On the Web: 14 Things You Should Know About Google Shopping

How to use the comparison shopping engine to improve your acquisition program

If you have any sort of search engine optimization or pay-per-click program, chances are you’ve heard about the “new” Google Shopping. “New” is in quotes because it’s not really new — it’s just different. To improve the shopping experience on Google (translation: to help Google make more money), Google Product Search recently transitioned into a comparison shopping engine (think PriceGrabber or NexTag) based on product listing ads (PLAs) and will now be known as Google Shopping. Here are 14 things you should know about Google Shopping and how you can use it to improve your customer acquisition program:

1. Follow Google’s rules. This sounds overly simplistic, but I mention it because far too few folks are doing it. You already know that every product you submit needs to adhere to Google’s AdWords’ policies, but you should look at its other “musts” too. Google outlines what it wants for your links and landing pages, family status, product data, and more. The search engine will also tell you what level compliance you are — shoot for 100 percent, no less.

2. Include your shipping information, especially if you offer free shipping.Google is big into the premise that shipping is the No. 1 reason why people abandon an online shopping cart, so it’s allowing users to sort by free shipping in its left-hand faceted navigation. Therefore, if you offer free shipping or are running a free shipping deal, promote it. Don’t want to show your shipping costs? Sorry, you don’t have much of a choice. When users compare products, they get a listing of the product price as well as the applicable taxes and shipping fees they’ll need to pay.

3. The same goes for new items and their availability. Users can also sort by new products or “products that are available in stock nearby,” so it’s worth it to include that information in your data feeds as well.

4. Promote your special offers. One of the best things about Google Shopping is that it allows you to promote special deals or offers, so be sure to include them in your data feed. This really helps you stand out from your competitors that are selling the same product.

5. The more information the better. Speaking of facets, search for “televisions” on Google Shopping and you’ll understand why fleshing out your product copy will really help. Consumers won’t necessarily read the copy, but it’s worth it to be very comprehensive anyway because Google Shopping will definitely use that information in its refinements and facets. Google’s Merchant Help Center has a list of every attribute you can/should include in your data feed. It’s worth it to take advantage of as many of them as you can. In fact, Google recommends it! Feeling overwhelmed by all the information Google wants? Concentrate on the top 10 percent of your products first.

6. Star ratings and product reviews are included in Google Shopping’s search results, and “review score” is one of the refinement drop-down menus in Google Shopping Search. If you aren’t working your ratings and reviews, now is definitely the time.

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