SEO & Google Shopping


Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “Google Shopping’s Impact on SEO.”

Over the next several months, Google’s free Product Search feature will start costing ecommerce sites a lot more. Since the launch of Google’s Froogle in 2002, Google has provided a free product search service. The newly launched Google Shopping marks the first time that the company has converted a free service to a pay-for-placement model. Search marketers wonder, what does this mean to organic search?

For those who focus purely on search engine optimization, the change may actually be a positive. Some of the placement tests for Google Shopping results actually improve the organic results’ position on the page compared with other paid modules. For example, a search for “teddy bears” before the move to Google Shopping would have resulted in the result at left below. The shopping results are beneath the paid results, pushing the organic search results lower on the page. We can only see one full organic result in this image, and the top of the second.


Today’s shopping results are still in flux as Google tests the best placement for these new ads, but many of the placement experiments are appearing in the upper right. In the example above and to the right, the shopping results appear as an anchor point for the paid search ads, to the right of the top block and above the right block. As a result, Google is able to squeeze two more organic results into the same space that the previous shopping module had taken up.

The experiments are still running, however, with the full launch set for sometime this fall. Until then, Google will likely continue to test and revise placement of the shopping modules to find the balance it needs to strike between revenue and searcher satisfaction….

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Search Marketing Stays Steady around Yahoo! Axis

Excerpts from my latest article at Resource Interactive’s weThink blog: “Yahoo! Axis Changes Search Experience, But Not Search Marketing.”

Yahoo! entered the modern search app age recently with its visually engaging new Yahoo! Axis app for iPhone, iPad and the desktop. Instead of the search industry’s tried-and-true page of 10 blue links with some maps and images scattered around, Yahoo! Axis has gone completely visual and removed all traditional links in favor of site thumbnails.

Much like Google’s Instant Search feature, Yahoo! Axis displays changing search results with every letter you add to the search box. As the searcher types “top surfers,” Yahoo! Axis offers a list of potential searches that the user might be working toward, such as “top surfers of all time.” In addition, though, the search results shown change to show different website thumbnails or images and videos shown based on each new character the searcher enters.

Interestingly, Yahoo! Axis is also a fully functioning web browser app on the iPad and iPhone. It has the tabs and bookmark features you’d expect from a browser, a customized homepage, and the power to sync your browsing experience across all three screens. The desktop version is an app that integrates into the browser experience for the four major browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. So the net-net for searchers is that they can start a search on their iPhone, walk into the office and switch to the desktop to continue the same search experience on their PC, and then walk into a meeting with their iPad and keep on searching on the same thread.

But does it change search marketing?

Read the article in full at Resource Interactive’s weThink blog »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Cautiously Psyched for Google’s Planned Over-Optimization Penalty

I’m excited to see what google pulls out of it’s algorithmic bag of tricks next. The pre-announced over-optimization penalty should theoretically align SEOs more tightly with information architects, usability experts and professional content creators to produce sites that are great for users and great for driving users to sites via organic search. At least in theory. Of this happens, everyone wins but the spammers. If it doesn’t … It could be a bumpy ride for sites that rely on organic search traffic.

More on this topic from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “Google Plans SEO Over-Optimization Penalty.”

Google’s head spam cop Matt Cutts announced the impending launch of a new over-optimization penalty to “level the playing ground.” The disclosure came earlier this month at the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas during an open panel — entitled “Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!” — with Google’s and Bing’s webmaster and web spam representatives. Google’s goal for the penalty is to give sites that have produced great content a better chance to rank and drive organic search traffic and conversions.

Pretty much all site owners can point to the search results for their dearest trophy phrase and point out at least one site that just shouldn’t be allowed to rank. Competitive ire aside, sometimes sites have poor content but focus extra hard on their search engine optimization efforts. These sites are easy to spot. They usually have a keyword domain, lots of keyword-rich internal linking, and heavily optimized title tags and body content. Their link portfolios will be heavily optimized as well. But their content is weak, their value proposition is low, they’re obviously —to human observers —only ranking because of their SEO. The upcoming over-optimization penalty would theoretically change the playing field so that sites with great content and higher user value rank above sites with excessive SEO.

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

BloomReach: SEO Automated at Last?

Read more in my latest article at Practical Ecommerce, BloomReach to Change SEO Technology?.

Can relevance platform BloomReach change the SEO technology landscape? Bet on it.

Making search engine optimization more scalable, effective & efficient is the holy grail of all SEO platforms. Many measure different SEO datapoints and offer recommendations for marketers to implement. Some platforms actually implement SEO automatically. But well funded newcomer BloomReach debuted this week the most interesting solution in years with its Web Relevance Engine and BloomSearch service.

BloomReach’s head of marketing, Joelle Kaufman, was quick to say that it is not an SEO platform. It’s about “creating the most relevant user experience possible on any page,” she told me. The new platform is focused on improving user experience and conversion by exposing content —such as descriptions on a product page and user reviews —and algorithmically improving its relevance to search terms. Essentially, what BloomReach does is suck hoards of data from a merchant’s site, web analytics, product feeds, social media streams, competitors’ sites and more into its Web Relevance engine by means of an API. BloomReach semantically analyzes the data, determines relevance, decides which pages need additional content and links, and deploys the appropriate content algorithmically to the appropriate pages through its three services: “BloomSearch” for SEO, “BloomLift” for PPC, and “BloomSocial” for social media marketing. The infographic below makes the process a bit simpler to understand.

BloomReach Web relevance engine

Read more about this revolutionary relevance platform / SEO technology. »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.