Google has started to display organic product listings of participating Merchant Center shops for free on the Google Shopping tab within the search engine. Initially, this new option will only be available to businesses operating in the United States, but Google has indicated that the feature will be expanded to new additional countries in the coming months, and will likely be available worldwide by the end of the year.
Since 2012, Google has only shown product results for those advertisers who had Google Shopping (PLA) campaigns active within the Google Ads platform. Now the criteria have changed, providing a new opportunity for those who want to enter the Google Shopping product results.
Paid advertisements on Google Shopping will continue to be shown as usual, but will now also compete with organic results, just as they do on the normal search engine results pages.
This Google update is a great opportunity to gain additional visibility at no cost for those businesses who already have an optimised product feed ready for publication. The change is also ideal for those who want to try out publishing product feeds without any prior investment. In addition, the shift represents an improvement in the quality of results offered to users of the North American search giant.
How do I access the programme?
In order to use this functionality, you’ll need to sign in to your Google Merchant Center account. Once inside, click on the growth tab, on Manage Programs and then select the c ‘Google Platforms’ card.
In addition, once you are in the Google program and within the Merchant Center, you can access an organic click report, which will allow you to evaluate how your product feed is performing.
In order to see these results, you click on the ‘Performance’ tab in Merchant Center and then select ‘Control Panel’.
What will the new result pages look like?
PLA ads will now appear at the top (and bottom) of the Google Shopping tab. exactly the same as on any regular search results page. On the search results page, now only those advertisers who have enabled and are running Google Shopping campaigns will appear.
What options do I have in the Merchant Center?
For all those shops that already have a product data feed in Merchant Center, there will be three main types of results to choose from:
- Google Shopping tab: Here you will see paid results first, and with this update, organic results as well. Meaning shoppers will be able to see more products and a greater variety of stores on offer.
- Google Search (Google.com): Products from Google Shopping’s paid campaigns will continue to appear here primarily, although Google may also display some elements of the product feed in order to enrich the organic search results. In this respect, we have been observing for months now that product-related results are becoming more and more visual. Therefore, creating and optimizing campaigns on Google Shopping is increasingly recommended as best practice, since the click rate will always be much higher for those more visual results (see image below).
- Finally, listings will show up in Google Images, where more and more product listings from the Merchant Center products feed are ‘slipped in’ among the results. From there, Google users can view relevant products as well as through applications such as Google Lens, getting results for similar products.
A well-optimised product feed, published in the Merchant Center and made visible through Google Shopping (PLA) campaigns is becoming increasingly necessary, particularly in the retail sector. Although Google continues to enable more organic results, having full control over our publications can make the difference to achieving our intended business and sales goals. At All Around we are specialists in SEM and Google Ads, and we can help you to develop a digital strategy and achieve your business objectives.