|Mon Apr 4 2011 23:29:08|
eBay, Google Heart Big Merchants - Content Key for Small Sellers
By: Ina Steiner
I spent some time this afternoon speaking to Mercent's Eric Best about eBay's pending acquisition of GSI Commerce, and what he's seeing in the ecommerce industry these days. It's no secret eBay has been courting large merchants and brands and moving away from the auction format. Eric agrees small sellers on eBay will have to compete with new large retailers as a result of the acquisition.
But Google also has its eyes on large retailers. Eric said that in addition to the Panda changes Google made in February, he's been observing Google shifting its focus in the first quarter toward larger sellers in terms of relevancy ranking. Google is also shifting more page real estate and algorithms to local in-store price and inventory availability, he said.
How can smaller retailers get on Google's radar? Eric says reputation and original content are areas that retailers can control. Google assigns big points for original content, and Eric said that would be a continued theme moving forward.
Sellers can incorporate shopper-generated content and feedback ratings into their product listings, and should also look for creative ways to provided unique and value-added information. It could be product reviews, seller feedback ratings, or it could be "non-product focused content," such as providing information about industry-related events.
A few days ago, online merchant and SEO guru Rob Snell tackled this very issue in an article for Search Engine Land called, "When Pandas Attack: Online Retailers Need To React." Rob was referencing the Panda changes Google made in February and said, "creating compelling content is paramount for SEO for online retailers."
Rob outlined, "10 Common Mistakes Many Retailers Make," such as
- "Little Or No Original Product Text Content";
- "Same Template. Page After Page After Page";
- "Really, Really, Really Big Boilerplate Text";
- "Writing Unique Content But Giving It Away".
He also listed suggestions for, "What To Do For Your Online Store Post Panda." Create unique content, and focus on your top products that drive the most traffic to your site or storefront.
It's not exactly news that content is important - but it's more important than ever for sellers to have a content strategy and think about the content they're creating and with whom they are sharing it. Rob's article is a great primer - print it out and study it!
Smaller sellers often have unique products, which can help them write unique content. It's possible they may be in a better position to win with content than their larger colleagues.
Eric Best had many other things to say about the current state of the commerce industry including the fact that Amazon is driving four times the volume than eBay for his clients - you can listen to the full interview on the AuctionBytes Ecommerce Industry Soundbytes podcast.
Let us know if you've been impacted by changes at Google and if you use content as a way to differentiate your business.