5 Reasons Retailers Should Do Social and/or SEO

Online retailers seeking to maximize their market share need to embrace every tool in their marketing kit to win the day. Naturally, many retailers prefer to rely on a “paid media” strategy because accounting for spend, income, net profit and return on investment is easy, thus justifying financial allocations.

But savvy retailers will not ignore “unpaid” media efforts, including search engine optimization and social media campaigns. Although ROI may not be as easy to calculate in these channels, the benefits of such efforts are substantial and shouldn’t be ignored.

So why should retailers engage in social and SEO efforts? Here are five reasons why:

1. Organic search engine results page (SERP) real estate still matters.Competition among retailers for both paid and organic real estate on SERPs is fierce throughout the year, with bid prices peaking during the traditional holiday shopping season. Given the scarcity of SERP listings, retailers who can dominate in both paid and organic listings will obtain more traffic, orders and profit than those relying on paid listings alone.

2. SEO isn’t just about links and keywords anymore. During its early days, the main focus of search engine optimization was on obtaining inbound links to acquire credibility with search engines. Content — i.e., the actual information served on the page — was never the primary topic of interest. In the past several years however, as Google and the other search engines have cracked down on sites which robotically generate low-quality content, the SEO discipline has matured and is less about gaming the engines than it is ensuring that sites, through their content, are relevant to human consumers.

3. SEO differentiates retailer’s products. Many online retailers, especially those using off-the-shelf shopping cart systems, do little to add value to these records, instead relying on stock images and standard descriptions. Retailers using SEO best practices, however, will add meaningful information that lets searchers, shoppers and browsers differentiate offerings. This information may include service manuals, product FAQs and help files that will differentiate offerings on the organic SERP.

4. Content velocity matters. While today’s SEO practices are focused on producing quality content, it’s not enough simply to warehouse such content and call it a day. Google and the other search engines favor sites that frequently publish new content. Any sensible SEO strategy will include a mechanism for you to generate relevant content frequently enough to please both the engines and users seeking timely product information.

5. An optimized site is a social site. The retailer’s job of attracting fans, likes and follows is easier if users are conditioned to expect new content in the form of news, updates and/or special offers to be published on the brand’s social media pages. If a retailer has implemented SEO principles to make their site relevant, accessible and dynamic, creating dynamic social media areas is a much easier task and will result in more social media success.

Mark Simon is senior vice president of sales and marketing at Didit, a digital advertising agency. Mark can be reached at mark.simon@didit.com.

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