E-commerce: How Ice.com Used Blogs to Increase Natural Search Traffic
One of the biggest Web phenomena in the last few years has been the explosion of Web logs, or blogs. While initially nothing more than online diaries, blogs have emerged as opportunities for merchants to spread awareness about brands and products.
Pinny Gniwisch, vice president and co-founder of online jewelry merchant Ice.com, shared how his company has leveraged blogs to increase search traffic to his Web site at an impromptu question-and-answer session at last month’s eTail conference in Palm Desert, Calif.
Q: Did you have any specific objectives or metrics in mind when you started the blogs?
Pinny Gniwisch: When we first were thinking about blogs, I went to our CEO, who happens to be my brother. We were sitting at a table, and I was obsessing about the whole blog phenomenon. He was commenting that it was a fad with no real value. But I decided to push it through and do it anyway. So I did some research -- this was a bit before blogs really became all the rage -- and got the software; within an hour, I had posted my first blog called Sparkle Like the Stars. And in my research I found that natural search rankings based on link popularity will help your site, i.e., your Web site will achieve higher natural search ranking if other sites, like blogs, link to you.
What happened as my blog became very popular was that we were getting thousands of hits a day and getting links from lots of other blogs. We found that our natural search rankings went up about 40 percent for a lot of keywords mentioned in the blog that are linked to Ice.com.
Q: What have the blogs done for sales?
Gniwisch: In the beginning we didn’t focus on sales. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted link popularity, which is what I got. For this past Christmas, just from Sparkle Like the Stars, we did $220,000 in sales. Compared to our overall sales, that’s not a lot, but it’s free money. We didn’t pay a commission to anybody. There’s no affiliate rates. Nothing at all. And all of this came from the blog.