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The Invisible Retailer

Internet Retailer

Not showing up in natural search? SEO experts offer tips on setting goals—and getting bigger budgets.

We have examined many aspects of natural search while helping companies with their search engine optimization efforts. In the fourth quarter of 2009 we studied the SEO success of the online merchants in the Internet Retailer Top 500. The results weren’t pretty.

To measure how successful each retailer is in natural search visibility, we first had to decide which terms were most important to each merchant. We assumed search marketers voted with their wallets in prioritizing the keywords they bid on for paid search ads, and we gathered each Top 500 retailer’s 200 most expensive paid keywords from Internet research firm SpyFu. Then we analyzed where each retailer showed up in Google natural search results for each of its 200 most important keywords.

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