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Sam's Fine Jewelry Website Review

Sams Fine Jewelry Website Review daily-golden-nugget-1150-52Today is the Friday Daily Golden Nugget website review. Normally I search a random town name in the United States in search of a website review candidate. But for today, I decided to add a little holiday cheer and look for a town with a holiday related name.

I started with this list of holiday towns, but it turns out that most of those are "populated places" or ghost towns. It seems like many forefathers were willing to name towns after Christmas, but over the decades they were abandoned.

From that list of name I've chosen Garland, TX to search for today's candidate. Using Google Chrome in incognito mode I searched for "jewelers in garland tx" and was returned this result:

Sams Fine Jewelry Website Review 1150-serp-36

Sam's Fine Jewelry is the obvious choice from that list. Although it's first on the list, it also stands out with the only jeweler with a star rating.

Expanding the additional details in the search results revealed that they have a Google Business View virtual tour. The red arrow in this screen shot points to the "See Inside" image:

Sams Fine Jewelry Website Review 1150-sams-fine-jewelry-see-inside-8

See their Business View virtual tour here.

This is the 4th time I've encountered the Google Business View during my Friday reviews. The Business View is a great value added tool for your business, but there are things you need to consider before contacting a local Google Trusted Photographer to create the tours for you. Please read this previous Nugget for important staging information then refer to my article in the (upcoming) January 2015 issue of the Retail Jeweler Magazine for security concerns regarding these virtual tours.

Here's the Sam's Fine Jewelry home page:

Sams Fine Jewelry Website Review 1150-sams-fine-jewelry-home-29
(click to enlarge)

Out of curiosity, the first thing I clicked was the "Events & Special" link I've pointed to in the image above. Here's a screen shot of the Events Page:

Sams Fine Jewelry Website Review 1150-sams-fine-jewelry-events-48
(click to enlarge)

I was glad to see the holiday catalog with Santa Claus on that page, and I was about to congratulate them for keeping their website updated, but then I noticed the year 2013 on their 25th Anniversary Event announcement just below Santa.

It took a few more clicks to confirm that the Holiday Catalog on their website is actually their 2013 catalog. Here's a screen shot of it:

Sams Fine Jewelry Website Review 1150-sams-fine-jewelry-holiday-catalog-23
(click to enlarge)

In addition to the forward thinking virtual tour, they also had 48 Google Reviews with a 4.9 rating at the time of this website review. Their website is placed prominently in Google's search results, yet they have let their website flounder.

Sadly, I see that they are keeping their Facebook page updated here:

I almost cried when I saw this announcement of their 26th Anniversary event on their Facebook page:

Sams Fine Jewelry Website Review 1150-sams-fine-jewelry-26-ani-40

It seems like Sam's Fine Jewelry has been completely naughty with their website management for 12 months. I'm sure Santa Claus would also shake his head in disappointment as much as I am right now. So let me move on to a different part of their site, the product catalog...

Here's their Bridal & Engagement catalog:

Sams Fine Jewelry Website Review 1150-sams-fine-jewelry-catalog-70
(click to enlarge)

Take a close look at the above screen shot and you'll see the use of /#!/ in the URL.

I've decided to finally take a stand against the company that made this website for Sam's... GemFind. All of GemFind's ads inaccurately claim that they are leading the jewelry industry with their technology and that they are the first to achieve great things. Although their service has a high aesthetic appeal, their programming techniques are sloppy and completely zap a jeweler's website ranking.

The use of the "#!" in a URL was supposed to be a wonderful JavaScript feature that would allow websites to speed up by loading sections of the page in stages. This is referred to as the "hash-bang" within the SEO industry. I'll blame Twitter for popularizing this back in 2010-2011, but they dropped the feature within 12 months because of the detrimental effect on Google ranking explained here.

In short, the hash-bang is a sloppy programming method that helps to save setup time, but Google, and all search engines for that matter, do not understand what to do with a hash-bang in the URL. Google has a work around to make these pages readable, but GemFind does not implement it on their servers.

The result is that a product page like this one looks nice to people:

Sams Fine Jewelry Website Review 1150-sams-fine-jewelry-product-71

But when Google attempts to read it, they only see the 404 error page as shown here:

Sams Fine Jewelry Website Review 1150-sams-fine-jewelry-product-dead-40

Back in August 2011 I wrote a 5-part series about the different types of product catalogs that could be set up on a jewelry store's website. You can read that here. The GemFind websites fit into my classification of a "TYPE 1" website with an "Abysmal!" SEO value.

A good website will cost a lot of money to set up and maintain. GemFind is offering their services at a premium price for a good looking website, but their methods are leading unsuspecting jewelers down the wrong online path.

Here are the takeaways from this review:

1. Google Business View is good
2. Get lots of Google Reviews to stand out in Google SERP
3. Update your website often
4. Reconsider the time and money you are wasting on Facebook
5. Think twice before you sign up for a website that's auto-populated with a product catalog

These reviews will continue next week with a visit "to" Saint Nic.

Until then...

FTC Notice: I randomly choose this website and won't be telling the retailer jeweler that I'm doing a review. Unless someone else tells them, they will only find out about this review if they examine their Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. I'm not doing this to solicit business from them, but rather as an educational exercise for everyone. This review is completely impartial and all my comments are listed in the order that I discovered them.

AT: 12/19/2014 10:18:12 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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