brinked - 5:26 pm on Jun 7, 2012 (gmt 0)
This is a ranking factor. And this does play a role in panda in my personal opinion and more specifically, ecommerce sites.
As an avid online shopper, There are certain things I look for when stumbling upon a new site that carries a product I am interested in buying. Probably the most important thing I look for is a 800 number. I do not want to buy from some dropshipper or some site that doesnt offer phone support. If I have a problem, I want to be able to contact them right away, and not have to wait for a reply to a ticket or some email message which may or may never even get looked at.
Having a support number displayed prominently on an ecommerce site is the biggest most important factor for me. I will simply click off the site if their only measure of contact is a stupid form. If I see a phone number, that tells me this is a company that exists, is in business and cares about their customers and offers instant support. If you're an ecommerce site and you do not have a phone number, you are missing out on a lot of business.
I ran a test on a contact page that was a form. When I did a search for "website.com contact" the vbulletin default contact form was #1 for my site, and the actual real contact page was #3! Even though it was featured more prominently on the site. I added a phone number, and 3 actual support email addresses and within 1 weeks time, it shot up to the number 1 position for "website.com contact". So years and years of ranking 3rd, this page suddenly rises to the #1 position after adding these signals.
Even if it has nothing to do with google factors, have a damn phone number for the sake of your business!
The bottom line is dropshipper/affiliate/spam sites try to rank for ecommerce terms and are not a real business. These sites do not offer any kind of phone support and probably no support at all. I dont care how many back links they have and how much "unique content" they have. They are not getting my business. If google doesnt have this as a ranking factor for ecommerce sites then they are a bunch of fools.