Product title problems fall into three basic categories: channel compliance, product content, and title construction. Channel compliance is meeting the minimum standards to get your product listed through marketplace like Google Shopping, Amazon Marketplace, or eBay. These are pass/fail, and there are many tips available to solve these (plus our automatic title analysis tool for a detailed report.). Title construction is how to put the content in the best order once you figure out what goes in. There are some common mistakes in order, but they are easy to find and fix. Today I'm going to focus on the hardest problem with product titles — choosing the optimal content in both kind and amount.
After analyzing hundreds of thousands of product titles, I think many people don't actually understand what content belongs in them.
The two general patterns I see are either a bare-bones minimum product titles that only give a vague clue about the product, and an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink titles that cram in half the content from the description or bullet points. Neither kind of product title is going to perform well, even if it's a genuinely good offering at a reasonable price.
Let's examine the 4 things that actually belong in product titles:
- Product Type
- Variant Attributes
- Buyer Intent Attributes
- Price Justification Attributes
Product type is what a product is and does. If your title doesn't tell people what the product is or how it can solve their problems, why would they click on it? Some titles are missing a product type completely.
- Example: '6 Piece Kit (1/8", 1/4", 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1-1/2"'. That could be anything from hole-saws to fabric ribbon. Other product titles have a very vague product type.
- Example: 'No Lye Cleaner'. We can see that it's a cleaner, but have no idea what problem is solves. Is it for bathrooms, or laundry, or driveways, or litter boxes? By itself, 'cleaner' is a poor product type.
Variant attributes are required by Google Shopping to distinguish between products within a group that vary based something like size/color. It's confusing for a shopper to see multiple products with the same name, and have no clue which one actually meets their needs. These are commonly appended to the end of the title, either manually or automatically by a PIM.
Buyer intent attributes are the features/properties of a product that a shopper cares about when they type in their search terms into Google. They are what separates someone who is just browsing or curious from someone who knows what they want and are ready to purchase. Example: "bowling shoes" could be someone is curious about what bowling shoes look like, what makes them special, how much they cost, but "size 11 bowling shoes padded tongue" is someone who wants to buy. If you are getting good CTR on your product ads, but having trouble getting as many conversions as you think you should, these could be what are missing from your titles. Or put more eloquently, "People's why is all over your search query report. If you don't go looking for it, you're missing out on the why." — Teagan Rae
Note: these also make for good Negative Keywords for your Google Shopping Product Campaigns at the high-priority/low-cost level because you do want to bid more for a likely customer.
Price Justification Attributes are the particular properties of your product that explain why your product is a worth the price listed. Example: when I search for "mens bomber jacket", I see many products in the price range of $20-40, and one that is $140. When I look at the difference between it and the other product titles, I see that it is made of leather. This explains why it is much more expensive. But if the attribute "leather" were missing from the title, I would be very unlikely to choose that product when there are cheaper ones that listing the same set of features.
There may be overlap between the different kinds of content, especially variant and buyer intent attributes, but all should be present in the product titles to achieve the best bottom line SQR performance.
I realize that it may seem overwhelmingly laborious to do this kind of optimization if you have large Google Product Feeds. Please let me know if you would like me to do follow-ups blog posts describing how to automatically analyze all product titles for these 4 kinds of content.
You can sign up for a free version of our title quality analysis that includes automatic detection of product titles that are completely missing product types (and it will soon include detection of poor product types).