Retail, in the eyes of the everyday customer

new ideas and thoughts about the online retail world

EMO (Email Marketing Optimization)

with 19 comments

As I start this post I must confess my SEO knowledge is limited so if you see any gaping holes please point them out.  Ok.  For this example let’s consider a gourmet popcorn e-tailer called  Here is the situation (all made up)–  The key phrase gourmet chocolate popcorn is important for KuKuRuZa.  It has a high conversion rate and isn’t part of their PPC.  Googling gourmet chocolate popcorn lists as the first result on page two.  Problem is that while this phrase has has high click-to-conversion ratio majority of potential customers simply don’t look beyond page 1 on Google.  Kukuruza has an email list of 12,000 customers.  They brainstorm on ways to improve ranking for gourmet chocolate popcorn and agree to break the customer list into 3 buckets of 4,000 ids and send the email below to each bucket once a month over a three month period.  The email:

From a marketing perspective this makes sense for the following reasons:

— This is a non-typical email so it will capture the attention of the recipient.
— There is a fun element to it (hunting for a discount).
— Time based limit creates sense of urgency.
— There is a clear 5% off benefit.

Here is the question- if 30% (i.e .3*12,00 = 3,600) of the recipients opened it and 15% (3,600*.15 = 540) participated would those 540 organic search queries improve’s ranking for gourmet chocolate popcorn?

Written by betterretail

January 26, 2010 at 11:44 am

19 Responses

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  1. What a clever way to improve click through rate for its own listing in organic search…which is likely part of the Google Algorithm.

    Linda Bustos

    January 26, 2010 at 4:02 pm

  2. […] in search (especially if it’s on the second page of results)? Rishi calls his tactic “email marketing optimization” or EMO (not to be confused with emo or […]

  3. Google had stated (when SearchWiki came out) that they don’t take click-through rates into their natural algorithm at “this time”, unlike PPC. If they changed their stance recently they wouldn’t be telling us. Maybe it’s worth a test, but because it is artificial, Google would probably come up with a work around sooner than later.

    bill sebald

    January 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    • Hi Bill,

      You are right, this strategy assumes Google DOES consider click-through. I have no clue what all Google factors. Here is my question: What do you mean by artificial? How would Google discern this is artificial? I’d love to hear your thoughts.



      January 29, 2010 at 10:45 pm

  4. […] didn’t know much about this until I read the post on the GetElastic blog which refers to the original post on BetterRetail regarding a new method that can help improve rankings in the SERPS. Basically, […]

  5. […] listing in search (especially if it’s on the second page of results)? Rishi calls his tactic “email marketing optimization” or EMO (not to be confused with emo or Elmo). – Can EMO Improve Search Rankings? (Get […]

  6. Fascinating idea – very clever! The big issue I see with it, as some of those who commented on the post mentioned, is that if this were to become a standard practice in email campaigns, Google would have to alter it’s algorithm to counter the impact it was having on its SERPs. And the marketers with the biggest in-house email lists could really exploit it to ensure they maintained their ranking – impacting the ability of the small players to move up the rankings. Nevertheless, an interesting idea.

    Jim Nichol

    February 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm

  7. Brilliant idea! I agree with Jim, if Google places more on Click Throughs, larger companies could take real advantage of this. Better yet, it is a great way to build some links for that keyword to your site which would again improve rankings. Nice🙂


    February 8, 2010 at 10:43 am

  8. Spoke with a friend of mine about this idea (since it intrigued me so much). Here’s what he said: if Google notices significant spikes in any kind of activity they track (and one wonders these days what they’re not tracking), they will investigate it. Relevance, after all, is their mantra. If they conclude it’s got a sniff of gaming/black(or gray) hat associated with it, they will react. His suggestion: better to embed the concept in the blogs/social networks which Google crawls and use the links to increase Page Rank for the site.

    Jim Nichol

    February 10, 2010 at 6:51 pm

  9. From purely an SEO perspective, this influx of traffic to your page will not generally improve your ranking for this term, although I think the idea is very intriguing from a marketing stand point. However, Google now uses personalized search. And although I don’t know their algorithm, I would bet that click-thrus would improve the sites ranking for related terms next time one of the people who received the e-mail typed in a query like “gourmet chocolate popcorn.”

    I don’t see how it would directly impact anyone else. If you think about it, driving traffic to this page does not in any way tell Google that the page is more relevant for the specific term “gourmet chocolate popcorn.” The traffic might make Google notice that the page is important overall, although I can’t confirm this.

    If you want to improve your ranking for this term (because you already know that it converts well), you need to make sure it’s optimized well and more importantly, you need your strategy to include quality, related links back to this page. These links are seen as votes, which is why you see how powerful domain like wikipedia are (they rank for everything!).

    Now, if people spread your e-mail and linkerati post it on their blog with a link to this popcorn page; then you would be more likely to improve position. Maybe send it out to e-mail marketing sites/blogs so they can talk about it. The commotion might lead to some links. So, think about how you can tie this strategy into people linking to your site. People love to talk about stuff online and provide links, so the opportunities are out there.

    Jeff Swanson

    February 10, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    • Hi Jeff,

      Your comment about how this might influence future personalized search for email recipients is excellent.  I hadn’t thought of that scenario.

      With regards to whether click-throughs factor into Google’s algorithm I’m posting this line from

      “Click through rate in natural search could be a factor in Google’s secret-sauce ranking algorithm. SEOmoz estimates click through to account for 7% according to its Search Engine Ranking Factors.” [link:

      That said, I thought all your points were excellent.  Thanks for contributing.


      February 11, 2010 at 1:34 am

  10. […] in search (especially if it’s on the second page of results)? Rishi calls his tactic “email marketing optimization” or EMO (not to be confused with emo or […]

  11. Google has confirmed they do not take CTR into consideration into rankings. Instead of doing the aboe mentioned campaign, it they did something else like giving away free popcorn for their customers who wrote a blog post and link backed with the proper anchor text, that would be much more effective.

    Justin Freid

    February 18, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    • Thanks for the comment, Justin. Could you share a link for the CTR comment?



      February 18, 2011 at 9:55 pm

  12. This is actually very interesting, thank you for spreading it. Remember to also pay a visit to our web site. We’re an organization that offers Search engine optimization services, Web Site Design, Made to order Computer software Development and IT ideas in Philadelphia.

  13. […] this term could apply to CRO for email campaigns, as we have defined it on Get Elastic refers to a hypothetical idea from fellow ecommerce blogger Rishi Riwat. This form asks customers by email to Google a specific […]

  14. Seriously, doing things like this is not a beginner can do without taking risk🙂 , that’s an old proverb now. I love the way sorted out mailing benefit points.

    December 1, 2013 at 5:28 am

  15. I liked the way you described but i think the subject of email “Search and win” is looks spammy!


    December 16, 2014 at 8:39 am

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