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Google Product Search Traffic Drop
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ecrater
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Posts: 983

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:54 am    Post subject: Google Product Search Traffic Drop Reply with quote

It looks like that the Google Product Search Team made an update to the ranking algorithm in the beginning of Oct. As a result the traffic from Google Product Search dropped substantially after Oct 6th 2009. This is not due to suspended products and eCRATER sub-accounts but to decreasing of the product ranks. We confirmed with Google that there are no problems or any other issues with our eCRATER account. The number of eCRATER listings that shows in Google Product Search stays about the same as it was before the update.

The Google Product Search Team shares proprietary technology with other search products and as a result is unable to comment on specific aspects of, or changes to the Product Search algorithm that may affect our items. They are also unable to provide additional information for general traffic fluctuations and ranking related issues.

So what caused this sudden drop?

Since Google will not comment on this issue we performed some tests and analysis trying to determine the main cause for this. Please note that the statemets in the following paragraphs are just our guesses, and we do not pretend that they are accurate or true.

It looks like after the last update of the algorithm the top places in Google Product Search are often occupied by big companies like Amazon.com, Walmart, Sears, Sam's Club, Target, Buy.com, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble.com, TigerDirect.com, Nordstrom, Macy's, Newegg.com, Toys"R"Us, JCPenney, Neiman Marcus, RadioShack.com, Staples.com, Dell, RitzCamera.com, etc

In addition it looks like Google increased the number of listings with "compare prices" buttons. When you click on these "compare buttons" most of the times you also see only big retailers. On some searches our team was able to verify that the first 3 pages that Google returned contained only results with such compare buttons.

Who Loses from the latest update?
All small and medium size merchants, eBay mechants, and merchants of all marketplaces like eCRATER.

What can be done?

1) First please make sure that your products are active and appear in Google Product Search. You can check this in the Google Status tab in the eCRATER Admin tool. If you see any problems there please try to fix them.

2) Second, if your listings appear but the ranking is still low please make sure you properly described your items, included relevant Google attributes, and that your items are compliant with the Google Merchant Center's Policies.

http://google.com/support/merchants/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=160074

3) If you do not accept Google Checkout please sign up and add it as a checkout process in eCRATER. With the new Google Product Search page layout the buyers can filter the search results to show only merchants who accept Google Checkout. The Google Checkout filter option appears on the top in the left filter panel and is the only one that has an image to stand out.

If you still don't have Google Checkout account you can learn more or sign up now.

Everything else is something you don't have control over and it depends entirely on Google. So if you have done 1) , 2) and 3) you can just hope that with the next algorithm update Google will restore your previous product rankings.
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bigtallmensclothing
moderator


Posts: 21853

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Who Loses from the latest update?
All small and medium size merchants, eBay mechants, and merchants of all marketplaces like eCRATER.


Google must be treating Amazon as one seller and not a marketplace as I see ALOT more of them in shopping now they I have in the past.

This change is going to really hurt those sellers that relied on google to bring in their shoppers.
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acread
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Posts: 11986

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BigTallMensClothing wrote:
Google must be treating Amazon as one seller and not a marketplace as I see ALOT more of them in shopping now they I have in the past.

Technically Amazon is both. A market place and a shop on its own.
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AmericanEdge



Posts: 974

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Google Product Search Traffic Drop Reply with quote

ecrater wrote:
What can be done?

1) First please make sure that your products are active and appear in Google Product Search. You can check this in the Google Status tab in the eCRATER Admin tool. If you see any problems there please try to fix them.

2) Second, if your listings appear but the ranking is still low please make sure you properly described your items, included relevant Google attributes, and that your items are compliant with the Google Merchant Center's Policies.

http://google.com/support/merchants/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=160074



You heard the man. Looks like it's time to go to work and hope for the best.
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maggiethehousecat



Posts: 2398

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks to me like Google, the great equalizer, has fallen victim to the great American $. When ebay, Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Target and Sears dominate, you will never convince me they didn't pay for the position.

I read all the links in this post and I see all sorts of inconsistencies in what Google says and what Google does. Like it is illegal to list fake designer stuff but they are full of it and half the Google ads are for fake goods.

I still don't know why my Lives and Loves store was wiped out. No one else is complaining about losing the majority of their listings. Just a few. Of the items remaining, they still have the boiler plate phrases.
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GoneFunky



Posts: 1328

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has taught me a lesson...Don't rely on Google. Since I opened my store here a year ago, I've been very fortunate in having good ranking with Google. Now is the time for sellers to find new ways to drive more traffic to their stores.

I appreciate the eCrater team for sharing this information. Gee I thought it was just me since sales have been so bad this month.
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bigtallmensclothing
moderator


Posts: 21853

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thing is not one of the BIG RETAILERS I seen on Google Shopping accepts google checkout.
I'm guessing we might be in for alot of changes AGAIN.

Google is getting to be like the weather -
wait a few minutes and it will change!
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GoneFunky



Posts: 1328

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was looking for a handbag the other night and also notice several sites that had their Titles in all caps and had Free Shipping all over the ad. I guess there are a different set of rules for the little guys, of course there is no telling what the big boys are paying for good placement. Shocked
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vintagecornerstore



Posts: 149

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to that link to Google, one of the important things is:

Content policies

* Do not include promotional or boilerplate text in your product data feed. All text should directly describe the product you are submitting. Text relating to shipping or store policies should not be included.

(I know this has been discussed elsewhere.)

I am just wondering if there is anything in the works to have two description boxes, the second one that wouldn't feed to Google? That reads like it is okay to have it in the listing, just not in the feed. If it is possible this might be coming out in the near term, I will put my stores on hold and wait, rather than edit every listing. Enquiring minds would like to know!
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thelivesandlovesofmaggiethecat



Posts: 9578

PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is not just the big guys who have gotten off. While looking for items from my store I clicked on other ecrater stores with similar inventory. Only one a boiler free listing. The others had long lists of instructions.

Either it will take a while for Google to scan all the listings or they know something I don't.

The sad thing is that this is going to ruin Christmas shopping for those of us affected. We are just assuming it is the boiler plate blurbs that have us in trouble. Look at this listing from Tias. Mods please don't remove these links. I'm trying to prove a point.

This listing has the number one spot when you enter vintage black leather purse in the search engine. You could start your own heating store with this one listing. The description is at the very bottom of the page after sale announcements, shipping options, payment options, etc.

http://www.tias.com/13574/PictPage/3923242122.html

And now for the second do as Google says, not as Google does point of not listing the same item from the same seller even when they are coming from different sites.

The second item in that search was a new Amazon bag, not even vintage inspired. This is the link to the third item in the list. Does it look vaguely familiar to the first item?

http://www.goantiques.com/detail,vintage-black-leather,1610402.html
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 3211

PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thelivesandlovesofmaggiethecat wrote:
...I clicked on other ecrater stores with similar inventory. Only one a boiler free listing. The others had long lists of instructions.
If the seller doesn't come to the forum or read other forums on the web, how are they to know they need to change? There hasn't been an announcement in our stores.

Quote:
Either it will take a while for Google to scan all the listings or they know something I don't.
I think it will be a while before all policies are applied to all sellers. I think some sellers have been lucky so far, but if they don't comply it's only a matter of time before they're gone also.

Quote:
This listing has the number one spot when you enter vintage black leather purse in the search engine. You could start your own heating store with this one listing. The description is at the very bottom of the page after sale announcements, shipping options, payment options, etc.
This is a great example of what could be possible. You may be looking at 3 text boxes that have been programed to appear as one page.

The Google Merchant Center Policies state under Content Policies:
Do not include promotional or boilerplate text in your product data feed. All text should directly describe the product you are submitting. Text relating to shipping or store policies should not be included.

The bold is mine to show they don't care what's on the page ... they care about what's included in the product data feed. If we had one box for description that is in the data feed and another one that contained other stuff we could keep our important sales information without violating any Google policy. The eCrater policy could be amended to be a rule for the description box.

As far as the duplicate listing from two marketplaces, I think there is a Dec. 1 date for all marketplaces somewhere? Maybe they haven't started deleting those yet ... But, it's just a matter of time.
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nothingnew



Posts: 1110

PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since I copy and paste almost the same descriptions when listing my photo descriptions. is that called a (boiler plate phrase)? and will I now need to hand write the descrittions and change them to stay away from this boilerplate problem?
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prairiedtreasures



Posts: 92

PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if this is relevant, but I hope it helps someone.

Not knowing what exactly BoilerPlate meant, I went and looked it up. Most of what I found had to do with lawyers and their speech, but I did find a little article that explains that boilerplate terms are kind of like a template, or a fill-in-the-blank type statement. Basically, it's the same text used repeatedly without being changed.

Sorry if this has already been covered, but thought it might help.
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vintagecornerstore



Posts: 149

PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Google must have hired the people that eBay let go. I can't for the life of me figure out why else they would be doing such major changes going into the biggest selling season of the year. Sad
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myvintagechina



Posts: 78

PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vintagecornerstore wrote:
I think Google must have hired the people that eBay let go. I can't for the life of me figure out why else they would be doing such major changes going into the biggest selling season of the year. Sad


I do not think they hired ex-ePayMeMore employees, I think they just want to put the fork in eBay business model for good. I think this will put them (E) in a very bad position with its sellers for the holidays, but then again they have been putting themselves in that position for a long time on their own.
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