Home/SEO Guide/Type/How Google Shopping works: on the buyer's and seller's side

Regarding e-shopping, the first results that appear in Google's SERP are ads from the Google Shopping service. In other words, if you want to generate revenue from your products on the Internet, you need to understand how Google Shopping works.

Contents:

What is the Google Shopping platform?

Google Shopping is an online platform made up of two interconnected solutions:

google-shopping-example

Image source : https://www.bt.media/guide-adwords-shopping/

Since May 05, 2020, the tool has been available for free to any merchant, whether or not they have an e-commerce website.  

However, to see your products appear at the top of the SERP, you will have to pay a few $. Promoting products on Google through Shopping ads requires creating marketing campaigns in Google Ads.

Google Shopping on the Internet user's side

For the Internet user, Google Shopping is a solution to answer the hundreds of millions of shopping searches carried out every day on the search engine. 

Through the platform, buyers can:

        • Be informed of the product’s price that they are looking for in various online points of sale
        • Be able to check the targeted product’s stock status
        • Buy the product directly from the website of the selected e-merchant
        • Acquire their products without leaving Google 
        • Go to the store to make their purchases 

How Google Shopping works for the seller

The way Google Shopping works is similar to that of Google Ads: to get your products up in the search engine, you must bid on keywords.

As a seller, here is how to let people know what you are selling before they even click on your ad:

Step #1: create a first Google Shopping campaigns

Google Shopping ads contain what Google calls “rich product information”. That is: the product price, your company’s name, an image of the product.

These ads appear in two ways:

        • As an image on the search results page:

google-shopping-image

        • As a sponsored ad on Google Shopping :

google-shopping-ads-sponsored

To set up these elements, you must have a Google Merchant Center account. This is an online dashboard that enables you to import your products and your store, and make it available in Google My Business or Search Ads 360 for example.

Next, you need to create a data stream that contains in particular:

        • The country of sale in which the feed’s products are sold
        • The language in which the product data is written 
        • The destination in which you want the products to appear (Shopping Catalog, Shopping Ads)
        • Attributes that describe the product

The data feed is the primary source of useful information for the Merchant Center. Otherwise, your ads will never be shown!

Step #2: link Google Merchant Center to Google Ads

The next step is to create a shopping campaign to promote your products. 

To do so, link the Google Ads account to your Merchant Center.

associate-google-ads-merchant-center

Then, define the Shopping campaign parameters:

        • The campaign’s name
        • The country of sale for the campaign
        • A maximum cost-per-click bid (the maximum amount you would pay for a click on your ads)
        • A daily budget (the maximum amount you are willing to pay on average per day for the campaign ads) 

Assume this is your only chance to put your products ahead of organic results and text Ads! 

Differences and similarities between Google Ads and Google Shopping

Both tools belong to the paid part of Google's results pages. However, their roles and functions differ somewhat. 

Google Ads

While Google Ads are used to promote products and services, they do not feature an image, do not showcase any particular product, only stores.

However, they offer additional information that Google Shopping does not: 

        • Your location
        • The store’s opening hours
        • A phone number

google-paid-results

google-paid-results

Google Shopping

Google Shopping ads contain images. They most often appear at the top of the SERP, and also have a dedicated tab.  

Thus, by uploading optimized feeds (titles and detailed descriptions, quality images), you will be able to have an influence on Internet users.

flux-google-shopping

Strengths and weaknesses of using Google Shopping

Strenghts

        • Increased visibility: Google Shopping ads’ display at the top of the SERP helps bring more clicks and traffic to your website.
        • Image display: no other SERP results show images.
        • Better traffic targeting: Google Shopping is an engaging platform that targets people with the money and the interest and motivation to buy your products.
        • Suitable especially for e-merchants with huge catalogs with several thousand or tens of thousands references. 
        • If a product is out of stock, it is not displayed by Google Shopping. Thus, you do not pay for clicks in vain, unlike text Ads campaigns.
        • Google Shopping campaigns are much easier to manage.
        • On average, costs per click are lower than for text Ads campaigns.

Weaknesses

        • It may take some time to set up the product feed.
        • The feed’s quality level is not clearly indicated by Google yet. 
        • The display of product visuals can be seen as a black box. Indeed, the choice of products displayed in Google Shopping visuals is not very clear yet.

To sum up, any e-merchant who wants to prosper on the Internet must learn how to use Google Shopping.

   Article written by Louis Chevant

Further reading

The complete guide on the referencing of e-commerce sites

The 6 key steps to follow to correctly optimize your e-commerce site with a good natural referencing. 

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