Google Base Optimization & Data Feed Optimization

March 28, 2007

The vertical search results on the main shopping engines should not be ignored. We’re all very familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but you can also get to the top of Google through Google Base. I estimate that over 30,000 merchants are taking advantage of Google Base, but only a very small percentage have actually done anything to improve their results on Google Base.

Over at SingleFeed, I discuss the concept of Data Feed Optimization (DFO) to help submitters get listed higher on Google Base and therefore have the opportunity to show up as a Google OneBox result, above Google’s organic listings.

Here’s a summary of the post entitled Google Base & Data Feed Optimization – How to Succeed on Google Base:
-Google Base is for almost anything. You can submit products (which I focus on), job listings, housing listings, recipes, blog posts, personal ads, and more.

-Most product submissions happen through an automated program that only submits the bare minimum requirements. This usually results in mediocre traffic to those listings. Google Base Store Connector and automated XML feed submissions through major ecommerce platforms remind me of the Submit It service of the early Web 1.0 days. Submit It would submit a URL to hundreds of different directories/engines for a small fee, but in my opinion, it didn’t matter if your URL was submitted if the page wasn’t search engine friendly. The same thing goes with data feed submission. Submitting a data feed is just one step. Merchants must optimize the data feed to get significant results.

-Introduction to Google Base Custom Attributes. Google Base has over 80 pre-defined optional product attributes, but will never be the expert in any particular product, so Google Base allow users to submit Custom Attributes. With this extra information, searchers will have a better idea of what the merchant sells and therefore the merchant has a better chance of attracting targeted visitors and converting those visitors into buyers. For example, a ski retailer might add a custom attribute for ‘ski length’ because it’s a critical attribute for a consumer making a ski buying decision. A energy bar retailer might add a custom attribute for ‘ingredients’ because it’s a critical attribute for people with allergies.

-When does Google Base matter? No one currently goes directly to base.google.com, although millions do go to Froogle which is made up of Google Base product listings. Hundreds of millions more go directly to Google and are sometimes exposed to OneBox product results, which are populated through Froogle (via Google Base). I think OneBox results will get a lot more prominent on Google this year. However, Google isn’t going to display just any Google Base listings in that prized OneBox area. The OneBox listings will be reserved for information that is more relevant than anything else on the search engine result page (SERP). Relevance means a lot of things to a lot of people/engines, but Google has already made it clear that the more information you provide to Base, the better your results will be. If a merchant spends time optimizing a feed and adds Custom Attributes, then the data could be more relevant than anything else Google has in its index.


Channel Intelligence Product Attribute Conference

March 28, 2007

As I mentioned in my Google Base Optimization post, I only think a couple companies are seriously talking about data feed optimization (DFO) and really understand the importance of product attributes. One of those companies is Channel Intelligence (the other companies being Channel Advisor and SingleFeed – yes, I’m biased).

Well, if you’re in Orlando Florida on April 26th & 27th, you might want to check out Channel Intelligence’s Product Attribute Summit. I love it. A conference just about the importance of Product Attibutes for data feeds!

One note of caution. Make sure to get detailed information about the speakers and sessions before you register (there are no speakers listed yet). Unfortunately, the last time I saw CI run a session at a conference was at eTail when they basically did a paid advertisement for their product as opposed to providing actionable information for the attendees.


More Management Changes to Report

March 27, 2007

Last night I posted on Search Engine Land about the management changes at Shopping.com (previously reported here), Shopzilla (previously reported here), PriceGrabber (new), and Become (new).

Wanted to add one more:
ShopWiki: CMO Shoshana Zilberberg-Winter & COO Barry Salzman have left the company as ShopWiki got a little ahead of itself with marketing and international expansion and will now re-focus on product development.


Google Base Optimization

March 26, 2007

After giving a number of examples of Google Base Custom Attributes last week over at SingleFeed, it seemed that people wanted more. We’ve had a post in the works about Google Base Optimization through Google Base Custom Attributes for a while, but now seemed like a good time to share it:

Google Base Optimization

Key Takaways:

-Most people are submitting to Google Base through an automated XML feed which is not optimized

-Adding more information to your Google Base feed (bulk upload) might help you get exposure through Google OneBox results

-The more information Google Base gets through feeds which contain Google Base Custom Attributes, the more likely I think Google is to display OneBox results for related search engine queries, as the data provided through the feed will be more relevant than what Google can crawl.

Related Posts:
Google Base – The Comparison Shopping Story of Q1 2007 – January 12, 2007
Google Base Optimization – Why Those Attributes Matter – September 4, 2006


Channel Intelligence Continues to Grow

March 24, 2007

http://channelintelligence.vnewscenter.com/press.jsp?id=1174360655149


TheFind Gets More In Touch With Its Feminine Side

March 24, 2007

Glam Media and TheFind announced a partnership last week in which “Glam will deliver both advertising and content from its Glam Publishers Network to TheFind.com, while TheFind.com gains access to Glam Media’s valuable marketing channels including Glam.com and reach to over 250 publishers in the network such as Marie Claire, Dwell, Nylon, Refinery29, SheFinds and, WeddingSolutions. Today, Glam Media reaches over eight million US unique visitors per month.”

I’m not one for regurgitating press releases, but I like that TheFind has found a niche. Odd saying that female shoppers are a niche, but the big shopping comparison engines – NexTag, Shopping.com, Shopzilla, PriceGrabber, Yahoo! Shopping, etc. – have been everything to everybody for a long time, and I’m not sure that’s an easy idea for shoppers to latch onto. Branding yourself as the biggest or most comprehensive is tough in the age of Amazon, eBay, and Google. I’d much rather hear about the best place for women to search, browse, comment, share, discover and buy.

About a year ago (I think) I told one shopping engine that their focus on technology and comprehensiveness was too much for an ordinary person to get his/her mind around. I recommended that the company go after 1 vertical (dog products, cat products, computer monitors, bbqs, spring dresses, etc.) every couple months. From there, I figured that the engine could acquire loyal users who would eventually discover that the shopping engine wasn’t a one-trick pony.

Women is obviously not really a vertical, but fashion & apparel is, and with the Glam deal – no matter what the implementation turns out to look like – TheFind is taking one high-heeled, well-accessorized, fashionable step towards staking its claim.


An Introduction to Google Base Custom Attributes

March 22, 2007

Not many merchants are using Google Base Custom Attributes (GBCA) yet, but I’ve had a ton of people ask me to provide instructions and more importantly, examples beyond what Google Base has posted.

With that in mind, check out Google Base Custom Attributes – Examples And How To Create over at SingleFeed.


Shopping.com Management Changes

March 22, 2007

Out with the old management team, in with the eBay…er…um…I mean, in with the new management team.

The following people have left or will soon leave Shopping.com:
CMO, Mike Aufricht
VP Internet Marketing & Business Intelligence, Rob Goldman
CTO and co-founder, Amir Ashkenazi
Vice President, Global Operations and U.S. Merchant Operations, Deana Bergquist
CFO, Rob Krolik sorry about that, I think Rob is still there, just not on the management team page.

Read more about the old kids on the block.

The following people have joined Shopping.com:
Jason Brown has joined as the GM of distributed commerce.
Alisa Weiner has joined as the GM of comparison shopping.
Pehr Luedtke (aka Perh) has joined as the GM of Epinions. He’s been a member of the Epinions community since October 26, 2006 and wrote his first review on January 4, 2007.

Read more about the new kids on the block.

There has also been plenty of turnover in the director/mid-manager/support roles. Director, US Sales & Client Services, Trent Scoffield is leaving soon, not many ‘key’ account managers around, etc.


Channel Advisor Catalyst Conference

March 17, 2007

I’ll be in NC for Channel Advisor’s Catalyst Conference Mon-Wed this week. My flight gets into RDU around 4pm, so if you’re looking for a ride down to Pinehurst, feel free to contact me at ‘brian at comparisonengines dot com’.

And yes, I’m still working on catching up on posts…


SEO Brien by Paul O’Brien & OneBoxer by Brian Mark

March 13, 2007

SEO’Brien
Now that Paul’s blogging template actually works, it’s time to highly recommend his blog, SEO’Brien.

Paul is the Interactive Marketing Manager for HP Home & Office, but of course, the opinions expressed in his blog are his own and not those of HP. So why am I driving you to someone else’s blog? Partly to keep you busy while I write some very long overdue posts, but mostly because Paul is one of those smart marketers who is in the trenches day in and day out doing interactive marketing and working with agencies on SEO, PPC, Comparison Shopping, etc. While I love niche sites, ComparisonEngines being one of them, LoveYourFeed being another, because of SingleFeed, I’ve realized more than ever the importance of leveraging internet marketing expertise across multiple online marketing channels. Paul hits on SEO and PPC a lot, but also brings in his knowledge of and experience with affiliate programs and comparison shopping. In this way, you quickly see how these various internet marketing activites work together.

Paul and I don’t always see eye to eye in terms of tactics as I’m focusing on small and medium sized etailers and he works for a behemoth that has plenty of bricks and mortar shelf space, but I view this difference of opinion as a huge positive as his posts challenge me to test and explore new tactics.

OneBoxer
I mentioned Brian Mark’s OneBoxer Blog in my competing data feed optimization blog back in January. Since then his site has grown tremendously, and he’s almost reached Rock Star status. Why? Because he blogs often, on topic, generates unique content, and has created all those bells and whistles that make a blog a really really cool blog…all of which translates into lots of incoming links.

While you might be saying Brian who? Mr. Mark, who helped turn Toolbarn into an incredible success, has quietly and quickly become the man about town for Google Base optimization, giving me a run for my money. If you’re in NYC for Search Engine Strategies next month, I’d highly recommend checking out the shopping comparison engine optimization session (where Brian Mark, Scott Greenberg (Marchex), Allan Dick (Vintage Tub & Bath), and I will sing the praises of data feed optimization (DFO)).

Ok, now go read SEO’Brien and OneBoxer while I catch up on my posts!


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