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Also can you "optimize" your site for Froogle so that you get higher rankings? What does "Best match" mean?
Like most of the online catalogs (e.g. Shopping.com, Yahoo shopping), its really hard for people to find anything. And when you do find something, you are overwhelmed with extraneously matches that you have to manually sift through.
My wife is the consummate online shopper, and she gave up on all those types of sites quite some time ago. Type in key words trying to find something and you're just as likely to get a pile of junk returned as you are the thing you are looking for.
Frankly, given Google's desire to offer a great search experience, I'm surprised they are moving forward with Froogle in its current state.
We've had more sales from froogle in the past week than we have seen from in in the past two-three months. Still not a stellar number, but nothing to sneeze at, especilly for free.
Although there has not been a lot of buzz around about Froogle (most people go "froo what?"), a search for froogle has 58,300 results so that's not bad. For me its a case of get geared up for it just in case it explodes; which is a distinct possibility considering it is Google.
Does anyone have any thoughts whether the algo used is pre-florida? I can see that PR is significant but anyone see their sites at the bottom of the list or not in serps at all?
Considering that a lot of seo'ers who optimize for Google are working predominently on ecommerce sites it is surprising there's not a lot more discussion on the future of Froogle and its impact on ecom.
I supplied a datafeed about a week ago and results started to appear on Tuesday. In all honesty the referrals are slow (about 4) but the conversion rate (1 = 25%) is huge! HA! LOL...too bad my Adwords conversion rate is not 25% or the client would really be thanking me.
Anyway...I am heading out of town for the weekend and will be away from the PC for the first time in a long time! It will be interesting to see what happens since it is coming down to crunch time for shopping.
Take a user who wants to find, say, clothing for aerobics. They go into Froogle and type in "aerobic wear." Here is what pops up in the top 10 listings:
1. Weights for shoes.
2. A step aerobics bench.
3. Aerobic workout videos.
4. A men's sweatshirt.
5. A Penthouse video.
6. A 1085 yard spool of Wooly Nylon thread.
7. Boxing mitts.
8. Roller skating wheels.
9. Roller skating wheels.
10. Women's outdoor shirt.
Now, compare that to the adwords listings that appear on the exact same page:
1. "Designer Aerobics Apparel"
2. "Discount Fitness Apparel"
3. "Women's Workout Wear"
4. "Fitness Wear by Danskin"
5. "Fitness Wear"
6. "Quality Athletic Apparel"
7. "Yoga Wear-Free Shipping"
8. "Athletic Performance Wear"
Notice that 7 of the 8 adwords are very on target whereas really NONE of the froogle listings are. You'll find this sort of thing all throughout Froogle. The search experience right now is just horrid.
The Google algorithms/pagerank system work great for indexing and ranking websites, but aren't doing very well at all at indexing, categorizing, and ranking specific products.
I'm getting more hits from Froogle now that Google has started pushing it so hard, but I still believe they are shooting themselves in the foot. The search experience is just awful compared to "real" Google.
If they really want Froogle to succeed, at least as a pay service in the future, they should consider allowing vendors who are placing listings to control what keywords they appear under via an adwords-like bidding system. Shopping.com tries to do this, but their search technology is far too pathetic to make it work. Google at least has a shot at pulling it off.
Froogle also needs to spend some quality time with their directory taxonomy for products. Too many gaps right now. If you were shopping on Froogle in my particular space, you would assume that women were expected to be naked from the waist down whenever engaging in any sort of vigorous activity. ;)
I'll happily pay for another way to get targeted leads to my site that will convert. Froogle could be great for that - my products are unique and stand up well compared to other products in my space. I've tried on Yahoo shopping, Shopping.com and Froogle and none of them come within two or three orders of magnitude of the productivity of a basic adwords campaign. Indeed, I would *love* for Froogle to work, because it would actually more closely level the playing field I'm on.
I can definitely see where it could brutalize folks selling commodity goods which can be found from a number of sources though. But then, as someone else noted, that's been the way of the retail space for quite some time. There really is less and less room for small retailers in the face of the large, well capitalized companies.
For what its worth, I realize that I'm probably treading dangerously far away from the "describe everything as a widget" convention so popular here. I find the Froogle situation MUCH easier to describe using real items and real examples rather than try to put everything in terms of "widgets."
I agree with your statements completely. Most AdWords advertisers would LOVE to see Froogle charge on a CPC model, even if AdWords were still kept there on the right.
Charging for it would be fine IF the results were as good or better than Google's algo or AdWords results. Better yet, why doesn't Google just splice AdWords advertisers into Froogle?
We believe it's crucial to know where our sales are coming from so we track all of our internet sales with a conversion tracker.
So we are able to accurately comment on our Froogle results so far.
The Froogle sales have been very low in comparison to our other reffers but a sale is better than no sale (when the costs of getting that sale are low).
Note - we also have a low sales conversion rate for our type of internet product so when you see our sales conversion below keep that in mind.
To give a snapshot of our Froogle results :
*In October '03 Froogle referred 49 people with a 2.04% conversion to sales.
*No sales in November '03
*303 referrals with .33% conversion to sales in December '03
*130 referrals with 2.3% conversion to sales in January '04