Ecommerce systems must evolve to meet Google's tough new standards
As Google bring in tough new criteria to detect thin affiliates who they term to be "moneymaking spammers" genuine online merchants must adhere to a new set of standards - and ecommerce systems like 60 Seconds must keep evolving to allow merchants to meet those standards!
Google have defined the following features to help determine if a website is a true merchant:
- a “view your shopping cart” link that stays on the same site.
- a shopping cart that updates when you add items to it.
- a return policy with a physical address.
- a shipping charge calculator that works.
- a “wish list” link, or a link to postpone the purchase of an item until later.
- a way to track FedEx orders.
- a user forum that works.
- the ability to register or login.
- a gift registry that works.
Why this tough stance on online merchants and ecommerce systems?
It's important to understand the reasoning behind Google's move to know how to deal with it. Google are consistent in their drive to give sites that provide a quality user experience a higher ranking than those that don't and this is where "thin affiliates" come in. Googles definition of them is: "A site that offers little additional information and does not offer substantial value to users compared to many other sources on the Web. For example, an affiliate that has only copied content from the merchant site is considered a thin affiliate. This is a moneymaking spam technique."
So how does 60 Seconds measure up to meeting that criteria?
To be honest, we have some work to do, particularly when it comes to a gift registry and a wish list.
In other areas the system is strong, the ability to register or login, a shopping cart that updates when you add items to it and a view your shopping cart link that stays on the same site.
This is interesting as SaaS systems like 60 Seconds will typically have a "Wildcard SSL" with all protected pages running on a subdomain of that ssl. It saves time and money with SSL certificates and IP's are now in short supply until the world switches to IPV6.
For instance, you have a website: coolkidsshoes.com that sells shoes. When your customers go to the check out, it is on https://coolkidsshoes.securezone.co. That is another website in Google's eyes.
Our solution for that a shopping cart summary module you can put in the sidebar of any page, that automatically updates as you add products. Great for stores that sell small low cost items, like take away food stores.
Some of the criteria will depend on the location and type of goods teh merchant sells
For instance if you have free shipping, you will not have Fedx tracking or a shipping charge calculator. If you're in Australia, you probably ship with Australia post, so FedX is irrelevant. And a returns policy is something you should have anyway - it's best practice and risk reversal mechanisms like this will get you more sales.
The ability for customers to be able to interact is important
Finally, the forum. Seems a little odd in this era of social media, but we believe it is more an indication that they like to see some kind of mechanism for feedback and interraction. A product review module is probably the best for this and gives a much better user experience than a forum in most cases as it is right there under the product for the buyer to see. We are incorporating that in the next release of 60 Seconds, due in late June.
Overall, the changes are good news for genuine merchants and for internet users. As CMS developers, we strive to provide the best ecommerce solution possible!
May 24, 2013
May 24, 2013