How to Write an Amazon Product Description: Best Practices, HTML & Limits
Once you start uploading your products into Seller Central, you may come to the conclusion that the Amazon product description doesn’t matter.
You put all your effort into keyword research, the perfect product title and banging bullet points and after all that hard work it can be easy to skip the description.
A word of advice: don’t.
The description section on Amazon is more than just an extra field at the bottom of your product page.
In this post, I’ll give you some reasons why you shouldn’t skip the description, a few tips on how to get it right, and a couple of pointers on HTML formatting.
Table of contents
- Your Amazon Product Description Can Bring in Traffic from Google
- The Product Description Isn’t Always Hidden at the Bottom of a Listing
- Take Up Space to Dissuade Clicks Away from Your Product
- Expand on your Bullet Points in the Amazon Description
- The Product Description is a Great Place for More Keywords
- HTML in the Amazon Product Description
- Key Takeaways
Your Amazon Product Description Can Bring in Traffic from Google
Amazon isn’t the only place where people can find your product. A well-written and optimized product listing that corresponds to someone’s keyword query in Google will appear on the search engine as an option.
The first 170 or so characters of your Amazon product description are what make up the “meta description” on Google. That is, beneath the blue hyperlinked title, this short description is what can persuade (or dissuade) people to click through to the listing on Amazon.
Take a look at this for the popular Laoganma sauce:
The meta description is a collection of features and specs that doesn’t give too much detail to a customer. If somebody were recommended this sauce and decided to check it out on Google, do you think they would have learned anything about it from this description? Pack of 3, Grocery & Gourmet Food. It doesn’t say much about it! In this case, it helps to use a complete sentence or thought to convey your product’s message like in this example below:
It’s a complete sentence, gives you a little insight into the brand’s story, and tells you what the product is.
Now you see how important the Amazon product description is for how your product appears on Google. Try to convey the most important features and benefits of the product in the first sentence and you’ll be able to attract more people from Google. Extra traffic? Yes, please!
The Product Description Isn’t Always Hidden at the Bottom of a Listing
Some people think that just because the description on Amazon is way down past all the images, the bullet points and the ads, it’s a waste of time to focus on it.
It may be the case that the product description on Amazon comes after the bulk of the listing on desktop. But this isn’t true on mobile. On mobile devices, the description often comes before the bullet points. Surprise, surprise!
This means that after a potential customer has browsed through the product images, the first text they’ll encounter (after the title) is the product description. This is super important because now it’s front and center and the salesperson for your product.
It’s important to be mindful when writing your product description and making sure it doesn’t just appear as a “wall of text”. Try to separate your description into shorter paragraphs, otherwise it can be problematic for those browsing on mobile. The reading experience on smaller electronic devices is just different. To read up on why you should focus and optimize your listings for mobile, you can check out some of our reasons here.
Take Up Space to Dissuade Clicks Away from Your Product
Sponsored brands and products now take up a lot of real estate on a product listing. How can you stop a potential customer from being distracted by a shiny ad and forgetting about your product?
The answer is to take up space.
Look at this example:
Do you see how many rows of products are vying for your attention here? The product description (which is too short) goes completely unnoticed.
Now, if you were to take up space in here, you would create a larger barrier between your product information and other brands’. The amazon product description gives you 2000 characters to work with. We recommend you use all of those characters. By using all that space, your part of the listing will take up more space than the competitor’s advertising. Notice how the product description below is taking up space?
This only applies if you don’t have access to A+ content which gives you some awesome extra features you can read more about here. Amazon A+ content is only available for registered brands and will be put in place of the product description.
That being said, even if you do have A+ content and are a well-known brand, you shouldn’t treat your product description like chopped liver… What happened here, Band-Aid?
Are you wondering if there’s a safe space for your brand where there are NO competing products to steal your thunder? That, my friend, would be the Amazon store. You can learn more about storefronts, how to set one up, and their advantages in our Ultimate Storefront Guide.
Expand on your Bullet Points in the Amazon Description
Many listings make the mistake of simply repeating everything in their bullet points in their description. They fail to recognize that this is the place you should actually expand on what you’ve introduced so far.
The product title on Amazon is there to index your product. The bullet points should convert the customer or at least persuade them to learn more if they are more careful buyers.
Some ideas to help your product description more noticeable, helpful to the customer, and easier to read:
- Short paragraphs to separate ideas and avoid the “wall of text”
- Lists that include: contents, benefits or features, technical specs, etc.
- Examples of real-life uses
- Answer customer questions
As mentioned above, if you don’t have access to A+ content, it’s a good idea to take up space in your description. Break your ideas into paragraphs and lists, and try to anticipate what the customer wants to know.
So – what should you include, if not what was in your bullet points? The product description is yet another chance for you to communicate the benefits of your product to the customer. What should they know? You can offer use-cases – this helps paint a picture of the customer using your product and how their life will be once they buy it.
You can use the description to answer customer questions. If your listing is brand new and there are no questions on the product yet you can use the FAQ from your website or even look at competitor listings and see what customers are asking.
Do you sell a food product? Why not include a recipe that makes it easy for your customer to imagine using it? Does your product come with many parts? Make a list to talk about what’s included.
The Product Description is a Great Place for More Keywords
Sure, they say the title and backend search terms carry the most weight when indexing for keywords. But including secondary or even tertiary keywords in your Amazon description doesn’t hurt.
The Amazon product description is the place to include keywords that didn’t fit into the bullet points, title or backend. You can also repeat the more important ones or use their synonyms. To get a better idea of how to use your keywords so they sound natural I’ve written about that in this article.
It’s also helpful to remember that the first 160 or so characters may become the meta description on Google. Including important keywords may help your listings rank better not only on Amazon but on Google as well.
HTML in the Amazon Product Description
Although Amazon doesn’t allow you to use the full gamut of HTML, you can use some light code to highlight or bold text and include line breaks to make your text more digestible. These include:
- Line break
- Bullet lists
- Numbered lists
- Some special characters like ✔, ™, ◆ and more
How can you add HTML to your Amazon Product Description?
If you’re not very technical, there are tools that create the HTML code for you. All you have to do is input your description, include the changes like line breaks, lists or bolded text. Then, the tool translates it into an HTML format that you can simply copy and paste into the backend in Seller Central.
Limits on HTML
Amazon gives you 2000 characters to work with for your product description. The more HTML you use, however, the fewer characters for the copy you can have. Any HTML code you use counts as more characters so it’s important to be mindful. Don’t expect to be able to fit 2000 characters plus HTML formatting into this limit.
We usually try to write our descriptions in 1600-1800 words in Scribbles in Helium10 before testing the HTML count. How can you test your character count? This free tool from AMZ Data Studio has a character counter in the corner where you can track exactly how much space you’re taking up.
Here are two examples of the same text. One without HTML, where the characters count is 297 (bottom right corner):
And here is the same text, but with HTML formatting:
As you’ll notice, this one has 74 more characters just thanks to a few more bits of code.
Once you have everything formatted, you can click on “View the HTML Code”, copy it, and paste it into the description in Seller Central. Though it may not seem that complex, here’s what the code looks like:
HTML Updates to some Amazon Marketplaces
While your HTML options in the Amazon product description are already quite limited, Amazon is removing even that option in some marketplaces. In the UK, for example, the only HTML allowed now is the line break, which at least allows you to create paragraphs and avoid massive, unreadable blocks of text.
As mentioned earlier, the product description is not just an extra section at the bottom of a listing. Your product description on Amazon:
- Brings in extra traffic from search engines
- Helps you stand out and detract attention from sponsored brands and products
- Gives you extra space to expand on your bullet points
- Offers you a place to share recipes, make lists
- Is the only place where you can use light HTML on your Amazon listing