Divide & Conquer: Selling SEO to eCommerce Prospects

Experienced SEO’s know that different kinds of sites require different optimization strategies. A site devoted to branding is a completely different animal than one designed for raw traffic. So if you don’t execute the same for every site, why would you sell the same way to every prospect? Here are two powerful ways to focus your pitch to eCommerce prospects to get their attention and sell more services.

One of the core principles of SpyFu’s Recon Files Reports for SEO is that they allow you to control the message, both during your initial meeting and your monthly reporting. Controlling the message means leading your prospect through your presentation step-by-step by keeping their attention focused on your message and away from rogue or distracting data.

Target a Segment to Land Large Clients

When selling SEO, one of the key features of eCommerce sites that works in your favor is that they are often highly segmented. Unlike, say, branding sites that focus on relatively few signals, eCommerce sites need to rank on a wide array of keywords. While conducting your pre-sales research, you can focus in on one or a couple of segments of the site that are under-performing in the SERP’s and build your presentation around it.

The segment can be a specific brand (“kenmore appliances”), product category (“kitchen appliances”), or service type (“kitchen appliance repair” or “extended warranties”). Research segments based on largest growth opportunity, consideration of competition for that segment, and how their site is structured to make it easier to measure your results.

Keeping your initial target area small also helps you sell because it’s easier for the prospect to absorb during your sales meeting. Targeting a contained portion of their site makes it easy for you to prove the value of your services with a minimum of lead-up time and upfront expense to the prospect. You, as an independent or small agency, get a foothold into a whale-sized account that would probably not consider switching to normally. Steaks not required.

Recon Files give you an easy way to focus on specific segments through its keyword grouping sections. The Ranking Report in specific lets you present the keywords and groups of keywords that pertain to the segment you’re pitching. Keyword groups are also helpful during sales in that they give you the power to present the segments you plan to execute on without giving away the specific keywords in your strategy. From the report customization dashboard simply hide the detailed keyword sections.

I ran a Ranking Report for one of my favorite auto performance companies here in Phoenix as an example,agpturbo.com. I had a quick look around their site and wrote down a short list of the different services they offer, brands they carry, and products they sell. I decided to focus on the segment of their site that sold and repaired turbochargers. In about 15 minutes I used a combination of SpyFu Classic, Kombat, and Groupie to put together a quick list of 807 base keywords centered around this segment as well as five of their top organic competitors, then fed that data to Recon.

SpyFu keyword group tool with the keyword intercooler

Leverage Their Thumbscrew

Another focus of your sales presentation can be their rivals. By rivals I don’t mean their strongest competitors (though they could be), but rather their most hated or annoying. This approach will take a little more digging, but it will pay dividends and can be a great way to sell for a couple of reasons. Like targeting a segment, focusing on their rivals demonstrates to the prospect that you know their business and their competitive environment.

Unlike targeting a segment, however, their rivals will get their emotions engaged which is a key ingredient in any successful sale. There’s only so much room at the top of the SERP, so now not only are you going to get your prospect more traffic, but it will be at the expense of their competitors; competitors they have an emotional interest in beating. It’s also beneficial because their rivals won’t necessarily be their strongest competitor. This works to your advantage because getting rankings on their rivals will feel more tangible to your client while at the same time presents an easier target for you when executing. Here’s an anecdote to serve as an.

I was at a dinner recently and got on the topic of SEM with a family friend who owns a bagel shop. She relies on PPC for search advertising but is contemplating an SEO campaign. Her interest in SEO was piqued when her local rival started appearing in the same SERP’s that her own ads appeared in. Now in her case, even longer-tail, location-based terms are going to display top-rank results for domains like einsteinbros.com and yelp.com. And if I had been prospecting, I would have had to manage expectations regarding her chances of out-ranking those top domains. But all she cared about was out-ranking that one local competitor, her larger competitors were not relevant to her goals.

Report data showing traffic share and clicks lost and gained


These two targets are by no means mutually exclusive; you can address them both in your presentation for great effect. You can focus on a segment first and prove the value of targeting it, then follow-up by showing how their most-hated competitors are already on the scene and taking advantage of that segment. But when you need to keep your presentation concise, focused, and avoid information overload, choosing the single most effective target may be your best bet. Next time, we’ll talk about how to focus on selling to eCommerce sites by showing them how you can save them money. Happy selling!