A lot of you know I do a lot of Ecommerce Link Building and it can be a sour lover sometimes to fight the uphill battle against Google. The recent Mayday update from Google took a good look at the long tail search arena, and hit a few Ecommerce sites harder than a lot of people expected. I’ll try and give you folks a few pointers to either keep your long tail traffic, improve it or gain back the losses from the past 45 days.
There are a lot of iffy factors that come into play with online shops, and for those who handle them as a one man team know they’re life is already hell. The duties included with running the shop online are plentiful, and marketing is not really something a lot of you folks have time to handle. Now when your traffic gets hit by a large, noticeable amount, what is a person to do? I currently have several Ecommerce clients, and only one had a strange issue within the past month. I’ve had the chance to also look over my shop online which didn’t take a hit, it is well on its way to double the natural search traffic this month!
Content Fit For A King:
The one very important, and obvious factor that I noticed right away was the structure of the shops content. My clients with lengthy, unique descriptions above the fold saw nothing but improvement in the SERPs. Matt Cutts mentioned that this is specifically what they were going after;
This change seems to have primarily impacted very large sites with “item” pages that don’t have many individual links into them, might be several clicks from the home page, and may not have substantial unique and value-added content on them. For instance, Ecommerce sites often have this structure. The individual product pages are unlikely to attract external links and the majority of the content may be imported from a manufacturer database. Of course, as with any change that results in a traffic hit for some sites, other sites experience the opposite. Based on Matt’s comment at Google I/O, the pages that are now ranking well for these long tail queries are from “higher quality” sites (or perhaps are “higher quality” pages).
So that’s definitely something to worry about for people with thousands of products. I only have shops with 40 or less products, so I’ve been lucky enough to have unique content for each of my pages. I have had a couple hotel chains come to me after being hit, too many of the same short info pages for their hotels.
My product pages also bring in my social media from around the web such as embedded Youtube videos on the product, the latest tweets and customer reviews which add unique content value. You would be surprised how many Ecommerce sites I see without customer reviews allowed. It’s easy enough to manage to get something going because it also can inspire the confidence needed to make that shopper complete the sale.
Internal & External Linking:
Mr Cutts also mentions that the pages were often not linked well, and this is something I almost always see. Great examples of doing it too good are of course Zappos and Overstock.com, so give them a real good look into for inspiration. While external link building takes time, you can start with a few easy internal link building options.
- provide links from your blog to internal pages…blog about your products!
- provide internal links from related product pages
- add more content to already indexed pages…then yes, add a few related internal links
As for link building, you should be utilizing all avenues that relate to your business including business directories, guest blogging, social media and content marketing. Keep things flowing at a normal rate and you’ll eventually get to the point where the snowball effect takes over, and your rankings grow in due time.