When you create content, titles, and descriptions for your products and product lines, what descriptive words do you use? What descriptive words do your potential customers use? Have you even taken the time to think about it, or better yet, find out?

Let me give you a perfect example: watches.

I've been in the market for a watch lately, but not just any watch. I like unique and unusual things. But when I plugged in descriptive keywords into the search engines—words like unique, unusual, colorful, and funky—ladies watches, the organic results held nothing of interest.

In the organic results, I found collector sites, blogs, and sites in other languages. I found description tag spam. However, the watch sites were classic women's watches like you'd find in any department store. There were absolutely nothing unique about them.

I actually went through six pages of search results and came up with nothing after numerous variations of searches. Count them . . . six pages.

So, I went to the PPC results. Again, most of those weren't relevant to my search. However, I did find the most phenomenal watches made from safety pins. That's what I call unique!

Look at Your Own Products

How are you describing your own products? What descriptive words would your customers use when searching for your products? The more accurately you describe your products, the more targeted your traffic will be.

How do you know how people are searching? Try Wordtracker (http://www.wordtracker.com), which is the best online resource for researching your customer's behavior. Also, study your log files.

A Niche Within a Niche

If you're selling classic ladies' watches by Seiko, use those words to describe the watches. Don't call them unique or unusual unless they are. Call them feminine, elegant, or classy. Or describe them as being bracelet watches, silver-tone, or with diamonds. Are they replica watches? Luxury watches? Fashion watches? Waterproof? Made of a particular material?

Men's watches can be a certain brand as well as military watches, LED, dress, sports, diving, vintage, casual, bargain, pocket, pre-owned, and the list goes on.

Form a niche within a niche, and build content around the types of watches you sell. That way, if you sell vintage watches reminiscent of the 70's, you can describe one of your unique watches like this:

Psychedelic orange orb ladies' watch that brings back memories of the smell of patchouli and the sound of Janis Joplin

If you have a whole section on vintage watches, you'll have a much better chance at ranking high for that keyword phrase. Use "vintage" in the title, description, and content on each page, but describe each watch differently. You certainly wouldn't describe a watch like the one above as "classic" or "feminine."

Plus, your visitors will be getting relevant results from the organic searches, and your site will be getting targeted traffic. Win/win situation.

Adjectives are Subjective

Yes, you're right—they are. When searching for watches, I didn't consider the majority of watches I found to be unique. I personally don't consider classic ladies' gold-toned watches that you can find in any department store to be unique. However, someone else might.

However, I also wasn't after unique in the sense of a watch with Gene Autry in the center of it. Even I have my limits on unique!

Look for Keyword "Holes" in Your Niche Industry

In the case of watches, I definitely found some keyword holes that a good SEO needs to explore. The organic results are desperately lacking the long tail of marketing keywords that are well known for bringing in a steady stream of targeted traffic. The results may be there, but they're pointing to irrelevant pages. How many people are going to go through the first six pages of results? This is a treasure mine for SEOs.

Do you have something similar in your industry? Study your industry and how people are searching. Again, Wordtracker is your best source for this type of information as well as your own log files.

Describing Versus Searching

Let's visit the following Web site:


Click on products. Study the watches, and come up with five words to describe those watches. We know they're unique, so let's come up with other words.

We'll do it together:

one of a kind
safety pin

Now, I want you to study the words above. If you were looking for a unique watch, would you type any of those words into a search box?

The answer is probably no. How you describe something and how buyers search for something are two totally different things. You have to use descriptive and accurate words to describe your products, but you have to use words in your title, description, and content that your potential buyers will use when searching for your products.

Make sense?

Useit.com . . . an Excellent Resource

To me, Jakob Nielsen is and always has been synonymous with usability on the Internet, and I've been watching what he writes for years. His latest article couldn't have been published at a better time.

"Summary: Familiar words spring to mind when users create their search queries. If your writing favors made-up terms over legacy words, users won't find your site."

In Conclusion . . .

Describe your products and product lines accurately. Use descriptive words (adjectives) that your readers will type into the search engines in your title and description tags as well as in the content of your page.

Don't deceive your potential customers. You want happy potential buyers, not disgruntled, deceived potential prospects that are ready to hit the back button.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

January 4, 2007

Robin Nobles is the Co-Director of Training of Search Engine Workshops, where they teach "hands on" search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe. They also provide a networking community for SEOs called The World Resource Center for Search Engine Marketers and have expanded their workshops to Europe with Search Engine Workshops UK.

Search Engine Guide > Robin Nobles > Using "Ideal" Words to Describe Your Products