5 Ways to Optimize eCommerce Search Performance

Clare Conway
Vice President of Customer Success
Clavis Insight

Winning the battle for eCommerce search performance is one of the biggest challenges for brands in the digital shopping era. With more shoppers abandoning brick and mortar stores for online retail sites like Tesco.com or Amazon, finding products often means that shoppers are using keyword searches instead of walking down aisles.

Win the eCommerce search battle by watching the on-demand version of 5 Ways to Optimize eCommerce Search Performance. During the webinar, Clavis Insight’s Vice President of Customer Success, Clare Conway, will help you improve search performance by:

  • Optimizing product page content
  • Managing product availability
  • Understanding the difference between desktop vs mobile shopping
  • Comparing the differences between key retailers across the globe

About the Presenter:
J0266010243Clare Conway is Vice President of Customer Success at Clavis Insight.  In her role, she helps leading manufacturers effectively access analytics that drive eCommerce business strategies. Follow: LinkedIn | Twitter





Webinar Transcript

Clare Conway: So what we’re going to talk about today is search. Let me clarify that a little bit. And search is a massive topic, and it’s obviously of interest to everybody in the ecommerce space, trying to figure out how to get shoppers to find your product and buy your product.

So what we’re going to talk about today is how to optimize key elements of your product page and your product presentation within an ecommerce site, some factors to consider when you’re choosing a product that you want to optimize, so how to focus the work that you got ahead of you to be able to drive the search improvement. And we’re also going to talk a little bit about the difference between both search results and browsing behavior on PC versus mobile websites or mobile apps.

So search is a really, really complex topic, and it’s a major challenge. Life is very different online. In the offline environment, the shopper can see all of the products. Some products might be at a higher shelf or at a lower shelf. Some products might be out of stock, but shoppers are used to being able to walk down an aisle, at a glance, and being able to very rapidly see a lot of products, and being able to very quickly identify the product they want, pick it up, handle it, understand the size, is it exactly what they want? Put that in their basket and then move on.

But it’s quite different in online. So we need to think about this, and how are people going to work in the online environment, and what is the difference in terms of all these different environments from a search perspective?

So if you’ll bear with me, I’m just going to talk a little bit about some of the differences here. So there are some distinct differences between classic search in terms of the Google Search, and the ecommerce-type search environment. So let me just take a moment and talk through some of that.

So exactly the same search terms…so we’re thinking about shampoo. When you search for shampoo on Google, Google doesn’t know exactly what you want to do, so it presents you a ton of information about shampoo. On the left-hand side you can see here there’s some images, and there’s also a link to an ecommerce site that will sell you premium shampoo products. You also see some information from Wikipedia. There’s a link to a retail site with some shampoo products there. There’s news information about shampoo, maybe you want to see the news about shampoo. You’ll see some maps about where to go to buy shampoo, and then you’ll also see some ads.

Their objective is to provide you the most relevant results about your key phrase. They’re trying to help you solve your problem. And when you ask them about shampoo, they’re not 100% sure what your problem is, but they’re doing their level best.

So it’s extremely complex, it’s extremely intelligent. I listened to a podcast recently that said that the Google Search algorithm runs to millions and millions of lines of code, which I’m glad I’m not managing that. I’m glad they are. So the good news is, is when we think about Amazon.com, it’s a different environment. So whereas retail search engines are completely different and completely standalone, and each one of them is designed for that specific retailer, and they’re all extremely different, some of them have a lot of things in common. So we’re going to be talking about some of the commonalities here.

But the real advantage of dealing with, and optimizing for an Amazon.com vs Google is that the retailer’s objective lines up with your objective. They want to drive sales, they want to sell more products, they want shoppers to buy more things. And shoppers also want to buy more of your products, that’s they’re there on that site. So there is a nice little cycle of life within this environment.

So we think about an Amazon.com, and you search for shampoo, the first thing you’ll see is that there is a significantly fewer set of search results than you would get in a Google environment. It also helps you to filter down your product search in terms of specific product areas and within the taxonomy. You can also refine by any number of attributes, including things like search results.

On the right-hand side, you can also see that there is also ads in this type of environment. But in the middle it is the meat. It’s the nuts and bolts of what we’re talking about. It is the search results. And that’s really what we’re trying to optimize for. So how do we work with Amazon.com, with other retailers all over the world to make sure that our product pages are optimized so that they perform optimally in the search environment?

Let’s think about the factors that drive search. I’ve got six key things here. So we start on the left-hand side with sales, availability, product content, images, reviews, and pricing. These are all the key factors that will go into these search algorithms, different…and speaking specifically about the Amazon, the A9 search algorithm. It’s very complex. We know that sales drives a large portion of that. We know that availability drives a large portion of that. And then it goes into things like content, which includes images. They also take into consideration price, and sellers, they also take into consideration user-generated content; question and answers, ratings and reviews, those sort of items.

So these are the things we’re going to think about today. All of these elements combined for all the different retailer search engine in different ways. But the rules are going to talk about it today in common across most of these retailers.

So let’s talk, to start with, about sales and search. We know the search results drive sales, and we know that sales drive search results. So it’s a nice little symbiotic relationship. They’re very, very deeply connected. Performing better in your search results will absolutely increase your sales. There is no doubt about…particularly for key category search terms. And that’s really what we’re here to talk back today. It’s how do you improve your search results to drive your sales.

And how much does it matter? Well, it matters a lot. I think everybody’s very familiar with the first page concept, thinking about the first page and driving for improvement and making sure that your product appears in that first page. And this really illustrates why it’s so important. This is an illustration of the click-through, or the potential pageviews based on search ranking. And you can see it’s a very heavily favored towards the left-hand side here, so the top five places.

The top five search results will account for close to 60% of all click-throughs. Top 10 will account for 73%, and then it drops right off. It’s so critically important to be on that first page to get the click-throughs. If somebody doesn’t click on your product and your product page, they’re very, very unlikely to purchase your product. So getting on to that first page is all important.

Now, the first page absolutely varies across different retailers. And from a Clavis perspective, we deal with first page in many markets and in many different retailers, and we can accommodate for that. But rule of thumb, we would talk to people about top 10, top 15, top 20. So when I talk about first-page sale, I’ll be talking about those sort of numbers.

Essentially, the higher your research result, the better your sales. So let’s get into this in trying to figure out how we can improve your search result to drive those sales.

I’m gonna focus on a set of factors and I’m gonna take sales off the mix because sales search results are highly correlated, and we would often say that your search result is very indicative of your sales performance in an online environment, particularly your share search for key cash research terms. We’re going to take that ahead of mix.

So let’s get into nuts and bolts here to start. So availability. This probably feels like a no-brainer. If your product is not there, somebody can’t buy it. That’s very true in offline. It’s also true in online. In an online environment, the ecommerce search engines will penalize you if you’re out of stock. A shopper doesn’t want to click on a page and discover that the product is out of stock. It’s very frustrating for them. They will click off the page. Retailers also don’t like that. As a result of that sort of behavior, something to think about here is that the retailers themselves are essentially designed to encourage good behavior. They will leverage and point their algorithm towards the factors that they know that appeal to shoppers that will encourage shoppers to shop more. Therefore, they will encourage that good behavior. So things like availability within their algorithm weights very highly.

If your product is out of stock, it will drop out of search, and it will drop out very fast. Most of these algorithms will have some sort of a memory built in. So even if you’re in stock the next day or the day after that, it will take you a while to come back up that curve. Now, it does depend on the retailer. But in general, that penalty will stick with you for a little while. So it is something that you really do need to think about and you need to focus very strongly on in maintaining that product availability. And you also need to be looking at that over long periods of time.

You need to consider your availability as well in conjunction with things like your trade promotion. If you’re about to launch a promotion, or you’re running a media campaign or a March campaign on a retail site, you need to make sure that your supply chain has got the product ready, and it’s available for purchase and for shipping. You really don’t want to run out of stock when you spent money on trade promotion, and with a view to trying to get your search results improving. So that really does take some joined-up thinking, and we’ll talk about that a little bit later. So the nuts and bolts of it here is to make sure that your products are in stock in as much as possible.

This is product page content. This is a great example of a product. It’s pretty much an online brand, Pura door. It performs extremely well on Amazon.com around both shampoo and conditioner areas. It’s a really interesting example of a product page, and how it’s been optimized. And that’s why we’re using it here today.

So if we look here a little bit, taking snapshots, and I’ve made all over the page. You can start in the middle, and we talk about the product title. So you can see here’s the product title, contains the brand name, the functional name, and product size. We would always recommend that the key factors be in there. Or thinking about the brand name, it probably feels very obvious, but you’d be amazed at the number of times you come across, even now, product titles that don’t have the proper spelling of the brand name in there. You also need to think about not just your own product brand name, but any aliases that might be used for your product. We’ll talk a little bit about that when we get into product description.

Functional names are so, so key. I can’t stress that enough. Functional names are the keywords that are linked into your category that people will be using in terms of searching for category search, driving that particular aspect. If somebody is looking for a shampoo, you need to make sure your shampoo product has “shampoo” in the title. It can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. We’ve often seen that, with certain customers, when they’re talking to their internal team, the brand team or the new product introductions team want to come up with a very, very fancy name for a new product, which is essentially a shampoo product. If it is a shampoo product, you need to make sure that “shampoo” in the product title for your ecommerce point of view. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on the label, but it absolutely should be in your product title. And you’d be amazed at the amount of times that we don’t see that.

Going on to bullets. Bullets, from an Amazon perspective, everybody knows this. Bullets are really, really important. Maximizing those bullets, making sure that you’ve got the most ones there. We’re also seeing, interestingly enough, they’re now starting to do a drop-down around bullets so that you can only see the first three bullets, so that dropping down. From a UX perspective, I’d be very surprised if people actually drop down and look at those bottom three bullets or bottom two bullets. So it’s now not going to be just, “Make sure that you’ve used up all of your bullets,” but it’s all going to, “Make sure that you’ve optimized the content in your top three bullets, that your key messages are there, and not in the bottom ones, to make sure that shoppers can see that at a glance.

And then when we think about the product description, or the additional description. This is an area that you have a lot of room to maneuver in. You can add a lot of copy in here. And when you’re thinking about copy, this is the type of location that you should think about, looking at the review content, seeing what shoppers say about not just your product but your competitor product, how they discuss the products in your category, what language are they using? What phrases are they using? If you start to use the shopper’s language within your copy, within your content for your product description, you’ll start to see an increase in your search performance. If you’re using the language the shoppers are using, naturally, there is going to be a bump through that.

Also if you have an example where there is a brand name or a brand alias, you should really think about making sure that not necessarily misspellings…I wouldn’t encourage misspellings, but thinking about potentially putting variants of that within your additional description.

There is one other area that I just want to call out here, which is in this…the brand link. And as you can see here, that’s fully functional. In terms of some of the testing we’ve done on Amazon, we’ve seen that filling out the branding to make sure that it is the brand name, your official brand name, and it does link to a brand page, can have a really significant increase in search results, particularly if you’re poorly performing at the moment. Very interesting, we don’t fully understand the background to it, but it definitely seems to tweak something or have some sort of a lever within their algorithm.

This is an area that I’d really wanted to just stress, and I really wanted to focus on. This is probably the point of lowest cost, lowest efforts, and quickest win for you, in terms of optimizing your page content. It’s something that you can do yourselves. You can go in and optimize the copy, and publish that copy up to your retail site, and you should start seeing uplift very quickly, focusing on your brand names, your functional names, your bullets, your description, those sort of areas. It’s an area I would strongly encourage you to think about, to focus on.

So that’s the area of the quickest win and potentially the lowest efforts, let’s think about one that’s probably much higher effort, but does have a long-term win for you. This is around imaging. And we’re thinking here about how the product is represented on the product page, but also within the search results themselves.

Some of the research that we conducted last year around buy tracking to understand how people shopped in specific categories, we’ve understood that people will spend a lot of time looking at the product image on the search results page, significantly more looking at the product image than they will look at the product title on the results page. And then that inverts when they come in to the product page itself. So the image and the product image is really, really key here.

This is where you will need to consider some investment. You’ll need to consider creating shots that are optimized for online, that are very, very clear, that you can make over and see the very high quality shots. You also need to maximize the image count that is available to you on the retailer…Now, some retailers only allow you one or two, but some allow you six or seven. And we would highly recommend using as many of those possible. We would also recommended that a scenario that you have, such as on Amazon, where it does allow you to put in a shot that indicates size of the packaging, and we would encourage you to do that. That really helps the shopper to understand the scale of the product, and the size of the product to make sure that they’re buying the product that fits them, that fits their needs, and will hopefully reduce the return.

So what we would say here is to add as many images as a retailer will support, and also keep those images up to date, very important. If a shopper purchases this product, and it comes through in the post, and it’s got a yellow label, but it’s kind of blue on the site, they’ll remember that. And that could cause some problems for them, and it could be challenging for them to understand the difference of it. So it is important to keep those up to date.

User engagement. This is really interesting. This is something that just exploded over the last few years. And we’ve gone from a scenario of seeing products with 20, 30, 40 reviews, to product with thousands upon thousands of review. And it’s becoming more and more important.

You can see in this example here that this particular product had 4000 reviews, and it has quite a good average score of four stars. And I actually just went on…the shop itself is couple of months old. And I went on just to check that today, and this product now still has four stars, but has 8500 reviews, so very, very high volume of reviews. It also has a very high volume of answered questions. So that indicates there’s a very high level of engagement, that many reviewers leaving reviews, that many people answering questions, but is a strong brand health indicator in this particular environment.

Now, not all retailers will support user-generated content, but we would expect more and more retailers to do that, even some of the retailers in the UK and France who are currently doing it…we’re hearing that they do have plans to do that. We know that it does drive conversion. We’ve heard that anecdotally from Bazaarvoice. I heard a number from them that said a product with reviews had a 20% increase in conversions than a product without reviews. So that’s really interesting, and it does indicate that it is a very powerful area of the product page, and it is absolutely worth optimizing for.

There are many ways that you can do this. Some of them are very expensive in terms of feeding your product page with reviews. Some of them are less so. And if you’ve got good solid brand sites, you can sometimes feed your brand reviews into these product pages, and there’s number of other ways that you can do that.

The reviews themselves are very important. It is critical not just to encourage reviews, but to track the content within them. This is both for your own sake and for the customer’s sake. If in an example like in Amazon, that you’re getting a bad customer review, say, an example of a product like this, if the customer developed a rash or an allergy to the product, you would want to be responding to that pretty quickly. The response is to push potential shoppers at ease that they know that you are going to respond, and you are going to react, and you are an engaged brand, and that you will respond to that issue that they’re having with their product.

There are also certain situations where you can have bad product review taken down. For instance, if your products go to third party and a marketplace seller is actually shipping it, and there’s been a problem with shipping, Amazon can delete that particular review. So those are things to think about and things to bear in mind in terms of review. But it is an area to think about. And if you do have products or you are launching products, you should be tracking those reviews and making sure that you are getting to a point of getting a good decent score in terms of both your star racing, but also in terms of your volume of reviews.

Final point to note on reviews is, from an anchoring perspective, if you have launched a product, and the first couple of reviews have got a low rating, say a two or a three, the subsequent reviews are much more likely to have a low rating. This is called the anchor effect, and it is something that you really need to think about from your new product introduction. As more and more shoppers will do their research online before buying in-store, this is something that is a major consideration for you as you’re launching. So do keep a close eye on those new product launches, and make sure that the new reviews that are coming in are of high quality.

Pricing. So pricing is…when we talk about search, there is always a challenge within the customers that we work with in terms of when you’re changing your content, some of these fixes can be long term, they can take quite a lot of effort, and they can take a lot of an involvement from other people in your organization, but it does give you a long-term lift in search. If you’re looking for a short-term lift in search, and a short-term lift in sales, pricing is obviously a thing that everybody focuses on. It’s a major lever, and it will absolutely drive a lift in sales.

Certain retailers–this is an example coming from Ocado–will list products that are on sale first in their search results. So, again that’s something to consider. But overall when you’re thinking about pricing and a pricing strategy as it relates to search, as opposed to pricing strategy as it relates to trade promotion, if you’re thinking about pricing as to drive search, we know that sales will drive heavily into the search algorithm. So if you identify a set of products that you want to improve from a search perspective, it’s something to think about, from an account perspective to drive a promotion strategy around that set of products for a specific period of time, that will drive sales together in conjunction with the other work that you’re doing around content, images, reviews, etc., that will help you to get a longer term lift in your search results, over a long period of time, and should in theory help to drive to a long-term improvement.

So that’s quite a lot of information to think about and to chew on. You might be listening thinking, “Gosh, I’ve got lots and lots of products. That seems like an awful lot of work. How do I start? Where do I start?” So thinking about, “What are the best products to optimize?” And we all have to start somewhere. You plan one buy at a time, and how do you start, and where do you start? So let’s think a little bit around that.

So I go back to my old friend, Pareto. Eighty percent of your sales will be driven from 20% of your product. It’s really as simple as that. And this seems to be true again and again. What I would say is, identify your key categories, what are the key categories you want to go after? And for each category, understand each of your key search terms. And within those categories, and for those search terms…so you’ve figured out your search terms, you’ve figured out your category, then what you want to do is have a look at, within that category, what are the 20% of products that are driving all of that revenue for you? And then when you’ve got that list of keys, you can think about that 5, 10, 20 products…let’s call it 20. Take those 20 products, understanding those key search terms, go and have a look at those, and then start to optimize the product content on each one of those pages and think about that.

I get asked a lot about a mobile, mobile app, and the impact on search, and very fair point around search and mobile. So there’s a lot of purchasing happening on mobile, a lot of research happening on mobile. What we’re seeing in general is that, from a mobile app perspective, the result are generally the same as we see on the websites. There are some notable exceptions to that, mainly in China. We expect that to change over time, but at the moment we’re still seeing them line up.

You’ll know from your own experience, so when you search on your mobile device, that you go much faster, you spin much faster…I’ve heard it referred to at the casino, through. It’s really, really even more important to have your product images and your product title optimized for mobile and for mobile app. It really has such a massive performance improvement in terms of the click-throughs. If you think about how fast you scroll through a set of search results to be able to have that image hop out at the shopper, and have them stop, and then tap, and go through that product page on a mobile device, you really need to be optimizing those images and really thinking about that in quite a lot of detail.

I’ve talked a lot today about Amazon.com, but this is true…and optimizing search is true across every market. There is really very little difference across all the markets. They will have nuances, but essentially the same rules apply. So you want to think about product title. Make sure your brand name, your functional name, and your size is there. You want to add detailed product description. Make sure the keywords are in that section. And when we talk about keywords, we mean category keywords. It’s words and phrases that shoppers are using to search for their type of product.

Another thing to think about is making sure that some of the basics are there; your manufacturer code, your UPC code, your manufacturer name, anything that as to the data set, and behind that product page. We think all of those factors are going to start helping with search, certainly in terms of the product codes. It helps us from a cloud perspective, if we’re tracking product for you, joining up some of those dots for you, making sure there’s a high quality main image. That is completely independent to market. It’s just so important.

There are some specific…so by region, so let’s think about those. With Amazon, making sure you use all of your bullets, all of your images, maximizing the reviews and answer the questions that are on the pages. When you go out to China and you’re looking at Tmall or Taobao, particular on Tmall, you really want to make the most of your images. We see some spectacular news of images by certain brands in that part of the world, and it really does have a massive performance improvement, and people spending a lot more time on the page.

When we think about in UK, for instance, Tesco and Ocado, one of the factors I haven’t discussed in a lot of detail is around taxonomy. You want to make sure that your products are in all of the possible category locations, and by category locations I mean taxonomy of the website itself. Some interesting tracking that we’ve done have indicated that if you are not listed in that taxonomy, you can sometimes drop out of search result. Making sure that you’re in the correct taxonomy location for the key category search term helps with your search results. Sounds pretty basic, but it’s one of those things that certainly in the UK, from a growth rate perspective, is really, really important.

There’s some takeaways for you now, some things to fix now. So first things first: identify the top 20% of your products that you want to optimize. You want to just cut down this batch of products that you’re optimizing, and making sure that it’s manageable and controllable, and a small set of products to start with. It would also help you, from a cohort perspective, to tap and see, are you actually getting that uplift that you would expect.

Make sure these products have high in-stock levels, and long-term in-stock levels. Again, very important to make sure that you’re not losing the buyback that you are in stock and available to purchase. From a copy perspective, check for your brand name, your functional name, make sure your size is there, get your bullets in, get your additional description in, use those keywords. From an image perspective, high quality images. That’s probably a slightly longer term for many people who haven’t started on this journey.

Maximizing your image count, again, very important. We’ve all seen that lovely Amazon example of people where shoppers put up their own images, I don’t think any of us want that.

From a review perspective, drive reviews, answer questions, and align your price and promotion strategy with products that you want to optimize in search. Join up all of those dots internally, and really we seek to try and create a holistic search trustee for your business, going forward.

So, in terms of “what does Clavis do?” We visit online stores, mobile web and mobile app platform globally in so many countries. I’ve actually, at this point, lost track, believe it or not, even though I’ve been here for four years. Sometimes I’m quite shocked at just how many countries we’re in. We analyze a huge amount of data, with a view of getting very key metrics for you to help you to drive your online business, and to help you drive your sales. Let’s just call a spade a spade here. What we’re trying to do is helping you to drive your online sales.

So we look at assortment and availability, ratings and reviews. We have extensive search capability, or share of search. We also look at search and menu rank, which is a range of taxonomy piece. We have extensive price reporting and analysis. We have merchandising tracker or media depending on the market that you’re in, which tracks some of the trade promotions activity on the site. We also have a great new modular and point-of-sale where we can integrate your sales data, and we’ll be looking to start tracking that sales data vs the other factors that we examined.

And we do have these capability around Amazon to track some of the specific capability that they have and make sure that you’re optimized for that. We present all of this information in a cloud reporting platform that delivers daily information, relevant insights, and helps these drive action and drive those sales. It’s also a global platform. It’s set up very strongly to manage both from a global perspective and a local perspective, so the global scene can get oversized, and the local team can execute. Very powerful that point of view.

We’ve launched some new capability around our online store search analytics. We have a new share of search performance dashboard, and we have more goal tracking to reinvest. We also have new capability around full category search results, which will show you a number of factors. So the bottom image here: It will show you all of the products that are returning for the key search terms that you’re interested in, not just your own products and your competitor’s products, but it will show you all of the outlier products, as well.

We can also think about search, and scoring for search, and understanding search not just from a shopper perspective, in terms of, if I type in “cut tree”, sometimes dog tree products will also come in. We can categorize those products that are being returned and then examine them and say, “Okay, well, what does the shopper see?” And we can have a look and examine the share search from a shopper perspective, but you can also view that from a category perspective when you’re trying to derive change. So it’s a great new function that’s come out in the last number of weeks that’s been very heavily driven by conversations with all of our customers, and we’re seeing great engagement around that.

Paul: First question here: what are some common pitfalls or challenges that manufacturers encounter when they’re trying to start these online store search improvement initiatives?

Clare: That’s a good question. I think the first part is generally trying to figure out where you’re going to start. That’s nearly always the first major challenge. I think when you…try not to boil the ocean. It’s a very, very big, very sizable exercise, and it can be very overwhelming if you try to fix everything at one go. So I would highly recommend focusing on a very small subset of products, potentially a brand or a sub-brand, identify a couple of things that you want to change, and track those slowly over time, and observe those changes as they come through, and track that performance improvement.

And when you track that performance improvement based on your changes, and documenting that, when you’re going to look for investment and time from other parts of your organization, you can give them the evidence and you can say, “I did these three or four things for these 10 products, and look at the difference that we saw.” And I think that is probably the best approach if you’re starting out from scratch.

Paul: Great. Here’s a good one concerning enhanced content, from what you’re hearing from customers, are you retailers kind of heavily weighting that in search algorithms?

Clare: From an algorithm perspective, we believe they are. I’m still undecided in terms of the actual impact to a shopper. In terms of some of the eye-tracking that we’ve done, I would say that enhanced content is very valuable in very high involvement categories. I would say, my gut feel is that if you’re trying to think about where you’re investing your time and dollars in enhanced content, if you have a bleach product and you have a diapers product, and will be investing your time and money on the diaper side, and not on the beach side. So you just need to think about it from that perspective. I do believe that the retailers are weighting us in terms of the product page and the search results, but I don’t believe it is as heavily weighted as the basics. In terms of your product title, your bullets, your number of images. I think the enhanced content does absolutely help, but I would very much focus on the basics first.

Paul: Great. Here’s Amazon-related question, might have asked this about search, but how many characters do you recommend for product titles in Amazon, and the keywords you think we should be including in those product descriptions?

Clare: Tough to read the question. On Amazon actually it’s very open. I would need to check back with our teams here internally in terms of the optimal number. What I would say is that, rather than maximum, you need to be thinking about minimum. You need to be making sure that you have plenty of verbiage in your title, rather than too little. So too much is probably better than too little. In terms of keywords, definitely your category keywords, almost certainly your subcategory keywords. So if you were thinking about…if you have a dry shampoo product, you should be making sure that dry shampoo is in there. From that perspective, absolutely include those items in there.

Paul: Great. Here’s a good one: Do you have any suggestions on how to find or understand what are popular keywords for your category?

Clare: Yes, if you…Amazon…it does take a bit of work. So there are two ways of doing it. If you go to Amazon, at the back-end, it will tell you what the click-throughs are for some of those key category terms. That probably feels like quite a lot of work, but that is, by and large, where most people get their information in terms of what are the most popular keywords? Very important.  

Another one is just gut feel. If you go in and type in “shampoo”, and see how many search terms you get vs typing in a more nuanced search term, “sparky hair spray”, and see what that returns, you’ll start to see what the volume of results are. And the volumes of results would be a strong indicator in terms of popularity. So that’s one way of doing it.

There are also a number of companies who will sell you a search term, recommended search term for ecommerce.

Paul: Great. Another question kind of leveraging video and imagery for an ecommerce search: what are some best practices around that, in terms of all-tags, and all-text, and things like that?

Clare: Definitely make sure that all of your tagging is in there, particular around your images. It’s something we watch for, and to make sure that all those tags are in place, and that they’re properly encoded. In terms of videos, people do tend to watch them. So if you have them, do load them, and just make sure that they’re not too long.  And it also makes pages sometimes slower to load on some of the app devices.