Solutions: SEO and E-commerce
E-tourism is just one of many e-commerce verticals that stands to reap substantial ROI rewards from a well implemented Search Engine Optimization strategy. Currently, the e-tourism industry maintains one of the largest shares of the online market.
In 2005, Keynote Systems performed an analysis of well known online hotel sites, including: Expedia, Hilton, Hotels.com, Hyatt, Lodging.com, Marriot, Orbitz, Sheraton, Travelocity and Wyndham. They found that 67 percent of visitors to these sites preferred to book hotel reservations online over traditional travel agents. 1
Expedia and Travelocity, two of the most popular e-tourism companies, listed impressive figures for 2005. Expedia reported over $15 billion in gross bookings for Q3 2005, 2 while Travelocity experienced a growth of 94 percent over the previous year. 3
The Travel Industry Worldwide Report, by eMarketer, projects that by 2008, 28 percent of managed corporate travel bookings will be completed via the Internet. 4
Why Optimize for E-commerce?
E-commerce is the virtual equivalent of the traditional brick and mortar business. Like its physical brother, the success of e-commerce relies on its ability to effectively sell its products and services. This is accomplished by web traffic to client conversions.
In order to successfully sell products and services, the e-commerce site must have a solid web presence and market to a targeted audience. This is most effectively accomplished by obtaining high rankings in the search engines under relevant, traffic rich terms for the vertical the business resides in. According to SEMPO, “It follows then that high rankings in the search engines are essential to the success of an e-commerce site, because high rankings make the products more accessible to the online shoppers. The site should rank highly not just for the general keywords that describe the business, but, ideally, all of the words that describe the products sold on the site.” 5
ComScore Networks claims that nearly $143 billion dollars was spent by online customers in 2005.6 Furthermore, an ACNielson study shows that more than ten percent of the world’s population shops on the Internet. That’s approximately 627 million customers searching for products and services 7, a significant number that cannot be passed over.
Here is a break down of online spending trends for 2005, compiled by ACNielson: 8
- More than 86 million people made hotel and/or tour bookings
- Nearly 100 million people bought computer hardware
- More than 106 million people purchased electronics
- More than 112 million people purchased music, either downloads or CDs
- More than 128 million people purchased articles of clothing
- More than 135 million people bought DVDs and video games
- More than 135 million people made airline reservations
The best SEO ROI practices for e-commerce are outlined here.