Google announced in a blog post on May 31 that they would be phasing out free listings on Google Product Search, and move to paid listings on its new platform, Google Shopping, which is planned to launch in October 2012. Many of you may be wondering what this will mean for your eCommerce site and what you can do to be ready for the change. Jody Hartwig, our Senior Account Manager at Acumium, wrote an article for Practical eCommerce in which she explains the update and how to prepare for it.
One of the best ways online retailers can prepare for this change is to take advantage of the incentives that Google is offering. Google will be using a Paid Listing Ads (PLA) model for Google Shopping, so online retailers who have experience using PLAs will have an advantage. To encourage eCommerce sites to utilize Google’s new initiative, they have announced the following two incentives:
- Merchants who create Product Listing Ads by August 15, 2012 will receive a monthly credit for 10 percent of their total PLA spending amounts through the end of 2012.
- Existing Google Product Search merchants can receive a $100 AdWords credit toward Product Listing Ads if they fill out a form before August 15, 2012.
Jody goes on to discuss her four recommendations to prepare you for Google Shopping.
- Utilize Google’s Incentives
Be conscious of the August 15th deadline and the October launch date. Give yourself time to test and modify your ads. Utilize the line of promotional text that isn’t available on Google Product Search but that will be offered on PLAs. This is a great place to make your brand stand out by showing what you offer over the competition, such as free shipping or special reduced prices.
- Create a Bidding Strategy
Online merchants may bid on a specific product or category. Bids start at $0.01 and the higher the bid, the higher the rank. Devise a strategy that will best utilize your resources.
- Optimize Your Datafeed to Adhere to Guidelines
Rankings will be based on relevancy and your chosen bidding strategy rather than on the site authority. This means the quality of the product data that you send to Google will be even more important than it is now.
To make sure you are optimizing your datafeed, be sure to follow Google Shopping policies and Google Product Feed Specifications.
Look Into Google Trusted Stores(discontinued by google)
The Google Trusted Stores program helps shoppers identify online merchants with a great user experience and Google will offer purchase protection when shoppers buy from these stores. Applying for this program is a way to help your site be more competitive.
Download Acumium’s Checklist for Google Shopping.
For more information on this update, read Jody’s full article: Google Shopping: Preparing for Paid Listings