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How far can ecommerce sites legitimately migrate into editorial content?

by on September 18, 2012 in Ecommerce, Events & Awards, Nuggets, Retail, Retail News

What The Convergence Of Publishing & Ecommerce Means For Enterprise SEO by Adam Sherk for Search Engine Land.

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Recent articles from The New York Times and Folio illustrate how lifestyle publishers are experimenting with deeper shopping integration.

On the other side, ecommerce sites, in response to Panda and May Day before it, are taking steps to reduce thin, low-value pages and to improve the overall quality of their content. This, plus the increasing popularity of content marketing as a tactic, has many non-publishers essentially getting into the publishing business.

From a user and searcher perspective, this means the traditional dividing lines between editorial and commercial sites are increasingly blurred.

What does this convergence mean for search engines and more specifically enterprise SEO?

Key Considerations

•Publishers need to be careful about simply bolting on a shopping play to a subdomain or subdirectory. The engines need to understand that a credible editorial site is still just that when it suddenly puts a lot of focus on ecommerce, either directly or through affiliate relationships.

•When it comes to product-related queries, the engines tend to give ecommerce sites prominence for queries with transactional intent and editorial sites prominence for queries with informational intent. There may not be an appropriate fit for many editorial sites but when applicable it should be investigated.

•As ecommerce sites venture more into content production and marketing, the depth and quality of content should be a top priority. Even if the engines can’t always differentiate between “real” content and thinly veiled promotional content, users certainly can.

•Along those lines, content producers at commercial sites need (roughly speaking) the same SEO training and oversight as the editorial staff at a magazine or newspaper site does. Balancing SEO tactics and objectives with things like user experience, readability and editorial voice are critical.

It will be interesting to see how this convergence continues to evolve and how the engines and search marketers adapt to it.

Will trusted publisher domains with deep, quality content and strong link profiles and social signals gain a leg up for shopping related queries? Or are they stepping beyond their topical authority and still likely to trail behind category leaders for transactional queries?

As for ecommerce sites, how far can they legitimately migrate into editorial content?

photo credit: adactio via photo pin cc

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