“Ask an Expert” is an occasional feature where we ask ecommerce experts questions from online merchants. For this installment, we address a question about the search engine implications from selling on Facebook. The question comes from Brian M. Almashie,
vice president of ecommerce for Shopwildplanet.com, a retailer for Wild Planet toys.
For the answer, we turn to Bill Hartzer, an SEO expert and a contributor to Practical eCommerce. He’s the owner of BillHartzer.com, a Dallas-based marketing firm.
Brian M. Almashie: “We recently started a page on Facebook called shopwildplanet.
“On this page, we are planning to add content (both educational and commercial) and have a ‘Shop’ tab that contains our products and that links directly to our ecommerce store Shopwildplanet.com.
“My question is, because the content is on Facebook and is a feed, will this help us with search engine rankings? Right now, we are using shortened product descriptions on the ShopTab side, with a link to the full product on our own ecommerce site.
“Any thoughts on this? Just want to make sure it won’t hurt our ranking.
“I would also be interested in your overall thoughts the role of Facebook and Twitter for ecommerce sites, and the role these sites play in search engine ranking/placement. Should we be focusing on adding content to these sources to gain better rankings?”
Bill Hartzer: “I understand your concerns about adding the products to Facebook and the potential to hurt or harm your current search engine rankings. It’s definitely a valid concern. However, I do not think that you should be concerned about hurting the rankings of your Shopwildplanet.com site.
“At this point, your Facebook ‘shop’ page is indexed in Google. It has been at least 10 days since Google has ‘spidered’ the page (I checked the Google cache date) and you probably have not seen any rankings increases or decreases. Most likely, since the product descriptions that you are using on your Facebook page are duplicates of the same products found on other web pages (both on your own website and on other websites), Google is most likely not going to put much weight on them. Google tends to ignore a lot of duplicate content nowadays. In fact, I took a sentence out of one of the product descriptions, put it in quotes, and searched for it at Google: There are lots of other pages where your product descriptions appear, including on Search.shopwildplanet.com, and other shopping sites. Adding the duplicate product descriptions yet again on Facebook is not going to hurt your search engine rankings for Shopwildplanet.com.
“That said, I don’t think your Facebook ‘shop’ page is going to help the search engine rankings of Shopwildplanet.com, either. If you were to take the time to rewrite the product descriptions, creating unique content, and link those back to your current site, you may see some increased search engine rankings. But simply taking the same content and duplicating it again on another shopping site, even if it’s a Facebook shop, shouldn’t affect the search engine rankings.
“When it comes to the role of Facebook and Twitter for ecommerce sites, and the role these sites play in search engine rankings, they can ultimately help your website’s overall search engine rankings. As long as the content on your Facebook and Twitter sites is unique, there’s a good chance that links from Facebook and Twitter will help your website’s search engine rankings, especially as your Facebook and Twitter presence increases.”