This story goes back to 2010 when a feature in the New York Times wrote about bad customer service from a glasses / sun glasses online store. The key to the story was the organic rankings came from people writing, blogging and basically linking to the site because of the poor customer experience.
This then opened the debate regarding can google tell good from bad? A link is a link?
In short Google in 2010 ended up downgraded the site manually. You can read all about it in the following blog post:
Back to 2013
Matt Cutts of google brought the topic back up at SXSW conference last week suggesting google are going to look at the issue again and downgrade organic ranking of merchants with poor customer experiences:
“because we don’t want low quality experience merchants to be ranking in the search results”
Credit for the quote and conference coverage to searchengineroundtable
This of course all ties in with google’s “trusted stores”
When will google trusted stores come to the uk?
Currently you still have to be based in the US and price in USD to be a trusted store. Google haven’t mention anything about other countries as yet. If you or your client is in the US then check out how to become a Trusted store merchant here.
I’ve worked with google Merchant Center (froogle, google base) from the start. I’ve even had chance to help Clay, the product manager at google, out back in 2006 with all the problems it had with the crazy data feeds and delays back in the day.
As most of you know google is slowly switching over it’s shopping results from a free model to a Pay Per Click Model. Here in the UK Google has said the following:
Google Shopping will be transitioning to a new experience in the UK beginning 13 February 2013.
Over the past weeks google shopping results have been showing less and less in the organic results and more and more shopping ads are showing.
This graph below shows the real results for a site with referrals from just the organic shopping channel, which you can clearly see the drop in visits hence drop in exposure of the organic shopping listing on the search results pages:
With organic search flat lining site owners really need to consider the use of the Pay Per Click model now being used.
Here is the impressions chart (the number of times an ad is shown) for the Pay Per Click shopping ads in the UK over the same time period:
It’s pretty clear to see if you are not running the PPC Uk Google Shopping you’ll be messing out on what you once had. Feel free to contact us regarding google shopping and advertising on google.
Last week we saw Interflora UK wiped of the face of the earth, well off of Google anyhow for allegedly breaking their terms and conditions. Here’s what Matt Cutts had to say about buying links and paying for advertorials.
Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or “advertorial” pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations. The consequences for a linkselling site start with losing trust in Google’s search results, as well as reduction of the site’s visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar. The consequences can also include lower rankings for that site in Google’s search results.
You can see loads of the coverage from last week here http://www.seroundtable.com/google-penalty-advertorials-16412.html AND http://searchengineland.com/will-google-penalize-chromebooks-advertorials-149452
This wasn’t a bolt out of the blue and Interflora UK must have been aware as they started a militant clean up last Aug 2012, contacting bloggers to remove the links that they initially purchased and threatening them with DMCA takedown notice or reporting the links to Google.
So, why are they still sending out vouchers in return for advertorials? This voucher was received last week (19th Feb 2013).
Are they playing with fire or just someone being rather naive?
Image credit Lee Forrest