Abandoned Carts Out of Control? Blame Search Engines.

Many ecommerce sites see large volumes of abandoned carts from their online store. This is because search engines often add products to the shopping cart when indexing. Keep reading to learn more about how you can tell if you have a true abandoned cart on your hands.

Many ecommerce sites see large volumes of abandoned carts from their online store. This is because search engines often add products to the shopping cart when indexing. Keep reading to learn more about how you can tell if you have a true abandoned cart on your hands.

Yesterday afternoon we received a very interesting question on our Facebook page from Mike of Hannah’s Caramel Apples. He notes that he’s got a great looking site, an awesome product, fair pricing, tons of affiliates and fantastic SEO work. Despite these wins, his abandoned cart report shows the number of abandoned carts shooting through the roof.

What’s going on here?

Blame it on the search engines. Little known but very important fact: when search engine crawlers go through the process of crawling and indexing ecommerce sites, many of them add products to the shopping cart. Granted, search engines don’t have any money (insert Google joke here) so naturally they can’t purchase the product. The end result? Another abandoned cart in your report.

Check out this abandoned cart report from a sample store:
Many ecommerce sites see large volumes of abandoned carts from their online store. This is because search engines often add products to the shopping cart when indexing. Keep reading to learn more about how you can tell if you have a true abandoned cart on your hands.
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Notice that there are 16 abandoned carts in a period of 40 minutes, all from only three IP addresses. Now, let’s look up the IP addresses with a free tool like IP-Lookup and see where they’re coming from:

IP address 38.99.96.177
abandoned carts

Okay, seems legit. Now let’s look up who scoutjet.com is:
why so many abandoned carts

A-ha! It’s a web crawler. For due diligence, let’s look at the other two IP addresses.
abandoned carts report
lots of abandoned carts

(The word “crawl” in the Host category identifies this IP address as belonging to a search engine crawler.)

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So what to do now? If these abandoned carts are bothersome to your report, there are a couple of options.

  • Log into your web analytics tool and turn down the number of times your site is indexed.
  • Add some special code to your robots.txt file if you want to prevent crawlers from adding products to the cart

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Ultimately though, no harm no foul. Knowledge is power in this battle – knowing to check for abandoned carts is a great practice for any online business, but knowing where they’re coming from will help prevent additional frustration when comparing the ratio between abandoned carts and actual orders.

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What do you think about this practice?

Happy selling!
-Matt Winn, Marketing Associate

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For more information regarding how to reduce abandoned carts, check out this post, Finding Abandoned Shopping Carts a Home.

To learn more about search engine crawlers and indexing, read our post, Learn SEO One Step at a Time: How Search Engines Work.

About 

Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

2 Responses to “Abandoned Carts Out of Control? Blame Search Engines.”

  1. L & W Specialty Shop Inc.

    Thanks for this information. I experienced the same abandon cart problem.
    Now I know.

    Reply
  2. Scott

    We had tons of abandoned carts but after updating robots.txt we are only seeing three or four abandoned carts per week from search engines.

    Reply

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