Google Product Search has been offering a free method of getting products seen at the top of the Google results pages for years now (when your price is low enough and your feed optimised correctly), and Google have finally made the choice to convert to a paid model.
Incidentally, this looks like another way in which the top half of the Google results pages are gradually being overtaken by new specific listings that are harder to control (such as Google Places – or Google Plus Local as it’s now called), but that’s another blog post.
So, Google Product Search is now Google Shopping. For the US, it will also be a paid feature, and in the UK it’s estimated this change will hit sometime in early 2013.
The new paid system will be run through Google Adwords, and you will be required to assign a bid to each product in your feed. You will then pay what you bid *only* when someone actually clicks through and buys that product. So this system does have the advantage of only charging you when you get a conversion.
If you currently have a Google Products feed running, your first step should be to ascertain whether it’s worth your while paying for the service in the future. Using your statistics you should be able to find out how many conversions you typically get from the feed, what percentage of your overall revenue this is, and how to prioritise it in terms of your marketing budget.
If you decide you want to pay for the service once it converts, you’ll need to set up Product Listing Ads in your Google Adwords account, and then you’ll need to keep an eye on Google’s updates for the UK, as there are no official announcements yet for UK users.
(If you are an SEO client with WNW Design Ltd we will likely be doing a lot of this for you, and will be in touch with recommendations on what step we think you should take.)
About The Author: Camilla Todd manages Search Engine Optimisation, social media campaigns and brand awareness for WNW Design SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 01395 542 569. You can also follow WNW Design on Facebook here.