Changes that Google has made to search queries have a big potential implications for retailers and other merchants. Among the first to recognize this and make proactive site changes is Pinny Gniwisch, executive vice president of marketing at jewelry site www.ice.com. Ice.com is No. 166 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
Most search engines, Google included, now have a “freshness” filter which introduces “recency” as a search criteria. The search giant has a specific initiative, QDF (Query Deserves Freshness) to incorporate recency and freshness in determining relevance. Pinny believes users will adopt these new “freshness” tools and that retailers who are ready will benefit.
Mr. Gniwisch says that with Google Inc. offering consumers new search options, such as specifying new content loaded to web pages within the past 24 hours, online retailers need to re-think how they optimize their site content for natural search. He adds, “Now that Google is allowing more options in search, retailers could be losing out if they’re not properly categorizing content.”
The key to taking advantage of new search options is to index a site’s content for search engines daily,” Gniwisch says. He adds that if that’s not feasible, retailers should update content daily on a blog that links to their e-commerce site, so that their retail site will have a better chance of appearing high up in natural search rankings for searches conducted for recent time periods, as well as for particular types of content.
Despite whether or not rapid adoption of the new user search options is imminent, Ice.com is working to optimize its web site maximize natural search exposure, Gniwisch says. Among the techniques being tested is a daily reload via RSS of all the site’s products. It’s too soon to tell if this will be read by the googlebot as duplicate content and dinged or rewarded for freshness.
“Google Search Options” is Google’s suite of features designed to enable “real time” search. It has been suggested that this feature set is intended to allow Google to compete with Twitter in “real time” search. The feature set allows users to drill down into search results by recency , content type and more. Once turned on (by clicking “Show Options” in any search result), the feature appears as a left-hand column next to search results Time based filtering allows users to look at only results created recently, within the last day, the last week, or the last year.
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