SEO Vs MPO (Which One Should I Choose?)

SEO and MPO are both digital marketing strategies that have some similarities but are different. However, the main goal of both is to help your business make more sales.

If you are wondering how SEO vs MPO compare and which of these should you invest in – this post is just for you.

I’ll compare both against a number of factors including the process, ranking signals, costs, ROI, time to see results and much more!

SEO Vs Marketplace Optimization

The main difference between SEO and MPO is that SEO focuses on optimizing a website for search engines like Google, yields the best results, and is the most profitable.

MPO on the other hand focuses on optimizing product listings on online marketplaces like Ebay. It is easier, cheaper, and yields faster results than SEO.

Main GoalImprove website visibility and ranking on search enginesImprove product listing visibility and ranking on marketplaces.
AudienceAnyone using search engines to find info, products, or servicesShoppers specifically browsing marketplaces to purchase products
ApproachOptimize website content, structure, and authorityLonger (months to couple of years, depending on competition and efforts)
Time to see resultsLonger (months to couple years, depending on competition and efforts)Shorter (days to weeks, depending on competition and effort)
CostsHigher-  depends on the scope of work, competition, and industry.Optimize product titles descriptions and images
ROISignificant and can bring in sales for years without any investment.Good, but won’t attract as many customers and isn’t stable.
MaintenanceOngoing (month to month), and search engine algos and competition constantly changeOngoing efforts, as marketplace algorithms and competition constantly change

Now that we’ve got a glimpse, let’s take a look at the main differences in detail:


MPO is much easier to do than SEO because there are only a few ranking factors that need to be optimized for.

SEO has a larger scope of work and a lot of things to optimize – from auditing a website’s technical code and structure to reaching out to different websites and persuading them to mention our site on their site.

Plus, SEO needs a lot of content! Content creation and publishing take a lot of time.

The main areas of SEO are tech SEO, keyword research, content creation and optimization, image optimization, interlinking, and link building.

For MPO, you don’t need to do any technical audits or anything off-page. The main areas are keyword research, product title and description optimization, and image optimization.

Ranking Factors

MPO has a lower number of ranking factors than SEO.

Product titles, descriptions, tags, and images are the main factors that can be optimized. Other ranking factors include customer reviews, ratings, total orders, delivery times, response time, and seller levels.

SEO has thousands of ranking factors. Yandex (a search engine like Google) recently had their data hacked and their ranking factors were leaked online – there were 1922 ranking factors!

Some of the main ranking factors include backlinks, titles, headings, URLs, content, domain authority, website structure, speed, and mobile friendliness.


Marketplace Optimization can be cheaper than Search Engine Optimization depending on the number of listings.

But, SEO will always be the cheapest and most profitable marketing channel in the long run.

If you are optimizing yourself, you might not need to spend money for MPO at all (you might need a keyword research tool). You just need time.

If you are hiring a pro, it might cost you around $20 – $70 per product listing. So the total cost depends on the number of products you have.

SEO for an ecommerce store will probably cost around $400 -$3000/m and 6 months of SEO will cost $2400 – $15K. Unfortunately, you cannot do it yourself without proper training and skills.

Also Read: Best E-commerce SEO Niches

But once you start ranking for the keywords, you’ll generate free income for years.

Time Taken For Results

MPO yields faster results – sometimes in days! Online marketplace rankings are updated every day and you can start ranking within 24 hours after optimizing.

Search Engine Optimization usually takes longer, with an avg of about 3 to 6 months. It might take a couple of years to get solid rankings.

But once you are at the top, you can continue to rank for years. I personally a lot of people who have held the #1 – #3 spots for 4+ years.

However, Google updates its algorithms a few times a year and you need to stay up to date and implement them otherwise your site could get destroyed.

Results And ROI

The ROI and results are better for SEO in the long run. In fact, SEO and content marketing offers the best ROI in the digital realm.

Organic traffic is more stable and sustainable and generally results in higher conversion rates.

Plus, SEO can target people in different stages of the funnel and convert them too, thus increasing revenue even more.

And don’t forget the brand awareness SEO gives. You get a ton of direct traffic and even social shares. Have you ever seen someone sharing an Amazon listing? It’s super rare. But people share websites all the time.

That being said, Marketplace Optimization offers pretty good ROI too. You can rank for months there too but it’s not as stable as search engine rankings.

Also Read: Does marketing involve math?

Final Thoughts

The choice between SEO and MPO doesn’t have to be an either/or decision. I highly recommend doing both because they have their own pros.

If you are on a limited budget, I would suggest you do MPO yourself (or hire someone for a few products) and invest in SEO.

Or you can start off with MPO and get some quick ROI and then invest it into SEO while also doing MPO.

By leveraging both Search Engine Optimization and Marketplace Optimization, you’re creating multiple touchpoints for potential customers, which increases the likelihood of them discovering and purchasing your products.

About Author

Lito James is the founder of He is an entrepreneur and marketing specialist who helps businesses to get more leads, subscribers, and customers. Massive Peak has been featured on G2, Cloudways, Sujanpatel, GetResponse, Renderforest, and many more. Follow on LinkedIn | Twitter

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