Three articles today work together for the good of those concerned about accurate product information and the ability to find that information.
The first, from Consumer Goods Technology, reports that a coalition of consumer products makers and related technology companies is getting together to address the need for better product information in a Web-connected and increasingly mobile economy.
Called the Business to Consumer (B2C) Alliance, it’s being facilitated by GS1 US and GS1 Canada with the participation of the National Retail Federation. A reflection of the kind of problem they hope to fix is this: according to research done on behalf of the alliance, “more than 10 percent of searches for information about allergens, nutritional characteristics or other data returned incorrect or incomplete results.”
(While the B2C alliance focuses on consumer products, the same issues go for business and industrial products, too. As a Modern Distribution Management article said, “Distributors tell manufacturers they need ‘quality data’; manufacturers think they are already providing ‘quality data.’ There’s often a disconnect.”)
Second, noted SEO authority Jill Whelan relates a conversation with a client about posting “SEO articles” on their site – in other words, articles written for the express purposes of generating Google juice.
Without discounting the SEO value of good, rich content, Jill posed this hypothetical question to her client: “If you were looking to buy Product Part A, which page would you rather find in Google? The one with the product part information, the price, choice of color/size, information on how to purchase it, and an ‘add to shopping cart’ button? Or the one that tells you the history of said product part?”
Obviously, it’s essential from both an SEO and a customer engagement standpoint to ensure you have the essential information about your products when your customers come a-calling. And, obviously, that information needs to be accurate.
Of course, your customers also have to be able to find that information on your site — which leads to the third article, in which renowned taxonomist Marlene Rockmore details why good taxonomy is critical to search. “Search is not a perfect art,” she posits. “Good search needs good content, no matter how great the [search] technology.”
Taxonomy helps create a logical framework for categorizing data and products, customers, and other subjects. “It can help describe concepts not in the content or in the metadata about the content.” The bottom line: “Taxonomy might be worth looking at as a way to insert a pacemaker into the heart of a search engine that seems to have flatlined.”
In other words, your search problem might not be a search problem. It might be a data or data management problem.
A good product information management (PIM) platform addresses all three of the areas covered by these three articles. It will allow you to 1) cleanse and centrally manage product data; 2) append a wealth of search-friendly product attributes and marketing copy to the data; and 3) organize the data in multiple taxonomies to support and enhance a variety of applications, including parametric search.
For further insights into this topic, we invite you to download our white paper, Accelerate Your Site Search with Better Product Data.