Why is product description optimization so important? American shoppers spent more than $186B online in 2012. Retailers (including general retail, consumer electronics, home and garden, and gifts) spent more than $8.1B on paid search (SEM) to reach them.
Google’s Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) study shows that shoppers visit 14 information sources on average prior to making a purchase. With the cost of customer acquisition climbing year-over-year, retailers are increasingly seeking to reach customers via natural search by answering their information needs. At the center of any retail content marketing strategy is having unique, well-written, search-optimized product descriptions that will convert the customers that are furthest down the shopping path.
The Challenge: Creating unique, search-optimized product descriptions can be a challenge for even the most organized merchandising teams. Typically, retailers use spreadsheets and Word documents to collect product information for a set of products. They then email them to in-house writers and/or freelancers, who write product descriptions. In some cases, the product descriptions are then emailed to the retailer’s search agency and optimized; sometimes, not. And in either case, spreadsheets are then returned to the merchandising team to be reviewed and approved. Once in final form, product descriptions are manually formatted and then loaded into the retailer’s commerce or catalog management platform. Formatting challenges and special characters may require adjustment. Incomplete fields may cause issues with loading. And even when the new product descriptions are live, the merchandising team is not done. They then need to work with their finance team to compensate the freelance writers and report their earnings for income tax purposes.
A Better Way: Today, we are excited to announce Skyword for Retail, a version of Skyword’s award-winning platform, designed to automate and streamline the entire process for creating and publishing search-optimized, original product descriptions. Skyword for Retail saves merchandisers valuable time and resources while allowing them to reach a broader number of potential customers through organic search.
Skyword for Retail is a cloud-based solution that allows retailers to:
- Manage in-house and freelance writers on one easy-to-use and flexible platform — eliminating email, spreadsheets, Word documents, and iChat, and saving you valuable time and resources
- Create descriptions for hundreds or thousands of SKUs on a SaaS platform that can be configured to your work flow and web design requirements
- Understand frequent shopper search behavior and create unique product descriptions with keywords that align with those searches — meaningfully improving natural search performance
- Implement standard guidelines and frameworks for writers, ensuring that writing best practices are applied consistently throughout the entire production cycle
- Improve your conversions with better organic search performance — organic search has higher conversion rates than SEM
- Save time and resources managing the editorial and review process for your content creation
- Easily assign projects to writers through a single interface and measure the performance and quality of their writing for future assignments
We are particularly excited that, with today’s release, we add dynamic new functionality to the Skyword Platform. While some of this new functionality is designed for retail merchandising, it also offers powerful new capabilities for our brand, media, and agency partners as well.
Assignment Templates Are Now Configurable
Before this release, assignments included only the following information:
- Assignment summary
- Content type
- Writer to which the assignment was given
- Scheduling settings
Today, you may customize the assignment template by adding new text fields to it. The new fields can be required or optional in the assignment. New fields may be hidden or shown to writers on the article template, allowing you to capture and maintain product or article IDs in the system. Assignment fields can also be delivered with the content via any of the delivery methods (XML, API, Plugin, Batch Export, or Email). The image below shows an assignment template for a retail product description that is to be optimized in Skyword. Note that the SEO Page Title, Short Description, Long Description, and Canonical URL fields are all examples of new assignment template fields.
Assignments Can Be Imported Into Skyword in Batches
Beginning today, you may import a CSV file from your catalog system or CMS (or other content repository) into Skyword. Skyword will automatically use this data to create assignments in the Skyword Platform.
As part of the import process, the Skyword Platform will validate each import to make sure that it matches the assignment template that you have created in the Skyword Platform.
Content Can Be Exported From Skyword
Along with the ability to import content as CSV into Skyword, you may now choose to export content as CSV files. Programs that elect to use the export delivery method will still be able to use the standard Skyword workflows. Once content has been created and approved, that content will appear in the Article Delivery navigation in the Export to File area. There, you will see a list of all approved articles. You may choose to export all articles or filter the list to export by a single project.
Assignment Management Improvements
With this release, we have made improvements that make it easier to view and manage assignments:
List of Assignments Without a Publish Date
If your program uses the calendar view to organize assignments, on the Publishing Calendar there is a calendar entry that displays the number of assignments without a publish date. These articles are the ones that are scheduled to go live as soon as they are approved. With this release, this calendar item now links to a list of the unscheduled assignments, where you can modify or remove the assignment.
Workflow to Complete All Incomplete Assignments
Sometimes, you may wish to load incomplete assignments into Skyword and then add information to them in the interface. Beginning today, you can now import assignments that are incomplete (i.e., assignments that have fields that are required before those assignments can be offered to writers). A new list in the Assignments area called Incomplete Assignments has been created to allow users to view these records.
When you complete an assignment in the interface, you can quickly jump to the next assignment to complete it.
Ability to Offer Multiple Assignments to One Writer
Going forward, in the Assignments area of the system, you will be able to select a writer and then offer articles from any of the available assignments to that writer. This makes it easier to allocate multiple assignments to a single writer, matching the work he or she is assigned with his or her particular area of expertise.
Articles Can Be Optimized for Multiple Keywords/Key Phrases
Skyword clients often want to optimize content for multiple keywords or key phrases. Beginning today, you may require writers to optimize content for up to three keywords/phrases. This is particularly helpful for product description optimization, where merchandisers may want to optimize for both a product name and a feature set. Writers and reviewers will see a scorecard for each targeted keyword or phrase.
Project Management Enhancements
This release includes two enhancements to the project functionality:
- Using our new assignment import function, you may import assignments into a project and set availability, submission, and publish dates that would populate for each assignment in a project.
- We have also added project completion tracking. Here, the Skyword Platform will show the percentage of articles that are complete for a project on the projects list and on a project detail page.
To learn more about Skyword for Retail or about our exciting new product description, project management, and search optimization features, please contact us and let us know how we can help.