Search engine giant Google will be making changes to its Merchant Centre in 2013. The alterations will impact on the UK market and is likely to mean that online business owners have to adjust their sales strategy and their budget to cover the costs of the so-called Google Shopping. Google shopping is currently being trialled in the US, but is set to be launched in the UK early next year. Other than the name the biggest difference to the online catalogue is that it will no longer be offered to merchants as a free shop window – you will have to pay to display.
What is Google Shopping?
Google shopping will offer businesses advertising space to display their products much like it does with the current model Google Merchant Centre. The difference is that online business owners will have to pay a fee to display their goods. Google say the advantages to business owners are they can guarantee their products will appear in the listings – yet it doesn´t seem as straight forward as that.
Products will only appear in the Google Shopping rankings based on the keyword search typed in by the end user. Therefore, your product pages will need to have a good SEO ranking in order to appear in a Google Shopping where it will get noticed by online shoppers.
Sameer Samet, the vice president of Google Shopping says the new shopping model is designed to improve the experience for the end user and to encourage vendors to “keep their product information fresh and up to date.” It all sounds like an echo of the “Content is King” moniker and a heads up to online product sellers that if they want to make a profit from e-marketing they need a website that delivers the quality Google want to offer its customers.
How does this affect online business owners?
Google has not made it clear exactly how the new Merchant Centre will work and until the feedback from the roll-out in the US is published the results are anybody´s guess. However, the early signs are that products will be listed by “relevance and bid price,” whereby the performance of your webpage will be calculated just as they are in organic search listings.
What this means for the business owner is that they need to ensure their webpages are fine tuned to SEO requirements – or pay a higher “bid” amount to Google, which sounds like an auction and could run up extortionate advertising costs the internet used to prevent. Thus if your website is not performing to the demands of SEO you could be paying to advertise your products in Google Shopping and not get the return for it.
It will be a difficult decision whether to use Google Shopping or not – mostly because of the unknown and potentially random advertising charges that do not appear to offer any guarantees. A finely-tuned SEO website on the other hand will be a strong supporting lever, so in order to prepare for Google Shopping and ensure your site is ready consult a reliable and experienced SEO company, such as Silverbean or SEO Andy.