E-Commerce SEO - why you should optimise for internal site search - White.net

E-Commerce SEO - why you should optimise for internal site search

E-Commerce SEO - why you should optimise for internal site search

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By Kevin Gibbons / April 21, 2009

When you think of e-commerce SEO the first thing you think of is probably optimising for search engine queries on product names, writing product descriptions, rewriting URL’s, avoiding indexing issues/session ID’s etc. But a commonly overlooked tactic is optimising for your own internal site search.

After all you’ve done the hard work in getting users to visit your site in the first place, why not make it easier for them to find your products and convert them into customers along the way?

Relevancy of results returned
The screenshot above shows an Amazon search for “Ricky Gervias” (typo). If you follow Amazon’s search process here you shouldn’t go far wrong – the main goal is to ensure users find the products that they are searching for in as few queries as possible. If users have to refine their searches several times they are likely to drop out, assuming that a product is not listed or perhaps just getting bored of repeatedly searching.

How are Amazon results returned?
Firstly, in this case Amazon suggests that I may have meant the correct spelling of “Ricky Gervais” and secondly, because no results are available for the original query, the results are returned for the suggested search instead. This is good because rather than displaying zero results along with a suggested query, Amazon does this automatically instead. Instantly removing the need for an additional search and potential drop out point.

Remember you’re trying to sell them something!
How often do you find an out-of-stock item, low selling item or poor review appear in Amazon’s search results for a query? The answer is likely to be only when the query is specific enough to identify that this is definitely the product you are looking for.

Yes Amazon will try and return the most relevant results, but if the relevancy is equal and the choice is between a best and low selling product it’s not difficult to predict which one is going to be listed first. And rightly so, chances are the user is going to be happier with a highly rated, popular product, plus Amazon have a higher likelihood of completing a sale.

Can this be applied to your SEO strategy?
Similarly the same thought process around providing the most relevant and top converting listings can be applied to SEO. Your search rankings are potential landing pages, so when you start to think about combining search usability and optimisation together that’s when you’ve really hit the nail on the head in terms of increasing conversions!

If you run a PPC campaign you wouldn’t (shouldn’t) advertise an out of stock listing and you’ll quickly find where your best sellers are and generally begin to focus your budget towards these ads instead. So why not apply the same rules to your organic traffic? For example, say you’ve got a #1 Google ranking for “Ricky Gervais DVD” but this is for The Office series 1 DVD which no-one buys anymore, why not redirect the #1 ranking URL to a higher converting, yet still relevant page such as The Office boxset listing instead? Creating a new URL for the original product.

There are different methods of implementing this, but the end result is you can switch your organic traffic towards the higher-converting product and instantly start generating more sales! :D

Overall
Make sure you think about your users, if the usability of your site and landing pages is poor then it’s unlikely your organic traffic is going to be converting as effectively as it possibly could be.

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