Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vs Marketplace Optimization (MPO): Which one to follow?

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SEO and MPO are the two ways to reach your goals in digital marketing.

While both of them share the common goal of increasing reach, they differ in many ways.

Let’s discuss their differences.

   DISCLAIMER: This article will primarily explore the workings of MPO, with less emphasis on the details of SEO.  

Key Points Discussed in this Article –

• Understanding MPO and SEO:

SEO is the process of optimizing your websites to rank in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). At the same time, MPO focuses on optimizing product listings to rank higher in marketplace platforms.

• Differences Between SEO and MPO:

SEO and MPO have stark differences in their work, application, and intended purpose.

• Ranking Factors in MPO:

Marketplace optimization, similar to SEO, has a list of factors for ranking, and a few of them share similarities with those of SEO.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization refers to the practices and techniques deployed to help with a site’s visibility.

Many factors affect a website’s visibility –

• keywords;
• backlinks;
• quality of Content;
• on-Page and Off-Page SEO;
• site Structure;
• local SEO;
• mobile optimization;
• technical SEO, and many more.

Your aim for implementing SEO is to increase your domain authority on search engines like Google.

Irrespective of what your website is about, you want it to show up on the first page of SERPs. That is where the implementation of SEO comes in.

Marketplace Optimization (MPO)

Marketplace optimization focuses on placing your products higher on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Flipkart by optimizing the list of products.

Let’s understand this with an example –

You want to purchase a razor, so you go and input the search term “Razor” on an e-commerce platform, say Amazon.

You’ll get thousands of results.

Of those thousands of results, the products you see on top are due to good optimization of the products.

The better they are optimized, the higher their position. 

So, MPO offers to optimize the list of your products to place higher than your competition on e-commerce platforms. 

SEO or MPO: The Difference

There are some key differences between SEO and MPO. Let’s understand them.


Improve ranking and the website’s visibility on SERPs MPO targets to improve product visibility on the online marketplace

Target Audience

Anyone who uses search engines to find products, services, or information. People who are looking for products to purchase online.

 Duration of Results

SEO is an ongoing process, so it takes a while before you start seeing any results. It could be months or even years till you see tangible results. MPO may take a few weeks to months.


The cost of using SEO is usually higher depending on the scale of your business, your aim regarding domain authority, how many people you outsource the job of analyzing SEO to, and more. It has a good return on investment (ROI) in the long term. It is lower than SEO if the sellers optimize the list of products. Even if they were to hire someone, since there are fewer things to work on, the cost would still be cheaper. It has a good ROI in the short run.

Ranking Factors of MPO

Let’s now understand the factors.

 DISCLAIMER: The factors discussed below will primarily focus on the goods marketplace. It is essential to acknowledge that depending on their type, other online marketplaces may use different factors to rank products.  

Product Title

A product title is a name or label given to a specific product to identify it and distinguish it from other items.

For example:

Image Source: Amazon

Product Title

When shopping on e-commerce platforms, I like the product tiles to be precise.

An ideal title will contain product type, brand, key features, color, size, and quantity. These will help the e-commerce website understand the product and rank it better in the marketplace. A good title will also help potential buyers.

Constant optimization of the product title is crucial to retaining customers and bringing new ones because that is the first thing they’ll interact with.

Reviews & Ratings

The only genuine way to know whether your product is good is to look at the reviews from those who bought it.

Reviews are important. They are one of the most important factors, if not the most important when ranking your products.

Here’s an example:

Figure 1:
Image Source: Flipkart
Reviews & Ratings 
Figure 2:
Image Source: Flipkart

Which of the two is likely to be picked from a customer’s perspective?

Both of the products shown –

• are from the same company;
• have the same capacity;
• are made of the same material;
• cost almost the same.

The only differentiating factor that remains is the number of customer reviews both these products have.

I would purchase the one with more reviews.

Note: This example is going to be different sometimes. You may have two options with only their price in common, but even then, the reviews will be your best bet.

 Images & Videos

Image Source: Myntra

 Images & Videos

Present your work in high definition because the photo quality of your product directly influences potential buyers.

Since online shoppers are not physically present to check the quality of the product, the photos you choose to showcase will act as a medium of information.

The icing on the cake is including a video of your product, enhancing the overall presentation and providing potential buyers with an even richer understanding of your product.

Product Description

Image Source: Amazon


Consider it this way: A more detailed and accurate product description enhances buyers’ understanding.

The description of your product should eliminate all their doubts regarding the product. Or at least aim to eliminate most of it.

A good description will bridge the gap between potential customers and your product.

Search Keywords

Image Source: Amazon Seller Page

Amazon Seller Page

SEO focuses on utilizing the keywords for their website, and MPO involves using the search terms for a list of products.

Let’s understand this with an example:

When someone searches for a razor on a marketplace like Amazon, they use terms like “razor,” “buy razor,” “razor for men,” and more. A seller can then leverage these search terms to improve their product listing, which is a razor.

The Takeaway

By now, you should understand that it’s not SEO vs MPO, but instead choosing between SEO or MPO.

Both have different use case scenarios depending on the digital marketing strategies you plan on employing.

You must have a good SEO strategy to rank your website on SERPs. On the other hand, the goal of MPO is to help with your product listing on an online marketplace.


1. Are MPO and SEO Similar?

No, they are not. They exist to serve different purposes. MPO stands for Marketplace Optimization and is the optimization of product listings to rank them on an e-commerce website. In contrast, SEO is optimizing websites to rank them in SERPs.

2. What is the use of MPO in Digital marketing?

MPO is the technique used to optimize product listings on an e-commerce website. When searching for a product, the highest-ranked results indicate better optimization. In contrast, lower-ranked results correspond to a lower degree of optimization.

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

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