Posted by Owen Fayle, Vertical Market Expert for Ecommerce at NetSuite

Wouldn't it be nice if online searches returned exactly the results your customers needed, and with your company listed at the top? This is possible and doesn’t require a huge advertising budget to do it. What is required is an investment of time and effort to create rich content within your ecommerce site.

Odds are, when consumers search online it doesn’t always serve up the products they need, but instead provides informational sites like Wikipedia, eHow, and eBay listings. They might get a few relevant sites returned, but little more.

Here’s an example: Search for a “DC motor." This search returns a few product pages, but also eBay results, university pages, YouTube videos, informational sites and images. The highest ranking pages in this search contain content identifying the product in multiple ways – descriptions, technical specifications and application related information. Without this rich content in product pages, the consumer will most likely net eBay results, Bing images, YouTube videos and Wikipedia articles – which aren't what impatient shoppers want.

Most searchers use long-tail phrases. Long gone are the days when one or two keywords could turn up relevant search results. Most consumers use three or more keywords to focus their search, which is called a "long tail" search. For example: “Women’s fleece winter jackets” or “wholesale gift boxes for wedding shower.” In fact, 70 percent of search traffic is long-tail, indicating today's searchers have very specific requirements and hope to get relevant results quickly. These specific searches also have higher conversion rates.

Prospects love rich descriptions and specifications. Ecommerce sites that list all of the products’ specifications and application information make it easier for searchers to find them. Content tagged with "structured data markup" has the potential to be displayed on the search results page as rich snippets, allowing customers to quickly scan and evaluate a page before visiting it. Rich snippets are detailed information intended to help users with specific queries and may show information such as nearest location, price and even a preview of customer reviews. This builds confidence, differentiates your site versus competitive results, increases click through rate on average 15-20% and makes it more likely that buyers will remember your site the next time they shop online.

Educational content creates loyal customers. Providing credible, educational content on product pages will create loyal customers who will return for future purchases.

Learn Your tags should adhere to the markup standards that are supported by Google, Bing and Yahoo! search engines. Using increases the likelihood of your site appearing near the top of the search results page as it enables search engines to better understand your content. provides schemas for describing your sites more clearly.

Add images and videos. Search engines are now utilizing universal search result pages that are comprised of the results from their separate search indexes, which contain entities such as pages, images and videos. If your site offers images and videos that are tagged correctly, you can increase your site’s real estate on the results page.

Encourage customer contributions. Customer reviews are widely read and greatly appreciated by other online shoppers. However, getting consumers, both B2C and B2B, to contribute reviews can be a challenge. Try encouraging customers to contribute short reviews by running an online contest or by offering incentives such as discounts or prizes for contributing.

All of these suggestions are free. Anyone can follow them by simply investing some time and thought into search optimization. You don't have to advertise or buy keywords to boost your placement; in fact, if negative keywords are not closely monitored, pay per click can position your ads in unrelated searches and can burn your marketing budget. By tagging your web pages with structured data markup, adhering to industry standards, and adding rich content and images, your web pages will have a greater likelihood to rise to the top of your customers' search results.