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Google Announces FREE Google Shopping Listings

Early this year, Google announced that Google Shopping will be allowing business to showcase product listings for free. Understandably, our digital marketing agency PPC and SEO specialists got very excited about this news. This was a move initially planned for a few month’s time, however the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a fast forward.

Google seems to have heard that callout for help and yesterday announced plans to help retailers find more customers online—for free, for the first time in 8 years, which will allow merchants to show their products across Google Shopping, which is a market reaching hundreds of millions of shoppers a day. Interestingly, this isn’t Google’s first time offering these product listings for free. Back in 2012, Google was offering shopping listings to retailers for free before they ultimately transitioned these listings into a paid ad space with shopping ads.

Why Now?

The ongoing competition with Amazon was also a major factor, as Amazon has slowly started eating away at Googles market share for product searches for quite some time. Google will be focused on having more products available to browse for the end consumer, and thus hope to take back some of that Amazon market share. It’s also likely some retailers seeing success with the free listings may increase their exposure with paid bidding.

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Who is eligible for free Google Shopping listings?

All retailers can opt-in to show their products across Google for free once they submit their product feeds to Google Merchant Center. Therefore, it’s an open field so jump in for some action and get your products listed for free.

 

How does this change impact my Google Shopping ads?

Google rolled this out in in the United States of America in April, and there are plans for this to go to other markets worldwide by the end of the year. We don’t expect major changes to any of the paid listings and are more likely to see data segmented by either paid or free traffic on reports. As a result, the shopping results from the Google search results page, partner search engines, Google images, the Google Display Network, Gmail, and YouTube will still only feature paid shopping ads, therefore, advertisers won’t expect to lose much of their shopping ads traffic.

This will allow retailers more flexibility in how they chose to promote their full inventory across Google since retailers will continue to show their paid ads alongside these new free organic listings. Once their products are approved in Google Merchant Center, a retailer can create a Google Shopping campaign within Google Ads and promote specific items across Google, paying only when a searcher arrives at their site.

Current Google Shopping advertisers will continue to show their ads on the Google Shopping tab, primarily towards the top and bottom of the pages. As far as we are aware the Nonpaid listings (organic) will take the remaining real estate within that tab.

How to list my products on Google Shopping?

In order to have your products appear on Google, you’ll need to create a free Google Merchant Center account. From there, you’ll also need to create a feed for each of your products which must meet various attributes that we’ll explain below. A product feed is simply a spreadsheet of data information (csv or XML) about your products that Google uses to create your listing and match it to relevant searcher’s queries. All product in your feed need to have the following attributes otherwise, they will return errors and potentially be disapproved:

  • ID: Its best to add an alphanumeric ID that is unique for each item you plan to sell.
  • Title: This is your product’s name, which will serve as the main link text from your listing.
  • Description: You are allowed up to 5,000 characters to describe your product, list its USPs to help match your product to a user’s specific search.
  • Brand: The brand name of your product
  • GTIN: Stands for Global Trade Item Number, used by manufacturers to identify their products across retailers and helps create uniformity if the product is listed by various retailers. Google can help you find your item’s GTIN if you’re unsure.
  • Link: Takes you to your product landing page e.g. bulk toilet rolls.
  • Image link: Linked to the target URL of your product’s main image.
  • Price: This is product’s price as listed on your landing page and needs to include the VAT so customers know exactly what they are paying for.

 

How do you optimise free Google Shopping listings?

Google will pull all the information about your product from your shopping feed within Google Merchant Center, so to get the most out of these free listings be sure to prioritise optimising your Google Shopping feed. Optimising attributes within your Google Shopping feed will help both your free Google Shopping listings and your Google Shopping ads. Start by focusing on:

1. Perfect your product title (Include Brand term where possible): Your product can only have one name, therefore, be sure to optimise it for what your customers would most likely search for and this is where we suggesting having knowledge in keyword research to help you insert keywords within the product name. If you’re not seeing the amount (or quality) of traffic from a product, try testing a new product title! In summary,  since this is the largest text displayed alongside your product, it influences a great deal in Google’s ranking of your product.

2. Test different images (Picture is worth more than a 1000 words!): Please pay attention to your creatives and imagery, an image can really help your product stick out on a busy SERP. Check background? Colours? Are any of them shown in use? Being a little bit different can help your product quickly stand out! BUT stick to the policies.

3. Provide as much detail as possible (The devil is in the details): Although your listings need to have a few attributes to be approved, providing more information will help shopping platform match your items to a user’s queries and help it show in filtered product searches. Add as many relevant feed attributes as you can, such as your colour, size, product category and product type!

 

Not yet got a merchant centre account?

1. Sign up for a merchant centre account – https://www.google.com/retail/solutions/merchant-center/
2. Ensure you have a working product feed. This is quite a straightforward process if you’re using a modern shopping cart such as, Woocommerce, Shopify or Magento, as you will be able to use a plugin for integration.
3. Once signed up for Google merchant centre, on the left-hand side navigate to Growth > manage programs > surfaces across Google > get started.
4. You will have to go through the simple sign up process to get started.

Already have a merchant centre account?
Quickly check the surfaces across Google section as per step 3 above to confirm it is active.

 

Simba Digital is an ecommerce focused digital advertising consultancy. If you need help setting up the free google shopping listings, get in touch on our website or email us directly: hello@simbadigitalmarketing.com

 

About Simba Digital

Simba Digital is a growing agency in Liverpool encompassing all aspects of Digital Marketing with top talent from within the digital sector (SEO, PPC, Social Media).

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