Anyone who uses SEO to drive more traffic to their e-commerce business understands what a golden opportunity a long-tail keyword represents. A long-tail keyword is a search phrase consumers use that is long and attribute-specific, like “women's long-sleeved polka dot shirt.” These long-tail phrases often also include brand names like “Dior cat-eye sunglasses with gold arms.” Because such phrases are so specific, it may be more likely that these consumers are further down the purchase funnel which is the holy grail for any e-commerce business. It is critical to get these consumers to the right product at this exact moment for these searches. 

That was exactly the strategy of one major shoe retailer as they contemplated their SEO analytics in early 2021.  In looking at the long-tail keywords that were bringing people to their site, one major shoe retailer could see that the same brand-specific, long-tail keywords were being used in hundreds of searches each month. However, the company’s site often wasn’t ranking sufficiently for these keywords, or the searches drove visitors to suboptimal, irrelevant landing pages. To help capture more sales and decrease bounces, the shoe brand giant wanted to ensure they capitalized on each of these frequently used phrases by giving visitors instant access to tailored landing pages. Leveraging long-tail keywords in this way would ensure more meaningful page engagements for visitors and theoretically, better conversion rates for the brand. It would be a win-win. 

Unfortunately, creating these kinds of pages manually adds significantly more work to already overworked merchandising teams. Furthermore, it is impossible to keep up with the sheer volume of keyword combinations while keeping the merchandising accurate for each permutation. Managing the inventory for each page threatened to stretch the brand’s merchandising team beyond their capacity, completely disrupting their workflows and challenging their productivity. They had to find a way to create and maintain long-tail pages that improved their rankings organically and captured branded search-demand without overtaxing their internal resources.

Maximum results with minimum effort

The shoe retailer soon discovered that as a user of Sitecore Discover, they could use the platform’s built-in, powerful intelligence to do the work of generating relevant product landing pages (PLPs) for each long-tail keyword automatically with added controls for merchandising teams. Sitecore Discover’s custom integration allows the retailer’s team to create tailored product listing pages in a just few clicks. The pages are hosted by Sitecore Discover but the process and final controls remain in the team’s hands from end to end.  For example, the retailer—which is known for the high quality of the memory foam in its footwear—gets about 700 searches per month for the long-tail keyword “steel-toe work boots with memory foam.” Based on this search, Sitecore Discover generates and hosts a page of precisely curated products based on the long-tail keyword. These pages are automatically created with the final control given to a team member who shepherds the new page through the process with minimal effort. The process can be easily repeated for any and all keywords that are not captured in an existing landing page.

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In Q1 2021, this retailer launched 228 of these pages to monetize their top long-tail keywords. Each targeted page is directly mapped from the brand’s product feed, which means that the pages are automatically populated with the right products based on the keywords. Without Sitecore Discover’s best-in-class capabilities, it would have taken considerable time and engineering resources to pull off that feat while doing the full product range justice. But now it couldn’t be simpler to automatically create each listing page showcasing the right products and submit it to search engines.

Stellar outcomes for both the brand and the shopper

One common objection of targeted PLPs is how they handle changing/added SKUs. Sitecore Discover has answered this objection by building technology that maps the targeted PLPs directly to the brand's product feed. This means that if changes are made to merchandise or if the catalog is updated, the PLP automatically updates as well, there is no manual maintenance involved. The team’s SEO Manager notes that the process saves time and considerable effort for marketers and merchandisers. “It enables a marketer to analyze data and create new pages without having to tap into other various team members and be a resource-heavy project,” he says. “It normally takes a lot of resources to create PLPs using keywords, but one person can take care of this now. It’s very dynamic and there is no strain on our merchandising team.”

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The best part is that Sitecore Discover’s easy-to-use analytics dashboard allows retailers to see at a glance the revenue gains they have made by monetizing each keyword. Marketers can now place a dollar value and conversion rate on each search phrase customers use and leverage that information to make strategic decisions. And from the customer’s point of view, the experience couldn’t be better. They instantly see the most relevant products available to serve their needs. Who doesn’t like instant gratification?

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Julie Mahr is Senior Manager, Global Account Based Marketing at Sitecore. Connect with her on LinkedIn.