There is practically an unlimited number of viewpoints regarding the policy currently enforced by Google. In essence, the representatives of this giant search engine company bluntly stated that websites with the sole intention of selling services or products will no longer be deemed relevant in the indexed pages as long as they do not provide the necessary content.
If you are running any ecommerce websites, you used to think that content is far from your list of concern. But now, I would say that you have to make this one of your primary concerns! Simply put, if Google thinks that your site is only concerned with making money, it directly translates to a spammy site!
Needless to say, this policy has struck a powerful blow to smaller websites with limited sales inventories, leaving giant retailers like Amazon and EBay unscathed. Google’s intentions of limiting the amount of websites that could be perceived as spam are justified, but the methods used to enforce them are questionable.
The silver lining in Google’s rating policy
As mentioned, any sales website that hopes to stay in business will be required to add reviews of the products in stock. Undoubtedly, this will require quite a bit of work on the part of the webmasters, but it does present certain advantages that cannot be overlooked. For instance, the websites will target an extra audience, meaning visitors that are searching for product or services reviews without a clear purchase intention. Therefore, the content is not only used to conform to the specifications of SE spiders, but also to human users. Moreover, an ecommerce site will not only benefit from extra conversions that reviews bring, they will also generate extra traffic from people seeking reviews for those products.
In addition, the ability to share the personal experience with a certain product with others can help people discern between effective and ineffective purchase decision. From this point of view, Google has made a correct decision and the results will most likely be the eradication of a large percentage of illicit websites. Although it has been argued that the human rating option introduced following the Panda update was a sufficient regulatory procedure, up-rating or down-rating a website is not explanatory. In other words, if you are running a legitimate website, than you have nothing to fear from Google.
So why is Google’s current policy frowned upon?
To put it simply, this search engine company does not clearly reveal all the aspects that account for a high SERP rating. Even the interview with Matt Cutts that can be viewed on YouTube can be perceived as vague and presents only the general aspects regarding the rules that websites need to conform to in order to be rated highly. Therefore, many website owners feel they are left in the dark for no reason, given that Google’s intention is to make the internet a better place for everyone. In essence, everyone questions how it will all play out in the end if nobody but Google knows the rules of the game, which makes most of their decisions seem arbitrary.
How do the average users perceive Google’s decisions?
Granted, the opinions are mixed among the normal users as well. On one hand, it is great to be able to read the reviews or get relevant information for your search terms. On the other hand, for those who are simply looking to compare different prices and are looking for local or online retailer catalogues, it can be quite frustrating that the websites they need are not listed among the top SERPs. The only logical thing to do is hope Google will sort out these issues in a future update, in order to benefit both the users and the website owners.
Jeet works with many internet marketers and ecommerce site owners as a link building and SEO consultant. He always thought having product reviews was a great way to establish trust.