History of Google Shopping
Realizing that many of the searches on Google had shopping intent, Google created Google Shopping in 2002, formerly known as Google Products Search and Froogle, to connect searches directly with products. Studies have shown that new customers using Google Shopping actions are 14% more valuable than those who do not use them. In 2012, Google Shopping rolled out with the payment model. This platform integrated Google Merchant Center and Google Product Ads in a way to advertise your products and control the inventory levels.
What Changed: New Demonetization of Shopping Listings by Google
In light of COVID-19 where many retail brick-and-mortar stores are closed, Google is providing free shopping listings to better connect searchers with products and increase online sales. This is a huge update and opportunity for retailers to list their products on Google for FREE. These listings will show up in Google shopping results much like the organic listings that we are used to. Paid shopping listings will still be listed at the top of search results, much like in normal search results.
How to Opt Into Google’s Free Shopping Listings
Google provides an easy path to listing your products on Google Shopping via their Merchant Center Platform. This is a tool that allows you to upload and manage your products via website integration or through a Google Sheets inventory management upload.
Creating a Product Feed
You can upload your product feed by following the following steps:
- Create a Google Merchant account and/or log in.
- Click “Data Feeds” on the left-hand side of the screen.
- Here you will set up and register a new data feed if you have not already done so.
- Choose a target country.
- Choose Googlebase as the format
- Upload your product feed in the uploads column.
- Google also allows for the process of regularly updating the product feed automatically so the product and inventory levels will accurately be reflected in Google Shopping.
- Once you have created and uploaded your product feed, you will need to make sure that you enable Surfaces across Google within your account.
How to Optimize Your Organic Shopping Feed Listings
Optimizing your Google Shopping Listings for organic search is very similar to the SEO efforts you may already be doing on your website. There are many overlaps and correlations between the two such as optimizing your product for a specific keyword in the title, h1, product image name, alt text, and in the description. Ensuring product schema is correctly implemented on your website not only helps with organic but also helps with your Google shopping listings, especially if you feed is integrated with the inventory on your website (ie. Shopify integration).
Below are the specific items that you want to make sure are optimized for your FREE Google Shopping listings:
Pick a target keyword and get it as close to the front of your product title as possible. Do not keyword stuff. Your product title is analogous to a website page title.
Ensure that you use the keyword you chose in the first sentence of your product description. Also make sure that your description is concise, reflective of your product, and engaging to the reader.
Be sure to include all appropriate product specifications. Some searchers use these specifications in their searches and this will increase the number of product listing impressions in front of your target audience.
Ensure that you have a high definition, clear and flattering image of your product. You can even A/B test different product images to see which ones users engage with more.
Product Category and Type (backend only)
Be sure that you pick the correct product category on the back end. This will increase the number of impressions your product makes in front of the correct target search audience.
Also, ensure that the product type is selected which will help build relevance.
Ensure that the correct product availability is reflected within Google Merchant Center or on your website that your product feed is integrated directly.
Ensure that ProductSchema is in place with no errors. If there are multiple offers or product variants on a product page, ensure that this is reflected within the schema so that it will populate correctly in your Google Shopping feed.
Providing as much information as possible will increase the likelihood of placing your product in front of a potential buyer.
Importance of Keyword Research
The backbone of any SEO strategy is a solid keyword strategy. Keyword research is key to ensuring that you are driving the correct traffic that will convert into a sale. Here you will need to know your audience. Below are some guiding questions that will allow you to pick the correct keywords for your products.
Choosing the Correct SEO Keywords
- What are the different terms your product goes by? This includes both industry or “slang” terms that users may use to search.
- What are people searching for in Google as it relates to your product? There are many different tools that will allow you to find the average monthly search volume for any given keyword (ie. Keyword Planner, AHREFs, SEMrush, Moz, etc.).
- What new searches are trending? Google Trends is a great tool to find new trending topics that may not be reflected by search volume in the above-mentioned tools.
- What is the competition level for these keywords? If you are a startup or have a website with low domain authority, it is going to be pretty hard for you to compete in search results with large retailers like Amazon, Walmart, or Target, (as examples), who have an established search presence and have their brands organically have high trust and domain authority within Google. If this is the case, pick more longtail less competitive keywords to rank on.
Who Will Benefit from Free Google Shopping Listings?
Any e-commerce client who sells products online will benefit from listing their products online. This creates new channels for them to get their products out in front of potential customers. Who else benefits? CONSUMERS! With COVID-19 disrupting all of our lives, closing many retail stores, and changing the way business is done, this provides an avenue for them to see more product offerings and options that they may not have had access to previously.
Connect with Us
Do you still have questions about your product feed and how to further optimize it? Whether you are a digital marketing professional or business owner, we would love to connect with you and pass along any tips that we can to help you reach your goals. Drop us a line or connect with us on our contact page and we would love to reach out for a conversation.