February 20, 2013 Leave a comment
Google has started to roll out changes that will affect the way products appear in their search engine. Back at the end of May last year, they announced that Google Product Search was changing to Google Shopping.
After a rollout of this service in the U.S. Google Shopping is going global; starting with the U.K., Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Japan and Australia. This rollout began on 13th February 2013.
What this means is that when you search for a product there is an option above your results to see ‘Shopping’ results. These results are products sourced from registered websites, a service that was previously free to retailers.
This is no longer the case. Google Shopping is a commercial model just like Adwords; retailers will bid on searches, so merchants who pay for Google Shopping listings will rank higher than those merchants who don’t.
Ranking is based upon a combination of relevance and bid price; retailers can automatically bid on Product Targets based on user rules and move products between Product Targets to best optimise their performance. Or, retailers can just let the rule-based automated bid manager adjust their Product Target bids based on performance and their overall goals.
Product targets allow you to select which products are eligible to show on Product Listing Ads, and they also allow you to bid differently on different sets of products. Grouping products by Product Target enables retailers to control bids across multiple products based on these qualifications, (e.g. all products characterised as “sale” should receive a bid of £0.75).
Ensuring your product data feeds are updated frequently, are accurate and include product details such as name, price, product page URL, product image URL, description, category and more, will help with the ranking in terms of relevance. If you’re already using the Google Product Listing service don’t worry it’s not going to end straight away. By the middle of the year though your listing will no longer be as visible as they might have once been. So act now and convert your listings to the new Google Shopping format and set up an Adwords account if you don’t already have one.
If your site isn’t using Google products there’s still time to sign up under the free model. Google will be supporting these listings until the middle of the year so you can still take advantage of the free period. Get registered in the Merchant Centre and get your products listed.