There has been a lot of discussion over Google’s most recent announcements of making a shopping feed that will be paid inclusion only by the end of summer 2012. This will discard the free Google Merchant Center. There are many benefits of this feature, but there are also some inquiring concerns as well. We laid out the seven basics of how this could affect organic and paid search for your business’s products.

How will Google Shopping work?

By discarding the idea of the free Google Merchant Center, businesses will no longer be displayed under the Product Search by submitting Product Data. Google will now require payment in order to appear in Google Shopping boxes above organic search results. According to Google, this will ensure that the consumers will have fresh content and product updates.

Will my products still be listed if I’m only participating in free web search?

If you are only participating in free web search, be aware that your products will not appear in the Google shopping tab because that is to remain paid search only. Your products will be indexed as regular pages in the search results below the Google product feed.

What is the Google Shopping feed going to look like?

See the example below we found on Search Engine Land of the new Google Shopping list.

The images inside the shopping boxes are larger and appealing to the consumer.

Google has been experimenting with different layouts. Here is another example of the Google product feed when searching for a specific product. Notice that there is only one product listed off to the right. This was pulled from the Google Commerce Blog.

Why should I use Google Shopping?

For obvious reasons, you will want your products to be featured in Google Shopping. There will be a “Google Trusted Stores” badge that will be incorporated in the listings of merchants who participate in this type of search. Google Shopping will give your brand credibility and spotlight. According to Google this will also give merchants the opportunity to display specials their business is currently running. Aside the fact that your product will be prominent on the page, this will give you an advantage against competitors.

What are the disadvantages of this new feature?

For one, this will increase the cost of your search budget. This will be costly in time and money that didn’t have to be spent before. There is also a possibility that your product may not even show up in the Google Shopping box after placing your products through the Google Product Listing Ads interface. There will not be any bidding on keywords like you do for ads and this will be a fast paced platform to compete in. Read more about the disadvantages of Google Shopping at Search Engine Watch.

I’m a small business owner, how will this affect my competition against larger chains?

This will create a challenge for smaller businesses. To appear in the Google Shopping feed, a business must bid on how much you are willing to pay for listings and clicks. This will require the resources and tools that some smaller businesses don’t currently have. This shouldn’t prohibit you from participating. Google Shopping will be great for exposure. I suggest following through with Google Shopping if this will fit into your monthly budget.

What can I do now to be prepared for this change over at the end of the summer?

Get started on Google Shopping now before August 15th. By applying to Google Shopping early you can receive a monthly credit of 10% off for the product listing ad until the end of December 2012 and your business will receive a $100 credit. Check out the details here.

What do you think about the new Google Shopping feature?

One Comment

  1. Hi Heather

    Do you know if its paid feature in UK currently? as I came to know Google merchant centre is free to register.

    What is a step by step procedure to get started on Google shopping feature?
    What should we do to get number 1 position within Google shopping search results?

    I will appreciate your help.

    Thanks Jemma

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