yes, it's a no-brainer if search traffic is a part of your marketing strategy. Unique content is key for organic search.
A few years ago I re-wrote product descriptions and added more graphics for our best selling products. Wordy. Lots of details and specifications. Way beyond what the competition provides. I think it helped sales and SEO. And we've had several customers express appreciation for the detailed info we provide.
Made our site stand out because almost none of our competitors use more than stock descriptions.
Descriptions are pretty important. A lot of times, I will keep searching to see if I can find out more information re: the product - afterall, I am buying it and it is difficult at times to see if it is what I want
I agree that descriptions are very important. But it depends on the product as to how creative you can get with a description.
On our site we have 2 sorts of products. Engines and engine spares. The engines have very detailed descriptions and technical specs. However the engine spares are a different matter. For example an oil filter how exciting can you make it, often an oil filter is used on more than one product. I have in the past listed and oil filter as "oil filter for engine 1, engine 2, etc..." but if I miss and engine off the list this can confuse customers.
So what I have done is use the catagory structure in the description, Engine manufacturer > engine > area of engine> part description. This seems to work ok.
Thanks for the help all. I'm making it a goal to redo 10 product descriptions each morning.
Along with revising product descriptions, I think it helps to add all the related content (e.g. reviews, forum discussion, manufacturer link, product manual,etc.) I deal a lot with imported widgets so even re-writing descriptions so that it sounds like it was written an English speaker improves conversion. I also go through trouble of converting metric measurements to USA standards (assuming your market is USA).
Is there a formula for how much content needs to change so it does not flagged as duplicate content? 10% difference? 30% 50%?
>>>>redo 10 product descriptions each morning.
Depending on how many products you have.... I would do it a little slower than that. Keep the spiders interested by showing them new content every visit. You could make this project last for several weeks over hundreds of crawls.
Although you could write all the text ASAP, just roll out a little bit everyday.
Does anybody else agree with me?
>> Does anybody else agree with me?
I could make an argument for both ways. I think in this case, with duplicate content out there and likely hurting his rankings, I'd err on the side of expediency and get the existing descriptions rewritten. Then they can work on additional content a little bit at a time.
Just an update - still working on those descriptions.
No more than a day after I had changed a product's description to a custom one of my own Google seemed to crawl it and I am receiving atleast ten uniques per day for that product.
Ten uniques may not seem like much but this is a very seldomly purchased product which was only receiving one or two uniques prior to the custom description.
Thanks again for everyone's help on this.
I concur with with what most have said. Product descriptions are a great opportunity to get in some of the long tail terms related to your product. I also feel it's important to write a well optimized and customized product title.