Growing online revenue while reducing direct marketing ad spend
Florian Bessonnat and João Lee, co-founders of Simplex, share their insights about SEO (search engine result optimization) and its challenges and how Simplex helps uncover large untapped revenue potentials. (publi-editorial)
Why is SEO still not leveraged as much as it should be to fuel online growth?
Historically SEO has always been a topic isolated from other online acquisition channels. And there are many reasons for that. As it has always been a technical topic, marketers have always been reluctant to invest in areas where they don’t feel legitimate. Lack of ownership is another key element. Being a technical topic, marketers don’t operate a large part of it. As they rely on IT and their tight roadmaps, trade-offs are made at the expense of clean and SEO-compliant code.
Google communications have always been lengthy and unjustifiably misinterpreted or just not followed. An army of so-called “experts,” all well-intentioned, voiced contradictories approaches, leading marketers to become suspicious and abandon the topic. Media-buying agency, making money by taking a cut of the ad spent, always had an incentive to increase acquisition budgets. And no to blame them, the shortage of SEO expertise coupled to the IT ownership of SEO code (mentioned above) leads to SEO not being invested for its difficulty for agencies to show quick results to their clients.
All of those bring to the last reason, that is also important. SEO is a long-term endeavor that is pushed back at the bottom of the pile in a short-term driven environment.
How did you decide to address these challenges?
Our approach was to systemize the best practices we have evolved over the past 15 years of running SEO operations at major retailers by embedding processes and methodologies into automated software applications. We also aimed at avoiding all the pitfalls that have prevented SEO from delivering upon its promises. We are designing simple solutions – this is where the Simplex name comes.
We follow Google indexing guidelines in their simplest expressions – not trying to make a sibylline interpretation. We avoid massive efforts for implementation; the simplest integration option takes less than an hour of a developer schedule – test & validation included. We are simplifying the operating of the solution.
We can also predict the benefit from an additional traffic perspective and an incremental revenue generation point of view. This last element is a needle-mover in onboarding executive sponsors into the project.
Why did you choose retail as the initial vertical to serve?
The most obvious answer is because we both come from the online retail world. We spent both a long time in the Casino world, more precisely running SEO at CDiscount, that remains the most remarkable e-commerce success story in France. After six years of running SEO there, it accounted for 46% of total online revenue.
From a technology point of view, online retail has its unique challenges. With catalogs made of x00,000’s, when not millions of SKUs, organic search indexing is a challenging problem to tackle, but that yields tremendous results once you figure it out.
Can you describe the solutions available in your portfolio and their respective benefits?
Indexa automatizes the production of high-grade landing pages both by their relevance and their quality from a Google search engine indexing perspective. The relevancy comes from the fact that we start by matching search expressions to the retailer catalog of products that are not well-positioned in Google search results. We have a very stringent go/no-go process, meaning that we will not create a page with no product matching. There is a powerful incentive to produce relevant content: it boosts the site’s overall quality in Google’s eyes. Regarding Google indexing compliance, here as well, we make no compromise. We do what Google recommends, and it works!
By creating x0,000’s new landing pages, Indexa increases non-branded SEO traffic by 5% after running the solution for a six-month period. Since it is a long-term growing effort, after two years, this reaches an additional 30%. And since it is high-quality traffic, it consistently converts 30% better than the average SEO traffic.
Cerebro avoids the pitfall of SEO code regression. Retail websites push new codes releases every other week or less, and some codes break to various extent. The consequence can be as dire as costing 25% of the SEO traffic and revenue. It sometimes takes up to a year to recover when not addressed immediately. This solution consolidates all SEO KPIs in a single place and fires alert to the corresponding technical owner. It’s not a report or a dashboard that you don’t have time to look at. It goes straight into your inbox. It might seem simple. But this is why methodology matters, and technology enables a methodology that would be impossible otherwise. All solutions we create allow tackling issues that couldn’t be addressed without clever use of technology.
Who are the actual owners of the projects associated with the solutions at your clients?
For Indexa – our flagship product – the owners are on the business side, usually the online business manager or online acquisition manager and the SEO project manager for daily stewardship. Digital and E-commerce directors have a huge interest in Indexa’s results. Our solution is about to be released for other verticals or similar business challenges where the methodology is relevant.
For Cerebro – that we use for all our clients – users will benefit from it across the entire organization. We might think above all about technical resources such as developers or SEO technical owners, but it also serves content producers, merchandisers, and online marketers.
Cerebro bridges the gap and reconciles Marketing and IT teams. Beyond its simplicity and obviousness, it brings a solution to a revenue drain that is not addressed and often hidden below the carpet.
Who are the companies’ clients of Simplex nowadays?
We are fortunate to have been able to convince prominent brands sofar. In Europe, we work with Leroy Merlin France and Italy; in Brazil, Carrefour, Decathlon, and Buscapé, the most extensive comparison engine that accounts for 10% of the e-commerce gross market value.
We also work with smaller brands, where we also achieve great results in both traffic and revenue, allowing them to rise to face up their biggest competitors. With Simplex, mid-market players can level-up their game and fight against much bigger players.
What can we expect from Simplex in the near future?
From an organization’s point of view, our biggest focus for the next years is to grow the European market. While more mature on SEO than other markets, it’s a very competitive environment with tight margins, and that’s where Simplex can exceed the most.
We have also designed and plan to release early 2021, a solution to tackle online traffic conversion into offline visits. It is another big challenge for the retailers that we expect to solve. Finally, we are exploring additional verticals where we believe our technology would be a good fit and value-adding.
Simplex is a Brazilian startup that develops Saas-based SEO solutions. Simplex aims at making digital marketing simpler. Digital marketing is complicated and expensive because of big overheads. There is still a shortage of expertise, and online retail has weak margins. Simplex helps overcome these challenges by providing automated solutions that embed advanced technical and business knowledge and focus on strong ROI levers.