COVID-19 is the most recent threat to retailers who’ve had to temporarily shutter — or, in some cases permanently close — their storefronts while the world copes with the challenges of the pandemic. Ecommerce was already a crucial source of revenue for brands, but now it’s make-or-break for those struggling to stay afloat and get their goods in the hands of customers.
In response, Google recently made it free for retailers to sell on its Shopping platform, even if they don’t advertise. So when someone browses the Google Shopping tab, they’ll now see primarily free listings.
Your business can use these listings to promote products, boost traffic to your website or local store, and, hopefully, sell more. Also, through Google Shopping listings, you can add in-store inventory to your Google My Business profile, potentially increasing your visibility in the local map pack and local search overall.
These free product listings display for online shoppers in the following places:
It’s important to note that the main search engine results page (SERP) continues to feature paid Shopping ads ony. So if you want visibility on those SERPs, a sponsored listing is still the way to go.
The good news is the free listings get the bulk of the real estate on the Google Shopping tab. As per usual, there’s a section at the top for sponsored (aka paid) listings. The free listings display below that.
If you’re already running Google Shopping campaigns and/or local inventory ads, all you have to do is opt into “surfaces across Google” and/or “local surfaces across Google” in the Google Merchant Center.
To opt in:
If you’re new to Google Merchant Center (enrolling does not require Google Ads), you can opt into surfaces across Google during the Merchant Center sign-up process and start creating a product feed — perhaps using one of these handy methods:
In addition to providing a product feed, sellers need to verify their website.
Any business that sells products online or in-store and complies with Google’s Shopping ad policies is eligible. Eligibility is also based on your account status and the quality of the data you provide. Though still eligible, Google may limit or restrict the promotion of products in the following categories:
There’s a lot of upside to adding your products to Google Shopping, especially if it’s thoughtfully integrated into your existing search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. If you’d like help with that, give us a shout.