Google has opened up shopping search results for organic in October for the first time since 2012. Following the COVID-19 pandemic and many bricks to mortar businesses being forced to close, Google has stepped in to make sure that businesses can list their products for free within Google Shopping starting with the US and followed by Europe towards the end of October.
The SEO team here at Embryo have been ensuring that our client’s products are included in shopping results and investigating the impact that this has had.
Setting It Up
Google has made inclusions in organic shopping quite easy. In fact if you currently run a shopping campaign in Google Ads, it’s simply a matter of tweaking a couple of settings in your Google Merchant Centre to activate organic shoppings listings too. Furthermore this will run in tandem with the Google Shopping Ads you currently have running, if your budget for shopping has run out for the day, your products will still display organically within the results. Like generic search results, Google’s paid shopping ads have more prominence than the organic listings.
To get your products listed within Google Shopping, you will need a shopping feed (WooCommerce has a number of plugins available for you to create this as does Shopify and Magento), using a shopping feed is by far the most effective way for Google to include products. You can also set up Google to pick up your products through website crawls however you must have product Schema setup and fully validating for this to work. Once you have an XML product feed in place or your Schema is marked up and up to date for products, you can then setup your Google Merchant Centre account.
Setting up a Google Merchant Centre account is fairly straightforward, you must input all your business information in first and verify using Google Search Console that the website belongs to you, once you have completed these steps you can then upload your shopping feed or setup website crawling to start the process of gathering your products. To have your products listed organically you will have to complete a section called ‘Surfaces across Google’, this is accessible from the tools section of merchant centre. From here you can enroll yourself into Google organic shopping, simply agree to joining the program, ensure your website is verified and your products are all available in merchant centre, provide your delivery/returns link, accept the terms and conditions and save. Your products in time should then start to display within the organic section of shopping results.
What We’ve Seen So Far
Although we are still in the early days for the UK, we have seen for one of our clients a significant increase in organic revenue in comparison to the month before.
When viewing Analytics data, Google hasn’t provided a clear way to track purchases from organic shopping results natively at the moment however in time this may be added as a new feature. Currently the revenue and purchases from organic shopping is bundled in with the standard organic search revenue and purchases in Analytics, a number of users online have managed to add their own UTM tracking codes to shopping feeds which allow them to track organic click throughs such as this article here. Google Merchant Centre can also provide you with statistics on the number of clicks made through unpaid shopping however this will be missing the all important revenue and order numbers.
Overall we are pleased that Google has made a u-turn on Google Shopping solely being a pay to play solution. Not only does it help businesses that have had to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it also helps increase visibility organically for established businesses online. We are still in the early days of launch here in the UK but we are pleased with the gains seen so far.