The JDN sat down with the team driving the site’s organic traffic acquisition to understand how they managed to capture the top spots in the serps for most home-related topics.
Last March, a study by SEO agency Smartkeywords for JDN showed us that But.fr is positioned as the leading SEO site in the world of home and decoration, with a total market share of 20%. Better still, the site takes the top spots on almost every topic in this extremely competitive universe. Not bad for a site that has seen many changes over the past few years, including the fact that it has grown into a marketplace with more than 500,000 references and more than 120 million visits a year.
A feat that made JDN want to talk about SEO with the team that manages the acquisition of organic traffic for the site. So we met Sonia Dahech, CRM, Data and Omnichannel Traffic Director, Olivier Granda, E-Commerce Traffic Acquisition Manager and Sébastien Bulté, SEO Team Manager at agency Resoneo, a long-time partner of But. Three people at the table speaking in one voice.
The Smartkeyword study highlighted the very good SEO performance of the But.fr site. What does Seo represent for you in your traffic acquisition strategy and what do the results of this study inspire you to do?
Sonja Dach. SEO is our most important traffic lever. We attach great importance to it even if it is part of a global strategy. SEO is really present in the company culture and we are all aware of the topic. Whatever web projects we work on, we always think about SEO.
“No matter what web projects we work on, we always think about SEO”
Oliver Grande. The key success factor, the differentiating point we can highlight, is that But SEO is considered in all e-commerce businesses, be it through technology, e-merchandising, merchandising, and the content teams led by Julie Colin-Long. There is a real awareness of the importance of SEO and its specifics when it comes to incorporating this lever into day-to-day work. With us, the topic comes up in the exchange early on and the teams have the reflex to ask themselves the question of SEO in every phase.
Sebastian Bulte. We can get the impression that we have become the leader in the home and decoration market overnight. In reality, all of this happened gradually over time. It’s an issue on which we’ve climbed the ladder bit by bit. In close cooperation between Resoneo and But we have worked on SEO at all levels. We’ve been following all SEO topics together for more than 10 years and in particular the transition to the marketplace which was a big topic.
Tell us more about this move to the marketplace.
Oliver Grande. The subject was a big task. We integrated the Marketplace Brick into our ecosystem at the end of 2019. It was a long term and important task to understand this on the back office side but also on the SEO side. There were many problems like opening new categories with the question about the menu, the tree structure, the amount of links. We have gone from 10,000 to over 500,000 references.
“A crucial point is the control of the crawl budget and internal networking”
Sebastian Bulte. The topic of internal linking was quite prevalent because it’s all about creating a logical link between pages. This is important for users, but also for robots. The difficulty in opening up a website to new categories and new products is that it changes the structure of the website and the way Google perceives it. This is something we have been very aware of. A lot of attention was also paid to the faceted engine aspect for product discovery by users. And at this level, on the engine side, there is a crucial point, which is the control of the crawl budget as well as the internal mesh. The question of indexing these product filters arises and we can decide, for example, for certain categories to leave product feature filters open for indexing and promote their internal popularity to ensure that they are looking for traffic.
Indexing, crawling… With so many references, how did you prioritize?
Sebastian Bulte. To give an example, in the category of wallpapers, we have chosen not to index them all. In general, we had to introduce specific crawl and indexing rules for the reseller pages of the marketplace, which offer little added value for SEO. We also need to be mindful of product feeds submitted by resellers, which often include product descriptions from other marketplaces, to limit duplicate content. Also, there are internal network efforts dictated by the overall goal of connecting SEO and business. For example, we generate more links to sofas than to wallpaper.
“The overall goal is to link SEO and business: we generate more links to sofas than to wallpaper”
It is precisely the Smartkeyword study that highlights the fact that the sofa product is the product most requested by Internet users in the Home and Decoration universe. However, you integrated it into your tree structure with a sofa entry. It’s not a coincidence?
Oliver Grande. That’s why we put so much emphasis on natural referencing. The customer need must be translated from an SEO point of view. The sofa is a flagship product and it makes sense for us to offer a dedicated entrance. We can also find it in the living room category. What is relevant for the customer must be evaluated on the user side, but also on the motor side with the internal network.
How does the But.fr blog help you to work on internal networks and beyond?
SEbastien Bulte. The problem with a blog is that the more content we integrate, the further down the tree structure our content lands. It is therefore necessary to manage the depth, especially thanks to perennials that work over time. Blog posts also allow links to our product categories. The blog also allows you to enhance categories or anticipate seasonal themes. There are many links from the blog pointing to the ecommerce site, but there is also the opposite. If you are on a product listing, there are links to how-to articles from the blog. We really need to give advice to Internet users. And don’t just be a seller. It’s like a business, the blog provides information like a Goal advisor.
“The problem with a blog is that the more content we integrate, the further down the tree structure our content ends up”
Which shopping paths are identified by Internet users and how does the site react to them?
Oliver Grande. A website should behave like a business. The virtual must mirror physical commerce where advice, information, inventory and contacts are needed. At But.fr we have two typical personalities. There are people who buy almost immediately: “My cell phone or my fridge is broken. I know pretty much exactly what I want, the price is different, that’s where I go.” And then we have a different persona who has a project and who is surveyed, and the web has to answer this survey with the greatest possible content to explain and advise them.
This is reflected at But by the presence of product sheets and blog articles. The aim of the product sheets is to quickly answer questions that can be asked about products. For its part, the blog allows, at the level of the purchasing process, to advise people who are unsure and have additional questions about the information contained in the sheets and product descriptions, with an important focus on the analysis of research intentions.
What does a typical But.fr SEO tag look like?
Oliver Grande. The typical day starts with traffic monitoring and SEO is an integral part of traffic. We monitor positions and we have a group of keywords that are monitored by Resoneo. Thanks to Search Console and other third-party tools, we take the pulse of the visibility and status of our positions. There are monitoring systems like Oncrawl that are automated and allow us to see what’s wrong and if corrections need to be made. And then we continuously work on various larger SEO projects while working on the content in close collaboration with e-merchandising. So there are several types of days and the basis remains traffic monitoring. At Aber, everyone is on alert.