Look out merchants – Google is coming to get you!

Google merchant website changesMatt Cutts, everyone’s favorite Google guy announced on Friday that a potential change is coming later this year (or maybe sooner) and it’s going to affect merchants.

Specifically Cutts said:

We have a potential launch later this year, maybe a little bit sooner, looking at the quality of merchants and whether we can do a better job on that, because we don’t want low quality experience merchants to be ranking in the search results

Note: thank you to Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land for reporting this.

Danny Sullivan asked Matt Cutts what else, aside from reviews (which they are already using to rate merchants) are they thinking of using.  Matt Cutts replied:

We are trying to ask ourselves, are there other signals that we can use to spot whether someone is not a great merchant, and if we can find those, and we think that they are not all that spammable, then we’re more than happy to use those.

There are no other details at this time, however people are already speculating on the details.  Some of the factors considered possible or likely are:

  1. How complete the data feed is in Google shopping.
  2. How well known the brand is (meaning the big boys may get rewarded for their name recognition).
  3. What social media following they have (are they prominent and active on social media?).
  4. Google Seller Ratings.
  5. Trust factors on the site (prominent phone number, privacy policy, return policy, a way to track orders)
  6. Quality shopping cart with the features you would expect (add to cart, view cart, shipping calculator, wish list, ability to login or register)
  7. Current rankings (along with ranking history) – meaning they may factor in how the site has ranked historically and how many clicks it typically gets, as a measure of how popular the site.
  8. The same quality guidelines that they are already looking for with Panda/Penguin.  Which means no spammy pages, no duplicate content, no bad links.  They are likely going to want to see a site that is informational as well as being an online store.

At this point this is all just speculation, we’ll have to wait and see how Google rolls this out.  One thing I would not do is wait to ensure your site is of the highest quality and to ensure you are ranking as high as possible now.  Things could get rocky and if we’ve learned anything from Panda and Penguin, it’s that you need to be proactive in obtaining and protecting your rankings.

Do you have a merchant website? Not sure how you’ll fare after this hits?  Want to be proactive and ramp things up now?  Contact us for a consultation now: http://www.ecombuffet.com/Consultation-request.htm



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