Google Product Search: Search Engine Marketing Point of View
Google Product Search can increase search engine-referred traffic and drive buyers to retailer websites:
- Leader within shopping comparison engines with an average of 1,055,000 daily visitors
- Avenue for retailers to attract “pre-qualified” customers with users converting at a higher rate; due to the ability to review product information before visiting a website
- Ability to create a product feed within Google Merchant Center with no cost associated
- Optimize the feed and integrate with paid search campaigns for optimal performance in search engine results pages (SERPs)
Google Product Search, also known as Google Shopping, is a search engine for products. Comparison shopping engines, such as Google Product Search, are frequently used by customers to make more informed purchase decisions. Customers have the added convenience of comparing product prices, features, etc. from multiple retailers at the same time. This helps pre-qualify the customer before reaching a site, which can increase the likelihood of purchasing a product.
Creating a product feed within the Google Merchant Center can increase visibility within search engines for your products and website. Google's shopping results are integrated into universal organic search results for product-related search queries. A feed can be optimized to include targeted keywords in the product titles and descriptions and detailed product information to improve performance in both the shopping and universal search results. This can lead to increased organic search traffic from Google.
As part of Google’s “search plus your world,” the +1 button is now available in Product Search for users to recommend products. The integration with social media gives users the ability to influence the buying decision process.
In addition to increased organic exposure, a well-optimized Merchant Center feed can be utilized to promote your products via paid ads in the SERPs. Two unique ad formats can be utilized to promote your products within paid search results:
- Product Extensions are ads that accompany standard Pay-Per-Click text ad formats. Product information from your Google Merchant Center feed is utilized to feature multiple products related to a user’s search query. These ads are often signified by a “plus box” that users click on to see products from your store. Additionally, the increased “real estate” and direct-to-product navigation options associated with your ad can result in increased click-through-rates and conversion rates.
- Product Listing Ads are stand-alone ads that utilize your Google Merchant Center feed to provide users with relevant product information, such as the image, name or price. Optional promotional messaging can be included to increase the prominence of your ads. Unlike Product Extensions, your Product Listing ads may appear alongside ads from competing advertisers that are selling the same or similar products.
Like traditional search ads, both Product Extensions and Product Listing Ads are charged on a cost-per-click basis. The specific products that appear for any given search are triggered by the information in your product feed; however, optional AdWords attributes can be added to your feed to improve relevance.
It's important to keep search engine optimization (SEO) best practices in mind when implementing Google Product Search to ensure maximum coverage for products within the organic search results. These recommendations are similar to traditional SEO best practices by incorporating targeted keywords and relevant content into your product feed. Rosetta recommends the following best practices to optimize your product feed for organic and paid search:
- Add keywords within each product title and description. Look to leverage keywords you are already ranking for as well as keywords competitors may be targeting or have high search volume.
- Optimize the product type column to include the most relevant category. If necessary, drill down to the most appropriate category to provide greater detail.
- Include custom attributes (if relevant) to provide more details about each product, such as size, color, material, etc.
- Add merchant reviews from sites, such as Google Checkout and Bizrate.com, into your feed to help support brand loyalty and improve your visibility.
- Integrate rich snippets, including merchant reviews, alongside your products.
- Leverage social media including Google +1 functionality to increase SEO value from social “buzz.”
- Monitor and address any errors and warnings in your feed to ensure it is up to Google’s quality standards.
- Keep your feed up to date with the latest information. If stock levels are a concern, consider submitting your feed multiple times per day.
- Provide descriptive and comprehensive data. Utilizing all available/relevant feed attributes allows Google to more accurately align the products displayed with user’s search queries.
- Utilize advanced AdWords Grouping attributes. Feed attributes such as “adwords_grouping,” “adwords_labels,” and “adwords_redirect” allow advertisers to group products to specific campaigns, exclude specific products, or even redirect users to a unique destination URL.
With the inclusion of shopping results in Google Universal Search, there is a huge opportunity to work with retailers to market their products and website. Organic and paid search best practices should be applied to leverage your product feed in the SERPs. It's important to monitor performance from Google Product Search to refine and adjust as necessary. Product Search will continue to grow as Google looks for new ways to integrate its platforms.