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An ecom client that I am working with has an interesting SEO challenge. They sell products that they want to convey quality and value; however, the #1 thing searched for on Google, Bing, and their internal search field is "cheap _". Search queries with the word "Cheap" are dominating the search analytics for the site at the moment.

From interviewing customers, they want to find great deals; however, in testing, they mention that seeing the word "cheap" makes them question the quality.

Does anyone have any recommendations on how to take advantage of the user trend of searching for "cheap" without labeling various products as such?

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10 Answers 10

Add a specifier in your statement.

For example: cheap prices, high quality. It may not be the best grammatically, but it conveys the idea clearly and lets you keep the search term goodness

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An electronics and appliances firm here in the Netherlands actually advertises with the slogan "Low prices, high quality" I believe. –  André Jun 10 '13 at 12:48

Optimize the page for search results that use the word cheap, but downplay usage of cheap in the actual content. (You could try putting the word cheap in the site's meta tags. Also add it in hidden transcript tags for images.) Maybe even use the word in a headline to grab attention, but in the product description, use synonyms instead, such as "inexpensive" or "low price" combined with terms that emphasize the quality.

Also, you may be able to circumvent the issue by thinking laterally. If customers are searching for "cheap {product}" in the site's search bar, the issue may instead be how the query results data are displayed. If you make it easier for the customer to search for "{product}" instead of "cheap {product}" and sort results by price low-to-high, then (at least for the site's internal search) you won't run into the problem of needing to include the word cheap in your individual pages.

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Probably the most common marketing copy to describe this is "most bang for your buck" (though I believe that's mostly an American saying). "Affordable" also conveys the low price without as explicitly implying low quality. If you could say it's "affordable performance/etc" you could imply you give performance/good feature, but at a low price.

The good old opposing adjectives trick works well too; "low cost, high quality" or "Cheap price, premium performance" etc.

I noticed some good examples from reviews on a low price but decent quality motherboard recently:

  • Cheap (but not in construction)
  • Cheap price, but not a cheap MoBo

Various other reviews on that page spell that out in so many words

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As far as the internal search engine is concerned, if they are searching for 'cheap', its because they either don't know that they can sort by price, or because the interface does not allow them to. The first step in addressing the issue is giving them this ability (and/or making it clear how they can do so).

Likewise, you should provide filters for other descriptive terms as well. For example, if you were selling clothing, you would not want to have to create a label for every color of every sweater. Instead you would want to allow users to filter on color. If the user still searches using the color in the search terms (instead of using the built in filter), your search engine should be smart enough to search item meta data, not just on the item name.

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Good value

This is a term that is often used for product testing, it's defined by the prize correlated with product quality. A product that has good quality but still at a reasonable prize proves Good value to the consumer.

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You're going to want to optimize your pages for the word "cheap" if that's a keyword you want to target. Don't hide it in meta tags or hidden attributes. Embrace the keyword but then enhance your marketing copy with words like "value" and "affordable" which have more positive connotations. The keyword only needs to be in the page a few times and if strategically placed you can play down the low quality factor. For example, you can get the keyword in with a line like, "X product is high-quality AND affordable when compared to the cheap alternatives available today."

Don't forget you can work any keyword into good marketing copy to achieve your goals. The good content will win out over pure technical optimization.

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Maybe you could assume that customers know what they want, and if they are searching for "cheap XYZ" then they are not interested in expensive XYZ, even if they are better value. Instead concentrate on getting your message out by other means.

Alternatively you could include in your pages something like "we have much higher quality than the supposedly cheap alteranatives, for only slightly more money".

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I would add a keyword saying cheap prices just to compensate for the word cheap and probably write somewhere on the page high quality goods at "cheap prices" or something like that. Hope you understand what I'm tying to say here about the way the search engine picks up the word cheap and returns your customers site as a result.

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Your research looks to have highlighted a key term used by consumers: "Great deals" - why not use that?

As well as stressing the value element that AndroidHustle has already done, I'd consider including messages about other value-add: guarantees / warranties, no-quibble returns, and other areas where the whole package of what is being offered can be stressed. You could also consider using terms like "Inexpensive" or "Less costly", rather than 'cheap' which has emotive overtones.

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I like Ben Brocka's answer: *best bang for your bucks".

And want to add an additional consideration, that everything is relative.
Think of booze and a millionaire: what is cheap, and what is high quality?
Now think about asking the same questions to a tramp. You'll get quite different answers.
The concepts of cheap and good quality are relative. What is cheap for one is too much for others.

Anyway, there is a problem with the "cheap" word in English: it means "inexpensive" but it also means "inferior", if I'm not wrong.
So you must research for another word that returns the same as "cheap" in Google search.
In the process of "stemming" thay apply to the query text there might be another word translating to the same stem than "cheap" does but lacking the low quality connotation.

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