Site search can elevate both your SEM and SEO ROI

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Derek Kleinow
Derek Kleinow

If you're not using dedicated e-commerce product or site search technology yet, be sure to add it to your summer improvement project list. While site search improves merchandizing, you may be surprised how well it will complement your SEM and SEO programs. We began using site search three years ago, and it has increased our overall search ROI. Here is how:

Analyze, don't guess. Use site search data to understand what content to create, to expand your product inventory and to deter­mine which keywords you should bid on. Once you know what visitors are looking for on your own site, you can apply this analy­sis to your upstream PPC keyword program before these visitors arrive. The ability to track keywords that shoppers type into our search box has helped us refine and improve our PPC keyword buys and targeting. It delivers both tactical and strate­gic benefits ranging from PPC acquisition words and phrases, to product selection.

By regularly analyzing the list, we've reduced bid rates on less popular words and raised bids on keywords that we know are searched for frequently on We've also jumped on those low-cost keywords that we have discovered are searched for on our site. We're better able to understand target segmentation into “pre-educated” shoppers and less-educated shoppers who are usually just starting out in the GPS world and looking for help. This has helped us update site content, as well as expand our PPC keyword buys beyond product-related terms to broader educational terms.

We've started aggregating our on-site searches into a graphic format for visitors to help them find the right information or products. To do this, we integrated the SearchCloud module from site search vendor Nextopia. From a link on our home page, the technology aggregates our most popular search keywords (such as model names and numbers, brand names, product and part numbers), and generates a real-time, textual representation. The more popular keywords appear in larger and/or bolded font.

The module aggregates keyword searches entered in our site search box with clicks to product landing pages on the same terms in the cloud. If you're new to GPS devices and have no idea what to look for, it's a much easier way to start your educa­tion than reading lots of reviews. Because each cloud keyword links to our product database, we're increasingly visible in organic search results.

Our recent growth shows that specialized site search technol­ogy regularly brings more ready-to-buy shoppers to our site.

Derek Kleinow is president of Reach him at

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