Show Your Products for Free on Google Shopping

As consumer shopping habits evolve one thing is for certain – online search has the  power to connect consumers with a wide variety of options at their fingertips. Google is the home base for many shoppers to research products, compare prices, find local availability, and more.

However, shoppers aren’t only browsing for products online, they’re also completing the buyer journey there as well. A recent survey by Think With Google found that 55% of people are using Google to search for products to buy.

Google for Retail’s Shopping feature offers a free, low barrier way to reach new buyers online. That means access to billions of people who visit Google to buy products.

What You'll Learn In This Guide

What Is Google Shopping?

The Shopping tab on Google consists of both free and paid product listings that are relevant for a buyer’s search. For shoppers, it can lead to more available e-commerce products online from more stores. Additionally, it’s a source to compare vendors, prices, and conveniently place an order.

Google for Retail connects listings to a seller’s e-commerce platform, such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. This allows businesses to get discovered by more shoppers using their current online shop.

Why you should list your products on google shopping

Connecting your e-commerce website with Google for Retail is one of the easiest ways to get your products in front of more shoppers. Free listings on the Google Shopping Tab provide more businesses the opportunity to scale their e-commerce efforts and meet consumer demands.

The reason free product listings are so successful is because they give consumers all the information they need at a glance to compare products and complete a purchase.

  • Listing on the Google Shopping Tab, Google Images, and Google Search are free

  • Diversify your sales channels

  • Take advantage of Google’s Smart algorithm to increase reach

  • Access shoppers on Google looking to buy products like yours

  • Use advanced attributes to highlight your product’s unique value prop

How Google Shopping Works

  • Google shows your products on the Google Shopping tab for relevant searches for free

  • Google directs shoppers to your e-commerce website when they click on your product

  • Consumers complete checkout on your e-commerce website

  • Use Google Shopping Campaigns to bring your product listing to the top of relevant search results

Free Listings vs Google Shopping Campaigns

Google Free Listings

Through syncing your e-commerce catalog with Google for Retail, your products will be added as a free listing for relevant Google searches on the Shopping tab. This means your store will have more visibility on the Google Search tab, Maps tab for local search, and Shopping tab.

Google Shopping Ads

Just as you can run Google ads to have greater visibility on the Google Search tab, you can promote your Google for Retail products using Google Shopping Ads campaigns. Google Shopping Ads are designed for e-commerce to market specific products to interested shoppers and direct them to your online product page.

Google for Retail has optimized ads for e-commerce shopping and now 60% of all paid clicks come from Shopping Ads, making it one of the most successful ways to reach online consumers.

To learn more, visit our Google Shopping Campaigns guide.

Additionally, you can create local inventory ads to show products available for in-store pickup. However, local product listings without an e-commerce product page are not available for free listings.

How To Sell Products On Google Shopping

In simplest terms, there are 3 steps you need to complete before your products can be approved by Google and listed on the Shopping tab.

  • Manage a live e-commerce site

  • Create a Google Merchant Center account

  • Add required product information

Step 1: Manage A Live E-Commerce Site

Google Shopping works by tying free product listings to the seller’s e-commerce site where the shopper can then complete their purchase.

Step 2: Create A Google Merchant Center Account

Your Google Merchant Center account is where Google stores product information for free listings and Google Shopping Ad campaigns. It functions as a cloud-based service that Google uses to pull and place your product information across Google Shopping.

Your Google Merchant account stores product information like product names and descriptions, photos and more. You can create products manually within the Google Merchant account or quickly sync product information with Thrive.

Regardless of how you manage your products in the Merchant Center, you will have to verify your e-commerce site before Google approves your products.

Step 3: Add Required Product Information

In order for your products to show up on the Shopping Tab, Google requires specific information for approval. You can either add this information directly in your Merchant Center account or in an inventory management platform, like Thrive.

It’s essential to carefully complete all the following information. This information is the minimum Google requires for its algorithm to place your product in front of the right shoppers.

  • Product ID: This could be your product’s SKU number

  • Product Title: This should reflect the title on your e-commerce website

  • Product Description: This should reflect the description on your e-commerce website

  • E-Commerce Link: The URL for the product page on your website

  • Image Link: The URL for the product image you want to display

  • Availability: Should reflect if the product is in-stock or out-of-stock

  • Price: Listed in the currency where the product is sold

  • Product Category: Select one of Google’s pre-defined product category

  • Brand: Product’s brand name

Keep in mind that Google Merchant Center must approve all products before they can appear on the Google Shopping Tab. The approval process can take up to three days when a new product is added or when any changes are made on a product’s listing.

Optimize Your Product Listings For Google Shopping

Just like Google Search results, Google Shopping populates products in the order that Google’s algorithm believes best meets the shopper’s intent.

It’s also important to note that Google Shopping Campaign ads products automatically get listed at the top of the Shopping tab and across Google. Creating keyword rich product titles and descriptions is essential to competing with shopping ads and generating the most reach.

A/B testing is a great strategy for optimizing the performance of your free listing. Test aspects of your listing such as product images, titles, and descriptions to see which drives the most sales.

Enhanced Listings

Google Shopping enhanced listings provide Google with detailed information to better match your product to shoppers. Enhanced attributes you can assign to your product include color, condition, brand, and more. These additional product details increase the chances of Google showing your product in search results and shoppers making a purchase.

For a full list of enhanced attributes, visit Google’s free listing guide.

Special Offers

Don’t limit sales and special offers to in-store only, now you can promote offers such as free shipping or a coupon code with your free listing.

Before you can create a promotion, you need to receive approval from Google. We recommend completing this Merchant Promotions interest form.

Once Google has responded to your request you can build your promotions directly in your Google Merchant Center account:

Marketing Tab: This is ideal if you have a promotion that applies to all products on your Merchant Center feed, like free shipping or a year end 25% off sale.

Promotional Feed: Otherwise, if you have promotions that apply to specific products, navigate to the “+Data Feed” button in the feeds section and select the “Promotions” type.

Visit Google’s Help Center to learn more about creating promotions.

Product Reviews

Almost 90% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product. Also, according to Google, search terms like “best” have grown by 125% over the past few years. Google’s algorithm values reviews linked in Shopping Ads as well.

Like special offers, you must first fill out a product ratings interest form to be approved by Google. It tends to take Google up to 15 days to approve your request before any reviews appear on your Shopping Ads.

Google requires you to have at least 50 total reviews before it will be considered. There are three ways you can collect reviews for your Shopping Ads:

1. Review Aggregators: If you want to work with third-party review aggregators, like Annex Cloud or TargetBay, Google will populate reviews on your Shopping Ad directly from those platforms. However, some third-party review platforms have an additional fee associated with them.

2. Google Merchant Center Account: For this method, you can enter product reviews into a Review Feed, similar to a Promotions Feed, in your Merchant Center account. First, you must fill out a product ratings interest form to be approved by Google. It can take Google up to 15 days to approve your request before you can add reviews in your feed.

3. Google Customer Reviews: This is a free Google service you can sign up for that collects reviews, via a survey on the checkout page, from customers who made a purchase on your website.

For more information utilizing reviews, visit Google’s Product Ratings basics guide.

Best Practices

To learn how to set up your Google for Retail integration with Thrive, visit our Help Center.

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