A search on Google for SEO (search engine optimisation) today gives you 733 million hits. The interest in SEO has grown 7 times in the last 5 years according to Google trends. SEO has become a major industry that is valued at over $80 billion today globally and it is growing every year. Search engine optimisation is without a doubt a very important activity for any type of business that has a presence online, not to mention the ones that are selling products and services. As the business of SEO expands, it will continue to push the bar for how much time and effort is needed to be seen. In other words: it gets more expensive by the day to invest in SEO as businesses compete against each other for the same slice of the cake.
At the same time, the e-commerce industry has boomed, growing at an average of 21% the past 5 years - a growth accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic (growth in 2020 was a whopping 27%).
So, it’s becoming more expensive to acquire customers through SEO and at the same time the e-commerce industry is growing faster than ever. So why do the common definitions of SEO only entail the actual acquisition of clients, rather than the whole funnel of search engine optimisation? I am still puzzled that I haven’t been able to find any clear answer to this question and I believe it is time to redefine the concept of SEO to also include the activity of site search.
Why should site search be included in the scope of SEO? Well, first of all, there is a lot of work to be done when it comes to search engine optimisation in regards to site search. Secondly, most solutions on the market still use technology from the 90s when ranking and sorting products. But the question maybe would be more interesting to answer by just talking about the value of site search which I would boil down to these 5 main points:
- Site search on average accounts for almost 30% of all revenue (for FMCG department stores this number is 90%)
- A poor site search experience makes 12% of customers switch to a competitor
- The long term effect of poor site search is fewer loyal customers
- A poor site search experience could result in as high as 30% lower revenue
- Customers that use site search are 3 times more likely to find the product they are looking for
The reason why I believe it is important to broaden the scope of SEO is that on-site search and SEO have many similarities, it's all about providing relevant and timely content for the customers. Not to mention the fact that 50% of all site search queries are long-tail and unique. Optimising them in a manual fashion is not just hard and time-consuming, but often impossible.
So what are you waiting for? Start investing in SEO that affects the whole funnel, not just the acquisition of traffic. Your customers will thank you for it.
Want to learn more about harnessing site search to improve your SEO strategy? Watch our webinar on the topic.