Back in January, Shopzilla rolled out their new search engine Solr. You probably didn’t hear about this, but the results may be evident now. Shopzilla is facing an issue that’s become known as flooding, and it could be affecting your retail marketing campaign.


Flooding is a term used when you have basically only 1 or 2 merchants showing up on a general product search query. These few merchants dominate with 5-10 listings each on a page, leaving little to no room for other, usually smaller, retailer listings.

It’s problematic because not only do fewer merchants show up on the first page, but it’s generally unhealthy for the few that do. This is because flooding creates more clicks for those merchants but not necessarily more conversions. Solr has been particularly susceptible to this, and you can see an example of flooding (below).

Fortunately, a couple of days ago, Shopzilla informed us that they’re aware of this issue and are actively working to resolve it. Flooding can be rampant on other CSEs, however, and we’ve seen it even on Google Shopping (below).

Google Shopping merchants may be suffering because of this, and research for our Q3 Quarterly CSE Rankings has revealed that there has been a marked decrease in conversion rates from Q2 to Q3. No significant decrease is seen for Shopzilla, but this is probably because they have had Solr in place for almost a year now.

If you want to look into this more, you can sign up here to have our Q3 CSE rankings emailed directly to you.

Proposed Solutions

The fact of the matter is that bids have a greater impact on the results rankings on Solr than it has on previous search engine programs. Shopzilla is animatedly working to implement this into their new search engine in addition to another patch that will allow them to factor in conversion rates from retailers in order to serve more targeted search results for online shoppers.

You, as the merchant, should diligently monitor your Shopzilla campaign in these coming months. Pay special attention to the traffic you’re receiving and the bids you set because the traffic-heavy Holiday Season will magnify whatever issues or successes you’re experiencing now.

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