Price Optimization Fundamental for Retail SEO

We are fortunate to see an incredible amount of insights into very large retail website sales volumes and what drives their conversions. I’m talking websites for $150+ million annual sales. At that scale, you notice trends and can deduce insights on how Google’s algorithm works.

As we know there is no rule book for optimizing for Google’s organic results yet there’s a lot of best practice. We’ve witnessed first hand how just by changing prices (I should say, reducing prices) for products that already have indexation in Google these product URLs will appear higher in the results pages.

When SearchForecast started optimizing webpages in 2002 in Google, we could see updated URLs with keywords, Title Tag and Description Meta Tags in Google search results pages being re-indexed very quickly. Usually within 2-3 days. The same is now happening with price.

More than that. Google are now creating seller pricing matrix with pricing inside the Knowledge Graph. They aren’t doing it on all products in all industries but we see it appearing often.

Having studied micro-economics at University of Melbourne, I am well aware of the optimal price models. Put simply, Google are now using this type of logic in their organic results. You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that lower prices or products which change prices more often are going to increase the propensity for a consumer to buy (and hence, click on a link). And that click is what Google want and reward websites with higher organic listings in their search engine results pages.

Product SEO with Google My Business Pages

For many retailers, the best way to get guaranteed results on Google organic rankings is to just load product details manually into the “Product” section of the Google My Business admin panel you can sign into at

All you need to do is complete this section as per below screenshot. Its must easy than scanning inventory using a Pointy which is Google’s solution which requires you to figure out how to connect through the Pointy box which is a small device that plugs in between the barcode scanner and point-of-sale (POS) system in your store. The second way is through an app that integrates directly with the instore POS system. #Painful.

Good news is retailers do not need an ecommerce store to add products to Google using Pointy or Google My Business pages. With Pointy, as you scan products, Google find an image and description to match the UPC/EAN barcode number and then adds it to Google.

if you’re using Google My Business, be sure to add a UTM to each URL so you can track inside Google Analytics how many users click on the product and come to your website.

Take a look at how Dick’s Sporting Goods retail store network does this to promote Back to School deals… The “Buy” link goes to

Amazon Vs Google in ‘Buy Products’ Searches

At least in the USA, Amazon are apparently getting more first time product search queries than search engines like Google & Bing. That’s according to a recent poll by eMarketer as per below. If this trend is sustained, the ‘search’ world should be thought about differently.

Yet Google is increasingly moving into vertical e-commerce search queries. We have seen first hand how they are scraping eCommerce websites and providing comparative results in pop out pages on the Right Hand Side of their results pages. And we’re not talking about the ‘Google Shopping’ feed on the RHS of the results page. We’re talking about a matrix version of websites, products, pricing, etc.

Expect more from Google & Bing on this as they look to fight back. One way Google is doing this is without fanfare launching functionality within their Google My Business product that allows businesses to provide a link to their booking URL. This has far greater reach than Google Flights!

Google Vs AI

We were skeptical about Microsoft’s claims that 40% of people using Google don’t find what they are looking for. This was a throw away statistic they quoted when announcing that they had incorporated AI into search functionality. SEMRush has come out with research that found:

A) 10% of people click through to other Google properties (GMB, shopping or images)

B) 18% refine what they are searching for by using another keyword.

C) 25% Zero-click searches meaning they stay on Google results page and then exit.*

The point here is that 1/4 of people searching on Google find what they are looking for after 1 search query and then do not need to go further. All stats (including Google’s ad revenue) show they have been sending more traffic to the open web every year. So the fact is that Google does provide users with the answer and they don’t just exit the search engine.

And. In every SpyFu competitor analysis of the number of SEO keywords and monthly SEO clicks that websites receive in the past 6-9 months, we’re seeing declines resulting from the Google Algorithm Core Update on September 2022 and Helpful Content Update in December 2022. See chart below. So, what does this mean? It means Google are ripping on ChatGPT and Generative AI content production.

The bottom line is that just because you can use ChatGPT or tools like Jasper.Ai and other content tools, the mass production of content isn’t going to make it to page 1 of Google. Another way of saying this is you get nothing for nothing in this world. Just ask the crypto fanatics who spiked that ball for the past 5 years!

Before Google

Here’s our take on ChatGPT / AI…..

Before Google, the 1990s search engines like Lycos, Yahoo! Search, WebCrawler, AltaVista, LookSmart all had Cost Per 1000 IMpression banner ad business models. Then along came Google and their Adwords Cost Per Click model. In 2022, Google did over $250B in revenue.

Earlier this month, Microsoft said publicly that 40% of search queries don’t bring back a relevant answer and as Google search hasn’t changed in 20+ years, search is antiquated. But it’s not broken. Google & Bing work well. Do I need to talk to my internet browser to do advanced searches? Do I want ChatGPT to write large documents for me?

Do you know Google has recently updated their search algorithm updates to catch badly written and unhelpful content.

50% of US households have a smart device (Alexa, Google Home) that you can talk to. That took many years. How often do you use your smart device each day. I bet the usage was more when you first got the device right? Like most gadgets, their usage over time diminishes.

So we installed the new Bing here in the office at SearchForecast. We found we don’t need to speak questions to the Bing Search Engine all the time and typing is fine as we have a supercomputer installed in our heads. It’s called a brain!

And Bing’s new layout with the summary on the Right Hand Side of their results pages is just playing catch up to the Google ‘knowledge graph’ which has been around for years.

Advice for the Brave: Do ‘first time’ things

You can’t escape the news of tens of thousands of people being retrenched from Meta, Stripe, Lyft, Twitter. All big Bay Area technology companies. Your LinkedIn feed is most likely populated with personal stories from friends and colleagues commenting on posts of folks that are dealing with a range of emotions after being let go from these companies. With tech stocks down about 65% in the past year, the cost cutting axe has fallen hard.

I have one piece of advice: Do things you’ve not done before. Yes, that’s right. Turn off the computer, go outside and do things you’ve not done before. Sounds easy right? It is. And most importantly while you’re doing things you’ve never done before, talk to people. That’s the oldest form of idea generation and motivation. And as Max Ehrmann wrote in his 1927 poem ‘Desiderata’ … “listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.”

I rode the California Street tram car in San Francisco for the first time ever last week after 20 years. And I spoke to the person sitting next to me (instead of getting an Uber by myself). I took time on a plane from Phoenix recently to speak with a lady who I noticed had books about embroidery and knitting. Who knew it was a good stress relief for Carolyn, the head of sales for this national agricultural grain wholesaler!

It’s not always what we think that opens up new opportunities. So be brave and do things you’ve not done before and talk to people. Therein lies the first step towards your next unexpected opportunity.

NFTs and Digital Twins in the MetaVerse

At the Andaz West Hollywood Hotel this week, a team of First National Real Estate members from Australia heard from myself and Assaf Igell about the future of technology and impact on real estate. Here’s a brief summation of the round table held:

Real Estate 1.0  > The Information Revolution (1990s to 2000s) portals made it easier / faster to find and buy a new home – to democratize access to information.  Think Zillow, Trulia,, Redfin,,,, etc. Pictures, maps, sold prices, neighborhood stats, etc. This was revolutionary because it democratized real estate knowledge.

Real Estate 2.0 > The Transaction Revolution (2015 to present). Streamlining and removing friction from the core “buy-sell” real estate transaction. The majority of the industry is still in this transaction revolution. The majority of home buyers and sellers could easily find homes online – but they were subjected to a complicated, costly, and slow transaction process. and  (started in 2015) are also working to speed up and clean up the selling process. 

Real Estate 3.0 > Transaction Revolution (2020 to 2030). Rise of web3 technologies – blockchains, NFTs, crypto, smart contracts, tokens and more. The idea to simplify bureaucracy of property buying / selling. Web3 is generally communicated as products and services that turn internet users into owners, thenReal Estate 3.0 will increase access to entirely new kinds of ownership ( Rent-to-own, Lease-to-own,  real estate as a digital financial asset to trade, co-ownership).

The MetaVerse > Assaf spoke about the metaverse ‘digital twin’ of a property that exists as physical asset. Imagine if Meta (aka Facebook) decided to create locations for ‘digital twins’ of property addresses in the metaverse. It isn’t that unrealistic right?

Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) > Assaf displayed the power of an NFT by showing one of the First National Real Estate members sporting an original one of a kind Batman Cowl NFT. The power of NFTs for branding, loyalty and collectibles is real and Hollywood Studios like DC Comics are showcasing this as an entree to the Web3 space with a sizeable NFT undertaking entitled The Bat Cowl.

The Bat Cowl collection, launched in April 2022, highlights unique headpieces that have been important facets of the superhero’s 83-year-old history. Bat Cowl NFTs presented collectors with the chance to both own a piece of Batman’s legacy as well join the Web3 iteration of DC Comics: DC Universe.

Watch the video below to see the amazing effects of the Bat Cowl NFT.

Dark Social – the unknown attribution

The term ‘dark social’ is doing the rounds in Silicon Valley. It’s not as sinister as the literal meaning suggests. We’ve all heard of ‘first click’ & ‘last click’ attribution and now there’s “self reported attribution” which is basically asking folks to count inbound leads / demo requests, etc about on which social channel they saw (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc) or heard (Podcast, talking to a friend / colleague) about your business. So, we’re back to unbranded / branded awareness questions …. It’s a good graph below atleast to make you think. Note the graph is based on n=128 self reported high intention leads.

The shortcoming of XML Schema for Search Engine Optimization

In short, there is no reporting or way to measure the impact / improvement a website has when we instrument Schema Mark Up. The promise of deeper Google indexation of content on webpages is something clients take our word for. The tag is served by Google Tag Manager so we just assume it helps with SEO indexation. But does it?

Here’s some more information about it as well.


Probably the most logical schema is theLocalBusiness Main location & LocalBusiness Per location Pages as this can be used to help store locations get better indexed in local results on Google, Bing, etc.

E-Commerce Conversion Metrics Can Confuse Novices

Increasingly, as businesses sell more online, financial folks have to understand Google Analytics E-Commerce Conversion data. It can be confusing to those who are not familiar with it.

The most common e-commerce conversion rate is 1% – 2% that we see across the board for online retailers.

The 1.61% e-commerce conversion rate for this online retailer in the Full Year End 2022 shows the % of of visitors who come to the website and buy online. It is best to compare time series and we often show the previous financial year as a comparison. In the below Google Analytics chart, you can see this online retailer e-commerce conversion rate is up 23% overall with it being up 65% for Google paid search which shows the focus on buying / targeting relevant keywords.

It is important to break out the e-commerce conversion rate by source / medium. Direct Traffic e-commerce conversion rates should be higher than paid and organic if the brand is strong. There is usually a higher buying intent of folks coming directly to a website than through Google Ads paid media or Google organic search queries.


The other big factor that should be considered when analyzing e-commerce conversion rates is the price of the good. Higher order value products often have lower e-commerce conversion rates.

As shown in  below, this large online retailer with an average order value of $130 has a 1.27% e-commerce conversion rate That is a lower than the above online retailer who has an average order value is $780.

When comparing e-commerce conversion rates to others, it depends and varies widely by industry, type of product / price, etc. I’ve included a table below which shows conversion rates by product type.

If you are looking to improve e-commerce conversion rates, a redesign of the shopping cart pages to  reduced bounce rate and increase transactions is a good place to start.