I finally installed WooCommerce and exported my (dead and live) inventory into it. It wasn’t being indexed, so I submitted the sitemap, waited several weeks, and found out the pages were indexed.
I did a search for the book https://zombiesoftheinformationsociety.com/shop/under-the-ivy-kate-bush/, and, as expected, it wasn’t on the first page 🙂
I dug around, and finally used this query to find it: Under the Ivy Kate Bush +zombies information
Yeah, I had to put the store name into it, and add a +.
What a fail(ure)!
Why? The title was: “Under the Ivy Kate Bush – Zombies of the Information Society”
One problem was that I didn’t have the magic words “buy” and “online” in the title or the page.
When someone is looking for the book, they would type “kate bush book“.
Then, they find the title and type “under the ivy kate bush“.
Getting millions of results, most people type “buy under the ivy kate bush“, or “under the ivy kate bush buy“.
It’s still millions of results, but they will find a buy link on the first page, probably Amazon, maybe Ebay, and probably buy it there. The savvier shoppers will go into the shopping page on Google or Bing, and buy there.
The ultra-shopper will go into the results, probably refining it like this: “buy under the ivy kate bush online“. They might add other keywords, like “paperback” or “softcover“, “discount“, “free” etc.
So, obviously, my page had only the title and store name, so it wasn’t going to rank at all.
Fix: I went and renamed my store to “Buy Online“, so it’ll match those searches.
What surprised me was that I didn’t show up at all if I added “buy” or “online” to the search with “+zombies information“.
The search “Under the Ivy Kate Bush +zombies information buy online” would not show my page at all.
Theory About why My Ecommerce Store Doesn’t Show Up in Google Searches
It could be that Google has a way to detect if a site looks like a legit online store, and won’t show fakes on search results if “buy” or “online” are in the search.
My store is not 100% there, at all. I don’t have payment processor enabled. I only have several links to my Ebay listings. It doesn’t look legit.
It is legit, because I will fulfill orders, often faster than Amazon. It just doesn’t look legit.
Could Adding “Buy Online” Block My Site?
It’s possible. Maybe adding “buy” and “online” would serve as a signal to de-list my site, because real scam sites might add those keywords to get in the search results.
I’m not worrying about that, because I don’t have the site completed, and there are a number of non-SEO non-web issues to fix first. When it’s really working, I’ll just appeal to Google.