Google Major Changes: Google Shopping, Google Places, Penguin Update
by Elana Birnbaum - June 5th, 2012 3:25 pm
In ecommerce this week, a very important change has been made that will eliminate free clicks on Google Product Search listings. Vendors will now bid for the top spot in a new program called Google Shopping. In other news, Google + has rolled out a new service that will now include local listings and customer reviews. Globally, ecommerce is up by more than 300% in the Middle East, with approximately 70% of transactions completed through cash-on-delivery.
Google Shopping Changes, Killing Free Clicks
Google has introduced a new change that will “phase out free clicks on Google Product Search listings.” Once the new program called Google Shopping launches, ecommerce merchants will be required to bid on placement for their products for related search terms in Google. Online retailers will no longer see their listings appear in the comparison shopping service. Instead, this service will be replaced with the Google Shopping program, which will include paid product ad listings. According to Sameer Samat, Google Shopping’s Vice President of Product Management, “Google Shopping will empower businesses of all sizes to compete effectively, and it will help shoppers turn their intentions into actions lightning fast. Today’s changes are a first step toward providing technology, tools, and traffic to help power the retail ecosystem.”
Google Plus Takes Over Local Listings: Is Google Places Obsolete?
The social networking site Google Plus will now infuse local listings and customer reviews into the traditional Google + architecture. Google + Local, a new service recently launched by Google, will automatically extend Google + pages to include their local business listings. Retailers with a large assortment of brick and mortar stores will need to create separate pages for each location in order to ensure that they make it into the local listings. In addition to the listings, Google + will now also feature a list of customer reviews from Zagat, a company that Google acquired last year, to be displayed in the organic search results.
Ecommerce Growth up by 300% in the Middle East Last Year
At the recent Celebration of Entrepreneurship (COE) Ecommerce event, Iyad Kamal, COO of Aramex, provided insight on the ecommerce landscape and how it has changed in the past year. Ecommerce has grown significantly in the Middle East, with figures skyrocketing more than 300%. For Aramex, shipments have increased by more than 70%. The primary payment method relies on the relatively outdated cash-on-delivery (COD) transactional type, with approximately 70% of transactions completed this way. 30% of transactions are completed through online payment portals, which pose a problem for many retailers attempting to take advantage of this market. COD transactions also have a much higher rate of return (more than 7% higher) than online payment purchases.
Google Penguin Update Proves to be Good for SEO
Google’s latest algorithm update, the Penguin, has resulted in falling rankings for some and soaring rankings for others. While it may seem complicated as to why and how these ranking changes occur, the Penguin update has actually proven to be quite good for SEO and Internet marketing. Authority is now more important than ever before, with a major focus on natural, high quality links, engaging content, and more stability. Keeping up with the latest changes in Google’s algorithm can be time intensive, but these new changes have made it easier for merchants to focus on creating quality content and building natural links back to their website.
Personalization, Pinterest, and iPad Accelerate Ecommerce Success
While the economy has been in turmoil, ecommerce has been a remarkably resilient industry. New data released by comScore indicates that more than $44 billion is circulating through American ecommerce channels. This figure is up 17% from the year before. With rapidly accelerating year over year growth, the last three quarters show a very promising future for ecommerce. Experts believe that there are a variety of factors that have contributed to the upsurge in ecommerce solutions. A technology-driven society combined with economic pressures may have resulted in a perfect storm of sorts, promoting great online opportunities for merchants. With the emergence of a more personalized digital atmosphere, the iPad and Pinterest are paving the way for another upsurge in ecommerce activity.
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