Panda Power

Now that Panda has started to affect sales we are hearing more questions from webmasters…. Problems with loss of rank, sales and traffic from Google are now pretty clear and present for Zen Cart owners. I wanted to take a quick look at what to do to begin to restore your site’s rank, traffic and sales.

This “Quality” post from Google really holds most of the information needed to overcome the losses. I have summarized these below for ecommerce website owners and added some targeted shopping cart notes to help you move past Panda.

Trust, Quality and Duplication

Trust is, and has always been a huge indicator for all websites… Especially ecommerce, as it affects sales as well as rank. Google has devised some simple questions to help you determine if your pages can, should be trusted.

Is your cart a recognized authority in the realm of your products? Do you at least act like one by providing tutorials, information and tips?

Would you trust the information presented in your pages? Looking at your pages, especially product descriptions, ask yourself if the information is descriptive enough, lengthy enough and written well enough to give shoppers a feeling of trust.

Is your content written by a person who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature? Are you paying for content from a non niche content writing service? Does your content contain dull and mundane facts, or is it well written by someone who knows the products and can provide interesting tips, enthusiasm and accuracy?

Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information on your cart? This is a big one… We have covered many times. Phone number in a prominent location, easy to find and follow navigation, shipping readily available w/o the need to create an account… etc. Look at your website through the shoppers eyes. The days of tricks for clicks have passed and you MUST be giving the necessary “Trust” signals to your shoppers.

Does the site have pages you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend? Face it, those of you promoting your products in social media avenues w/o eliciting interaction are wasting your time. Provide top quality content that people want to share… In the “old days” we called this “Link Bait”. Is your content moving people to link to you? If not…. Your content is not moving people to share it either!

Would users complain when they see pages from your site? Does your site suck? Do shoppers get lost, land on irrelevant pages from searches, are your descriptions garbage? Face it, you need to earn your sales and you lack the ability to look these shoppers in the eye so your pages must project the necessary information to complete the sale.

Have you poor grammar or misspellings in your product descriptions? I recently can across a friend who found a misspelling on a retailers website… EFFECT instead of AFFECT. The person thought the retailer was so dumb and it was so funny they shared it in an email to their friends and family. Is this the type of recognition you want? Spellcheck, reading your pages… This is easy.

Is your content a paste job of the manufacturers descriptions? You MUST provide unique content. I don’t care how hard you think it is or what your organizational hurdles are… You cannot avoid this.

Are you stuffing your pages full of boring textual content for the search engines? While duplication is a problem and you DO need textual content, stuffing your pages full of crap so you can rank is completely pointless when you can’t make a sale. The days of populating pages with stuffed content for rank are gone… Cannot even stuff the bottoms of the pages for an edge anymore … Google knows this trick and has made algorithmic changes to better determine the proper “weight” of your content.

Are you adding 900 keywords to your Meta keyword tag? Google DOES NOT USE IT! Move on…. Stop playing games and write content for your users, not the search engines. Whether you like it or not… It’s necessary and all the complaining in the world will not change it, quit wasting your time on tricks and ways around Google’s quality guidelines.

Got “SEO Content Pages”? If they miss any of the questions above…. delete them and write something yourself that demonstrates your interest, knowledge and enthusiasm in your niche.

Do your pages load too slowly? Google has really taken a front runner stand on page speed. Ditch the widgets and garbage when you don’t need them, work to increase speed and shoppers will buy more as well.

It’s really simple. I find it SO hard to answer questions and help people who are overall more willing to spend 5x the effort to cheat or overcome the needs than to just do it right. If you haven’t the desire, time and willingness to create quality, moving content… then you are in the wrong business, you will continue to fail and there is no quick or cheaters way for you to survive. Whomever told you that websites are fast, easy money for doing nothing while you sleep lied to you. You can decide today to create pages that engage your shoppers or you can ride the slide to the bottom and then delete your website…. Your choice, these bars will only be raised from here. There is no chance Google will return to the days of meta tag spamming so you can be successful.

Every page is a sales pitch, opportunity to impress and a representation of you…. Are you projecting your vision?