News in Review: New Google Penalty & An Inside Look at Amazon’s Algorithm

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It was a busy week for e-commerce. Here’s a recap of last week’s news-makers:

Google Lays Down the Law on “Free Product Review” Linking

Fishy linking associated with free or paid product reviews is now a former sore spot for Google. A few weeks ago, Google issued a warning to bloggers about disclosing free or paid product reviews, and following guidelines for the resulting links. But that wasn’t the end of the matter. Google then decided to take a stand by penalizing webmasters that refused to heed the initial proclamation.

So what can be done to get back in Google’s good graces? Offending parties must nofollow any links to company sites, associated social media accounts, review pages, etc., that are the direct result of a free or paid product reviews

New Study Shows How Amazon Search Stands Apart From the Crowd

Amazon’s search engine, A9, has a few ranking factors that you may find unexpected. In addition to looking for keywords, Amazon also delivers results based on which products have the best sales record. But the comprehensive effects of Amazon’s ranking factors aren’t always easy to quantify on a product level. Last week, a new study across 344,936 unique products and 746,500 search results provided insight into the search tactics of the Internet’s biggest retailer.


The study found that certain features on a product page are more closely associated with a better ranking. The top five page features (in order) are:

  1. Amazon Best Sellers Rank (Sales Rank)
  2. Items Sold/Fulfilled by Amazon
  3. Keywords in Product Title
  4. Prime Eligible products
  5. Discounts

It also revealed that products not fulfilled by Amazon had decreased search visibility, even when they were Prime eligible. If you have a vested interest in Amazon’s algorithm, this study should be eye-opening.