If you’re a merchant and you sell online then you need to be aware that there are big upcoming changes to the way Google displays you’re products in their search results. Whether for better or worse, it’s happening – get ready and hold on tight…
When Google started its shopping search engine, it was called Froogle: A name which many in the industry still use – old habits die hard and all that. It’s changed a lot over the years but the premise has been simple – Merchants products were displayed in the SERPs (Search results) to help users find the products they want and navigate to the websites where they could buy them. Google created these listings using their normal crawls or even better, by using the product feeds submitted through Google Merchant Centre. Most importantly of all though, it was all for free!
So What’s Changing
First off, it’s now referred to as Google Shopping (and has been for a while in the UK) But the most important change is that these free listings are being discontinued. Merchants that don’t pay for it, won’t have their products listed. Simple.
Also, (and this is the bit we’re excited about) advertisers are going to be able to provide data feeds or product listings through Google AdWords. For those that are on the ball, it’s more or less how Product Listings currently work. However, Merchants won’t bid on particular keywords but rather bid how much they’re willing to pay, if their listings appears and get clicks or produce sales. Getting to the top will depend on a combination of perceived relevance and bid price – basically Adwords on steroids.
Google also says the new Google Shopping listings will be able to show if merchants have any special deals or offers — these can also be sent within the merchant’s data feed. If that doesn’t get you excited, you don’t get to join our nerd club…
Why Is It Changing
Google say, the quality of data in Google shopping is generally low, and that makes life more difficult for their users. Shifting to the new model is a simple way of stripping out the junk information and spammy listings. It’s also aiming to give savvy e-commerce marketers a hell of a lot more control in getting products displayed.
However, any half-awake cynic would suggest it’s about money. Like with most successful web based giants, we all get hooked onto a free service before we’re forced to pay for it. Usually it’s a bit more subtle as to how we remunerate for the service (eg we give Facebook our personal data and Instagram our images) but in this instance, its cold hard cash that’s the currency. For many, it’s not really practical now to go cold turkey.
What You Need To Do
There is always the option to walk away of course and stand up to these awful corporate giants and not give them a penny: And good for you – fight the system! But the reality is, Google Shopping still represents an important sales channel and serious merchants need to get themselves in order.
To keep your products showing, you will need to do two things. Create a well formatted product feed or listing and create an Adwords account as well as preparing yourself for an additional outgoing. If you want to read more about it then have a look at the adwords blog post ‘Google Shopping Goes Global‘, it’ll give you all you need to know.
I Can’t Do That, We Hear You Cry!
If you aren’t technically minded or your are prepared to let someone else do all the heavy lifting, you should contact your closest friendly e-commerce specialists who will need to be able handle both feed creation and Adwords account management. This is most easily done by ringing the number at the top of this page or filling out the form at the bottom of this page.
Whatever you choose to do, you need to act now. Changes are being gradually rolled and by June, the old system will have disappeared for good.
Questions or comments are open below if you need to know more or want to share your thoughts…