Brian Klais has a great article on MarketingProfs called Google Optimization: E-Commerce @ $0 Cost (Part 1). The article is detailed and, after some good meta-discussion of the importance of search to e-commerce sites, he gets down to a solid overview of how to think about getting products found via Google.

I particularly liked this analysis of the importance of search to online product sales:

“This is a critical point. If consumers find e-commerce appealing because it helps them find and buy products easily and in less time, then your Web site is no longer the shortest distance between points A and B: Google is.

This means that the notion of an e-commerce site itself becomes entirely fragmented, as every page becomes a potential entry point and selling opportunity. In other words, an e-commerce site is no longer a collection of 10,000 product pages that users can linearly navigate. Rather, it becomes 10,000 “micro-sites,” each of which must be programmed to reach and sell its respective keyword market. The selling strategy has gone granular.

But this market teems with micro-competitors and commoditization. Compounding this new complexity is that the catalog and other marketing venues still play a role in stimulating desire and driving site traffic. Having no visibility at the stage when customers “Google” to compare prices or features raises a merchant’s susceptibility to vast amounts of leakage to competitors. “