Earlier this year the big bods at Google HQ announced that Google Product Search (US) and Google Merchant Centre (UK) will merge and rename itself to “Google Shopping”. We’ve had a little bit of warning of course, if you have seen the below image. However if like us, you tend to dismiss and continue with whatever it was you were doing, you’re left pretty much in the lurch now the program is in full swing!
So, what’s new with G-Shopping?
The biggest change with Google Shopping is the introduction of the new pay-to-display model, where businesses and brands will have to pay to have their products listed in Google’s search results. (Think PPC for products, rather than the old SEO-style ‘what is most suitable’ filter.)
With this new model, you (the merchant) will need to provide a product data feed and create product listings ads through AdWords that are set to specifically run on Google Shopping. This in turn will be linked to your product data feed/feeds that you have created in your Google Merchant Centre.
If you already have Adwords, you will need to sync up the two accounts (via settings, and follow the instructions). If you don’t already, now would be the time to set one up.
What is this change going to cost us?
Much like the PPC and the ‘usual’ route of Google Adword advertising, prices can vary dramatically, and unfortunately those with the deepest pockets will perhaps dominate the majority of pages.
Ultimately, what this means is that you are now paying to be placed in a Google search to gain the visitors that you used to get for free. Your organic results will still exist of course, however they will be overlooked on most accounts due the prominence of the new Shopping results at the top of the search page.
Whatever your business, it is probably time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy and funds, and reallocate where necessary.
What is the point in all the change, Google?
In all fairness, whilst the costing is going to hit smaller and local retailers the most, there is a method to their usual Google madness.
All websites and product feeds get old and unused, and so many of us tend to disregard and end up polluting a feed that has now been revived to be rather more useful.
By charging individuals to use Shopping, it encourages them to make an effort with quality postings and products, and ensuring they are super relevant for their target markets.
Google have also implimented some rather tough rulings with the new update, which will only succeed in ensuring that merchants are on their best behaviour to avoid penalisation from the global giant.
However logical or not, it does seem to be all about the money, with another blow being taken by locals and the like who are trying to earn and compete with the corporate’s of the world. Hopefully the ‘quality’ of the product will come to outweigh the ‘quantity’ of monies the company has in the bank.