Yes Virginia There Is a Santa Claus And He Searches for Free Shipping
This post was originally published in August 2008 and is part of our Get Elastic rerun series.
Here's a tip for retailers who offer free shipping on one or more products during the holidays. (My apologies to those who don't offer free shipping, but bookmark this anyway - you may offer it down the road!)
Free shipping offers consistently top surveys of what customers want from online stores. And people do search for "free shipping," and most often in November / December - as you would expect.
Now I'm not saying you have a hope in the North Pole of ranking for the term "free shipping" alone (though Amazon, Zappos, Shoes.com and Shoebuy have succeeded). The point is people really care about free shipping, and even search for it in search engines. And if you offer it, you should flaunt it when customers do searches for the products you carry -- in your title tags and meta descriptions.
Even if you're not ranked number one in the search results, if your offer is more attractive than the highest ranking link, you can win the click.
And if you offer other guarantees or customer-friendly policies, throw them in too. Yay, Zappos!
We can also assume many customers will append their product searches with "free shipping":
PS this goes for PPC ads too, "free shipping" in the ad copy is a great offer that would likely increase click through rates. Just triple check that your landing page repeats the offer and the promotion applies to the product and the geographic area the ad is being shown. Don't bait-and-switch. Same goes for your title tags for your organic listings. And only add the offer to the pages the offer applies to.
PPS If you want exposure on the sites that do rank tops for the term "free shipping," you contact them to submit your offers or start an affiliate relationship. The top 3 are FreeShipping.org, FreeShipping.com and Shopping-Bargains.com.