Using Google Shopping for Your Business

Karen Y. Larkin
Mother and daughter shopping online

When you visit Google Shopping you will see an array of attractive products offered for sale. How did those particular products come to be there? In this case, they did not rise to the top of the search engine giant because of a sophisticated algorithm. No, these vendors paid to be here. In 2012 Google shopping went to an all paid search model. Could this model help you to promote your products?

Promoting Your Products

To position your products to be featured on Google Shopping, you must set up product listing ads (PLA). Not only are these ads your passport into the pool of Google Shopping products, they also cause your products to be featured at the top of search engine response pages (SERP) and on smartphones and tablets.

You only pay for these ads when a user clicks on them, and you can set a cap on the amount of money you are prepared to spend. When the money runs out, the ads come down.

Setting up Your Ad

Some will find the process complex, but Google provides step-by-step instructions, explaining how to set up your ads. The process involves opening both AdWords and Merchant accounts, linking the two, and establishing data feeds to showcase your products. View this demonstration video for more detail.

Competing Against Other Merchants

One of the more strategic parts of positioning your products has to do with how you compete against other vendors. For example, if your product is "high top kicks," you may not be the only vendor who wants to be featured for that keyword. If there are 300 vendors who want their ads to come up when a user types in that keyword, Google has to decide which vendors' ads will actually be featured.

This is where money talks. Vendors actually bid against each other, and the one willing to pay the highest price gets top billing. You may have to be willing to bid several dollars per click in order to be featured. Google may actually charge you a far lower rate for the click, but they could charge you up to the amount of your bid.

Another way to ensure that your ad is featured is to select a more specific keyword. Instead of "high top kicks," consider using "pink high top kicks size 7." Because that phrase is searched less often, it comes at a lower price. It is also more targeted to your specific product.

Until recently Google published data to assist AdWords customers in forming their bidding strategy. They listed specific keywords, how frequently they were searched, and the amount merchants would have to pay to ensure the likelihood of their ads being featured. That information is no longer available to the public.

This explains how paid ads come to be featured on SERPs, but how to they get to Google Shopping? The highest end ads, featuring products, are the ones featured in Google Shopping.

Best Practices

To help ensure that your ads are featured in Google Shopping, the company recommends a few best practices, including:

  1. Update your data feeds continuously.
  2. Review pricing frequently, and stay competitive.
  3. Display the availability of each item.
  4. Keep the focus on your most attractive products.
  5. Stay ahead of trends, offering the latest, hottest products.

Undecided?

If you're still on the fence about whether Google shopping is right for your business, try it out on Google's dime. The company frequently offers coupon codes to new users, allowing them to try out the services at little or no cost.

Note: Author Karen Larkin participated in Google AdSense training for agencies.

Using Google Shopping for Your Business