An expert has shared the secrets to boosting your brand’s search visibility as a new report finds most retailers are trailing with their SEO strategies.

More than half of retailers are underperforming when it comes to search visibility, despite SEO being one of the most important means of brand exposure, new Gartner L2 research has revealed.

The news comes as another report reveals that search engines are consumers most trusted advisers when it comes to selecting a product.

The research, from Salmat Marketing, found that 49 per cent of consumers trust search engine results when choosing a product compared to just 46 per cent consulting family and friends, a drop of 26 per cent since last year.

Despite the importance of SEO, only a quarter of brands invest in SEO and SEM to reach their audience, the Salmat report says.

Another SEO report, the Gartner L2 report, analysed the SEO and SEM performance of 771 brands.

Measuring key indicators such as search visibility, ad extension tactics and “white space” assets, the report found only 10 per cent of brands were leaders in SEO.

These brands maintained high visibility in both branded and non-branded search and incorporated relevant shopping information into their Google results, according to Elisabeth Rosen from Deloitte.

Meanwhile, leader brands, including Adidas and Gucci, invested in paid SEO optimisation strategies while also linking digital properties to other off-site platforms, while feeding timely information to search engine partners.

But more than half of retailers lacked a cohesive or discernible search strategy, the report found.

Many of these brands, such as La Mer, take a “scattershot” approach to search marketing, the report says, without correctly identifying the terms and strategies that work best for their business.

Tips to boost SEO

Brands should embrace the prime search sites, while also ensuring diversification and taking advantage of customisable content, the report says.

This means firstly looking at both Google’s ad offerings, as well as other means of influencing “prime real estate,” the report says.

Diversification is also crucial, according to the report. This requires brands to align investments with objectives and prioritising SEM investment to different categories or products.

Finally, brands should take advantage of customisable content. This means using ad extensions like Google’s feature. These featured are “low hanging fruit” for retailers, the report says.