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Thursday, December 11, 2008
Shopping search engines are being utilized now more than ever. Yesterday's press release from comScore shows, "Comparison shopping sites and coupon sites also represent a larger contribution to retailers’ referred dollar sales than they did last year."

Consumers are looking for the best deals online so they can save money in this extremely tight economy. So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to the panel at Search Engine Strategies this year discussing shopping search engines.

Before we get into the information that was shared, let me share with you some numbers provided by comScore. I believe after you see these numbers, you will be just as interested in this panel as I was!!

"Cyber Monday saw significant visitor gains at most of the top retail resources, led by Shopzilla.com Sites with nearly 2 million visitors (up 98 percent versus the November base period), followed by Yahoo! Shopping with 1.9 million visitors (up 81 percent) and Google Product Search with 1.1 million (up 59 percent). CyberMonday.com, Shop.org’s online round-up of the best Cyber Monday deals, attracted 1 million unique visitors."

So now that I have your attention, let's get to the nitty gritty!

Shopping engines bring merchants 15-20% of their sales (more during holidays) and have over 10,000,000 unique visitors a month. Price is only one factor; others are brand, optimization, right category and content.

Greg Hintz, General Manager for Yahoo! Shopping stated that their product submit gets 25,000,000 visitors, 70,000,000 products and 200,000,000 page views. Yahoo product submit is very easy to use and can increase your traffic. The good news, you only pay when the user clicks.

Here is where the important information comes in... Before you send the data to the shopping search engines:
  • Optimize your data feeds.
  • Make sure they provide relevant and comprehensive data.
  • You always want to provide a fresh feed with the latest products.
  • Favor factual information instead of marketing language. So instead of selling fashionable clothes you need to say "Brown Leather Jacket"
  • Make sure to include product specifics.
Now that we understand what we need in order to get into Yahoo Product Submit... how does the rankings work?
  • Relevance
  • Merchant Rating - The higher your rating, the higher your ranking will appear.
  • Finally, if two websites have equal relevance and the same ratings by their customers... it comes down to the amount of your last bid.
It is important to remember that your ratings are an important factor when it comes to your rankings. So make sure to ask your customer for reviews. Make sure to follow the basic rules of good business - good customer service and easy fulfillment!

Finally, look at shopping comparison sites that may be highly niche. For instance, Like.com is a small player, but you can hit big you are appealing to the right market.

Next up on the panel was Aaron Shear with Partner Boost Search Marketing who explained that 90% of e-commerce sites are not crawlable. *Note from Shawna - This is why we love the Yahoo Store platform! They are crawlable!!*

Aaron also shared that sites with poor organization (products that are 8-10 clicks in) are not going to get ranked well in the shopping search engines.

**Important** Your chances of selling your products increase as you have multiple access to products. For instance - Shop By's, Christmas Gifts, Holiday Gifts, etc. Also, if you have a product that can be found multiple ways.... create duplicate product page changing the product title and description. Then place these pages in multiple areas in your store under different categories.

For instance - Let's say you sell Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm

You could create the following two pages:
  • Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm
  • Canon Rebel Digital Camera
REMEMBER TO CHANGE THE DESCRIPTIONS!! You do not want to have duplicate content!

Google looks at site performance. Make your site faster! Reasons for slower sites include:
  • Poor database
  • Not enough capacity
  • Poor coding
  • Poor network routing
  • Too far from Google Crawler
Also make sure to use clean URL's. Invest the money and time and pay attention to your product URL's. It will pay off!

Has your store seen an increase of traffic from the shopping search engines?

# Moderator:
Brian A. Smith, Analyst, ComparisonEngines

# Speakers:
Greg Hintz, General Manager, Yahoo! Shopping
Jonathan Ashton, VP of SEO & Web Analytics, Agency.com
Dave Moran, Senior Manager, Data Feed Practice, Performics
Aaron Shear, Partner, Boost Search Marketing

by: Shawna Seigel

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