How to Drive Sales from Popular Search Engines

June 11, 2014 Jason Miller

Jason Miller will provide additional insight on this topic at IRCE 2014 at the E-commerce Accelerator Theater, Booth #601. Catch his presentation at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, or at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 12. View other Theater information here.

I recently did a webinar about how online retailers can increase conversions – and lower bounce rates – through dynamic landing page banners. I find this topic very interesting since, in my previous position with Motorcycle Superstore, I had a lot of success using SLI Systems Dynamic Product Banners. What makes this concept highly effective is the use of a learning engine, like SLI Learning Search, to determine what products and content to show in the landing page banners, based on the behavior of previous shoppers.

It’s no surprise that people shop for different items in different ways. It is extremely valuable to have a learning engine that, in real-time, can analyze and aggregate data on how visitors shop your site for various types of products. Rather than making assumptions about how to best present relative products to your customers, you can use all the rich data and user behavior on your site.

For example, through a learning engine you can see which facets people typically select for certain types of searches, as well as what colors are most popular and what items convert at the highest rate. The learning allows the search itself to present results that best match people’s interests and deliver a better more relevant experience. This learning can be applied to on-site merchandising, autocomplete and product recommendations, to name a few.

When it comes to SEO, SEM and landing page optimization, some key performance indicators are conversion rate and bounce rate. The industry average bounce rate for e-commerce sites is generally agreed to be around 34%, though some large e-commerce sites claim bounce rates of less than 10%, according to the Q2 2013 Web-Analytics Benchmark study by ClickTale. (Note: If you happen to have an exceptionally low bounce rate, I suggest you check your analytics tagging, because you may have duplicate site tagging.) Among its many other negative impacts, a high bounce rate will obviously hurt conversion and make your SEM campaigns less cost effective.

Some common reasons why users bounce:

  1. Page content doesn’t match users expectations (this often happens with poorly managed SEM campaigns that aren’t targeted enough)
  2. Poorly designed UI, including sites that don’t properly handle tablets and mobile devices
  3. Site performance (milliseconds matter – users are not willing to wait)
  4. Out of stock or unavailable products

 

A few ways to reduce bounce rate:

  1. Closely monitor your SEM campaigns for relevant landing pages
  2. Use responsive design and a qualified UI team, which can help you optimize user experience on the widest range of devices
  3. Use a high-performance content delivery network such as Akamai to decrease page load times
  4. Take advantage of SLI Dynamic Product Banners, which use advanced learning algorithms to show relevant products on your product pages – even when the current product is unavailable or out of stock

 

As an e-commerce retailer, you may have very little control over what page Google ranks your site for a specific search term. However, you can still drive sales through popular search engines using Dynamic Product Banners to populate landing pages for natural and paid search. This approach has proven very effective for many SLI clients. If you’d like to view my recent webinar to see how e-commerce sites like Wine Enthusiast and others use Dynamic Product Banners, you can get it here.

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