There’s an ongoing feud in the ecommerce digital marketing world.
It’s the battle of creativity vs. data-driven decision making. And it’s being fought by brand marketers and SEO strategists.
The disagreement stems from two different approaches to the biggest problem facing ecommerce brands today: the struggle to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Brand marketers vs. SEO strategists
Brand marketers use creativity in website copy to help businesses stand out from the competition and get attention. This shareable, story-centered content tends to do well on social platforms and in raising brand awareness.
SEO strategists use data – keyword search volume and insights from how their customers search for their products – to help companies stand out in search results and drive organic traffic to ecommerce pages.
Each approach has its place, depending on your end goal. But for most businesses, the bottom line is, well, their bottom line. And likes and shares don’t pay the shipping bills.
At Fire&Spark, we love data. And the data shows that organic search drives 51 percent of traffic to B2B and B2C websites. Social only accounts for 5 percent of traffic.
Since organic search represents some of the most motivated and qualified consumers – visitors that are most likely to convert to buyers and return again – it makes sense to design your website copy around that data.
How customers start their journey
The disagreement between brand marketers and SEO strategists boils down to a fundamental misunderstanding of how consumers search for products and find brands.
Most web searches start with the consumer looking for a solution to their problem. Unless they know the exact brand name and product they want, they use product features to find what they’re looking for. “Men’s green linen joggers,” “raw organic dog food” or “yellow ceramic teacups.”
That’s where the brand marketing approach falls short.
Brand marketers often title products and web pages with creative, brand-focused terms. But since the creative labels are rarely an accurate description of the product, search engines don’t deliver those product pages in search results.
You could have a best-in-class product, but if you don’t label it correctly, no one will find it.
That’s why the keywords SEO strategists target in product pages aren’t brand focused. Instead, they’re representative of how customers really think about products.
Let’s see what these approaches look like in the real world.
Do this, not that: a creative fail and a data-driven win
There are almost 10,000 monthly searches for women’s crossbody bags. But even though the product page below is for a women’s crossbody bag, it’s unlikely to show up well in search. The reason?
It’s optimized for creativity, not for traffic. The page looks good but it’s missing the vital keyword signposts that tell Google what the page is about, helping it to show up well for those search terms.
And the qualified users who do end up on the page? They’ll have a tough time figuring out if the product is even what they’re looking for, since the only references to crossbody are buried in the product description.
Then there’s this excellent example of a ‘Definite Do.’
Macy’s has implemented all the best SEO practices for a product page. Notice the list of relevant keywords they used in the description:
- Rose Gold
- Stainless Steel Bracelet
- Touchscreen Smart Watch
These terms embody how a consumer would search for a product – by features, not by name.
The case for data trumping creativity
Let’s be clear: we’re not suggesting scrubbing your product pages of the unique voice that makes your brand special. But if you want to tap into valuable, organic search traffic, the intent of your page needs to be clear to search engines and customers. That starts with optimizing your pages and choosing data-driven clarity over cleverness.
Creativity may win awards and likes, but clarity wins organic traffic, sales and repeat visits.
Find the balance that gets the best results for your business—talk to one of our SEO experts today!