May 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

Creative Climbing

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The improved natural search rankings increased sales, Oberai says. Even though consumers who arrive by clicking on a natural search link tend to convert at lower rates than those who arrive via a paid search ad or by typing in the web address directly, the extra traffic still drove incremental sales, he says. And, since search engines like fresh content, frequent blog postings and reviews by consumers help improve the site’s position in natural search results, he adds.

Oberai says the community boosted natural search traffic from all search engines, but particularly from Google, the search engine that provides the largest share of traffic to the site. What’s more, the community did more to drive natural search than other, more deliberate actions the retailer took. For example it previously invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to optimize its site for search engines, but the community made a bigger impact on natural search traffic, Oberai says.

As these examples suggest, e-retailers that stay informed about changes in the search engines and show some creativity may find that better results just might come naturally.

katie@verticalwebmedia.com

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