ECommerce Search Marketing Tactics




The session on search marketing tactics served up a strong panel of speakers. As a result a range of interesting ideas were addressed from common sense optimization tips, to leveraging shopping feeds . . . and even Twitter.

Ethan Griffin – Groove Commerce

First up Ethan’s shared some ECommerce optimization tips with the audience, which included some of the following:

  • Use the H1 tag
  • Use unique product descriptions (don’t just copy and paste supplier info into the web pages)
  • Pay attention to internal linking issues
  • Don’t bury folders/directories so that pages appear too deep in the site
  • Have the most important content at the top

In respect to SEO activities and links Ethan recommended that webmasters still submit to directories, consider creating separate blogs to drive traffic, use social media and leverage online PR.

Pete Olson – Amadesa

He told listeners that Search Engine Marketing must go together with conversion and laid out his 3-step process.

Step 1: Think about the end-to-end experience. How do customers read you?
Step 2: Start looking at the pages and use analytics
Step 3: Build testing into your SEM strategy

Peter also addressed the issue that a lot of SERPs show links to pages on the website that are not necessarily the most appropriate. Ideally you want for people to click on a link on Google and redirect to the most relevant page. So in order to unpick this dilemma Pete outlined a technique he used.

Start with analytics data and then look at Keyword referrals from the search engines and typically start with the homepage in order to find multiple word phrases. Sort this by volume and ask ‘Is this the right page?’ If it is, then fine, no action needed. However if not, then its important to think about what page on the website is more relevant to the keyphrase that is being searched for.

Once this is done He suggested running a simple A/B test to see if you can segment and then redirect visitors to the most relevant page and compare conversions—because as Peter stated ‘Search engine marketing has to be about conversion’.

Jon Glick – Become Inc

Jon was keen to inform the crowd the importance of shopping engines and stated that 15% of ECommerce goes through comparison shopping. The upside of the comparison shopping engines is that they are easy to use, their ranking algo is simple and they can add additional horsepower to the Search Engine Marketing mix.

In addition to the shopping engines Jon highlighted some of the unique features of some of the top portals.
google-base-454w

Jon pointed out that Google Base (formerly Froogle) is a great place to begin. It’s free, has the easiest data feed to supply and Google figures out the categories for you. The upside to Google BASE is that websites can rank highly if you get a good Base result. However be sure to include tax and shipping.

For feeds Jon had observed that big images get the best conversions. In terms of optimising feeds the Title is generally still the #1 factor followed by Description #2.

Another tip Jon offered was that for some of the websites its possible to embed messages into logos (e.g. free shipping) This can help make the company stand out more.

Michael Stebbins – Market Motive

Brain Waves Toys is an ECommerce website owned by Michael and one he has used as a test site. This allowed Michael to present to the audience how to get best bang for a buck for an ECommerce website.

  • Firstly, keyword/s in the page URL proved to be a successful for clickthroughs as well as being more user friendly. Also the page name itself can be used by people in anchor text on their sites that link back to the page. So keyword in the URL can help with inbound links too.
  • Order of words in the page title was another factor that Michael believed could influence rankings.

How to make pages relevant to every search:

The traditional approach is to send people to product page. But if you are not a well known brand and include some trust logos (e.g. like Geotrust) people will often be interested in these as well as go to about pages.

So to integrate the searchers needs on Michael’s site, when a user clicks home, it goes to a dynamic home page that includes information around the theme of the search as well as making it easy to access information that will help with trust factors. So the user is served up a themed homepage based around the theme of the search as opposed to being sent straight tot the product page.

By doing this conversion on the website went up 0.7% to 3.3% (nearly a 5x increase).

Adam Audette – AudetteMedia Inc

As well as working for AudetteMedia part of Adam’s work is for Zappos.com. He told attendees that in 2008 the company generated a huge volume of sales via a robust paid and organic search program. About 45 % of the site’s traffic was generated from search.

The aim for Zappos has been to focus on the user experience, and then the search engines follow.

Zappos take quite an aggressive approach to the search listings which can often see them saturate the results. This is achieved by leveraging organic listings, BASE and PPC listings. On one example given was for the search ‘womens shoes’.

On Google Zappos appeared 4 and 5 in the natural SERPs, they appeared in the Google base feed at the top and in the PPC results. That’s 4 appearances on the first page!

Adam outlined the company’s criteria for optimisation and some of the top criteria was as follows:

  • URLs (using keywords)
  • Solid internal linking
  • Content
  • More focus on internal linking
  • Back link acquisition
  • More time spent on internal linking!

Adam told the conference crowd that Zappos was looking for a cool user experience—and one way it had recently embraced was using Twitter feeds at http://twitter.zappos.com/

twitter-zappos-454w

When people reference brands it cross-links to products. So every time a brand or shoe model gets used as part of a twitter comment it dynamically creates an internal link to the respective product page. Each day the volume of internal links generated by this method can be significant, amounting to many, many thousands of links over time!