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Information Site Converted to Ecommerce - Can Google Be Convinced?

 9:58 pm on Mar 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have a website that has been informational for 9 years. Last year I added a shopping cart and made sales from day one. However - I don't think Google is happy classifying the website as both informational and ecommerce.

The cart sits in it's own folder... /shop. Analytics records only 1% of traffic arriving on site via /shop pages.

The information part of the website only makes approx 100 per month, so I am considering moving it to another domain and concentrating on the shopping side of things.

My question - Is it possible to convince Google to reclassify a domain?

I would like to add... the topic is 100% the same, ie if you had a football site and decided to sell footballs.

Dickbaker, what do you think?



 1:09 am on Mar 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

From a theoretical point of view, it seems obvious that any document classification would need to be dynamic and capable of being re-determined.

But the reports I hear make make me wonder. The whole document classifier system at Google is hiding in the shadows for us.


 2:57 am on Mar 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

burcot, you're about at the point I was at in late 2007. I was just testing the waters. At that time Google didn't seem to have a problem with a site being a combination. I'm still not entirely sure it's a problem now, as it's really difficult to know what's going on with rankings. None of my ecommerce phrases rank well now but, then again, neither do my informational ones.

If I were starting out fresh this very day, I think I'd start a new site that was 100% ecommerce.

I've actually been in the process of switching the site over to 100% sales, and was counting on the traffic that I currently have to be a jumpstart.

I'm working on my site constantly, fixing things I think Google's new algo doesn't like. If my sales phrases come back, that means Google can understand a combination site.


 5:27 pm on Mar 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

The whole document classifier system at Google is hiding in the shadows for us.

Yes, the water is a little muddy at the moment and there is no telling how the new algo will pan out. I suppose I have chosen the worse possible time to try this, especially because it is a UK site and panda hasn't hit us yet

If I were starting out fresh this very day, I think I'd start a new site that was 100% ecommerce

That's why I wanted to drop the articles and information from the site. I figured it would be easier to rank a ten year old trusted domain than a brand new start up, even if I changed from info to ecommerce.

Dickbaker, I will be watching your posts with fingers crossed, hoping that you regain your traffic


 6:50 pm on Mar 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I could have written the opening post - I'm in exactly the same position: [webmasterworld.com...]

I'm not convinced that site theming is causing me a problem, more that the forum on my site shows up in serps instead of the shop on shop related queries. My shop is getting 3% of the sites search engine referrals.

Is your shop software halfway search engine friendly? I couldn't find any that were any decent and ended up building my own.


 7:00 pm on Mar 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

burcot how deep or number of clicks does it take to get to product pages. Has the site from home page been converterd over to an ecommerce.
I would not take the information out but use the traffic from the content generating you the traffic and funnel it into the cart prooduct pages revelant to the topic of content. You just built an ecommerce in reverse, but IMO this is or maybe the best way to build an ecommerce site.
I would keep the pages and use to generate convertable traffic. Think about it for a few minutes. I can promise you wouldn't have started selling from day 1 doing in ecommerce then adding information. Information brought you the traffic that gave you the ability to make that first sale.


 9:53 pm on Mar 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi Vordmeister, I posted in the thread you linked to. I said my gut feeling was to go for it. It was only a gut feeling though, without any firm evidence (hence this thread :)
Is your shop software halfway search engine friendly

Absolutely, we dominated a previous niche with the same (modified) shopping cart.

bwnbwn, thanks for your input. The cart is one folder deep ie... domain/shop. That means cats are 2 folders/clicks from the root ie... domain/shop/category etc.

The homepage is mainly information related with a link to the shop.

Thanks to this thread - I think I have a plan...

1) I am going to lose all the information pages that can't be used to channel traffic to the product pages

2) Change the structure to domain/category and lose the shop folder, therefore moving the money pages 1 click nearer

3) Focus the homepage on products with a link to information, rather than the other way around.

Does that sound sensible?


 10:35 pm on Mar 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

The homepage is mainly information related with a link to the shop.

Mat Cutts has said a few times to put links to your key products "front and center" on your home page.


 11:36 am on Mar 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Have the same questions also. one of my sites started as sort of ecomerce 8 years ago but I kept adding information. Now I feel that G sees it as an information site.

If, as the OP suggests, I started a new domain, how much can I interlink between the two.

Would a subdomain be a better route?


 1:09 pm on Mar 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

burcot sounds like a big change. From the read it sounds like you are going to be changing all the urls in the cart pages. Have u thought what this will do, and if you have do you have a plan on 301's from the old urls to the new ones.
I don't think they way the cart is set up is such an issue you are changing up the product page urls and there can be a possible solution.
Question on the products are they seperated by maker like example.com/cart/maker1.htm
example.com/cart/maker2.htm and so on, and then do you have the products listed below each?

I feel 1 and 3 should have been done when you began the conversion from information to ecommerce. I can see why Google is finding it really impossible to classify your site correctly. It is number 2 I have concerns about.

On 1 i wouldn't lose the pages just push them down in the order. I find it sometimes unleated information to a specific product does convert. Not as well but here is my thought. I do a search for x and find your page on the subject, sometimes I am willing to look around sometimes not, so why would I just throw away a possible sale. I get customers all the time that came into my BMB store. They came in for x product and maker I don't carry it, but I do have this that is about the same sometimes I got a sale sometimes I didn't. So why would I just tell a possible customer to go away just because what they came into my store/site for a product I don't carry.

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