The End of Free Listings on Google Shopping
Posted: 01 March 2013
Google shopping, also known has Froogle/Google Base, has been our trusty shopping companion for over a decade, helping us (occasionally) to quickly find the best price on whatever purchase we are looking to make, as well as allowing those of us with ecommerce sites to list our products for free through the Google Merchant Centre. Google had no problem with taking our listings for free as they looked to grow their catalogue and benefit from the Adwords advertising revenue next to the aforementioned listings. This was great for ecommerce shop owners, as not only did it generate traffic, but there was a good chance of this traffic converting to sales too.
In autumn of last year, Google Shopping in the US became a paid service, and this started in the UK on the 13th of February 20013. It is very similar to Google Adwords Pay Per Click advertising in that products will be displayed based on the relevancy to the customers keyword search query and the maximum cost per click (CPC). Just like PPC, businesses will only pay when a user clicks through to their website via that link. If you don't already have one, you will need to setup an Adwords to take advantage of the new Google Shopping.
This movement by Google to change over to paid product listings is great for buyers, as it should help to provide more relevant, legitimate results. As for sellers, it has its share of pros and cons, the pros being that it will potentially narrow down competition, but the real kicker is the ability control and optimise the ads to your advantage. The glaring con is losing the free traffic you would have gotten from Google Product search, but having the ability to control and optimise your ads potentially outweighs this.