The State of Organic Search & Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Ecommerce Brands

Typing organic search query on laptop

Search engine results are the most common brand discovery channel. With the rise in paid search CPCs across industries, optimizing your search presence with search engine optimization (SEO) can be a key way to boost clicks for your brand without breaking your budget.

We surveyed over 170 marketing professionals from various industries and business types to paint a picture of the current digital marketing landscape. After paid search advertising, the second biggest priority for brands this year is organic search. In this article, dive deeper into the data to explore the SEO ecommerce landscape in 2022.

54% of marketers name SEO as a top initiative for their brand this year. Search engine optimization is a key initiative among varying job roles, with doers, managers, and decision-makers all naming it as a top priority for 2022. More than half of digital marketing decision-makers in particular say that SEO is a big initiative for their brand this year.

Quick stats:

  • 32% of internet users saying they find new brands or products via search engines.
  • Social media networks are the top way Gen Z finds new products, but search engines are still the top way for all other age demographics.
  • 72% of online marketers say content creation is their most effective SEO tactic.

Showing up before your competitors in a search is a huge priority for any brand that wants profitable growth. As a cost-effective way to grow your brand, search engine optimization is a key initiative for many businesses – not just low-budget brands. It’s the most important initiative for brands making $10-$100 million in annual revenue this year.

Even 54.6% of brands making over $1 billion in annual revenue say SEO is a top initiative for their brand this year, tying in second place with paid search as the most important trend for these high-grossing businesses.

The Current State of SEO Ecommerce

In January 2022, Google launched a Shops section in mobile organic search results that shows up to 10 retailers based on their organic rankings. Ecommerce is a growing part of Google’s strategy, and with this added emphasis on driving sales through organic search rankings, brands can’t afford to ignore search engine optimization this year. It’s no wonder that more than 50% of marketing decision-makers say both paid search and SEO services are top initiatives for their brand this year.

Google frequently releases algorithm updates that impact how web pages rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). In 2021, those updates were more extreme than usual. Search engine rank volatility was 68% higher on desktop and 84% higher on mobile year-over-year. 50% of the days in 2021 had high levels of rank volatility on mobile compared to 27.2% in 2020. On desktop, 44.6% of the days in 2021 were highly volatile compared to 26.5% in 2020.

Google dominates the overall search engine market by far, with 86.2% of the market share compared to Bing at 7.2% and Yahoo! at 2.3%.

Mobile’s share of organic search engine visits has been steadily increasing since 2013, when it made up just 27% of search visits. As of Q4 2021, mobile makes up 63% of all US search engine visits. Comparatively, mobile organic search engine visits made up just 56% of all visits in Q1 2020. The pandemic pushed people online more, and mobile usage is a key part of that.

Video | The Digital Search Duopoly Organic traffic alone rarely rises to the levels of traffic achieved through paid plus organic efforts. Search engine optimization and paid search advertising is a 1 +1 = 3 relationship. This powerhouse duo gives your brand the ability to dominate the first page of search results and supercharge your presence on Google, Microsoft Bing, and YouTube. In this webinar replay, discover insights to drive more qualified traffic to your website by optimizing your paid and organic presence. Watch the video.

Keys to a Successful Organic Search Strategy

Ranking first on the first page of Google search results has a huge impact on your conversion rate. The first result on a Google SERP has a click-through rate (CTR) of 31.7%, giving it the highest CTR in all of organic search. Comparatively, the top 10% of companies have a conversion rate of 11.5%. If you limit your title tags to 15-40 characters, you’ll also have an 8.6% higher CTR.

Google doesn’t release much about the exacts of how they rank content, but SEO professionals say that the most important factors for SEO search rankings are on-page elements (e.g. meta descriptions), organic user behavior, and depth and accuracy of content. The top activity that SEO professionals spend time on is keyword research, with 36.3% saying they spend most of their time on it, followed by on-page factors (33.4%), analytics (30.9%), and technical SEO (25.7%).

Backlinks are a key way to get your content to the top placement on the first SERP. The first result on a Google SERP has 3.8x more backlinks on average than the rest of the content on page one.

The coronavirus pandemic contributed to challenges in the search engine optimization world in 2021. 27.9% of SEO professionals say pandemic-related issues were a challenge for them as of June 2021. The top obstacle for SEO in 2021 was budget cuts, with 37.6% of SEO professionals naming it as a challenge, followed by strategy issues at 34.8% and a lack of resources at 32.9%. 27% name alignment with other departments as an issue.

It’s important to keep in mind that SEO for ecommerce is a long-term play, not a game of quick wins. It can be an elusive game of testing the waters and trying new experiments to see what works and what doesn’t.

“There’s no ‘set it and forget it’ with SEO. Search engines are always evolving to deliver what they believe are the best results for a search query – and that means that websites need to evolve, too. Shady practices that put you on top of the results today are unlikely to work tomorrow. Focusing on SEO best practice fundamentals as well as ongoing education and testing can prepare your site to weather the changes always on the horizon. – Carolyn Wilborn, Senior SEO Content Manager

Dollar sign in magnifying glass

Tying It All Together

At ROI, our SEO services leverage a three-pronged approach to optimize your site, content, and links to grow your organic search presence. On average, our clients see an 18.7% increase in organic revenue and 30% increase in transactions after one year of working with our diligent experts. Whether you’re looking for site content optimization, Amazon listing optimization, website platforming, or another SEO service, our organic search aficionados are ready to help. Connect with an expert today to uncover opportunities to boost your brand’s organic search presence.

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