July 31, 2011, 12:00 PM

Survey: Search marketing

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For natural search, rewriting the descriptions of key product terms on home and product pages emerges as the top improvement tactic, with 73% of respondents doing so. That was followed by working into product pages the phrases that searchers use, 58%, and including in image file names and display captions common product keywords, 44%.

When it comes to strategies for improving paid search programs, 72% of respondents say they are adding more multiple-word phrases to their keyword inventories, the most popular way for respondents to improve such search efforts, according to the survey. Writing more descriptive ad copy came in second place, at 69%, followed by testing different versions of landing pages, 56%, and monitoring competitors' use of keywords and phrases, 42%.

Retail marketers also are paying more attention to making sure they are bidding on terms related to products they have on hand, with 42% of respondents saying they tie paid search to inventory availability. Along with automating keyword selection and bidding, tying paid search ads to inventory represents one of the hottest trends in search marketing, especially as retailers head into the holiday shopping season, Goldman says.

Inventory should play a growing role in search as more consumers use mobile devices and tablet computers to search on the go, which could lead them to go to local stores to buy items they're searching for. "Marketers are connecting the dots between online advertising and in-store purchases," he says.

Such changes in consumer behavior, along with the ongoing competition between Google and Bing, will surely keep retailers busy as they decide how best to allocate their search marketing dollars.

thad@verticalwebmedia.com

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