Google Farmer Update aka Panda Slaps Google Shopping and Google Maps Competitors

Be sure to scroll down to the many resources and tips from top SEOs on how to survive Panda, improve your site and regain some of your traffic.

Long term be sure you understand that Google Favors Big Brands and how Google will impact your business and life.

google panda update

Click image for Panda Update Survival Tips

All of the sites mentioned below are on the Numbers Crunchers list of the most affected domains published by SearchEngineLand.

If your site is on that list and not mentioned below, let me know in the comments and I will add it.

If your business was affected you are encouraged to leave a comment.

GOOGLE FARMER UPDATE MOST AFFECTED:

UPDATE March 1, 2011: The types of sites most affected by Google Farmer Update are:

I argue that many of these sites have great added value for users and ARE NOT “thin on content”. More details on competitors to Google Shopping and Google Maps below.

While the Google update (that occurred last Thursday, February 24, 2011) has been dubbed the “Farmer Update” because the target was supposedly content farms, the list of Sistrix’ top 100 losers includes many who are direct Google Competitors.

GOOGLE SLAPPED GOOGLE COMPETITORS:

Glancing through the tables of Sistrix data, I picked out this incomplete list of sites affected and grouped them by type. No doubt I missed a few and many similar sites will be affected.

Many are competitors to Google Maps (because they offer maps or business listings or travel information). Sites on the lists published by Sistrix and Search Engine Land of most affected sites including Merchant Circle, American Towns, Manta (business listings), InsiderPages (Local Business Listings), CitiTownInfo.com, and you could also travel sites include Roadside America, TravelPod, Trails.com, and MyTravelGuide.

Google Shopping competitors Google-slapped by the Farmer Update include TheFind, BizRate, ShopWiki, Buzzilions, Shopping.com, Kaboodle, Buzzillions, DigitalTrends, TestFreaks, GaltTech (one of the oldest sites on the Internet) – all shopping comparison or review sites that make it easy to find out who carries a specific product and compare prices.

I know many still haven’t wrapped their minds around why it is bad to have only ONE source for anything, why I believe Google IS Evil, or why I keep warning about the dangers of Google Favoring Brands and  Google’s Monopoly, so here is an example.

Google Shopping Business Card Holders Search for Business Card Holders Favored Stores Under Any Store

While TheFind lists 4,401 stores with 138,507 products matching a search for business card holders, Google Shopping suggests only the five stores shown in the screen capture to the right of this text: Amazon, eBags, Buy.com Walmart and Office Depot.

When you click More they offer a total of twenty stores (fifteen additional).  Something else I find interesting:

Google Shopping Business Card Holders More Stores

Google recently went after Overstock’s organic listings but they’re featuring them in Google Product search?

What if you were on Google Product Search and wanted to see any of those thousands of other small stores that sell business card holders?

Even though these other sellers DO list their products on Google Shopping, Google doesn’t choose to show them to us. You would have to know the name of the store and search on it specifically.

When I searched for +”business card holders” +”Executive Gift Shoppe” – a small store whose product feed I am familiar with – Google returns only THREE of their business card holders.  I changed the search to +card +”Executive Gift Shoppe” and got 403 results.

So Google can broad match ppc ads for the phrase business card holder in AdWords but CHOOSES to only show three of the roughly 264 business card holders listed in that store’s feed.

Worse yet, I specifically searched for that one store, but Google showed me 403 results but that store only has about 264 business cards. That means Google probably showed me 139 results from OTHER stores (I didn’t count them manually) even though that store had exactly the same item in stock! Here is a screen capture of one of them:

Google Shopping Card Executive Gift Shoppe

Click the image to see full size - note the last product offered by Google Shopping is for New and Blue

Executive Gift Shoppe carries that same business card holder for $40.50 – $3.70 cheaper. So why didn’t Google Shopping show me what I specifically asked for in the store I specified? It isn’t because it isn’t there. When I search for that specific product name on Google there it is:

Multi-Purple Crystal Business Card Case

The first product listed on this page is THE EXACT product Google showed me in another store even though I searched specifically for that type of product in Executive Gift Shoppe's store.

TheFind shows two other small stores selling that exact item. Neither of those comes up in a search for their business name on Google Shopping. SO, if Google causes TheFind to disappear from the search results, we don’t know about them to go to their site directly, and we ONLY had Google Shopping, we would not see the item in the store I specifically searched on nor the two other small stores that sell it.

We would ONLY see what Google chooses to show us.

This is simply unacceptable for shoppers and devastating for small businesses. If Sistrix is correct and TheFind lost 83% in this farmer update that could equate to a drop of 83% in their income. (Exactly how much would depend on which products got dropped, the profit margins or commissions on each product -TheFind participates in affiliate programs – and the conversion rates per project.)

No matter what the exact percentages end up being, what business can survive a massive drop in sales?

THIS IS THE FUTURE GOOGLE has planned for Small Businesses!

Are we going to let them further destroy our economy or are we going to wake up in time to save small local and online businesses?  I have explained how in many posts here including these:

DIAGNOSING GOOGLE TRAFFIC LOSSES:

GOOGLE PANDA INFOGRAPHICS:

Google Farmer Update Advice:

GOOGLE FARMER ADVICE:

GOOGLE FARMER OPINIONS:

After that we could use some comic relief. I offer here a Matt Cutts video parody Google on Brands followed by AdWords Scam Ads created by Aaron Wall at SEOBook:

I hope those reading this will leave their input in the comments – and don’t forget my related posts on why I believe Google IS Evil, why I keep warning about the dangers of Google Favoring Brands and  Google’s Monopoly.

P.S. Any theories why they would hit Technorati? (On theSystix Google Farmer Update table published by SearchEngineLand.)

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Gail Gardner

Small Businsss Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.