Online retail is not a venture for the faint of heart, to be sure. Finding success in the realm of eCommerce requires patience, diligence, and a willingness to be flexible and constantly experiment with new methods and techniques to improve rankings and conversion rates.
Alan Dick and Brian Mark are successful e-tailers who know a thing or two about running an online store. Our own Mike McDonald was lucky enough to catch up with them at Search Engine Strategies in Chicago, and they had some intriguing things to say about SEO and online retail.
Both Alan and Brian have noted that since implementing common SEO strategies into their respective online shops, their businesses have seen almost exponential growth in both traffic and revenue streams. What areas did these intrepid entrepreneurs focus on with their site optimization strategies?
One fundamental aspect they both agree upon is the balance between paid and organic search listings. Focusing too much on one or the other is not the most efficient way to achieve optimum search rankings, but a holistic approach that takes focuses on the interdependency of paid and organic listings has proven to be the most effective strategy in the long term.
Also, pay-per-click should be viewed as more of a testing mechanism to chart the conversion rates for certain keywords, rather than a complete marketing tool.
Social media is playing an increasingly important role in online retail, so it may be in the best interests of retailers to tap the blogosphere for product reviews, with the caveat of full disclosure if the reviewer is receiving product compensation for his or her time. The goal should be to facilitate discussion about your products, and not to influence the conversation.