Google Paid Traffic, eCommerce, and the Changing SERP Landscape

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As Panda 4.2 rolls on, there's an interesting discussion happening on WebmasterWorld. It's about eCommerce and traffic.

goodoldweb wrote:
I own three eCommerce sites (Australia). Electronics, Women fashion & accessories, USB Gadgets and an eBay store. They are basically all dead since about April this year. The only small amount of free traffic i now receive from google is only to the sites free information pages. Google now sends almost zero traffic to the cart/product pages. The only way to get some traffic to these pages now is via google shopping or adwords (paid traffic only!). Free Organics clicks are basically non existent to any of the commercial pages (buy now pages).

That's where the part of the discussion that interested me picks up. Nutterum brings up some interesting points about how Amazon and Google synergize to dominate SERPs - they need each other:

Nutterum wrote:
What I was saying is Google backed online shops for years, until people evolved their search algorithms and started searching for amazon "product" instead. Once that took firm hold, Google changed the SERPs so that huge outlets like these would hold the top spots while the rest will be divided between generic "product info" pages and other nonsense, while promoting Google Product listings in a neat user experience friendly way. Google is not supposed to care for your online business, nor should care about promoting it. What they do care is how the searchers view your business. If they like it a-lot, Google will find a way to make it profitable for both you and them. If they do not, then you better find out why.

The Panda bit comes in with the last post by Martin Ice Web, who suggests that because of the changing landscape of search Google must "manipulate the serps to their own advantage as the sites they scrape from are simply better than theirs. And they sell it as a panda quality alogrithm."