SEO Articles

Amazon sellers battle the giant’s algorithm-based policy- and decision-making

“Their algorithms are garbage,” said Lesley Hensell Demand, partner in Riverbend Consulting, a firm that helps Amazon sellers overcome a host of challenges, including account de-activation and loss of ASINs (a kind of ISBN number Amazon assigns to products. Riverbend is heavily staffed by former Amazon employees.

There was a lot of discussion about Amazon’s algorithms at the AMZ Innovate event for Amazon sellers in New York City this week. The reason: Amazon sellers are deeply invested in a platform which is essentially too big to be held accountable. They’re at the mercy of policy-making and enforcement which can seem capricious or even be downright mystifying.

Hensell Demand offered a grim tour around the problems sellers can face. Amazon attempts to exert control over pricing decisions by third-party sellers. If, for example, it sees a product from a seller listed at a lower price on a competitor website, it will enforce a price reduction. Because the process is automated (those algorithms), it’s not uncommon for Amazon to confuse a “pack of one,” say, with a “pack of three.” If Amazon believes it detects systematic over-pricing, more penalties can follow.

And then there’s the reported practice of simply copying a successful product and putting Amazon branding on it. According to Hensell Demand it has even been known for Amazon to approach the manufacturer and offer to place a larger order than the successful seller.

Sellers and aggregators

The event, put together by Jared Orkin, VP of Product Strategy at Adbeat and an Amazon and Shopify expert, and Brandon Furhmann, a successful Amazon Seller with his own Kitchenware Brand, did not just attract sellers. Also there were the partners who offer services for sellers: PickFu, the consumer research vendor, and GETIDA, an Amazon auditing service, for example.

Also present were a number of aggregators like Thrasio and Boosted. These companies are in the business of acquiring and growing FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) sellers — developing symbiotic portfolios of businesses that allow cross-selling and cross-promoting. Keith Richman, co-founder of Boosted, painted almost as bleak a picture of the space as Hensell Demand, but not without a ray of sunshine.

Online advertising is getting more expensive and difficult, he said. There’s no end in sight to the supply chain crisis. It’s really hard to hire talent right now. Amazon’s policy making and rule enforcement is hopelessy inconsistent. Sellers are under constant threat of being de-listed. And yes, success means the risk of being copied by Amazon, or indeed by other sellers. “Why is everything so hard?” he asked.

Things might be hard at present, but Richman also painted a rosy picture of the future. Massive changes are underway, he said, in digital shopping habits, fueled in part by social media. Consumers are open to trying new brands as never before. Established companies often lack the agility to respond to these changes. “This is just the beginning,” he said.

PPC, coupons and keywords

This mixture of horror and hope set the backdrop for much more granular explorations of how sellers can simply push their products to the top of Amazon’s search results. Casey Gauss, VP of SEO at Thrasio (a college dropout and self-taught programmer) came armed with actionable advice.

To get the prized Amazon Best Seller badge, for example, consider switching your product from its existing category to a sub-category where you can beat the competition. Purse a “big coupon” strategy, offering significant percentage or price discounts for a limited time, then gradually phasing them out (25% off for two weeks, then 15% off, and so on). Refresh your keywords regularly. Invest in PPC campaigns.

Most importantly, said Gauss, do all these things together. You might only be making “micro-improvements,” but your listing in the search results will be headed in the right direction.

Living with a giant

The event felt like a tribe of Davids all trying to make peace with the giant Goliath. Slaying the giant is not an option. They’re angry at many things the giant does, but they’re also fascinated by his quirks, needs and moodswings. We commented to Furhmann that the relationship between Amazon sellers and Amazon looked not unlike the relationship between search marketers and Google. He agreed.

“All these big tech companies are the same,” he said. Rather than devoting adequate human resources to executing policy, “they trust the algorithms — and the algorithms make really bad decisions.” It’s not just Amazon, he said. The same complaint could be levied against Facebook and Google.

“That’s where the frustration springs from.”

The post Amazon sellers battle the giant’s algorithm-based policy- and decision-making appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

Google rolls out product feed support to more video campaign types

Google is rolling out product feed support for awareness and consideration Video campaign subtypes, the company announced Friday. The update, which rolls out over the coming weeks, enables brands to show browsable product images below their video ads for campaigns that have “Product and brand consideration” or “Brand awareness and reach” set as the goal.

An example of products showcased below a video ad. Image: Google.

Previously, Video action campaigns were the only campaign type that could be linked to product feeds from Google Merchant Center.

How it works. When a user is shown your video ad, the panel below the ad automatically expands to show your products. At this time, products only appear when the user’s mobile device is in portrait mode. Selecting an image takes the user to the product landing page, where they can continue the transaction. 

Advertisers must include at least four products in their Merchant Center product feed, with a 1:1 ratio image for each product to be shown (only the primary product image will be used). The Google Ads Help center has more detailed instructions on adding a product feed to your Video campaigns.

Why we care. Advertisers can now make any Video campaign more shoppable without having to create a separate TrueView for shopping campaign. “On average, advertisers that add product feeds to their Video action campaigns achieve over 60% more conversions at a lower cost,” Google said, citing its own internal data in which it compared 941 campaigns with product feeds to campaigns without them. While this new feature may help you achieve greater efficiency, it’s always important to test it out for yourself to assess how it may or may not benefit your overall strategy.

The post Google rolls out product feed support to more video campaign types appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

SiteGround Google’s crawling and indexing issues fixed

SiteGround Google’s crawling and indexing issues fixed

For the past several days, 2 million or so of the domains hosted on SiteGround were potentially not being crawled and thus indexed by Google Search. There was some sort of “network issue between AWS Global Accelerator service and Google,” the company said and as of this morning, the issue was resolved.

When the issue began. Matt Tutt first reported about the issue this past Tuesday, November 9th. So the issue started sometime before November 9th, Matt suspects it started as early as Monday, November 8th.

Here is a screenshot showing how Google Search Console’s URL inspection tool was unable to access sites hosted on SiteGround. As you can see from the screenshot below, Google is reporting that it failed to crawl the page. Matt posted more debugging details on his post.

Confirmation. Then on November 10th, SiteGround confirmed the issue and said it is investigating. “We have escalated the issue to Google and we are working to troubleshoot and identify the cause of the problem,” the company said.

We have escalated the issue to Google and we are working to troubleshoot and identify the cause of the problem. We will keep you updated once there's more information or the problem is fixed.

— SiteGround (@SiteGround) November 10, 2021

The issue. On November 11th, SiteGround confirmed the issue was between Amazon Web Services and Google. The company said “we traced it down to a network issue between AWS Global Accelerator service and Google. We’re collaborating with engineers from both teams to fix it.”

Resolved. Then a day later, on November 12th, SiteGround confirmed the issue was resolved and that it can take a bit more time for DNS to update but once the update is propagated properly, Google will once again be able to crawl sites hosted on SiteGround. The company said “We are glad to inform you that we have implemented a fix for the Google bot crawling issue experienced by some sites. Websites are already being crawled successfully. Please allow a few hours for the DNS changes to take effect.”

Status Update: We are glad to inform you that we have implemented a fix for the Google bot crawling issue experienced by some sites. Websites are already being crawled successfully. Please allow a few hours for the DNS changes to take effect. Thank you for your patience!

— SiteGround (@SiteGround) November 12, 2021

Google advice. John Mueller of Google posted some advice on Twitter on how Google deals with these outages. In short, don’t worry too much, the issues you may have experience from the outage will auto correct and “settle down.” There won’t be any “lasting effects” to the outage, John added. John posted several tweets, here is the first one if you want to click on it to read through the rest.

We recently saw some sites that had DNS issues specific to Googlebot's crawling, and I thought I'd do a short thread on how that works out for Google. tl;dr: don't worry, it'll settle down, there are no lasting effects.

— John (@JohnMu) November 12, 2021

Why we care. If you are one of your clients are one of the two million domains hosted on SiteGround, you may have been impacted by this. That means any new or updated content or pages on your site was invisible to Google for most of the work week.

The issue is resolved and those pages should be crawled by Google going forward. But you may want to annotate your analytics and reporting if you were impacted by this crawling issue.

The post SiteGround Google’s crawling and indexing issues fixed appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

The Microsoft Audience Network now prohibits gambling, lawsuit, health supplement and end-of-life ads

Microsoft Audience Network’s policies have been updated and no longer allow for advertising lawsuits, end-of-life products and services, health supplements and vitamins and gambling, the company announced Friday.

Here is the list of categories that are no longer allowed on the Microsoft Audience Network as well as on native advertising served on Microsoft-owned and operated properties, like MSN and Outlook:

Lawsuit advertising and invitations to participate in a lawsuit.End-of-life products and services, including but not limited to cremation services, funeral flowers, urns, coffins and obituaries.Health supplements and vitamins (however enforcement for supplement and vitamin ads that are currently running on the network will not begin until January).Gambling (which is already prohibited on the Microsoft Audience Network but will now also be prohibited on native advertising served on Microsoft-owned and operated properties).

Why we care

Most of these categories are already prohibited on other platforms, so marketers working for brands in these verticals may not be surprised. Nevertheless, those brands are now missing out on another way to reach potential customers, which makes their organic strategy even more important.

Additionally, many platforms have regulated these ad categories in the interest of user safety, which might also improve the user experience on those platforms. It’s only natural that Microsoft would seek to match its ad safety standards and user experience with those of its competitors.

The post The Microsoft Audience Network now prohibits gambling, lawsuit, health supplement and end-of-life ads appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

Best Local SEO Courses (Free & Paid)

Local SEO courses are a valuable tool for anyone hoping to attract and convert local customers online. They’ll teach you the basics of getting leads most likely to make a purchase in your area. If you’re shipping products locally or offering services to nearby clients, local SEO is a must-have. Often, refining your SEO with […]

The post Best Local SEO Courses (Free & Paid) appeared first on reliablesoft.net.

Read More

20211112 SEL Brief

The post 20211112 SEL Brief appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More