When it comes to online shopping, one platform stands out: Google Shopping. This service, offered by the tech giant Google, has revolutionised online shopping. But how can businesses optimise their presence on this platform? The answer lies in Google Shopping SEO.
Understanding Google Shopping
Google Shopping is a service that allows users to search for products on online shopping websites and compare prices between different vendors. It’s like having a personal shopping assistant that sifts through the internet to find the best deals. But it’s not just beneficial for shoppers; it’s also a powerful tool for businesses.
How Google Shopping Works with SEO
Let’s delve into the mechanics of Google Shopping and how it showcases your products, with a particular focus on the role of SEO.
Imagine a customer is in the market for a pair of running shoes. Their first step is to conduct a Google search to compare different models, features, and prices.
Upon entering “running shoes” into Google’s search bar, the results page will look something like this:
Product search As depicted, the initial results page displays a selection of product ads at the top. These ads are from retailers like yours, utilising Google Shopping campaigns. These campaigns are optimised with relevant keywords in the product titles, descriptions, and metadata to improve their visibility in Google Shopping search results.
In addition to these ads, the page also features standard website links and Google’s new Top 24 section. However, our focus lies on the Shopping tab on the page’s top.
For the Shopping tab, alternatively, users can directly access this by typing shopping.google.com into their browser and searching for products from there.
Let’s examine how the Google Shopping search engine results page (SERP) appears with our specific “running shoes” search.
As shown above, Google prioritises paid promotions at the top, followed by regular or free Google Shopping listings. These listings are optimised for SEO and feature high-quality, clear product images and positive customer reviews and ratings, all of which can improve a product’s SEO on Google Shopping.
Users can refine their search using the left panel, filtering by attributes such as price range, color, size, weight, etc. The role of price competitiveness in Google Shopping SEO becomes evident here, as users often filter products based on price.
Upon clicking on your specific listing, a window will appear showcasing your product’s gallery images and necessary details.
Visitors can click the title and be directed to your store’s page or click product details to visit Google Shopping’s product details page for that product. On the product details page, Google displays comprehensive information, product features, and user reviews.
If you join the Buy on Google option in the Google Merchant Center, you can even allow your visitors to purchase directly from Google. However, this feature is currently only available in the US.
What Does Organic Listing on Google Shopping Mean?
While Google Shopping has been a staple for some time, it was previously restricted to paid product ads/listings only.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic led to many physical stores closing, impacting the retail industry. In response to this crisis and to support struggling retailers, Google introduced organic listing on Google Shopping.
This means that store owners, eCommerce merchants, and even local shop owners can now list their products on Google Shopping free of charge. This development presents a wealth of opportunities for retailers, especially when they leverage the benefits of using Google’s Merchant Center and AdWords tools for SEO.
Approximately 20% of consumers turn to Google when searching for a product to purchase. With free product listings on Google, you can connect with potential customers interested in your products and drive substantial traffic to your store, potentially leading to sales without cost.
The Cost Structure of Google Shopping
One common question about Google Shopping is whether it’s free or paid. The answer is both. While it’s accessible for shoppers, businesses must pay to list their products. This transition to a paid model has been a point of contention, but it’s also opened up new opportunities for businesses to reach their target audience.
The Benefits of Google Shopping for Businesses
So, why should businesses use Google Shopping? There are several reasons.
Increasing Product Visibility
Moreover, the power of Google Shopping extends beyond just visibility. As explained in this in-depth guide by Search Engine Journal, Google Shopping can significantly boost your customer reach. It’s not just about listing your products; it’s about strategically positioning them in front of a vast audience. By combining free and paid Google Shopping listings with traditional Search ads, your brand can appear multiple times within a single Google Search results page, multiplying your exposure to potential customers. This multi-faceted approach can lead to more clicks and higher conversion rates, making Google Shopping an invaluable tool for businesses.
Knowing Which Keywords Drive ROI
You’ve likely heard the mantra: marketing is about leveraging data to make incremental improvements over time. However, this task becomes challenging when Google needs to provide comprehensive data. That is unless you’re willing to invest in Google Ads!
Currently, Google doesn’t provide detailed data on which keywords drive your organic traffic, citing ‘privacy reasons.’ While Google Ads isn’t a perfect solution, it does offer more granular data once you run Search Ads.
This data includes which keywords and search terms not only trigger your ads but also lead to the business outcomes you desire and at what cost.
Reaching More People
With Google Shopping, businesses can reach a wider audience. This platform isn’t limited to a specific region or country; it’s global. This means that even small businesses can reach customers they would never have been able to get otherwise.
In addition to the global reach of Google Shopping, research has shown that online searching and buying have become increasingly popular, potentially affecting shopping trips.
A study titled “Empirical Investigation of Online Searching and Buying and Their Relationship to Shopping Trips” found that the more often people search online, the more shopping trips they tend to make. This suggests that online shopping doesn’t necessarily replace physical shopping trips but can complement them. This means businesses using Google Shopping can not o a global audience but tangentially drive more in-store visits.
The Need for Speed: Quick Visibility with Google Ads
If you’re committed to your business for the long haul, you’re likely comfortable with the ‘long game’ of effective SEO. While it achieves impressive results, a slow process to a payoff can last for years. However, there are times when you need visibility quickly.
This is where Google Ads can step in to ‘bridge the gaps,’ driving additional traffic, you’re prepared to invest in.
For example, do you have a new product or service line that you want to start generating sales for immediately? Or you’re curious to test the demand for a new service idea.
Or you are considering opening a new office in a different city and want to gauge if there is a demand to support a new team.
With Google Ads, you can achieve this in hours or days. You may need a new landing page (for a service) and want to avoid accepting payment for something that has yet to exist. But Google Ads can help you conduct quick tests with minimal risk in numerous ways.
Attracting Quality Leads
Google Shopping is about more than just reaching more people and getting the right people. Because users on this platform are already looking for products to buy, they’re more likely to convert than users on other platforms.
Understanding Your Customers Better with Google Ads
The cornerstone of marketing is understanding your customer. The more effectively you can communicate with your potential customer in their language and meet their needs, the more successful your marketing efforts will be.
Google Search Console can provide some insights into your organic traffic, but the most valuable data is typically reserved for those willing to invest.
The silver lining? You don’t have to break the bank to gain beneficial insights.
Once your ads are live and operational, you can utilize the ‘Audience Insights’ report to learn more about your top visitors’ interests. This information can then be used to refine your copy, select collaboration partners, enhance your ad targeting, and more.
For instance, one client (who doesn’t sell bridal wear) discovered that individuals ‘in the market’ for bridal wear were about four times more likely to purchase from them than those not in that category.
This revelation led to intriguing ad targeting options and improved results on a larger scale.
Reporting and Metrics
One of the key features of Google Shopping is its robust reporting and metrics. Businesses can track their performance on this platform, allowing them to make data-driven decisions and improve their strategies.
Google Shopping is designed with the customer in mind. It’s easy to use and navigate, making the shopping experience enjoyable and increasing the likelihood of repeat customers.
In today’s world, mobile compatibility is crucial. Google Shopping is mobile-friendly, meaning businesses can reach customers no matter their devices, supported by Think with Google provides insights into mobile shopping behavior and the importance of mobile-friendly design.
Managing your presence on Google Shopping is easy. The platform offers a range of tools and features that make it simple to manage your listings, track your performance, and optimize your strategies. The above report also provides insights into how businesses use mobile presence.
Selling the Click: Improving Click-Through Rates
The purpose of your meta description is to entice clicks and guide potential customers from the search engine to your website. While it doesn’t directly influence your ranking, the copy can significantly affect the number of users who click through to your site and their mindset upon arrival.
Of course, testing could be more flawless – Google can modify your meta description if it sees fit. However, you can leverage Google Ads to enhance your testing with minimal expenditure significantly.
By experimenting with various ad copies and comparing one ad against another, you can identify which emotions, benefits, and hooks do not draw clicks and convert people. To do this you’ll have to utilise the somewhat cumbersome ‘ad variation’ tool.
Setting Up Google Shopping: An 8-Step Guide.
Setting up Google Shopping may seem daunting, but it’s pretty straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Create a merchant center account.
- Choose high-quality product images.
- Create a product data feed.
- Link your Google Adwords account.
- Build a Google Shopping campaign.
- Put bids in your campaign.
- Schedule your campaigns.
- Create product groups.
You follow the steps to set up your Google Shopping presence and start each customer.
Free Shopping Clicks with Google Merchant Centre
Are you familiar with Google Merchant Centre? This platform allows Google to verify that the data you provide (via a ‘product feed’) aligns with the information presented to your potential customers on your website. To run paid Google Shopping Ads, this data must be an exact match for each product. If you’re considering a ‘Performance Max’ campaign in Google Ads, this will be your initial step (and it’s worth testing).
However, this process will be automated—the Google Merchant Center Next introduction in 2023. Merchant Center Next will automatically pull all this data from your website. If you prefer, you can edit these products or turn off this feature entirely.
Additionally, there’s a lesser-known feature within every GMC account called ‘Free product listings.’ Once activated, you’ll notice your products appearing in more locations (like the complimentary section of the Shopping tab on Google). With the new Merchant Center Next, managing these listings will become even more straightforward, providing better insights and a simplified user interface.
The Pros and Cons of Google Shopping Ads
Investing in Google Shopping ads can be a powerful strategy, but it has drawbacks. On the one hand, these ads can significantly increase your visibility and reach. On the other hand, they require an investment, and there’s no return guarantee. It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons before investing in these ads.
In conclusion, Google Shopping SEO is a powerful tool for businesses. By understanding this platform and optimizing your presence, you can reach more customers, increase your visibility, and drive more sales.
Why Should I Run Paid Ads When I Rank Well Organically Already?
There’s a common perception that brands with high organic listings and active advertisements are industry leaders. This perception, even if subconscious, often leads potential customers to think, “They must be good; I see them everywhere.”
So, don’t hastily conclude that advertisements are unnecessary.
This is particularly relevant if your ranking is outside the top two or three positions. Remember, your ranking can vary for users based on their previous searches, preferences, and more.
If you consistently rank in the top two or three positions for a specific search term, consider reducing or eliminating your ad spend to see if you can save money without losing traffic.
Running ads for your most profitable keywords can often be a smart defensive strategy, regardless of your ranking.
To summarise, think about the following:
- Where will you begin now that you’re equipped with various strategies to boost your traffic and increase profits?
- Are you currently running any Google Search Ads? If not, this could be a quick way to uncover new terms that have search volume and convert well for your store.
- Do you need to bridge short-term revenue gaps? Running Google Shopping Ads could add profit to your store within 1-2 months.
- Are you looking to amplify existing results? Once your Ads are up and running, check your reports for new audience segments to target.
- Do you want to enhance the click-through rates for your Organic traffic? Utilise Search Ads to test and measure quickly.
Are you seeking free traffic? Activate Free Listings once you ha the product feed sent to your Merchant Centre account.
Farag, S., Schwanen, T., & Dijst, M. (2005). Empirical Investigation of Online Searching and Buying and Their Relationship to Shopping Trips. Retrieved from **https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Empirical-Investigation-of-Online-Searching-and-and-Farag-Schwanen/abaf317613ec83668dd722fc27f6b5c3a1ac3f2a**