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Google Is Marching On Merchants


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#1 iamlost

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 04:57 PM

Kim actually wrote something on her own blog! I wonder how much dust had to be blown away before it would accept input... actually she's been doing so quite regularly again... guess I'll have to add her back to my bookmarked reading list. :)

I moved the following comment bit from The Google Mafia Squad: Matt Cutts Offers An Update.... as the topic has been alluded to in several recent threads and deserves it's very own 'OMG! Google is Marching On Merchants/Shopping!' venue.

PS - I need to vent about this latest Google "bad" vs "good" merchant stuff - Revenge of the User Friendly Web Site



The sad thing is that Kim totally missed (especially in the linked article she wrote over at Internet Marketing Ninjas) what Matt Cutts channelling Google means by 'good' versus 'bad'. Google has never cared much about accessibility or usability or code standards or anything else that webdevs might consider 'good' so long as the site/page renders and can be crawled.

What Google means by 'good' is found in their 'Trusted Stores" marketing effort:
Note: do you see the similarities in mindset between G+ and TS-badging...
* Reliable, on-time shipping
* Excellent, responsive customer service
Currently these are the only two merchant/shopping metrics that G appears to care about.
Note: merchants that sign up agree to underwrite a customer 'satisfaction insurance' plan.
Note: currently all only available in the US. With luck it'll wither and die.

Regardless, go read both.

* Revenge of the User Friendly Web Site

* Google Needs Proof Your Business is “Good” or Rank Will Tumble Down

What Kim expounds may not help with Google but it most certainly shouldl with customers, conversion rates, and all that real bottom line stuff.



#2 clandestino

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 05:59 PM

All you have to do is follow the money....if google can make money at it, they will try to find signals that help them do that.  Or, more appropriately, remove people (in the middle of the night, never to be seen again) they think will prevent them from doing that.

 

It's also the reason that google doesn't put up clear rules with metrics that can be monitored by small business websites -- those rules will get in google's way when they want to pursue a new profit opportunity.  It's not about being fair, it's about how much money google can make and google is willing to sacrifice the innocent to get what they want as it's in their nature.  Trusting google is like walking into a lion's cage.

 

No, "It's better that 10 men go free than one innocent man be convicted" here.

 

I disagree that UX isn't important to google.  It's just not the metric they use to assign authority to a website.  UX will increase customer engagement, word of mouth advertising, even evangelism.  That will generate traffic, lower bounce rate, higher conversion, higher time on page, new visitors and good reviews.  And google will pick up those metrics.

 

I agree, google's lack of interest in fariness and privacy is of serious concern.  I believe you're correct, those metrics factor in their latest attempts to create viable products and they will will use those metrics to destroy anyone or thing that get's in their way.

 

When will this industry mature to the point that someone gets that the search engine that can get traffic And maintain goodwill with all involved will be the winner?

 

I wonder what Amazon would do if they started a search engine?

 

These guys (google) are more of the Chicago thug politics variety -- e-commerce sites bring a knife, google will bring a gun.

 

google should go into politics  :kill_spam: .......

 

geez, what did I just say, that's exactly what they would want.......


Edited by chuckfinley, 12 March 2013 - 06:12 PM.


#3 clandestino

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 06:06 PM

Even more important to figure out how to send brand signals now.



#4 clandestino

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 06:18 PM

On site reviews may become ever more important --> express bazaar voice

 

That's bazaar, not bizarre as in "the bizarre behavior that matt cutts displays."

 

Bizarre Synonyms: weird, freakish, grotesque; fantastic; unusual, strange, odd.


Edited by chuckfinley, 12 March 2013 - 06:24 PM.


#5 bobbb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 06:18 PM

I wonder what Amazon would do if they started a search engine?

Why would they? They are doing just great as it is NOW.


Edited by bobbb, 12 March 2013 - 06:19 PM.


#6 clandestino

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 06:22 PM

Why would they? They are going just great as it is NOW.

 

They wouldn't.  Just curious as to what would happen if a search engine developed the same management/customer-service/leadership/strategic philosophy as Amazon.

 

Do you think they would do the same things that google does?

 

However, it is important to note that, Amazon is becoming a search engine unto itself when it comes to retail shopping.  Why do you think google is working so hard on all these on-line shopping schemes?


Edited by chuckfinley, 12 March 2013 - 06:23 PM.


#7 bobbb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 06:38 PM

Yes, of course about A. In Canada, they still don't sell every thing they sell in the USA.

 

Just read the article "Google Needs Proof Your Business is “Good” or Rank Will Tumble Down". Just a little comment about Harley-Davison not passing the test. It has long been known that "Harley People" won't buy anything else. There is no need to advertise. How many brands do you know of that people actually tattoo on their arm or chest or back. Ever seen a "Coke", "Pepsi", or "Honda" tattoo?

They are after those (males) in their mid-life crisis that are seeing their youth "disappear". They use to go out and buy a Corvette and go looking for a young babe.


Edited by bobbb, 12 March 2013 - 06:41 PM.


#8 clandestino

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:59 PM

Harley Davidson is a text book example of what the marketing principle - "Brand" - is all about.  That, is a Brand!

 

Google can't afford to leave Harley Davidson out of the search results no matter what kind of website they have.  What if you searched for "Harley Davidson" or "BMW", or etc., etc. and they didn't show up. 

 

google's brand would be damaged if Harley didn't show up and google knows it.  That puts google between a rock and a hard space when it comes to Brands.  It will pay to send signals that make you're site look like a Brand if you don't want to end up as collateral damage in the ongoing "google wars."

 

Small businesses are just going to continue to get abused unless there's some way to apply political pressure. 

 

I wish the Scroogled.com folks would start a campaign about google's reckless abuse of small businesses.  I've done informal marketing surveys (not statistically significant) and the participants in the survey are unaware of and shocked at what google does to small businesses with all these penalties.  Awareness of google's treatment of small business along with an alternative would be very powerful.

 

Maybe I'll give Mark Penn a call.  Hmmmmm......where'd I put his number.....

 

Mark Penn, A Political Brawler, Now Battling for Microsoft


Edited by chuckfinley, 13 March 2013 - 12:28 AM.


#9 cre8pc

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:19 PM

Google has never cared much about accessibility or usability or code standards

 

Not so!  Had I not witnessed it with my own eyes i would not have believed it either. When I visited the Googleplex, Marissa Mayer was still head of their user interface design dept.  They've put in more time studying user behavior than most anyone.  Even if it applied to their web properties and app's, as a whole Google is tapped into findabitlity, searchability, searcher behavior and much more.

 

This is why I'm miffed at this latest round of nasty news from Cutts.  When Google discovered the situation covered in the NY Times where a business boasted that traffic and sales rocked as a result of negative publicity and reviews, the company had to pause to look at this.  They've known for years about all the spam and cheating.  And yet despite their enormous access to human factors, neurology, social signals and all that, the simple fact is that rank is not earned by sites that provide excellent customer experiences online. 

 

Not only can web sites that fail usability and accessibility standards score the best rank in SERPS, the entire search engine marketing industry is not interested in providing great user experiences.  This year has been a real let down to me as I watch yet another year drifts past me where yet again the SEO industry refuses to acknowledge  or teach the benefits of usable sites for conversions.  Take a look at the SES NY agenda posted for their conference this month.  My 2 fellow SEO/UX previous panel buddies no longer present on any usability design or site structure topics.  We were pushed away..well, i was.  Those had the funds to sponsor their own sessions if they wanted to talk UX.

 

I learned the hard way this year to not mention "it-that-can't-be-named" in any pitches where Internet marketing is the theme.

 

All this tells me that Google will have fun playing head games with ecommerce sites.  Should you happen to be the kind of site owner who wants special needs people to buy from your site, all you get for that is good karma.  You won't be rewarded with rank.



#10 cre8pc

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:33 PM

Just a little comment about Harley-Davison not passing the test. It has long been known that "Harley People" won't buy anything else.

 

I didn't check their site on mobile emulators but that would be my next test for them.  I love Harley's, but I have poor eyesight.  Why should I be denied the right to read their site?  The General Motors example blew me away.  Stunning visuals, especially when you're dreaming of a brand new shiny car.  But I got motion sickness watching their pages move and the voice over made me jump because my laptop volume was up.   And again, can that site be accessed on cell phones?

 

I'm not going down the path where usability design means wrecked creativity.  What bothered me was how easy it is for brand name sites to rank no matter what, period, while a smaller, consciously built to meet the needs of a wide variety of people type of site continues to be shut out.  


Edited by cre8pc, 12 March 2013 - 09:35 PM.


#11 Ken Fisher

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 04:45 AM

All you have to do is follow the money...


That leads me to some thoughts..

 

Small businesses are just going to continue to get abused


I've never understood why Google for small business is free. Is it just a matter of time they get the notice.."we will now be charging for the service" They must have a plan here.

 

And what about quality in these local sites. We've all seen them. From good to "I had my daughter design ours"



#12 bobbb

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 12:30 PM

That's why anything they do is "free". Analytics, gmail, adsense, chrome, toolbar, the cloud thing, et cetera et cetera. It allows them to follow everyone everywhere (no conspiracy). They are sitting on a Mount Everest2 of information about everything. They are a domain name registrar so they know of any name anyone buys. Maybe a root DNS server somewhere. Who knows.



#13 clandestino

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 02:47 PM

I've never understood why Google for small business is free. Is it just a matter of time they get the notice.."we will now be charging for the service" They must have a plan here.

 

When I say small business, I'm thinking of businesses in the $500K to $5 million range.

 

It's sure isn't free, they spend bundles on websites and everything that goes with it and that drives traffic for google so they can sell their PPC and content network products.

 

The thing that irks me is that these businesses will spend $1,000's on websites, engagement, communications, conversion, etc. so that they will meet the needs of website visitors as google preaches and then google may pull the rug out from underneath them without any explanation or recourse.  And maybe they didn't do it.  And maybe they don't know what they did. And maybe google doesn't either. Or maybe google isn't clear as to what is ok. Or maybe google changes their mind as to what is ok and forgets to tell anybody. Or maybe google can make money with a new product so who cares about rules and fairness.

 

It all looks like bad faith at best or more likely depraved indifference on google's part to me.

 

google needs to get some customer service for webmasters, google can afford it.  And yes, e-commerce sites are customers - they drive the traffic that lines google coffers and most of the time e-commerce sites buy PPC too.

 

It creates a problem for me because I'm more than happy to take money from those small businesses to create a site that will engage and then google pulls the rug out.  The client turns and looks at me.  I don't appreciate it when google smears my good reputation.

 

Same when I ran a CPA practice.  When the IRS audited the client, the client turned and looked at me as the source of the problem.

 

google and the irs come from the same swatch of cloth.  Actually, I prefer the IRS, they have ethics.

 

Note: I never capitalize google out of disrespect.


Edited by chuckfinley, 16 March 2013 - 11:17 PM.


#14 cre8pc

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 04:37 PM

With news that Panda will be updated on Friday and other updates, warnings and alerts from Matt Cutts, I've been wandering around looking for relationships between engine search and rank criteria and user experience design.  This is what I do every day....year after year.  Why?

 

Because web site owners don't look at my part until they've blown the search marketing part to pieces and still don' rank or convert as they'd like to.  In fact, in a discussion with someone I work with at Ninja-land I could feel myself losing the battle on how and when to use analytic data from tools like GA. Clicktracks, etc. It always seems to be that peaks, pie charts and numbers are the holy grail and explain why a site is performing as it is.  I say the data is incomplete to me because none of it tells me anything about the people from where the information came from.  

 

With Panda, I'm reminded that search engines struggle with the same thing.  Google (most in the news) knows there is spam, they know their users want accurate, credible results and they would prefer to rank highest the sites we love and trust (that last part is debatable since Google will kneel whenever a company throws money at them.)  But, for the sake of argument, what if Google truly cares about our user experience and how would they know our preferences?

 

That's been my big question.  How do we know when something like a page bounce is recorded because a user with ADHD is unable to withstand the number of distractions on the page?  When have you ever seen Google Analytics show you how many site visitors couldn't read the tiny gray text on your pages and that's why they not only left but sure as hell won't be making referrals.

 

The only interesting find came from a post Bill Slawski put up awhile back on a patent that would help with understanding user feedback.  It's a start but still far from being a true storyteller and sadly, some of its criteria can be generated for a fee to fake a lift.  Still, I found his review enlightening:

 

How Google Might Rank User Generated Web Content in Google + and Other Social Networks

 

The weights between each relationship or link between two members of a network might be based upon:

How relevant a response or comment might be from the first person to something that the second person posted,
How original a post or comment or piece of content submitted to the network might be compared to other content items,
How much “coverage” or broadening of a topic a piece of content might add to the network, based upon a measure of uncommon terms in the post or comment or reply,
How “rich” the content item might be, (Does it include multimedia or rich media content) or
The timeliness of a content item, such as a quick comment in response to a post, or a fast answer to a question.



#15 clandestino

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 11:06 PM

I'm getting to the end of finishing an e-commerce website for a client.  It came out really nice too.  You should see the contrast from the old to the new.  The company's website visitors will be blown away.  The Marketing/Advertising work is awesome.  The Neuro-Marketing features can't be touched.  Usabillty is at it's height.  The Design work and use of images are unequaled.  The Content and Ad Copy are excellent. And, of course, I know this is all true because I said so myself. ;)
 
Having just recounted all those really positive things, I can't help but pass on a lament while it's fresh in my mind -- Then there's google.
 
google should just end the war on e-commerce sites and rank them separately with a separate set of rules.  There's just no realistic way not to have lots of duplicate content and still satisfy the needs of users.  All these silly games we play with duplicate content, thin content, keyword density (mainly these days in fear that, although you've given the user exactly what they want, google may decide you used a keyword once too often and point the Penguin at you), canonicalization, etc., etc.
 
What if Amazon operated it's shopping search engine this way.  What kind of experience would that produce.  One a lot like using google PPC and Organic Search to shop I'll bet. (Note: Amazon is going to take over e-commerce if google isn't careful.)
 
Not everyone can or should be a publisher.  Many of these e-commerce sites do the publishing part very poorly because that's not the business they are in.  That's the flaw in google's business model.  They are trying to get businesses to function as though they are in a business that they are not.
 
That doesn't mean you don't develop effective ad copy and design that enhances user experience. The e-commerce site may still want to create a customer engagement portion of their website, where it's appropriate for that type of customer.  It just means customers don't get the history of faucet washers from you and they didn't want that from you anyway.  The visitor just wants his faucett to stop leaking not get all the gory details of how washers were invented, how they were tooled, the macro-economic effect of faucett washers in a pre-recovery, post-recession economy in the US..........
 
How dumb can you get?  If it works from a marketing standpoint (apart from rankings) then do it.  If not, why would you?  google's check would be that the e-commerce site wants to make money -- self preservation is a very strong emotion.  Done right, penalties would rarely be necessary.  google would have to want to work with e-commerce sites to establish rules that allow the e-commerce site to market itself but, it wouldn't be that hard.
 
E-commerce sites drive traffic and that traffic clicks on PPC Ads, Google Content Network Ads, etc., etc.  What more do they want?  Does every business have to operate their primary business and learn the publishing business too?
 
This isn't rocket surgery.  C'mon google.......


Edited by chuckfinley, 18 March 2013 - 04:22 AM.


#16 clandestino

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 11:33 PM

Not so!  Had I not witnessed it with my own eyes i would not have believed it either. When I visited the Googleplex, Marissa Mayer was still head of their user interface design dept.  They've put in more time studying user behavior than most anyone.  Even if it applied to their web properties and app's, as a whole Google is tapped into findabitlity, searchability, searcher behavior and much more.

 

I just read an article that talked about how Marissa Mayer is UX driven.  She tests everything.  If you spend some time on Yahoo! you'll see a lot of changes going on.

 

I believe in UX and A/B testing. 

 

We did an A/B test on one product for a client.  Actually, I added it to a bundle as a teaser.  His conversion increased 84% over approx a 4 month period.

 

When I called him to show him that, we drilled down on what that meant.  What was a conversion, on average, worth to him?  To make a long story short, the net present value of the additional revenues over 5 years at 5% interest was $103,000.  He paid me $7,500.  That makes his ROI - 13,700%

 

My next question was - "I wonder if it would be worth it to do this with your other products too?"

 

His answer - "All of them and is there a way you can do this even faster because I have two more sites for you to get to."

 

To get people interested in UX, you first have to get them to see the value in it.  My example above is one of many ways to do that.  Every situation is different and a different approach may be necessary as a result.

 

The one thing that doesn't change is --  they have to see value in it first, before they will buy.

 

The next step was to let him know that looking out for his interests, it would not be fair of me to redesign his site one product at at time.  I suggested we redesign his site with conversion in mind and then start A/B testing (this has the added advantage that it will be a lot easier to create the A/B tests).  That's what he did and that's why I did the re-design I was talking about in the previous post.

 

Once the new site is up, he'll pay me a fixed monthly fee and I'll add a new A/B test each month.  We'll keep going until we're done.  This will go on for quite some time.

 

Sales is so integral to all business that it's almost impossible to suceed without a solid knowledge of the principles.

 

It used to blow me away in my early business consulting days how many people started a business and hated sales and didn't want to have anything to do with it.  I'm reminded of the book The E Myth  by Michael Gerber.  The point of the book is most people go into business for all the wrong reasons.  Usually it's to do what they love and then they find themselves doing everything but what they love (like sales) or, they go out of business.

 

Sales means you have to understand what the customer is dealing with.  You must understand their problems, in their terms.  If you do, they will literally come across the table at you to hear what you have to say.  Much like the example I gave above.

 

I've been in business for 25 years.  I know the problems business owners are dealing with.  And, I know how to talk to them about it in a way that will get a postive emotional response.  Without the emotion, they'll never act.  You will have great success if you can peel away the layers to find the real concerns that will lead you to the reasons that they will act, today!

 

Then, you just have to explain it to them in a way that they can understand.


Edited by chuckfinley, 17 March 2013 - 12:38 AM.


#17 bobbb

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:51 AM

If you spend some time on Yahoo! you'll see a lot of changes going on

This is true and I have noticed. I do root for them.





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