All’s Not Well (Optimized) For E-Retailers

How well optimized are the top 100 websites of Internet Retailer Magazine’s Top 400 Guide? That’s the central question to Oneupweb’s second annual study, There’s Still Money on the Table: Internet Retailer Study 2005. The answer? Not well optimized at all. In fact, only 17 percent met Oneupweb’s “well-optimized” criteria–and that was a stretch.

Frequent StraightUpSearch readers won’t be surprised by this new data. Oneupweb’s look into the Fortune 100’s optimization habits found very similar results. For some reason, corporate America is not buying into SEO / SEM on a large scale. To borrow a phrase from Malcolm Gladwell, it has yet to reach The Tipping Point–when a trend finally spills into conventional wisdom.

As often happens after such studies, we are left with more questions than answers. Here’s one: Ten years after the internet boom, why is it taking so long for e-commerce companies and online marketers to fully utilize SEO / SEM? Here’s another: Do these companies see the proven correlation in search engine positions, traffic and conversions? Yet another: Do these companies know that the most effective online marketing approach is one which incorporates technical optimization, well-optimized content, paid search, and analytics? Finally, online holiday shopping spending is forecasted to reach a record $26 billion… Are online marketers ready?

StraightUpSearch can’t answer these questions for online marketers–each must do that independently. However, we can speculate on what’s keeping them from fully embracing SEO / SEM.

° They don’t yet fully realize the benefits of SEO / SEM.
° There’s no more room in marketing budgets.
° They’re too busy to do SEO / SEM in-house–and don’t know how to go about researching a firm.
° They don’t see the urgency because their competitors have yet to embrace SEO / SEM.
° They don’t think they “sell” anything online.

What’s missing from this list? More importantly, how can we overcome these obstacles? If you are an internet retailer, let us know what’s stopping you. Or let us know how you got the job done.

I’d be interested to hear everybody’s opinion on this.