Blogging, ecommerce and site search

Posted by Shaun Ryan, March 8th, 2009 at 3:36 pm PST
Categories: eCommerce, Site Search | 1 Comment »

I read an article in the Ecommerce Guide recommending that online stores should blog. The article covers some of the basics of blogging and its benefits Рincluding helping to engage your customers and getting more visibility in the search engines. As I often do, I started thinking about what this meant from a site search point of view.

First of all your main site search should index all of your content, including your blog articles Рnot just your products. Understandably, you may feel a little reluctant to do this Рshowing blog or other content from your site may distract your visitors from the purchasing process and so could reduce your conversion rate.  However your blog articles should be informing and engaging your customers so it would seem to be a shame to not make them easy to find.

There are a variety of approaches you can take:

  1. Show the blog content in a separate section of the search results Рeg on the left or below the search.  Doing this ensures that the products have prime position on the results page. One problem with this is that if the blog content is the most relevant content for the search then it may end up being shown below the fold Рby showing products first you may be missing out on engaging the visitor which may mean you end up missing out on a sale.
  2. Have refinement options so people can restrict the results to just the blog articles or products.
  3. Allow product and blog content to surface in your search – showing the most relevant first. You could adjust your ranking settings to place more weight on the products – so products generally show higher. If you do this I would recommend allowing the blog articles to move higher if people click on them so if they are the most relevant for a particular keyword then they will end up at the top of the search results.

In addition, I recommend you have a blog search so people can search just your blog articles. For this search the blog articles should be the most prominent – but I think you should show products in your blog search for example – down the side.

You put a lot of effort into producing content for you blog. It is a fantastic opportunity for you to engage your customers with your unique perspective. This content should be accessible through your site search. If you’re unsure how to present your blog content in your search – ask your customers (maybe through a blog post), try some options and measure the impact on your conversion rate. Contact us if you would like our opinion.


One Response to “Blogging, ecommerce and site search”

  1. Says:

    Shaun – I completely agree, the value of blogging is often underestimated.

    Whether a company blogs about the products they sell and their recommendations, or about the online marketing world as a whole, I think it offers visitors a way to connect, engage and interact further with you and more importantly, your company.

    It’s a pretty cost-effective way to stand out and make an impression with your visitors. And much like you mentioned, visitors can do all this while staying on your site!

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