The Secret Sauce (part 2): SEO – Buyer Search Logic
In part one of my series on SEO “Secret Sauce”, I talked about Grassroots PR, and the methods I use successfully to build tremendous traffic streams. In this installation, we are jumping into Buyer Search Logic – otherwise known as Shopper Psychology – and how it differs from traditional product marketing.
The most significant SEO oversight I see made (and it is made by virtually everyone – even the BIG BOYS) is that marketing staff tries to apply traditional merchandising practices into the online world. So the foundation of their marketing effort is corrupt from the get-go. The common approach most often skews toward the ‘product’ itself – instead of what the buyer is actually looking for. Let me give you a specific example:
A web marketing manager (“Rick W”) is charged with getting traffic and ramping up sales on a line of womens boots that were recently worn by Kathryn Morris (from CBS’s Cold Case) while being interviewed by Jay Leno. Leno casually comments on how great her legs look in her new boots and she says “I just LOVE my new Kors VooDews”.
Rick W says “give me all the product information on this boot” – “this is going to be a HOT seller!” The box has the following label information: brand = michael kors, color = cappucino, style number = MK23019-101, style name = VooDew, height = 15″ tall, material = nubuck leather.
Your typical everyday marketing genius looks at this and puts together a title and content that focus the attention on these details – along with some flowery marketing jargon:
Couture Cappucino Nubuck “VooDew” Boots by designer Michael Kors
This is probably followed by more catchy content such as “haute couture”, runway ready, fashion forward, blah, blah, blah…
JoBeth Rath is a savvy Internet shopper who saw them worn by Kathryn and says to herself…”I’ve got to have those boots!”. JoBeth remembers hearing “KORS” and “VooDew” – so she has a good idea how to find them. How does she search for them??
“Kors Brown Voodoo Boots”
How much of the search traffic is Rick W going to get compared to my site? Not very much. You see, I got inside JoBeth’s head and realized that she doesn’t have the boot-box in her hands…she doesn’t know that Michael Kors decided to call them “Cappucino” instead of Brown…she doesn’t know that Michael Kors decided to be playful and name them “VooDew” instead of VooDoo…there is a lot she may not know – but she knows generally what she is looking for. So what did I do to make sure she could find them on my site:
- I created a more search intuitive Title – including this and a host of common terms into my browser <title> tag: such as Michael Kors Cappucino Brown “VooDew” (Voodoo) Knee Boots – as worn by Kathryn Morris on Leno.
- I put all of those words – along with multiple spelling and gramatical variations into my Meta-Keywords and Meta-Description tags.
- I made sure my actual text-based item title was consistent in the html itself
- I made sure my image alt-tags reflected the same consistency of title / keywords
- I made sure my product description included ALL of that (AND some nice flowery marketing jargon).
- I probably also have a nice little section in the body that spells out EXACTLY what is listed on the box.
- I included the UPC / Barcode info in my listing in case JoBeth decided to use an app like “RedLaser” on her iPhone after she comes across it in a retail store.
If you are not “getting inside” your shopper’s heads, you are MISSING THE BOAT. STOP thinking of selling product – and START thinking of selling based on most common SEARCH! I have implemented Channel Advisor’s Merchant Premium platform to manage “logic” across several of my own businesses, as well as dozens of client sites – optimizing search and datafeeds to marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and buy.com (to name a few). Feel free to ask me about the tools you can use to implement these strategies quickly and consistently across your product catalog.