Google’s new approach to Google Product Search, Google Shopping has kicked off in July. Come October and Google Shopping will complete its transition to a fully paid cost per click engine and by July 28 the transition will be complete by a huge fifty percent.  Online merchants need to understand the changes so that they can make a smooth switch to paid listings. Let us explore the major aspects of Google Shopping so that business owners can stay ahead of the changes.

Google Shopping- Important Things to Know

Who needs Google Shopping?

Online retailers wishing to get their products listed on Google’s Product pages via the new paid option need Google Shopping.

What is changing in the old Google Product Pages?

Google Product Search is currently a free product listing program. But now Google is replacing it with Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and the PLAs will eventually be replaced by Google Shopping.

How Google Shopping works?

It is a comparison shopping engine and it ranks products based on the workings of a comparison shopping engine. Google Shopping will see products ranked on the basis of CPC bid by the merchant and also the relevancy of the products.

Merchants can bid $.01 on products or categories- a highly affordable option for retailers worrying about increased costs and the crunch it will cause to their marketing campaign. Obviously, higher bid products will have better visibility in product search than those with lower bids. Opt for this bid if you wish to be visible without breaking the bank.

How will I benefit if I make an immediate switch?

Many merchants are upset at having to pay for a product listing (we all like stuff for free). But if you make the switch you can get the early bird benefit that the other merchants still mulling on their decision, will miss. Less competition is a great thing for business right? Make the move and you can get started here.

What about AdWords? And how is AdWords different from PLA?

This is the transition phase where AdWords will slowly be gone from Google Shopping, and Product Listing Ads will replace them. AsWords will continue to function as the paid keyword bidding program. These ads will appear above organic listings on Google search. AdWords are shown on the basis of keyword searches and a click takes one to the merchant’s site. In AdWords sellers bid on search terms they would like their products to show up for.

AdWords will continue in Google Search but will no longer show up in Google Shopping after October. It is important to add here about the Product Extension ads too. These are an extension of the AdWords program which also features images. Product Extension ads must not be confused with Product Listing Ads.

Product Listing Ads are paid Google ads which are quite rich in content. These have detailed product info and images and these are generated from the merchants Google Merchant Center data feed. PLAs appear on the right hand side of organic search results if Google believes that the ad is relevant to the product search. These ads lead to merchant websites with a CPC cost. Google Shopping will function on the basis of these PLAs.

PLAs are not about keywords like AdWords. PLAs is dependent on product search- this means the merchants have to bid on products and categories they would want to promote. They are pulled by Google from the Google Merchant Center data feed.

How do I manage PLAs?

As we explained before, PLAs work similarly to comparison search engines and online retailers will have to bid on products and categories. Merchants can modify bids based on relevant metrics. One can manage PLAs by accessing the AdWords login as well as the Google Shopping product feed. You can bid on the brand, product, prices and product features through the AdWords login. To be able to bid, retailers will first have to refine and identify those lists through the Google Shopping feed.

Any other incentives I should know of?

To encourage retailers to try the new bidding process, Google has offered an incentive. Here it is:

  • “All merchants who create Product Listing Ads by August 15, 2012 will automatically receive a monthly credit for 10% of their total Product Listing Ad spend through the end of 2012; and
  • Existing Google Product Search merchants can receive $100 AdWords credit toward Product Listing Ads if they fill out a form before August 15, 2012.”

Apart from this, Google has also invited merchants to take part in their new Google Trusted Stores program. Merchants can inspire customer loyalty and trust by providing to Google their shipping, customer service, and fulfillment information.

We hope this information will come in handy as you prepare for paid product listings. Any other insights you have? Share them via your comments.


Navneet Kaushal is the Editor-in-Chief of PageTraffic Buzz. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet is also the CEO of SEO Services company PageTraffic which is one of the leading search marketing company in Asia.