Google...what happened to us? Clothes retailer laments 70% drop in search traffic (video)
November 22, 2012
US-based online retailer Big Tall Direct has accused Google of favouring ad dollars from large businesses over relevancy, after the firm saw a 70% decrease in search traffic in the past year.
Big Tall Direct is one the largest online web-sellers of clothes for the big and tall man in the US, and has worked with Google since 1997 using its AdWords system to secure top spots on the natural search results page.
After a decade in the top search results, the company claims that Google's new Penguin and Panda algorithm changes introduced over the past year have lead to Big Tall Direct seeing a decrease in traffic. Its rank moved around to position 6 and position 13, and back again. Most recently, however, the rank has dropped precariously to position 54 without any advanced warning.
"This puts our entire organization at risk", says it's President Rob Schlein. "We have spent over $400,000 in Google Adwords buys in our lifetime and we are very upset that our organic listings do not appear before this upcoming holiday season". He added, "My experience is not unique. Other independent big and tall retailers are sharing the same experiences. I feel like Google has small family businesses under full assault in favor of the large multinational corporations with big advertising budgets, yet who do a poor job of servicing our particular niche."
The firm claims that now, when a user types "big and tall", or "big and tall clothes" as his search words in the US, Google lists traditional department stores with no independent specialty stores being displayed any longer in the top results.
"This new algorithm doesn't serve their (Google's) customer, nor does it serve us. We were coveted in the formative years of the internet as one of its early adopters for retail. Now, that we have built our infrastructure to accommodate a growing business model, they (Google) have changed all of the rules", said Schlein. “Last year, we hired an SEO firm to help restore our ranking, and that helped for a limited amount of time.”
In response, Schlein created a tongue-in-cheek YouTube Video asking Google, "What did I ever do to you?".
Big Tall Direct began as their online store backed up by a traditional brick and mortar storefront called Dan's Big & Tall in 1997. An early adopter of online selling, it was one of the first merchants to partner with America Online in the late 1990s.