A change this week to Google’s formula for determining search rankings serves as a reminder to online retailers about the importance of including original content on their e-commerce sites.
Google doesn’t normally announce tweaks to its search ranking algorithm, and though this change merited a Google blog posting Thursday evening, the details are typically vague. But Google says the changes will affect nearly 12% of searches, and will push sites that the search engine considers higher quality closer to the top of search results.
“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low value-add for users, copy content from other web sites or are just not very useful,” according to the blog posting from Amit Singhal, Google fellow, and Matt Cutts, a Google principal engineer. “At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”
But, at the least, the change highlights again the importance that Google places on unique content for search rankings. “Retailers that simply use the web copy from manufacturers or other resellers and don’t add anything new will have a harder time competing with all the other resellers that are doing the same thing,” says Mark Hawks, founder of SEOSavvy, a web marketing firm. “Unique content is very important for retailers and e-commerce.” Online textbook retailer eCampus.com moved up in natural search rankings by loading up its web site pages with more original content, including its own product descriptions and user reviews, vice president of marketing Mark Carson explained last week at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference in Orlando.
The changes could benefit retailers indirectly, says Joshua Bixby, co-founder and president of …read more