SEO positioning in Mercado Libre – Gastón Riera

We spoke with Gastón Riera about positioning in Mercado Libre. This Argentinian explains that he started doing SEO because he wanted to change the hours he spent in social networks for money, back in 2012.

Since then he has gone through all its stages: from black hat and personal projects to advertising to Freelance clients and as an in-company. Until his current position as Mr. Technical SEO in Mercado Libre, an online sales platform present in 18 countries.

We take advantage of Gastón’s experience to ask him about all kinds of aspects related to how SEO works in this type of portals. We talked about issues such as the position in Mercado Libre, the existence of moderation, the crawler and indexing analysis or the differences in behavior among users in different countries.

“You can find it in his profiles of @gastonriera and in linkedIn

How does SEO work in a portal like Mercado Libre? Can you tell us a bit about the crawler and indexing analysis?

The SEO strategies we carry out from Mercado Libre are focused on providing value to users.

We think in a scalable and long-term way since we are a multidisciplinary team of 3 people (Bachelor of Arts, Graphic Designer and Electronic Engineer) within the management of Marketing acquisition.

Running a site of the dimensions of Free Market (18 countries and, collectively, billions of pages) it is necessary to analyze how Google Bot is going. Simplifying Google’s work and sending it to important sections of the web is essential.

Some relevant points for crawling and Indexing:

  • Know the important sections of the web
  • Periodically monitoring of Google Bot’s traffic
  • Make a conscious use of blocks in Robots.txt and noindex and canonical tags.


Do you have an own positioning algorithm like other marketplaces?

Regarding SEO, Google considers us as any other E-Commerce portal.

On the other hand, the internal searches in the marketplace are organized by an algorithm that is managed by BackEnd teams, looking for the best result to be offered to the user who made the search.


Is there any kind of moderation about the ads that are published in Mercado Libre?

Of course there is moderation.

Currently there are more than 200 million ads published on the platform.

There are teams adapted to the laws of each market, preventing the publication of prohibited articles.


“We have observed that the economic, political and climatic situation of the country leads users to look for different products”.
Gastón Riera

How do you combat the risk of certain users posting links to their websites to try to take advantage of the authority of your domain?

Currently it is not possible to publish outbound links from the platform. The links that are published are treated as text.


Have you noticed differences between the behavior of users in different countries?

Of course. Each country has its own idiosyncrasies and customs. The most notorious differences are between Spanish speakers and Brazil, where there are fewer shared customs and culture.

We have observed that the economic, political and climatic situation of the country leads users to look for different products.

Detail that is accentuated more in the dates with discounts (Hot Sale, Black Friday and others). One example is the last HotSale Argentina, the most sold product per unit was sugar, followed by cell phones, smart TVs and weed.

One of the most iconic points is in the way of talking , beyond using the same word with different meanings, the order and form when doing a Google search changes.


What are the significant differences in the version of your website for each country? Do you use different SEO strategies?

The differences that exist between each country, do the products of the Mercado Libre ecosystem present in each market.

SEO strategies are adjusted according to the needs of each market.

Many of the strategies we carry out, to operate in a market are transferred to others.


What advice would you give us to optimize the cart of our e-commerce?

The focus must be on the user.

Having a fluent, simple experience and seeking to help finish the purchase should be the goal of all e-commerces and sites with online sales.


What minimum usability requirements should a shopping website have?

Adaptability and responsiveness to all devices.

In the case that there is an app, the experience should be the same. I have found several cases where each device is a different world in UX, colors and experiences.

The priority must be placed on the user, not on guessing or guessing how they would use the platform.

There is a lot of information available, analyze and take advantage of it to iterate with better options.


Do you use your own promotion systems within Mercado Libre? How do they work?

We use internal metrics of sellers: those who give a better shopping experience will be first on the list.

Some important points taken into account:

  • Internal reputation rank
  • Speed of answer in questions
  • Compliance with the country’s fiscal laws


What book do you recommend?

Regarding to SEO, I do not think that there are books that are sufficiently updated. I recommend keeping up with Google updates, following the main news blogs and staying connected with the rest of the community. Apart from that, two books that opened my head:

  1. “Start with why” – Simon Sinek
  2. “Be the elephant” – Steve Kaplan