An SEO View at Google's New ebookstore

Google's new ebookstore system debuted today.  I visited the site to see what I could learn from an e-Commerce SEO standpoint.  Here's the condensed version.  The store was designed by engineers, which is good and bad.  It's very fast and compressed, but needs more user-interface magic to make it really work.  I would, however, buy from Google's ebookstore today.  

Always ambitious, Google, does not disappoint with their new ebookstore site.  The sites starts out with a list of supported devices.

The kindle is the obvious missing device.

I examined the front page to observe any trends and found they take the approach many e-Commerce websites do - clustering and grouping popular website entry-points in the form of navigation elements. Some text based, and some image based.  

As you can see by the above image, there are numerous lists that serve as entry points for customers. There are lists for top selling, by subject, new arrivals, top rated, expert list (New York Times), free, and most popular genres. What's interesting to note is the subtle differences between all the lists. Top selling includes the title and author, but no price.  New arrivals includes the title, price, and author.  Top rated includes the title, price, old / slashed price, and a new, lower price.  That's not by accident.  They are appealing to persona's.

Expect to see these lists expand, contract, and move around based on customer usage and preference over time.  I like the use of Google colors to help the user remember where they are.

I have high expectations when I the search for any Google product.  As I hovered over the Google ebookstores search box, and began types sincl - for Sinclair Lewis, auto-complete began to help me. Good job Google.  You did not disappoint.  Take a look at the search results for Sinclair Lewis, however.

Results all over the place.  I think Google can do better and will once they get a chance to fix the data.  I can see a n engineer's response being, "we just assumed the search would work..."

Looking at the book detail page to glean any ideas how to improve my SEO, I noticed how clean and simple the Google ebookstore site was. Looking at the source code reveals tightly-packed css / js / html loaded into a ready-to-use file - a joy to see.  This is a huge factor in what makes Google lighting-fast.

Here's the product detail page.

Breaking down the detail page shows one H1 tag, a simple table for layout, an attention-grabbing call-to-action, and awesome metadata.  Most sites match the H1 and the title on page, by Google surprised me by adding boiler-plate text to their title.  At the bottom of the page, is a load of meta data and related-links.  Take note SEO experts - no formatting and pay particular attention to the lack of formatting.  Simple, clean, text.

Viewing snippets of the book, using Google's in-browser viewer, was a pleasant experience.  It did not require any third-party software, it just worked, fast.


The new Google SERP's now include references to the new ebookstores site when searching for books as you would expect.

Amazon is king of content according to Google as you can see the above image, but Google does not care since they own the joint.  Look at the bottom of the page if you have any question.  

Clicking a book at he bottom of the page and being taken to Google's book site still offers the customer a choice of other ebookstore providers like Amazon, but the Google option is the most loud and clear.  

Overall, the design is clean and simple, but sterile at times.  Some of the data for the books are aggregated, so those pages are bare and non-enticing.  The pages are lean and mean, packed for speed.  In general, there are improvements to be made with search and content that I know Google will fix with ample time.  As for SEO lessons, my first observation is that it's good to own the place.  Build out your sites with relevant content and cross-link where appropriate.  Do not complicate the linking structure.  As you can see by how deliberate Google has been, the linking structure is the heart of their site and was designed/developed to maximize the information architecture.  This is core SEO.  Study what Google has done and learn from it - there's so much to learn.