Google Prefers E-commerce Platforms and User-Generated Content

  • June 21, 2024
  • SEO
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A recent study conducted by the digital marketing agency Amsive has documented a significant shift in Google’s search result rankings over the past year.

According to the study, Google has been increasingly prioritizing ecommerce websites and platforms featuring user-generated content, while reducing the prominence of product review sites and affiliate marketing sites.

This report explores the key findings and discusses the potential implications for online businesses if these trends continue.

Ecommerce Dominance In Search Results

The study observed a pronounced increase in the frequency with which ecommerce sites are occupying top search positions for numerous commercial queries.

Keywords that once returned results from product review and affiliate sites are now predominantly showcasing online retail outlets.

For instance:

  • “Bird feeders”: Ecommerce stores now hold all 10 top positions, replacing several product review sites from the previous year.
  • “Laptops”: The current top 10 results consist exclusively of ecommerce websites, with some appearing multiple times.
  • “Towel warmer”: Leading ecommerce giants like Amazon and Walmart now dominate multiple top listings, entirely supplanting affiliate websites.

Rise Of User-Generated Content

Parallel to the rise of ecommerce websites, platforms that focus on user-generated content (UGC) have also seen a significant boost in search visibility.

Websites such as Reddit, Quora, and YouTube are now frequently appearing in top search positions for various queries where they were previously absent or ranked much lower.

This trend is especially noticeable for longer and more specific queries like “toys for 2-year-old boys,” where UGC platforms are becoming increasingly prominent.

Impact On Product Review & Affiliate Sites

The shift in search rankings presents challenges for product review and affiliate marketing websites, as their visibility for many commercial queries has been significantly reduced.

While Google has not explicitly indicated that product review content is considered “unhelpful,” data from the study suggests that recent updates have disproportionately impacted these pages.

Implications For Digital Marketing Strategies

Given these changes, product review and affiliate websites may need to reevaluate their strategies to maintain their visibility and traffic.

The study’s authors, Lily Ray and Silvia Gituto, recommend diversifying traffic sources through several approaches:

  • Focusing more on digital media and public relations.
  • Enhancing engagement on social media platforms.
  • Creating video content for services such as YouTube Shorts and TikTok.
  • Developing podcast content.
  • Actively participating in relevant online forums.

What This Means For Websites

For ecommerce websites, this trend represents a significant opportunity to gain increased visibility and traffic.

These platforms could further leverage this shift by encouraging more customer reviews and incorporating user-generated content directly onto their sites.

Conversely, product review and affiliate sites may need to adjust their strategies to remain competitive.

Utilizing social media promotion, creating engaging video content, launching podcasts, and participating in online forums could help these sites offset the reduction in Google search traffic.

Adapting to these evolving trends, particularly the emphasis on user-generated content, will likely be essential for sustained success.


Featured Image: hanss/Shutterstock

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