July 21, 2010, 2:20 PM

Speaking the consumer’s language

RealTruck.com changed the wording of its products and saw sales rise.

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Truck and SUV accessories retailer RealTruck.com saw a lift in its conversion rates after aligning the wording it uses to describe its products with the terms customers use when searching for those products.

RealTruck.com already knew that, depending on their geographic location, age and other factors, shoppers use different terms to search for identical products. But not knowing which term—bug shield or hood shield—was more popular to describe the protective plastic covers that attach to the front end of vehicles, RealTruck hedged its bet by giving equal weight to the two terms in how it optimized its pages for natural search and in its paid search bidding strategy.

But the retailer figured there was a better way. So it decided to determine which term site visitors were most often searching for, drawing on reports from its Endeca on Demand site search tool, which it implemented about a year ago.

The retailer discovered that far more shoppers were searching for “bug shields” than “hood shields.” By making the term “bug shield” more prominent on its site and in its search marketing program than “hood shield,” it posted a 6% increase in conversions, says Jeff Vanlaningham, RealTruck.com president.

“Before, we were trying to play both sides of the fence,” he says. “But since changing our approach that knowledge changed the dynamic of how we put up product descriptions. It changed the direction in which we go after SEO and it changed our pay-per-click strategies, because now we bid more on the terms that more people use.”

The results from altering its use of the two terms is just one example of the impact of such efforts, says Vanlaningham.

“The bounce rate, conversion rate, sometimes even the average order size—almost any metric will improve if you can align your terminology with consumers’,” he says.

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