Google Shopping's Guilt Shown By Trebling Visibility For Members

Anyone taking a look at Netimperative's report on Searchmetrics results for Google Shopping and its rivals could be excused for feeling a little confused. The figures that to the layman appear pretty damning for Google in its battle against a record EU fine are presented as being not quite as clear cut as one might think.

It certainly left me wondering what is so confusing about Google Shopping customers getting a 300% uplight in search visibility over the past three years while rivals, not on the platform, saw a 50% drop? Where is there room in that statistic for a discussion?

The explanation is that the rise and fall is not consistent over each country -- but that, to be honest, seems an odd point to make. The UK, French and German version of Google are, of course, distinct -- and so a uniform rise for Google and a drop for its rivals would not be expected. 

Nevertheless, the figure showing a 300% rise for Google Shopping is a good average of the European markets, as is a 50% drop for rivals. There is also a treasure trove of figures for comparison shopping sites, which seem to have slipped to the third and fourth pages of a search result where very few browsers will bother going. 

Amazon and eBay are cited as reasons why some individual shops and shopping platforms may have dipped lower in search results and that is almost certainly the case. The size of traffic going to those sites would make them appear a lot more popular, and so worthy of a higher ranking, than the average ecommerce store.

Again, however, we have the problem that this phenomenon apparently has not dragged down Google Shopping. Again, we come back to the point that the search engine's own platform has trebled its visibility in search while others dropped 50%.

I'm not sure how long and hard you have to look at this statistic until it becomes the perfect piece of research to prove the European Commission's point. I'm not sure how long and hard you have to consider the fact that spinning the shopping platform out to become its own independent unit is Google's answer to the European Commission's insistence it mend its ways.

Google knows exactly what it did. It formed a club that would get retail members a boost in search that was not possible for non-members. It really is that simple. It has a monopoly in search and, contrary to EU law, used that position to sell the digital equivalent of priority treatment. It got caught. It has been fined massively, and it has had to promise to mend its ways. 

With this latest research, it's hard to see any more room for discussion.

1 comment about "Google Shopping's Guilt Shown By Trebling Visibility For Members".
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  1. Stephen Bench-Capon from Searchmetrics, October 4, 2017 at 5:25 a.m.

    Thanks for mentioning our study here. Of course, as you say, it’s true that there are naturally going to be differences between the Google indexes in the three countries we analysed. However, if the decline of comparison sites were a result of a deliberate strategy followed by Google as the EC has stated, we might expect more uniform results between countries. But the differences we’re seeing across the three indexes we looked at aren’t superficial, but quite considerable and even show opposing trends in some cases. At a bare minimum, this certainly raises some doubt as to whether Google has maliciously targeted comparison sites across the EEA, as asserted by the Commission.

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