Social commerce company Reevoo and its SEO partner Distilled have published a whitepaper on SEO best practices, which they claim must be the highest priority for online retailers following Google’s latest algorithm update, which ranks sites based on the quality of their content.
The duo claim the update is widely reported to have negatively impacted the search ranking results of several prominent online retailers. According to Reevoo and Distilled, the whitepaper provides existing online retailers with SEO tactics to enable them to mitigate the effects of the February 2011 update, and provides advice for any retailer designing a site to work well in the new world of search.
One of the effects of the Google update is to filter out websites that appear not to produce their own content, choosing instead to copy content from somewhere else and republish it. This is a contentious issue for online retailers which, with thousands of products, often resort to publishing either stock manufacturers’ descriptions of products, or content that other retailers are also likely to access and put online, says the whitepaper. Google also increasingly appears to reward websites that appear genuine and trustworthy to the user, it adds.
Will Critchlow, founder of Distilled, said: “The importance of quality, unique content has always been apparent in the SEO industry; indeed, when asked to advise webmasters on what SEO tactics they should employ, the answer from Google typically includes the words ‘quality, unique content’. Getting quality, unique content onto individual product pages has always been a problem for e-commerce websites, and the latest update exacerbates the difficulties.”
Richard Anson, CEO of Reevoo, said: “The problem isn’t one of knowing what to write, it’s more one of scaling the content across thousands of products. While a good e-commerce team can write about the products they sell, writing enough content to cover a growing inventory of products isn’t likely to be the best use of their time.
“It’s also hard to imagine a team could write infinitely without resorting to stereotypical descriptions. And it ignores the fact worldly-wise and savvy consumers need to be persuaded by people – not the retailer itself – what they see and read is accurate and trustworthy,” he said.
Distilled and Reevoo claim they have collaborated to combine the best in search expertise with Europe’s finest social commerce thinking. Through examples and case studies, the whitepaper explains how product reviews and other user-generated content can bring a variety of SEO benefits to retailers and manufacturers – and turn Google’s update into a friend rather than an enemy.
It outlines the opportunities and best practices for improving product and category pages, targeting additional long-tail keywords and gaining more exposure in the search results.
The Distilled/Reevoo whitepaper – User Generated Content for SEO – is available to download here.