May 22, 2008, 12:00 AM

BabyUniverse.com improves natural search rankings and lowers bounce rates

When The Parent Co. recently redesigned BabyUniverse.com, it worked with its site search and navigation technology provider to improve natural search rankings while making it less likely visitors would abandon landing pages, the retailer says.

When The Parent Co. recently redesigned BabyUniverse.com, it worked with its site search and navigation technology provider to improve natural search rankings while making it less likely visitors would abandon landing pages, says Brian Bass, director of product development.

“In some cases we went from the third or even the fifth page of natural search results to the first page,” Bass says.

BabyUniverse also lowered its bounce rate on natural search landing pages after shoppers saw better organized and more useful information, he adds. The retailer worked with its site search and navigation technology partner, Endeca Technologies Inc., to design 30 product category and brand pages-such as for car seats, or specifically Britax brand car seats-with sub-categories for more shopping options.

Instead of showing a landing page of just natural search results, BabyUniverse now shows at the top of the page information and links to sub-categories, such as “Infant,” “Convertible” and “Travel Systems” on a car seats landing page. Shoppers most interested in car seats for newborns can click the Infant sub-category to call up seats intended for infants, while shoppers looking for a car seat designed to convert between infant and toddler size can click Convertible and those interested in a car seat that can double as a stroller can click Travel Systems.

Although placing the sub-categories at the top of the landing page forces shoppers to scroll down to view search results, this hasn’t appeared to be a problem for shoppers, Bass says. He adds that BabyUniverse is also testing page designs with varying numbers of sub-categories, which can make search results more noticeable without scrolling.

The Parent Co., No. 117 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, will consider extending the sub-category landing page design to its other sites as well, Bass says. The company’s eight other web sites are eToys.com, PoshTots.com, PoshLiving.com, PoshCravings.com, ePregnancy.com, MyTwinn.com, DreamtimeBaby.com and BabyTV.com.

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