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Simple Guide to Google Shopping pricing changes

Google's making some changes- and they will have an impact on almost every online retailer.

Shopping basket warning

 

Posted by Pragmatic Design on 8 April 2013 | 0 Comments

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Google have recently announced that important changes will affect the way your products are shown in searches.

How your website is currently indexed

If you have an online store, your website is probably indexed by Google in 2 ways:

  1. Organic: Google visits your website and indexes all of the pages it accesses. This are then presented in relevant search results; 
  2. Shopping search: An XML Feed containing details of all of your products is generated by your website, collected by Google, and included in it's "Shopping" search results.

What's changing

Both services are currently free, but Google will shortly begin charging site owners for the Shopping Search. In other words, if you want your products to appear in when somebody clicks the "shopping" button, you'll have to pay them for it.

When will it happen?

The changes have already happened in the US. Google are implementing a "phased roll-out" in certain other countries, including the UK, so each website will be affected at a different time. They aim to complete the changes by the end of 2013 Q3.

Why are they doing this?

Google say that it's to "improve our shopping experience over time, so that users can more easily research purchases, find information about different products, their features and prices, and then connect with merchants to make their purchase." (source: https://support.google.com/faqs/answer/2987537?hl=en). You may have other ideas.

How much will it cost?

Google will be operating a similar system to their Adwords advertising system. In other words, you will bid an amount of your choosing and if somebody clicks on the link, then you will pay Google that amount. If nobody clicks your product, you will pay nothing. If a competitor bids a higher amount than you, their product will appear in preference to yours. This is known as "Pay Per Click" or "PPC".

What will happen to your website?

If you wish to continue to include your products in Google Shopping, you must sign up for Google's new "Product Listing Ads" (link: http://support.google.com/merchants/bin/answer.py?hl=en-GB&answer=2660968).

Should I sign up?

That really depends on your business. If you're heavily reliant on Google Shopping for business, then you should certainly continue with it. If not, then don't. Each and every business will vary and will need to make a commercial decision in the same way as you would with regards to any marketing scheme.What are the alternativesThere are plenty of price-comparison websites. You should certainly investigate signing up to one or more of them anyway, but now would be an ideal time to take a closer look.


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