Search & Retail served as an inside look at the shopping search vertical, uncovering SEO/SEM opportunities and challenges faced by online retailers and search marketers working for e-commerce based businesses. Expert columnists ranged from in-house search marketers, agency advisers, and small business owners who have successfully built their e-commerce business with search. The Search & Retail column no longer runs as a standalone column but instead has been incorporated into the Paid Search column.

What Brick & Mortar Stores Can Do About Showrooming

You’ve all heard about showrooming, where customers go to a local store to check out products they’d like to buy, then purchase the product for less online. It’s been going on for several years and is becoming more popular as technology enables instant comparison shopping. Millions of consumers do it, scouting out everything from computers and televisions to books and vitamins before purchasing the item online for less. Online stores often provide lower prices than brick and mortar stores because of lower overhead costs, no sales taxes (in some states) and free shipping offers. [...]

Google Shopping: 7 Advanced Tips & Strategies For Merchants

Commercial Site Box The new Google Shopping is based off of your typical paid comparison shopping engine, such as Pricegrabber, Nextag or It’s a move that presents significant opportunity to the merchants who chose to stay and play in the market-rate CPC program, with no minimum CPCs. Many small merchants and some SEOs have shown their disgust with the move and will  likely take their products elsewhere to advertise. Affiliates will also have trouble on Google Shopping, making the potential traffic pie much larger. Even marketplaces will be affected. Merchants who sell on Ebay or Amazon [...]

Google Therapy: The Prescription For Dealing With Product Search & Paid Inclusion

Google Paid Shopping View "telescopes" It’s not a secret that I am a big fan of Google’s addition of product extensions and product listing ads to the Adwords platform. My last article about taking advantage of Google Shopping seems to be timely in light of recent events. As many of you might already know, Google will officially be transitioning to the paid model as early as August and is already testing various queries.   Since a number of our clients utilize Google product search and are gaining a significant amount of "free" converting traffic to their websites (some up to 10%), I find myself going through [...]

Can Retailers Benefit From The Knowledge Graph & Schema? You Bet!

The Knowledge Graph is the latest in a series of efforts in which Google has adopted technology from the semantic web aka the "Giant Global Graph" envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee. For those retailers who haven't yet adopted microdata, Good Relations RDFa and other structured markup on their product pages, now is the time to take advantage of the newly implemented Knowledge Graph technology. [caption id="attachment_124036" align="alignright" width="300"] Image from Shutterstock, by drserg, used under license[/caption] Will Google’s Knowledge Graph have an effect on retail? Abso [...]

Don’t Just Pin Images, Optimize For Pinterest Search With Purpose

If you’re a retailer and want to boost traffic and conversions, an image SEO strategy using Pinterest can provide great results fairly quickly. Pinterest activity will not only increase your referral traffic, it can help you connect with your customers and prospects in a mutually beneficial way. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the age of images in search, as so aptly put in AdAge Digital’s recent article, In Age of Pinterest, Instagram, Marketers Need an Image strategy. Pinterest, currently hot after two years on the Web, has over 11 million registered users, 9 million of which [...]

Google Becomes Answer Engine With Semantic Technology − Great News For Retailers

Google has been displaying more than blue links in search results  for a while now. And soon, users will be able to find more facts and direct answers to their queries on top of search results. This comes from the Wall Street Journal, which reported on an interview with Amit Singhal, a top Google search executive. Evidently, Google plans to provide more relevant results by "incorporating semantic search technology, the process of understanding the actual meaning of words." Search Engine Land author and Ontologica semantic services provider Barbara Starr said, "It’s inevitable that lo [...]

Keyword Expansion Resources & Strategies For Retailers

Many retailers already own the data they need to profitably expand their paid search campaigns: it exists within their site search logs, website analytics, inventory feeds and in external consumer intents found through search queries. The challenge retailers face is how to engineer a broader keyword portfolio that widens their reach in the query space and deliver relevant products to satisfy consumer demand. In this post, we’ll discuss several keyword expansion resources already available internally to many retailers and the ways to best organize expansion techniques to ensure optimal [...]

3 Search Opportunities Retailers Can’t Afford To Miss

As competition intensifies, it becomes increasingly more difficult for retailers to thrive, with big retailers like Sears, JC Penney and Macy’s resorting to Every Day Value Pricing. To succeed, retailers must avoid missed opportunities. This article identifies three opportunities retailers can take advantage of: (1) use every available local search tactic, (2) have your site ready for smartphones and tablets, and (3) be able to identify new, incremental sources of traffic and conversions. The Marketing Sherpa 2012 Search Marketing SEO Edition Benchmark Report, which surveyed over 1,5 [...]

A Framework For Maximizing The Agency/Retailer Relationship

When it comes to managing search marketing campaigns for retailers, customizing support and services is as influential as managing the performance of campaign assets. With the fast-paced digital environment that we currently live in, it’s not only important for SEM agencies to understand how to analyze and optimize advertiser data, but also how to efficiently manage client interactions. Even though I work at a technology company, I’m responsible for client interactions. Many of my best practices are transferable to the SEM agency/retailer relationship. As such, in this article, I’l [...]

A Google+ Primer For Retail Brands

In the last several months, there have been hundreds of articles written about Google+, its influence on the search engine marketing industry, discussing how marketers should be protecting against it or preparing to utilize it in the future. Due to this influx of Google+ publicity, our team has received dozens of inquiries from clients asking what all of this means. As we prepare our clients for the changes that Google+ brings as part of the constant evolution that occurs across the search industry, we are once again reminded of the saying, "There is nothing permanent except change." So, le [...]

How To Get A 10x Lift In Monthly Unique Visitors

Retailers have used signage, billboards, newspapers, magazines, vehicles, buildings, radio, TV – just about every means imaginable to market their products and services. But never have we seen retail marketing spread exponentially in different directions since the advent of the Internet and the proliferation of computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. In fact, the Internet and search engines have changed the nature of retail marketing forever. And that’s good news for retailers. What can retailers do to take full advantage of Internet marketing? Here are three marketing strate [...]

3 Keys To Online Retail In 2012: Doing More With Less

We are only a month into 2012, but 2011 already seems like a distant memory. Christmas was over a month ago and Black Friday was approximately 6 months ago by my calculations. But as we reminisce on the year that was 2011, hopefully you were pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. For a year that started with fears of a 10% unemployment rate, things seemed to end on an up note. The economy seemed to improve, digital marketing rebounded nicely after a few shaky years (roughly 15% growth according to comScore), and heck, Bing managed to not go bankrupt and even gained a point or two o [...]

Increase Retail Sales From Mobile Devices In 2012

2011 was the year that shopping on mobile devices moved into the mainstream. It won’t be long before the majority of retail sales are made from tablets and mobile devices rather than laptops and desktops. With mobile usage increasing dramatically in 2012, it’s important for retailers to start accommodating mobile shoppers. This article will review mobile trends of interest to retailers, offer some tips for going mobile, and include some information on Mobile Store Locator Software for multiple location retailers. First, let’s start with some mobile stats that impact retail s [...]

2012: The Year Of The Independent Search Marketer?

For the past few years, experts and hacks alike have declared – and debated – it being the "Year of Mobile" or the "Year of Attribution." So, let me go ahead and make my own personal declaration for 2012. It is not just the "Year of the Dragon," although that makes me feel much more hopeful for a bad ass year than 2011’s wimpy "Year of the Rabbit!" This year, in the search space at least, I believe it will be the Year of the Independent. The Small Guys. The Little – but endlessly innovative, in-tune and downright scrappy - Fish. Although I still can’t seem to explain to my pare [...]

How To Get A 30% Increase In CTR With Structured Markup

As documented by case studies in the U.S. and abroad, retail firms can get up to a 30 percent increase in organic traffic by using structured markup like Schema Microdata, GoodRelations and Google Rich Snippets, etc. This begs the question: why aren’t more retailers using structured markup? Implementing structured data requires the skill of adding a few extra lines to the HTML code of your site. Once implemented, you will immediately feed Google and hundreds of mobile and recommender applications with all the information consumers are looking for when they shop for your products. Your det [...]

Social-Local-Mobile Tactics Drive Retail Success

The convergence of social networking, local search and mobile shopping provides consumers with convenience while saving them time, a real winner in the digital world. Because the Social-Local-Mobile trend makes certain marketing channels more important for retail brands, we want to review how e-retailers can get more social while providing mobile functionality and local search findability. It’s possible to cash in on this trend with a Google+ business page, ecommerce mobile pages and traditional local search optimization or automated local SEO with digital storefront software for multiple [...]

Champagne Or Boone’s Farm? 3 Things That Will Determine Your Holiday Search Success

I can remember the very first time a client gave me incremental money for the holiday season. It was a whopping $10,000 to spend over two months. I was flying high – we all were. Our entire agency, all five of us, stopped working and had a glass of champagne together to celebrate. This was big money to us. But even bigger, it was a sign a client saw an opportunity to grow and trusted us to make that growth happen. Amazing no matter what way you look at it. Ten years later, the budgets and the agency are a bit bigger, but I always get that same feeling when a client gives us incremental [...]

How To Leverage Structured Markup To Create E-Commerce Web Portals

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the definition of a Web portal. Wikipedia defines it as a point of access to the Web with information from diverse sources represented in a unified way. Standard Web portals are those we are all familiar with, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo; however, there are also portals geared for specific verticals such as e-commerce. The semantic Web is a specific example of how Google is leveraging structured product markup to create  Google Product Search, a shopping or "e-commerce Web portal." The same is true of Bing Shopping and many others. Product dat [...]

Mobile Holiday Shopping: New Opportunities & Top Tactics For Success

mobile shopping_incase To get us in the holiday spirit, let’s start with some stats: Mobile shopping is expected to grow by 40 percent year-over-year, and according to the latest Google trends data, 15 percent of search queries during the holiday season are expected to come from mobile devices. Based on a study conducted by Admob and featured on the Google Mobile Ads blog, more than 33 percent of smartphone and tablet users actually plan to begin their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving this year. Need more proof? Greg Sterling delved further into the "remarkable" mobile projections last month. So, [...]

The Holidays: Time For Joy, Laughter & Analytics

Ah the holiday season. Time to welcome back apple-picking trips, pumpkin spice lattes and the smell of pine needles. In the retail search space, time to welcome back gruelingly long work days, insane volume spikes, working on days normal people have off (e.g. every weekend from November through Christmas) and enough last-second surprises to make anyone pull their hair out. While I have yet to find a solution for the surprises your boss likes to throw at you at 5 p.m. on a Friday, there is a way to eliminate some of the stress that comes with holiday search campaigns. By simply shifting y [...]

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