Search engine optimization takes center stage

E-retailers spend big bucks on paid search, but organically achieved visibility in search engine results is important.

Allison Enright

Run a search for a product or brand on Google or Bing today and the two leading search engines return pages of results cluttered at the top and along the side with paid ad units. Results based purely on their relevance to the consumer’s query appear further down the page, but get the majority of consumers’ clicks. That’s a big reason why search engine optimization should remain a top priority to e-retailers and why the editors of Internet Retailer have a full-day workshop dedicated to it as part of the IRCE Focus: Web Design + Mobile Commerce conference taking place next week in Orlando.

Tim Kilroy, CEO of search marketing technology vendor AdChemix and a former e-commerce executive at retailers Wayfair LLC and Karmaloop Inc., will kick off the IRCE event’s SEO Day at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 10, with a presentation entitled “Keeping up with Google and Bing: The latest on the two most important search engines.” He will co-present with Dave Mack, vice president of e-commerce and business development at The Source, a Canadian e-retailer of consumer electronics.

Kilroy and Mack will cover the strategies e-retailers can use to keep them ranked highly in search results no matter how Google and Bing change their algorithms. “Google made at least 10 major changes last year that in total impacted more than 20% of searches,” Kilroy says. “That is mammoth. So anyone who says SEO is dead is ‘cray-cray’ as my kids say.”

Kilroy says there are no tricks to SEO, and that attendees of his and Mack’s presentation will learn about what great content, combined with a focus on customers, can return by way of organic search. “If you abide by a couple of simple strategies, you don’t really have to think too much about SEO,” Kilroy says. At the same time, he says, if some SEO trick seems too good to be true, e-retailers shouldn’t be tempted to try it. “There are no tricks to SEO. The search engines are getting smart enough that they can catch many of them, so don’t look for the golden ticket because there isn’t one.”

E-commerce executives from e-retailers including Recreational Equipment Inc.  and Zappos.com, a unit of Amazon.com Inc., will also present during SEO Day, along with SEO consultants and SEO technology providers, covering such topics as link building and low-cost SEO tools. Following on Kilroy’s advice about SEO tricks, SEO Day will close with an hour of live site reviews during which SEO experts Stephan Spencer, author of “The Art of SEO,” and Ross Monaghan, director of search engine optimization for vendor Zeon Solutions, will review e-commerce sites volunteered by attendees and assess how well they are, or aren’t, abiding by SEO best practices.

Amazon.com is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500; Recreational Equipment, or REI, is No. 67; Wayfair is No. 52; Karmaloop is No. 118.



AdChemix, Bing, Dave Mack, Google, IRCE Focus: Web Design + Mobile Commerce, Karmaloop, REI, search engine optimization, SEO, The Source, Tim Kilroy