Google Changes Webinar Q+A follow-up…

Before Internet Retailer, on June 9th, we held a webinar about google changes including Panda, Google Product Search (GPS) changes and the impact on CSEs.   After 70mins we still had ~10 questions in queue and promised to answer those.  Here are the answers to those questions.

If you missed the original webinar, you can listen to a recorded version of it here from our webinars page ( or follow this link to go directly to the webinar.

Q1: On Google for the term ‘clearvite apex’,  we show up in organic search, page 1 in the top 5 results.  Yet we do not show up in google shopping until page 2.  How do the results from shopping differ from the organic search.  What can be done so that shopping results are more consistent with the “everything” organic search? 

A1: The two algorithms are not the same as you’ve seen.  Pagerank looks at the content (URL, page, etc.) and the inbound links.  GPS uses the content and then factors such as sales rank (CTR as proxy), etc.  Without knowing more, it’s hard to say, but usually our GPS experts can analyze a feed file and find a whole host of things that can be improved on the content side to improve your rankings which drives more sales which increases your sales rank, etc.


Q2: Can you please tell me if I have this link right. I am having a problem accessing it. 

A2: Weird, usually that shortcut works.  We tried using the longer form and got there here:

The longer form instructions:

  1. Go to a google SERP and click on ‘rated’ for those that have merchant ratings.
  2. Edit the URL to be your URL instead of the one you clicked on.

Q3: Also have you ever heard of “influencing keywords”. I am using an SEO company called XXXX that specialises in ‘influencing keywords’. I fear at this time they be doing me harm rather than good. How can I find that out? 

A: As we said on the webinar, any SEO firm that claims to have a silver bullet that ‘guarantees’ you some kind of SEO results, should probably be avoided.  If they are out there buying links for you, that is very very dangerous and has resulted in overstock and jcp being in google’s high profile penalty box.  Panda/Farmer was specifically targeted at content farmers and this ‘influencing keywords’ sounds like someone maybe going out there and writing bogus content to try and fool google to increase your rank.  It’s our belief that the risk is not worth the reward on these types of schemes, but of course it’s up to each retailer to go through that calculation.

Q4: I was wondering if there was any way to get more information on how Product Display Ads / Auto Targets work within Google.We are trying to figure out what criteria Google uses to display the products.  Sometimes the products are not even relevant to the search term. For instance, if you search for “Raw Protein” the product Wobenzym will show in the Product Ads section on the top right, but our competitor’s Raw protein product shows. 

A: Google does not publish or discuss their matching algorithm for Google Product Listing Ads. It is supposed to automatically match user intention with products, but we have seen, as you have, that is not always accurate. We suspect that this is part of the reason that we are currently seeing fewer product listing ads in Google search results as Google works to refine their matching algorithms.

Q5: I was suspended from Amazon Marketplace (I was 100% not guilty-it was an Amazon internal issue).  Am I still able to sell on Amazon using Amazon Product Ads?  I ask because this was suggested as a way to sell on Amazon (without having a Sellers account)?

A5: Amazon is extremely efficient at never letting suspended sellers back on the site. While I’ve never seen this exact situation, my guess is they would not allow it.  Your best bet would be to partner with a reseller or a completely different entity with completely different information (everything – IPs, bank accounts, names, addresses, EIN, SSN, etc.) and work with them to run product ads.

Q6: Have you found that Google adwords ads are more or less effective this year (as op to last year)?  Is Bing or economy doing any damage to Google adwords?

A6: Over on eBay strategies we release SSS and search details. Here’s a link to the May results.  As you can see y/y search has slowed, and conversion rates are up, costs are up, etc.  Between google and bing, we don’t see a change in that google has > 66% market share, so the whole space is a little soft right now, most likely due to the economy.

Q7:  I tried the Google link you posted at the webinar (to ck Web Site reviews) but link did not work?  Is this link correct: A: See Q2 for more directions.

Q8: If selling via ebay, amazon and your own web site would be the top 3 venues to sell on – what would you consider to be no 4?

A8: We have an unusual view of the world in that we view the web site as an enabler for even more channels.  So I would say once you have your web site active, you should consider search.  We publish an annual report on the influence across all of e-commerce for the major channels.  For 2010:

  • Paid Search – 44%
  • Marketplaces (largely eBay and Amazon) – 27%
  • CSE – 10%
  • Direct – 9%
  • Mobile – 6%
  • Social – 4%

Search is the largest and in your question you don’t mention it which is why we suggest search and CSE as the next channels because they represent 53% of e-commerce.  Of course this is a rule of thumb and some situations don’t work well in those channels and we’d recommend something else.  That being said, if eBay and Amazon are working well, then usually retailers can make the jump quickly to search and CSE – they are just different and require a different set of knowledge.


That’s it – if you have any other questions, sound off in comments.