Matt Cutts made an announcement at the recent SXSW conference in March intimating at an algorithm update that would penalize low quality or “bad” merchants why not look here. This is what Cutts mentioned:

“We have a potential launch later this year, maybe a little bit sooner, looking at the quality of merchants and whether we can do a better job on that, because we don’t want low quality experience merchants to be ranking in the search results.”

However, the quality and preference of merchant sites that will rank in the search results was not clarified. Cutts went on to say that the quality parameters will be considered by usefulness and spammability. Expect customer reviews to play a considerable role in quality scores in both the number of reviews and also the percentage of positive reviews.

As SEO experts, we have optimized close to 2000 ecommerce sites. As far as our knowledge of working on these sites is concerned, we believe that along with the review count, site architecture and usability indicators will play a very vital role in the filtering.

Below are some very important points to consider if you have an ecommerce / merchant website:

1. Try to get as many positive reviews as possible from your customers on your website as well as your Google+ Business Page and other review sites. Make sure that these reviews are genuine. Fake reviews are considered as a negative tactic by Google and might put you in trouble.

2. Improve the quality of the product pages. Avoid high bounce rates, too many page not found errors, internal server errors. Check our Google Webmaster Tools and get the crawl errors resolved first.

3. Have unique content on the site. Avoid duplicate content especially on the product listing page. Verifying your site via Google Authorship will help as well.

4. Drop any manufacturer provided images in favor of multiple unique ones.

5. Mark up your site with Microdata so that Rich snippets appear in Google search results.

It would be rather smart to consider this update a fact and not an opinion so that you can begin preparing for it now. We will keep you updated as things progress, but in the meantime be sure you’re doing what you can to work on your website AND attract those online reviews.