FAQ on paid search, organic search for furniture retailers

Search engine optimization, paid vs. organic search

By Kyle Marchesseault, director of marketing, Blueport Commerce

What is paid search?

Paid search (or SEM, search engine marketing) refers to paid advertisements that appear in the sponsored section of a search results page on search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo) for relevant searches. It is a digital marketing strategy used to drive traffic to your website and stores.

How does paid search traffic compare to organic search traffic?

Organic search traffic originates from organic search results that are not paid advertisements, but appear because of their relevance to the search term. This is sometimes referred to as “natural” search. You can improve your organic search results rank by implementing SEO (search engine optimization) tactics and making sure your website is SEO-friendly.

Why should I be using paid search?

An overwhelming majority of consumers (80%) begin their path to purchase with Internet research. We know this is especially true for big-ticket and more considered purchases like furniture. As a matter of fact, Google predicts that by 2018, 70% of all furniture sales will be influenced by the web in some way.

Having a paid search strategy in place allows you to get in front of shoppers at the earliest stages of their research. Even if your paid search ad is not clicked, it reinforces brand recognition and your brand’s relevancy to the shopper’s search. When clicked, paid search ads are an even more worthwhile marketing investment to drive traffic to your website and stores. Best of all, you’ll pay only when the ad is clicked and can direct the shopper to specific web pages.

Which type of search traffic is more valuable – paid or organic?

Both are extremely valuable and should be a focus of your overall digital marketing strategy.

However, there are some differences. Studies point out that paid search clicks drive a disproportionate amount of revenue in relation to the number of clicks. For example, according to one report, paid search drove 38% of clicks but 46% of revenue from search engines to ecommerce sites.

Other studies show that paid search contributes the majority of clicks on high commercial-intent keywords such as a product or manufacturer name. These search terms are more likely to lead to revenue when targeted with well-optimized paid search ads.

Paid search results are also increasingly taking up the prime real estate on search results pages. Text ads and product listing ads (featuring product image and price) are consistently at the top of the search result page. The effect is that organic search results get pushed further down the page, and potentially out of view. For important search terms that drive revenue, paid search can give you the best chance to be seen by shoppers.

Do I need to invest in paid search when my organic search traffic is strong?

Yes. While organic traffic is a great way to bring shoppers to your site, you have more flexibility and greater control over your marketing strategy with paid search. Provided that the ad is relevant, you can target any keyword and send users to the most relevant page on your website.

Furthermore, changes to your paid search copy and strategy can be implemented immediately, whereas the process to improve organic search (in effect, SEO), is more indirect and typically takes more time. With paid search, a retailer can:

  • Feature more timely ad copy, such as “Black Friday Deals” or other time-specific messaging that’s hugely important around sales holidays
  • Have control over the landing page (i.e. where your paid search brings the user to when clicked on) and direct users to specific pages
  • Test different webpages to determine which page converts the best and direct traffic accordingly
  • Target keywords that rank low or off the first page in organic search to ensure your brand is represented
  • Display more robust search results that feature multiple links to your website, the address of your nearest store, and click-to-call ads
  • Generate traffic from non-branded search queries

Ideally, a furniture retailer should have the best of both worlds: a well-optimized site to drive organic traffic, and an efficient paid search program that allows you to react and respond to seasonal trends.


About Blueport Commerce

Blueport Commerce helps furniture retailers capture their e-commerce opportunity by marrying retailers' brick-and-mortar infrastructure and expertise with innovative technology and marketing and sales solutions. Learn more at www.blueport.com.


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