You’ve set-up your e-commerce website, investing hours into product descriptions and photography, and are starting to generate sales. But you’re not one for saying, “Great, my work is done.” You want to get in front of more customers and make sure your competitors don’t dominate your niche.
Where online can you do all of this and do it for free?
Two words: Google Shopping. This marketplace, which up until April 2020 was reserved for paid advertising only, is now offering retailers unpaid, organic listings, as announced by search engine marketing news outlet, Search Engine Land.
Wanting to ensure businesses take advantage of this new marketing opportunity, we compiled a guide to help you better understand Google Shopping and get set-up on the platform.
What is Google Shopping and the Google Merchant Center?
Google Shopping is a comparison search engine, which is a fancy way of saying a service that allows consumers to search for, compare, and shop for physical products across different retailers. Merchants were previously required to pay for their listings by using Google Shopping ads, which were managed through Google Ads. This situation changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused many retailers to make a fast pivot to selling online. Google stepped up and opened up Shopping and by extension, Google Merchant Center, to free product listings for the first time ever. The latter service is tailored to retailers and allows them to upload products from their website and sell them across Google’s different platforms.
Are These Services Free to Use?
Yes, they are now free for US-based retailers as of April 2020. Google’s President of Commerce Bill Ready recently announced the search juggernaut would allow retailers to get their products listed for free. That said, businesses will still have the option of setting up Google Shopping ads, which would be displayed above organic listings.
What Are the Benefits of a Google Shopping Listing?
Getting your products on Google Shopping offers you the following benefits:
- Increased brand and product awareness on one of the world’s largest digital marketplaces. 49% of shoppers surveyed say they use Google to discover or find a new item or product.
- The use of product photos helps draw customers’ attention to your products.
- You get improved lead quality as people using the platform are already in-market for your products.
- It’s easy to manage your account and monitor performance in one location using Google Merchant Center.
Step 1: How to Set Up Google Shopping
Open a Google Merchant Center Account
- Establish a new account that is linked to your website.
- As part of this set-up process, you will need to eventually establish a product data feed.
Step 2: Verify Your Website
- Next, you’ll need to ensure you own your website via a verification process on Google Merchant Center.
- This can be found under the “Surfaces Across Google” settings, which is listed as an option under the “Growth” tab on your Google Merchant Center homepage.
Step 3: Set-Up Your Product Feed
- After verifying site ownership, you’ll need to set-up a product feed using different data source options. These can be found under the “Products” tab on your homepage and by clicking on the “Feeds” sub-heading.
- Once the feed is set-up, Google will need to approve your data. This may take a few days.
- You may need to update specific attributes for your products, i.e., information about them that Google uses for its search results.
- This can be done on your website’s backend or by using a third-party app tailored to your content management system, or CMS. We’ve outlined a few resources below.
Common CMS Google Shopping Apps
- WordPress’ WooCommerce Google Product Feed App: https://woocommerce.com/products/google-product-feed/
- Shopify’s Google Shopping App: https://apps.shopify.com/google-shopping
- Squarefeed (for Squarespace sites): https://squarefeed.io/
Step 4: Connecting Your Google Merchant Center Account to Other Digital Tools
- If you’re using Google Ads or wish to, make sure to link your Google Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts via the “Linked Accounts” tab in the top-right corner of your account.
- Additionally, if you’re using Google Analytics, make sure to connect your account to your Google Merchant Center to track the performance of organic and paid listings.