Google Panda Update Hit E-Commerce Sites Too

    March 31, 2011
    Chris Crum

Remember how eHow launched its big redesign after the Panda update hit? They put a great deal more focus on feedback and social media. eHow told us Google’s changes didn’t influence the redesign, which has been in the works since well before Panda hit, but much of Demand Media’s focus these days does seem to be on becoming less and less dependent on Google (or search in general).

Well, clearly E-Commerce shop owners should have a similar goal.  This may mean some redesigning.

Rob Snell, author of Starting a Yahoo! Business For Dummies, notes that while 1% of Yahoo Stores were impacted by Google’s Panda update, several large Yahoo Stores were on the widely publicized list of hardest-hit sites, published by Sistrix.

Snell listed the following as ten common mistakes that retailers are making in terms of SEO, or as he puts it, issues they “need to address” now to “protect themselves from major algorithm changes like Panda”:

1.  Little Or No Original Product Text Content
2.  Little Or No Original Category / Section Page Content
3.  Same Template. Page After Page After Page
4.  Really, Really, Really Big Boilerplate Text
5.  Same Run Of Site Links On Every Single Page
6.  Writing Unique Content But Giving It Away
7.  Great Unique Content Buried On Pages Not In The Index
8.  Unique Content Hidden From Spiders
9.  Multiple Pages On The Same Domain With The Same Content
10.  Competing against yourself with multiple sub-domains

Snell elaborates on each of these in his original post.

While these are things that certainly extend well beyond retailers using Yahoo Stores, Yahoo itself made an announcement this week that may help, to some extent, in the way that eHow is trying to decrease Google dependence. It’s simply an increased emphasis on social.

It’s a social media sharing feature that lets retailers add “share to Twitter and Facebook “Like” options to their stores’ product pages. This was announced before the big news from Google (the +1 button), so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the new button make an appearance too.

Jennifer Farwell of Yahoo Small Business says, “Enabling this feature allows your customers to easily spread the word about your products to their social media networks. This boost to your marketing efforts can help you reach a wider audience, which in turn can help to generate more quality traffic for your store.”

Yahoo Stores Get Social Feature
If they add the +1 button, it could help in search, as well. Google has already come out and said that the data will be taken into consideration as a ranking factor, and Bing uses clickstream data from Google results, apparently, so there’s that too.

E-commerce store-owners should consider adding these types of buttons, regardless of whether or not they’re using Yahoo Stores. There’s a good chance you’re already doing this, but the fallout from the Google Panda update, simply drives home the point of just how important it really is.

Even if you’re still showing up in search results today, you never know when a Google change is going to hit you. They happen every day – not all as big as Panda – but they happen.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.