It would appear that local directory Merchant Circle is making good on it’s promise to begin battling spam within its website. Following a harsh blow from Google’s “Panda/Farmer” algorithm update it was reported that the site had lost nearly 85% of it’s overall traffic. In an interview with Search Engine Land, the company argued that the drop was not that significant, but that the company was working to address concerns from consumers about the impact of the update on their site. One of which was doubling their efforts to fight span and low-quality content across their network.
In an email sent out this afternoon Merchant Circle began notifying subscribers that they would be “spring cleaning” and rolling out a site-wide system update to help the company identify listings that are not in compliance with their new Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. The email warns businesses that if they do not comply with the changes their page may be removed from search indexes like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
The three changes outlined by Merchant Circle as new violations are keyword stuffing, placing a URL or .com as your business name or address and using inappropriate characters such as pipes, commas, or backslashes in your business name.
Merchant Circle has been a key component in many local search optimization strategies, including the efforts carried out here at Nevermore Search Marketing so these changes are welcomed. Businesses who are uncertain if they are in violation can read more on Merchant Circle’s website in their guidelines about Keyword Stuffing, URL’s as a business name, and the use of inappropriate characters in a business name. They have also posted a “Do’s and Don’ts” video to help users better understand the guidelines.