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Be on the alert for possible SE supression of ecom pages.

5:26 am on Jul 2, 2000 (gmt 0)

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I think the potential is there for search engines to reduce the rank of e-commerce sites, especially when they are running their own ecom sideshow and/or wanting their paid advertisers to be clicked on instead of some outsider's web page.

Let's say I sell widgets and I pay the SE big bucks to flash my banner when someone wanting to buy widgets enters 'widgets' in the search window. If the surfer finds lots of good pages listed for widgets, my banner ad won't get much action and I won't pay a lot for each impression. But if the surfer can't find good links to buy widgets, and my banner ad is flashing at them, they are more likely to click on it and buy my widgets. Then I'm willing to pay more for each impression. So it would make financial sense for the SE to supress ecom pages so that the surfer feeds their own ecom coffers.

I'm always amazed that the search engines try to fight ecom spam then turn around and spam their own pages with things like 'buy books on widgets at xyz books'. And haven't you noticed how targeted a lot of those banner ads they flash at you have become? Is flashing a targeted banner ad at the surfer any different than you putting a targeted ecom gateway page in their index?

I won't be surprised to see some of the search engines get real crafty about supressing ecom pages right after labor day, when the Christmas buying season starts to warm up.

The SEO may have to develop the art of ecom camouflage. Let's call it 'ecomouflage'.

Can anyone think of a SE that bans sites with gateway pages while they flash targeted banner ads? Can anyone think of a search engine that quit taking submissions at all as the Christmas season approached last year? You all know who I'm talking about (remember black Monday). Lets face it ... business is business and the SE's aren't really out there to be a free source of information.

This forum is timely. Many webmasters depend on the search engines for getting targeted ecom traffic, in growing competition with the SE's who feed on their sites.

So lets start discussions about developing the art of ecomouflage in time for the Christmas buying season, and where it needs to be applied. I think step one is to be sure your Christmas ecom pages are submitted before September. Pages submitted from September through mid December will be ecom suspects.


8:04 am on July 2, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Lets start with what would seem to be an obvious predicament.
For the sake of discussion, lets say you sell "gift" type items. The bulk of your hits come from customer searches with terms like birthday gifts, wedding gifts, Christmas gifts, anniversary gifts etc... or some variation of these i.e. unique birthday gifts or 1st anniversary gifts. (You get the idea)

So you obviously have to make frequent use of the word "gifts" within your site, but then your somewhat screaming to the SE "look at me I'm an e-com site'. Not a lot of info sites about gifts out there ;-)

How would one go about "ecomouflage" without shooting yourself in the foot in regards to placement for terms that are obvious customer searches? It would seem your in between the proverbial "rock and a hard place"

Edited by: octobersky

2:38 pm on July 2, 2000 (gmt 0)

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There may some safety in numbers. AV, for instance, reports over 5 million pages for the search term 'gifts'. I doubt they would dare supress all these pages to the point where the surfer could not find gifts to buy. That would make their index pretty useless.

It might make sense for SE's to supress 'gift' pages submitted as a gift-bying occasion approaches, to prevent your specialized promotions from being aired. That way they could give a boost to the banner ads they flash for paid-for promotions.

Has anyone seen any evidence of low rankings or delayed indexing for ecom pages being submitted as a buying event or season approaches? Blips on the radar screen could signal larger scale plans ahead.

3:46 pm on July 2, 2000 (gmt 0)

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I started a sidebar: the ethics of a search RETURN PAGE [webmasterworld.com]
6:23 am on July 3, 2000 (gmt 0)

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To generate revenue, I think the search engines could get away with pay per click for e-commerce pages, if they could keep the cost in line with the value of the click. They could charge more for certain high value categories, like mortgages and real estate, and allow the registrant to decide if they want to be included in those high-fee categories.

The GoTo search engine has demonstrated that e-commerce people are willing to pay for traffic performance. But I think the process of registering each page and then bidding and managing the bids is a big pain. I'd be much more willing to just pay a flat pay per click fee while the SE's usual algorithms rank the pages. I'd be willing to pay per click if that kept the SE from selling favored ad space and banners to the 'big guys'.

I fully agree that the SE's have to make money to stay in business. Hopefully they will find a way to do so that allows e-commerce sites of all sizes to generate income and make an acceptable profit too. For this whole e-commerce thing to succeed, websites and search engines have to both be winners.


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