June 3, 2004, 12:00 AM

Why retailers are getting Google-eyed

(Page 4 of 4)

Northern Tool’s first conversions off Froogle were in May 2003. For the next three months, conversions off Froogle totaled $40, then started moving into the low thousands of dollars. This March, sales off Froogle links were in the $5,000 range, then they tripled in April. “In May, to date we have surpassed April-it could be double what April was,” Miller says.

Though pleased with those results, Miller calls them “bittersweet.” That’s because just prior to when Google started running top Froogle product results over its regular results this spring, Northern Tool had spent effort and resources optimizing its product pages to Google’s engine so they’d rank at or near the top of natural search results. “Then in April we see they are running three product links (from Froogle) on top of that,” Miller says. “Now it’s just one more thing I’ve got to optimize for. Because I might be No. 1 under electric drills, for example, in the natural search results on Google, but I could be No. 7 in Froogle, so I don’t get listed at the top of the page in those top three results from Froogle that are on Google.”

Miller indicates it’s also not clear yet whether Froogle is producing incremental sales or drawing off sales that might otherwise come in over other links, paid or unpaid. “I’ve still got great placement in Google, but now I’ve got to worry about Google AdWords, Google natural search and now Froogle, and balance all of that,” he says. “Froogle is an opportunity, but it’s also another complexity in the Google landscape. How these all relate to each other is the next level of search engine management.”

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