4 Reasons Why Your eCommerce Store Shouldn’t Rely On Google


eCommerce Store

If you have a need to boost traffic and increase the number of people coming to visit your website, you may think that the only way to do this is to rank higher in the Google search results. Over time, this might become a large part of your marketing strategy.

But before you go off and start concentrating on driving more Google traffic, have you ever wondered what would happen to your eCommerce store if Google changed the way they rank online stores? What if they, for some reason, decided to rank them down?  That would have a HUGE impact on your business if you were relying too heavily on the search engines for traffic.

You should start spreading your time and effort to lower your risks by using the many other traffic sources available for increasing your website traffic and targeting more potential customers. Here are the top four reasons why you should stop relying solely on the popular search engine.

Change In Algorithm

Google performs about 200 updates and changes in its algorithm every year. This is because doing so is one of the search engine’s measures to effectively eliminate spam. Every time there is a change in their algorithm, you can expect a significant change in your online site’s usual traffic.

In 2012, many websites that relied solely on Google reported a change in the volume of their visitors. In some cases the traffic went up, but in many cases in went down – sometimes by more than 60%! Link building would also be rendered futile as algorithm updates are known for invalidating linking schemes.

Nobody knows what is round the corner in regards to Google updates.  Your site could be perfectly fine for the next few years without being effected, or you could end up getting hit hard with the next update.  The point is that you should try to minimize the impact by using other traffic generation methods for your site.

Drop In Rankings

As your search engine ranking fall, you may expect the number of potential visitors to your site to also decline. Considering high rankings drive more visitors, a drop in rankings from #3 to pages 2 could result in a loss of up to 70% of traffic for a particular keyword.  Now that is just one page, but what if all your pages suddenly took a nose dive in the SERP rankings?  That could be a pretty significant drop in traffic.

Such a change would have a huge impact on your online business, so it is key to find and use other marketing channels to drive traffic.

Growth Of Other Channels

eCommerce store

Mobile browsing is on the rise

Mobile Internet usage is expected to drastically grow in the next two years, including this year. If expectations proceed, more than 50% of online traffic will be accounted to mobile users. It will certainly change the overall scope of required activities for search engine optimization.

Your eCommerce business should make it a priority to make your website mobile friendly, as this is the only way to make sure that you aren’t losing out on potential business.  Most traffic directed to websites on mobile devices tends to come from social media networks, not Google.  Even search engines have different search results on mobile devices than on desktop searches.

Future Changes

Microdata or structured data is expected to gain more importance in search engine optimization (SEO) in the near future. This is a unique mark-up language providing more information about content of websites to search engines for them to use. Google is actively pushing for the adoption of the system, which would change online site performance in natural search results.

Google can still be a reliable tool and partner in making your eCommerce store succeed and in all likely hood you are not going to just wake up one morning and find that all your traffic has disappeared.  However, it is important that you try to tap other systems that may complement and help bolster traffic to your website. It is important that no matter what changes that are made to the popular search engine, your site has other traffic streams to fall back on.  Traffic is the lifeblood of the internet, the more traffic streams that you have from multiple sources bringing you business, the less you have to worry about one failing.

Other than search engines, what other traffic sources help drive traffic to your site?  Do you worry that a Google update could have a big impact on your business, or are you not so bothered?  Please let us know by leaving a comment below!

About Richard Fisher

Richard is a passionate eCommerce blogger and a regular forum contributor. Over the last 5 years, Richard has written numerous articles on eCommerce development and optimisation. When he is not blogging, Richard works for Infinity Technologies where he manages Magento sites. You can learn more by following him on Twitter or Facebook.

  • Been saying this for ages – companies who solely rely on Google as their only traffic source are committing e-suicide (if there is such a thing?!)

    We all know they move the goalposts far too often and companies get literally struck off the map overnight. Sure – Google has its pros, but to put all your eggs in one basket is a bad idea.

    eCommerce sites have great conversions and rewards via the paid traffic options.

    • Hi John,

      It’s always risky to put all your eggs in one basket in regards to web traffic. Search engines will probably always be the best way to get traffic, but it’s not the only way. Sites should look at other streams to bring in visitors as well.

  • Bob Toovey

    Good article, we do get comfortable with the way things are. We rarely consider what would happen if Google was to stop being our friend. Dive in to your stats and see where your visitors come from. If Google is the only search engine sending traffic – or indeed the only source, time to find out why!

    • Hi Bob,

      I think we are all a bit guilty of this (me included) where we rely too heavily on one source. There are plenty out there that sites can use to drive traffic, it’s just a case of implementing them.

  • Clair Trebes

    Excellent post from Richard, Matt. Something I’ve read with interest.

    Its important to us all to make sure that whatever our business is we are not only placing importance in any one place …… Irrespective of your business “type” the money is in the list … so the most focus I do believe should be on getting people into your email marketing list, and then communicate with them via other channels as a side line …..

    If businesses don’t take heed of the mobile usage and predicted growth then they will fall short very soon. Optimizing for mobile web browsing is where the future is, so whilst time is on side, people really need to ensure they are preparing now!

    Thankfully the eCommerce site I’ve built is now mobile friendly! 🙂

    • Hi Clair,

      Totally agree! Email lists are very valuable to a business and a great source of web traffic. Anything that sites can use to drive traffic is great and shouldn’t be overlooked.

      As for mobile friendly sites, it is SO important at the moment. More and more of us are logging on via our smart phones, so if a site isn’t accessible then that is lost traffic.

      Luckily I use the same WordPress theme maker as you (WooThemes), so our sites are already optimized for mobile devices. Your eCommerce site is looking great!

      • Clair Trebes

        Thanks Matt for saying so! 🙂