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Study after study concludes that search engine optimization is a must for businesses, particularly retailers and particularly in the midst of an uncertain economy.  A new study from comScore indicates that two-thirds of shoppers begin shopping – whether to research products or to purchase – online.  One-fifth of shoppers begin their shopping process (defined as initial research to final purchase or decision to not purchase) via a search engine, making a solid search engine optimization strategy even more vital to any business which depends on online sales.

According to comScore’s report, “Search engines play a pivotal role in the shopping process…and retail websites have emerged as a leading source for a bevy or product details…Internet retailers are forced to be the savviest and most demanding online marketers due to the commoditized nature of their products, the low profit margins their sales produce, the high volume of transactions they must generate to be successful, and the intensity of the competition in their marketplace.”

More than one-third of consumers who initiate their shopping processes by search engine went on to ecommerce sites, and many of these shoppers ended up purchasing their items online.  While a majority of shoppers (at least in the consumer electronics industry) prefer to buy in physical stores, the amount of traffic and revenue possible from people researching products, comparing prices, and possibly buying directly online is worth investing in.

“Products appearing in the top section of site search results, or within the first 10-15 results after using the site search box carry additional weight for shoppers.  Those products were identified by shoppers as best meeting their needs, being of highest quality, and being those that are most relevant to their search.”  Visibility is key, and using established SEO practices will help business maximize their online profile and draw visitors.

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