At a recent SXSW music and media conference Google representative Matt Cutts discussed a potential Google update that looks at the quality of merchant websites and factors this into their rankings. Here is what Cutts had to say about the possible algorithm change: “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.”

The details from Google are vague and the speculation from Internet marketing professionals and us at Tampa SEO is that there are some likely issues that the algorithm will target.

Google Shopping’s Trusted Stores Program

Google’s Trusted Stores for merchants program is an elective program that allows Google to monitor a store’s shipping and customer service. If the store performs well, Google gives them a badge to appear on the website indicating trust to the consumer. As the program is offered by Google and allows them to get direct insight into a company, it could also be a strong quality indicator that can influence ranking.

Adherence to the Search Quality Guidelines

Google released a search quality guideline pdf that showcases what Google believes are good qualities of a trusted merchant. The following will likely have some influence over rankings:
• a “view your shopping cart” link that stays on the same site.
• a shopping cart that updates when you add items to it.
• a return policy with a physical address.
• a shipping charge calculator that works.
• a “wish list” link, or a link to postpone the purchase of an item until later.
• a way to track FedEx orders.
• a user forum that works.
• the ability to register or login.
• a gift registry that works.

Tampa SEO is advising its clients to incorporate as many of these as possible but is explaining that all of these features are not mandatory to be considered a true merchant.

Reviews for SEO

Reviews are always a strong indicator as to how consumers feel about your products and services. Google can already speculate, from reviews, how your company is perceived by consumers and this factor may indicate trustworthiness. If you don’t have a review strategy, it is time to consider how important this can be and to start providing your customers more opportunity to give their feedback.

Physical Locations for SEO

Even though your business may operate online, if you have a brick and mortar store that is close to the actual searchers locale it may rank higher. This connection will have to be analyzed further but Google already places strong emphasis on local intent so this factor can play into search results.

If you have an online merchant store you have enough to worry about in terms of marketing and customer service. These new changes may affect your ability to rank and should be addressed sooner than later. To get help with merchant SEO, contact Tampa SEO today.

Posted in: Blog by on April 23rd, 2013 Comments (0)

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