Marketplace Content Techniques
In this article you will learn how to customize content for any eCommerce site.
The Case for Customizing Content
Content Marketing teams work hard to perfect their Product Content and most of us were taught the importance of a consistent message to strengthen a brand. While that strategy still makes sense, over three-quarters of all searches on sites like Amazon, Walmart and Target are non-brand terms and it doesn’t do any good to have a strong brand if it doesn’t rank for these search queries.
Every site uses a different search algorithm, weights different content elements differently and most importantly has a different set of customers that makes the site’s search results unique to the site. The best way to win across all sites is to customize the content to the site.
The benefits of customization product presentations is clear:
- eCommerce Sites Want Custom Content. Your eCommerce partners want your special treatment that’s tailored to their requirements.
- Visibility. Every site has different customers, different products and keyword search volumes can differ dramatically from one site to the next. Just as it makes sense to understand search volume when optimizing for a search engine, it also makes sense to customize content for the strongest phrases on any eCommerce site.
- Conversion. The ability to match the content with the phrases potential customers are searching will dramatically increase the likelihood of a purchase.
- Search Engine Optimization. Brands have an opportunity to leverage the organic search strength of the sites they sell on and broaden the non-branded search phrases that are relevant for the brand.
Content Creation History
In the beginning there was no content. eCommerce began as little more than a title and a price. Late last century most eCommerce sites struggled to consistently describe the products they hoped to sell. Brands and manufacturers saw product content as the responsibility of the seller. An industry quickly emerged that sold syndicated product content, but as the eCommerce industry matured, things would change.
In the early 2000s Brands and Manufacturers recognized that they needed to provide their partners with product information and content syndication became the standard. This initially satisfied most eCommerce sites, but the most sophisticated sites recognized that this duplicative content offered little differentiation and no specific organic search benefit. So eCommerce sites like Amazon, Walmart and others invested their own resources in customizing content to increase the site’s visibility, drive more traffic and increase their revenues.
Do the same search on both Amazon and Walmart and compare the top ranked results. Note the product headlines. You’ll likely see different products, different title lengths and different content strategies. You can learn a lot by comparing what wins for different sites.
Walmart’s product title is typically short, while Amazon’s title length rivals some novels. We know that title is the single most important criteria in eCommerce search algorithms and thus customizing the title to the platform should produce better results.
Every site has its own guidelines and maximizing these guidelines to your advantage should result in higher ranking, more visibility and higher sales. The question is how should content be customized in order to drive more sales?
There’s not a lot of great data available for specific websites. We don’t know much about what people are searching on nor sales beyond the products a company sells on the platform. That said, every eCommerce site provides a wealth of clues that can be leveraged to customize content to the site.
- Search Volume. While there is no easy access to the search volumes for any given eCommerce site, virtually every site offers a “type ahead” feature that tries to anticipate your query as you type. These “anticipation” algorithms are largely based on past search volume. We may not know the exact search volume, but it’s easy to determine which search phrases are more and less popular based on the rank order of suggestions offered. By focusing on the most popular search phrases and incorporating these terms into the content, it should qualify the product to rank for a wider range of searches.
- Search Rank. While the type-ahead feature provides insight into search volumes, the results of any searches gives a strong indication of a product’s ability to convert and generate revenue for the eCommerce site. While search relevance is always the first priority in a search algorithm eCommerce sites are focused on maximizing the revenue-per-click (Sales / Clicks). Analyzing the top results for any given search establishes a competitive content benchmark necessary to determine what it might take to rank high for the most popular searches.
Competitive Content Strategies
- Content Standards. Most sites that accept third-party sellers will publish their content standards that offer significant clues about the site’s search algorithm. If, for example, a site offers 100 characters in the title, then it’s probably a good idea to write a headline that’s as close to 100 characters as possible in order to extract as much search benefit as possible.
- Competitive Content. Nothing is more important than understanding which products are winning and then attempt to dissect the visible evidence to understand why that product is winning. Take a look at the title, the price, the images and even the reviews. Evaluate the depth of the features and descriptions provided and while a site may communicate specific standards, success may require delivering an overall better product presentation.
Expanding Search Relevance
There are many eCommerce sites that are happy to rewrite manufacturer provided content so that it is unique and thus performs better, but brands and manufacturers may want to consider owning that responsibility instead of leaving it to the eCommerce site.
An eCommerce site cares about leveraging the strength of the brand and will optimize for market share but brands don’t care which site gets the business, and instead care about the brand share.
Brands have an opportunity to increase the relevance of their products for any given search by using a wider array of keywords across all of its eCommerce partners. This is done not with branded terms but by using different non-branded terms on different sites. This both helps to create unique content but it also leverages the collective strength of the eCommerce sites that sell its products.
This is typically done by creating a longer list of secondary and tertiary keyword phrases that are more descriptive and then focusing on a different subset of these keywords for every site delivering both customized content as well as expanding the product’s relevant organic footprint.
Marketplace sales are maximized only when the product presentation is customized to the site, the site’s shoppers and the site’s search algorithm preferences. All eCommerce sites want unique content that will help attract more buyers, but the best performing brands will go a step further and orchestrate their content across their full eCommerce channel. Instead of building a brand story around a narrow set of consistent terms, this strategy encourages a broader brand story that can be flexibly customized in order to generate more revenue.
Marketplace Competitive Analysis
eZdia is happy to offer brands and manufacturers a free Marketplace Competitive Analysis. Tell us about your marketplace strategy and we’ll prepare an analysis designed to help you outrank your competitors.