Search Engine Optimization:

SEO and Pay-Per-Click: How Local Retailers Can Gain A Competetive Edge (Part 2)

The SEO Process Begins With Competitive Analysis

Although shoppers have expressed their desire for information, millions of retailers still donít know what to provide-- or where to find it.

The first step in SEO, competitive research, will expose the minimum level of information required in a given market-- and the maximum thatís being offered. Typically (depending on industry) there will be:

  • Product comparisons
  • User reviews
  • Upgrades, features, and updates
  • Manufacturer recalls
  • Software tools (calculators, etc.)

Retailers who create the best content go beyond a feature-centric focus. They consider, at each buying stage, the problem a shopper is trying to solve. The goal is to offer the quality of information that eliminates their need to shop any further. Shoppers, then, use this kind of content as a standard to measure other vendors by, they bookmark it, and eventually, refer it to family and friends.

'You Can Observe A Lot By Just Watching'

Some of the best sources of information a retailer can provide to buyers will often be found within the business itself. Floor employees and customer service staff are in close contact with shoppers at every stage. One of the most compelling (and underutilized) sources is that of current or former customers. With proper motivation, theyíll write the content themselves.

According to e-consultancy and Bazaarvoice's "Social Commerce Report 2007", customer product reviews are increasing both retail e-commerce website traffic and conversion rates.

Over half of online retailers in the U.S., the UK, and Europe-- when asked about the effects of customer ratings-- said their overall web site conversion rates had gone up in the past year. Over three-quarters said their site traffic had increased, while 42% also said their average order values grew. 59% thought improved search engine optimization was a major benefit.

The Early Bird Gets The Competitive Edge

"Tapping into social commerce can be a great way of gaining a competitive advantage, for example through ratings and reviews," Linus Gregoriadis, E-consultancy's head of research, said in a statement.

"But apart from the early adopters, this is something a large proportion of online retailers are only just starting to think seriously about."

Granted, there are other ways to develop a content building strategy aside from one that includes SEO. The most commonly used alternative, however, is strategically less effective. Hereís why:

SEO Puts Retailers Back Into The Driver's Seat

When companies invest too heavily in traffic before considering how efficiently they can convert it into sales, planners and, especially, managers find themselves in a reactive position. The sudden influx of traffic illuminates every deficiency in a website yet offers few visual clues as to whatís lacking, what needs to be fixed-- or in what order.

A more deliberate, well thought-out content optimization strategy allows managers to be more proactive. The result is better fiscal control and more accurate outcome (and income) projections.

Search engine optimized content can also attract (literally) thousands of links from targeted traffic sources. This provides additional opportunities to extend brand recognition while attracting long-term strategic traffic.

When SEO-driven traffic supplements that of pay-per-click, overall costs per visitor are substantially reduced. Higher conversions with reduced cost per visitor increase both net profit and ROI.

Did you miss part one?--> SEO and Pay-per-click

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