Google Product Search Webinar Follow Up – Part 3

August 3, 2009

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Yet more Q&A from our Google Product Search webinar:

Q9) Does it make any difference to send 2 different product feeds for Google Base and another for Froogle? or just one for Google Base?

A9) We’re not sending any legacy Froogle feeds any more but I am aware of an instance where Google was still processing and using a legacy Froogle feed as recently as a few months ago. However, keeping those live in addition to a Base feed is superfluous when the feeds contain the same products. If the ID values of the items in the two feeds are the same and are tied to the same account/domain, the feeds are just overwriting each other.

Q10) You mentioned sending a feed every day.  Is that necessary if there is no change to the list of products?

A10) I wouldn’t say necessary, but I will still suggest it. The webmaster video we pointed to talked about the importance of freshness so automating a daily process helps ensure you aren’t penalized. That being said, I think if you missed a day once in a while the effects would be minimal, probably not even noticeable. But only sending a feed once every three or four weeks is definitely not ideal.

Q11) How can we distinguish (in Google Analytics) between organic results traffic and GPS-originating traffic?

A11) You can add campaign variable tags to the URLs in your feed. Google doesn’t allow for redirect tracking in Google base feeds but any and all parametre based tracking functions are allowed. See here for more from Google Analytics.

Q12) Do you know if Bing is on the Google approved list to send along pixels when checking out trough Google Checkout?

A12) Since Google and Microsoft are direct competitors, it did not surprise me that I did not find Bing on the list of approved tracking partners for Google Checkout. Atlas still is, however. I don’t recall when Atlas was added to this though I would guess they were present since Google Checkout launched and therefore that they were grandfathered in . It also could be that Bing didn’t even try to become part of this list. (Update: Siva Kumar points out that Jellyfish is on the list. I assume that means if you have the old pixel installed it will continue to work. The new pixel documentation contains tracking on the Bing domain, so I would guess for merchants installing the current pixel, Bing will not see Google Checkout orders.  Thanks, Siva!)

Q13) (a) Does having Products duplicated affect results? (b) Does your Ranking, eg Alexa ranking have any affect on the position you appear in Google Shopping?

A13) (a) Duplicated content is generally frowned upon. If multiple domains with the same product content are found by Google to be part of the same company, they will shut all but one of them down. If you submit the same product content multiple times with different ID values, you are really only hurting yourself as you are putting yourself at risk of having your account disabled. In addition, you are potentially spreading your own traffic out across multiple records in the Google database. Since it is very likely there is some sort of popularity aspect to the algorithm, doing this is probably hindering the ability of a single instance of that product to gain traction.
(b) Since Alexa is owned by Amazon, I doubt Google has access to that data. Even if they did, I’m not sure they would use it since they are more likely to trust their own metrics. It was suggested long ago that the page rank of the product URL played a role in the algorithm. I’ve tried testing this before but haven’t found anything conclusive, mainly because most product pages don’t have page rank. If the page does have rank, it could play a role but it doesn’t seem to be strong and in my opinion, this makes sense. Page rank is typically correlated to authority on a topic and justified based on strength of content, but strong content does not suggest best retail offer. Price and customer service (quantified through merchant ratings) are much more important to most consumers than web site content and therefore should be weighted more heavily.