July 29, 2003, 12:00 AM

When it comes to search marketing, seed retailer finds Latin’s not so dead

AmericanMeadows.com unearthed valuable keywords in its own log files--the Latin names of the wildflowers it sells. Keywords in Latin don’t cost much in paid search--but they bring 300 visitors a day.

Some diligent research in its own log files has paid off in cost savings for wildflower seed retailer AmericanMeadows.com, president Ray Allen tells Internet Retailer. Allen already knew that seed for the common Red Poppy was his top seller, but one day while poking around the site’s log files he realized that the Latin botanical name for Red Poppy, Papaver Rhoeas, ranked number 20 in popularity among the hundreds of search terms that brought visitors to the site.

When he found Rudbeckia Hirta, or Black-eyed Susan another 10 terms down on the list in the number 30 spot, a lightbulb went off. AmericanMeadows sells seed for 70 different varieties of wildflower, and each variety has its own page on the site, headlined with its botanical name. Allen added up the traffic that came to the site via searches under any of those names and found that 300 people a day were finding AmericanMeadows.com by typing in botanical terms.

“They’re putting in the Latin names and spelling them right,” says Allen. “Those people are hardcore gardeners. And hardcore gardeners are some of my best customers.” To cultivate that important connection from the web universe to AmericanMeadows.com, he locked in top positions in all 70 words on paid search engine Overture. It’s costing only about a nickel a piece because-–so far–-there’s been little interest in or competitive bidding on the Latin terms.

That move has helped keep his average ad cost per click down to about 24 cents across the board, though he also pays as much as 72 cents for a limited number of other, more competitive keywords. And it taught the former advertising agency executive–-by his own admission, used to spending millions on media--something about effective ad spending in an online economy. “Don’t have just the obvious keywords – have lots of them,” Allen advises. “Try to find the ones that are cheaper; it brings your average cost per click down. Every small online business has web logs, and you can find these words in there.”


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