Walmart has been a giant of the retail landscape for decades, so it’s probably not surprising to you to hear that it’s the second-biggest online retail brand in the United States. Only Amazon is bigger, and one thing both businesses use to increase their reach is partnership with third-party sellers. At Walmart, that partnership comes via the Walmart Marketplace, where third-party sellers offer products in a wide range of categories.
As of 2019, a decade after it launched, Walmart Marketplace had more than 28,000 sellers offering 45 million items to consumers. Those numbers continue to grow, which means competing in this area requires standing out from the crowd. The way to do that is via Walmart Marketplace SEO.
What Is Walmart Marketplace SEO?
SEO is search engine optimization. When your products are listed on Walmart’s Marketplace, you must optimize them for at least two search engines.
First, you’re optimizing for the Walmart algorithm. Shoppers looking for things from Walmart often navigate directly to the store’s online site and use the search functions there to find what they need. If you haven’t invested in the right SEO efforts, you won’t show up high enough in listings on the site to be found by consumers who are ready to make a purchase.
But SEO in your Walmart Marketplace product description is also important in helping your product page rank in Google. People who aren’t yet set on buying or looking for products on Walmart often start with the search engines. In fact, that’s where 93% of all searches start, and Google currently holds the lion’s share of the search market. Strong optimization can help your products show up in regular search results, expanding your potential customer base outside of Walmart regulars.
Parts of Walmart Marketplace Product Descriptions You Can Optimize
While you’re mostly free to create honest, unique product descriptions with the type of content your target audience will respond too, you do have to fit it within the format of a Walmart Marketplace description. Those descriptions typically come with the following parts, all of which offer a place for optimization:
- Product name between 50 to 75 characters
- Shelf description, which is a bulleted section where you can highlight the most significant features and benefits related to your product
- Long description between 1,000 and 4,000 characters
- Short description between 500 and 1,000 characters
- An attributes section which includes specs such as model numbers, color, size and other details
Dos and Don’ts for Optimizing Your Walmart Marketplace Descriptions
With every other seller in the Walmart Marketplace creating product descriptions in the above format, how do you stand out from the crowd and rise to the top of the listings on Walmart and in other search engines? Start by applying the dos and don’ts below.
1. Do keyword research.
You can’t have SEO without keywords. “Incorporating keywords seamlessly in interesting descriptions helps improve your SEO,” says Yaniv Masjedi, the CMO at Nextiva. “However, the keywords should appear clear and natural — not forced — when read by consumers.”
Natural, clear keywords that are relevant to the content and not forced start with keyword research. Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner or SEMrush to find out what types of phrases people are using to find products like yours.
Once you have a primary keyword — and maybe a secondary keyword or two — use them a couple of times in the product description, making sure to include them in key locations such as the product title.
But don’t forget semantic keywords.
These are the types of phrases that someone might use when naturally speaking about the product. For example, if someone is talking about cotton t-shirts, they might also talk about the texture of the fabric (soft), the fit of the shirt, elements such as the collar or sleeves and whether the clothing is machine washable. Including this type of context in your description helps Google and other search engines know that you are really talking about cotton shirts.
Walmart product descriptions provide plenty of room for keywords — semantic and otherwise — within natural, easy-to-read copy.
2. Don’t forget to do competitive research within the Walmart Marketplace category.
Remember that you’re also optimizing for onsite Walmart searches, so read some of the descriptions for products showing up in top spots there to see what types of phrases are being included. In fact, your competitive research into descriptions for similar products within a category should include:
- How long are high-performing descriptions? Are they barely above the minimum character counts, or are your competitors using every last character available to them?
- What types of features/benefits are being called out? While you should always play to the strengths of your product and the needs of your own target audience, it’s helpful to know what others might deem important.
- What type of language is used? Are competitors winning with humorous product descriptions or earning top spots with technical content that covers every base? Again, you need to balance what’s being done by others with the needs of your own business and customers, but knowing what’s already performing helps you know where to start with your own marketing experiments.
3. Do create a unique but specific product name.
Make sure your product name is as unique to your description as possible without going creatively over the top. Consumers should be able to identify exactly what this product description is about by the product name field, but you also don’t want to copy the Walmart, Amazon or other product titles from competitors or your own listings on other sites.
A good formula to follow when creating product names is:
Brand + Size/Color/Attribute(s) + Product Name + Style/Attribute(s) + Package Count(if applicable)
This makes it easy to get enough information in the product description, provides flexibility for unique names and different products and also ensures there’s enough information included. Whenever possible, you should also include the keyword in the product name.
Here are some examples so you can see how the formula above is very flexible.
- Keyword: wood dining table
- HomeCompany Oval Mahogany Wood Dining Table With Leaf, Seats 6
- HomeCompany Oval Wood Dining Table – Mahogany – 8-ft.
- HomeCompany 8-foot Wood Dining Table in Mahogany
- Keyword: red men’s shirt
- FashionMan Large Red Men’s Shirt, Long-sleeve Button-up
- FashionMan Small Button-up Red Men’s Shirt, Long-sleeve, 16in Collar
- FashionMan Medium Long-sleeve Red Men’s Shirt, Button-up w/ 16in Collar
4. Don’t forget about quality images.
Images are critical to any product description. You’re selling something, and while people give up the chance to see and touch the item in person for the convenience and cost-effectiveness of shopping online, they’re probably not going to splurge on something they can’t see at all.
Images should display your product in the best possible way, and you should have more than one whenever possible. A good rule of thumb is that the more technical or complex the product, the more images you should have to show various parts so consumers can make a good decision about their purchase. It’s also a good idea to show the product in action and in images where good size comparisons can be made.
For example, if you’re selling a tent, images might include the tent set up on a white background, the tent set up in a real-world environment with people in or outside of it, the inside of the tent, the tent as it looks when packed up for storage and any close-ups of special features.
Before you prepare images, ensure you understand Walmart’s image requirements. The images must be quality, not include accessories that aren’t part of the product and not include watermarks in many cases. Walmart’s image requirements change periodically, so keep up with Marketplace policies in the Seller Help section.
5. Do use strong marketing copy in the short and long descriptions.
Once you have images and a product name, it’s time to write the short and long descriptions. “Description” can be a confusing misnomer, because you certainly don’t want to simply describe your product.
Consider the following examples of descriptions. Which one is more inviting to the reader?
- This is a blue shirt in size large with long sleeves. It’s cotton and has a picture of a unicorn on the front.
- Cozy up to a campfire in this soft, warm long-sleeve women’s shirt. The light blue color is easy to mix-and-match with your favorite jeans or pajama bottoms, and the cotton shirt sports a fanciful image of a unicorn to show off your imaginative side.
As far as the technical aspects of completing the descriptions, we asked a few successful Walmart Marketplace sellers and marketers how they do it:
- Aalap Shah, founder and CEO of 1o8 agency, says, “From an SEO perspective, we recommend paying particular attention to the category you’re being listed in, filling out every single available field with target keywords, and creating a clear, action-oriented product description field.”
- Masjedi agrees that a complete description is important, as is maximizing the short description. “The section has a 1000-character limit, and businesses must use every last character as possible.”
- Sherry Mae, the CMO at Tankarium, points out the importance of getting the shelf description right. “Shelf descriptions play a massive role in determining SEO ranking in the Walmart Marketplace,” says Mae. “The bullets should paint a picture in a prospective customer’s mind on its purpose, use and how the product will benefit their life.” She also says to include one keyword in each bullet point if possible.
6. Do encourage customer reviews on your products.
The good news is that some of the content that helps build SEO on your Walmart Marketplace descriptions doesn’t have to be created by you. “Walmart values customer service,” says Jeremy Owens, the CMO of Seriously Smoked, “so your team needs to be prompt on addressing customer concerns and issues. Part of Walmart’s SEO algorithm considers customer reviews, so I suggest maintaining an excellent relationship with your buyers.”
Owens recommends having a dedicated team to address customer service needs and a third-party fulfillment partner that’s prompt with delivery.
Start Creating Winning Walmart Marketplace Descriptions Today
As you can see, writing the type of marketplace descriptions that lets you compete in the Walmart Marketplace requires research, planning and creative marketing copy. Luckily, you don’t have to do all of this alone. Find out more about working with proven product description writers at Crowd Content. We can help you create Walmart Marketplace SEO that drives conversions and bolsters your bottom line.