Achieving success in the competitive eCommerce landscape requires more than just luck. To seize search share and increase visibility, you need to understand how ranking on your retailers’ websites works, which factors influence it and what tactics will help gain a leadership position on the digital shelf! Let us take an insightful journey into the world of search rankings so your brand can reach new heights on its quest for market dominance.
What is Retail Search Share and Why Does it Matter?
Retail search share is one of the most important KPIs that tells how visible a brand and its products are when shoppers search for them on a retailer’s website. It demonstrates how often the top 3, 10 or top first-page results on retailers’ websites include your brand. The majority of searches fall into either very product-specific terms like ‘pasta’ -or- extremely brand-focused such as ‘Barilla’. With a better understanding of the share of search, you can ensure that your brand is seen by more consumers and maximize its visibility on the digital shelf. Let’s take a closer look at why share of search matters and how you can use it to your advantage.
What are the factors that affect search ranking?
Despite the impressive nature of modern-day retailers’ search engines, they still rely on complex parameters that are essential in determining your product’s rankings —and ultimately help to optimize sales & market share. It can be tricky managing all these unique factors, but understanding their significance is key to boosting success!
Here are the three most important factors to consider:
Textual: Based on searchable attributes
Textual search results take into consideration anything that the shopper searches within a retailer’s website
- Number of typos
- Number of words in the query matching that in the result
- Distance between words e.g. spaces, tabs
- The best matching attribute in the record
- Number of words matching exactly (without typo – plurals and synonyms excluded)
Sorting: Based on product attributes
Sorting focuses more on the effect of certain product attributes such as price or availability in their ranking within retailer websites
- Promotion / Discount
- Delivery Time (if the product is available) e.g 1-3 days delivery
- New Products
Business: Based on business criteria
Business takes a different approach and looks at potential variables that a retailer might have control over that affect the positioning and ranking of products
Knowing what affects your rankings is only half the battle
You also need to know how to win your search share. Luckily, there are plenty of strategies you can employ to do just that:
1. Define and configure your keyword strategy by retailer
To ensure your keyword strategy is successful, it’s critical to analyze how different retailers work. Consider the complexity of each retailer and review their market before setting a goal for yourself –this will help you develop an effective approach that satisfies both parties involved.
2. Base your keyword strategy on marketing guidelines first
Once you’ve done your research and understand how each retailer ranks products, it’s time to start thinking about which keywords will actually help improve your ranking. A good place to start is by looking at your internal marketing guidelines. What terms and phrases are you already using to describe your products? Which ones are most important to customers? Work those into your titles and descriptions where appropriate.
3. Analyze branded vs non-branded keywords separately
An effective keyword strategy should include analyzing branded (i.e. keywords that include the name of your company or product) and non-branded keywords. Craft two distinct sets of relevant terms for tracking purposes, to clearly differentiate performance results from one another. As expected, targeting branded keywords is always easier to achieve and therefore shall be reported separately.
4. Consider search volume when choosing keywords
Prioritizing the keywords that have the maximum search volume along with the relevancy to your products is the hardest -yet most important- exercise you have to undertake as a brand when building your strategy.
- Ask your partnering retailers: Tap into the expert knowledge of your retailers – utilizing existing relationships to foster a collaborative win-win approach. Gather their suggestions on which keywords will skyrocket performance and generate maximum engagement!
- Capitalise on paid search to get the edge over your competitors: By partnering with your retailers, you can discover profitable keywords which will not only increase your brand visibility but could also drive organic SEO growth for your brand.
- Ask your marketing team: Uncovering how shoppers are searching for your products is a great way to optimize and improve your search rank. Has your marketing team conducted any recent shopper trends analysis? If not, could they explore this option? Understanding what resonates with customers can put you on track toward higher-ranking success!
- Look for shopper patterns from other countries: If you have a country or region that is more advanced in knowing shopping patterns based on shoppers’ searches (maybe retailers have shared 1 and 2) you can create a robust pool of strategic keywords to inform your strategy.
- Look for search volume trends based on Amazon, Youtube or Google: If none of the above work for you, then you can start by analyzing search trends that are relevant to your product categories from other keyword search volume generators. This is still a proxy for your retailer-specific keyword strategy but can be an ideal starter point.
Search is not enough. Navigation/Category share also matters -a lot
A brand’s online visibility is determined by more than just search share. Navigation (or category) share plays an equally important role in helping customers find your products on a retailer’s website. The main difference between search and navigation/category share is in the way information is presented to customers. Search provides customers with exact results for what they are looking for while navigation/category provides a broad overview of what a website offers. Search is typically used by customers who know exactly what they want or need; they have done their research and know the product name, brand name, etc. On the other hand, navigation/category works better when customers are just starting their purchase journey—they may not know exactly what they want yet but they have some idea as to what type of product they are looking for.
Search versus navigation is a debate that will continue forever in the world of eCommerce —and there may not be one definitive answer as different customers may prefer different methods for finding products on websites.
By testing both options—navigation and search—brands can better understand which methods work best for their target audience so that they can focus their efforts accordingly.
Today’s consumers have high expectations when it comes to finding their preferred products across retailers. If you want your brand to stand out in the crowd, a strategic search share tool is key! At Convert Group we can help take this burden away with our all-in-1 platform eRetail Suite: collaborate with your retailers more effectively, identify any issues across retailers representing your product range, convert complex retailer data into actionable insights and better understand shopper behaviour. Get in touch today so that our specialists can explain the full value of our platform.