Study: Google Favors Ecommerce Sites & User-Generated Content

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A recent research conducted by Amsive, a digital marketing agency, highlighted a significant shift in Google’s search result rankings in the past year.

According to the study, there has been an increase in the prominence of ecommerce websites and platforms hosting user-generated content. Conversely, there has been a decrease in the visibility of sites focusing on product reviews and affiliate marketing.

These findings carry important implications for online businesses, suggesting potential changes in visibility and traffic if these trends persist.

Ecommerce Dominance In Search Results

The study revealed a notable rise in ecommerce websites ranking prominently in top search positions across various commercial queries.

Previously, keywords that typically returned results from product review and affiliate sites now predominantly showcase online retailers. Here are a few examples illustrating this trend:

  • For queries like “Bird feeders,” all top 10 positions are now occupied by ecommerce stores, displacing several product review sites seen in previous years.
  • Searches for “Laptops” now exclusively display ecommerce websites in the top 10 results, with some sites appearing multiple times.
  • Similarly, searches for “Towel warmer” show ecommerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart securing multiple listings, completely supplanting affiliate websites in the top results.

Rise Of User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) platforms, such as Reddit, Quora, and YouTube, have experienced a notable increase in search visibility alongside ecommerce sites.

These platforms are now often found in top search positions for a wide range of queries, where they previously had little to no presence or lower rankings.

This shift is particularly evident in longer, more specific queries like “toys for 2-year-old boys,” where UGC sites are becoming more prominently visible.

Impact On Product Review & Affiliate Sites

The change in search rankings poses challenges for product review and affiliate websites, as they are now less likely to appear prominently for many commercial queries.

Although Google has not explicitly labeled product review content as “unhelpful,” recent updates indicate that these pages have been disproportionately impacted.

Implications For Digital Marketing Strategies

As a result of these shifts, product review and affiliate sites may find it necessary to reassess their strategies to sustain visibility and traffic.

According to Lily Ray and Silvia Gituto, the authors of the study, recommended strategies include:

  1. Increasing emphasis on digital media and PR efforts.
  2. Enhancing engagement on social media platforms.
  3. Creating video content tailored for platforms such as YouTube Shorts and TikTok.
  4. Developing podcast content to reach broader audiences.
  5. Actively participating in relevant online forums to foster community engagement and visibility.

What This Means For Websites

The evolving landscape presents ecommerce sites with an opportunity to enhance their visibility and attract more traffic.

They can capitalize on this shift by actively encouraging customer reviews and incorporating user-generated content into their platforms.

Meanwhile, product review and affiliate sites may need to pivot their strategies accordingly. They could focus on promoting their content through social media channels, producing video content, launching podcasts, and participating in online forums to offset potential declines in Google search traffic.

Adapting to these changes, particularly by embracing user-generated content, will be crucial for maintaining and advancing their success in this dynamic environment.

Original news from SearchEngineJournal