Yesterday, Search Engine Land cued us in on a big scoop we want to make sure you didn’t miss because it really is pretty big.
In this post, we learned that Google is bringing back Organic Shopping, which was removed back in 2012.
What Has Changed?
There are quite a few factors that went into this change.
- Competitive Landscape: While other retailers (namely Amazon) have grown considerably, Google has lost search share in this arena. This is one attempt on Google’s part to try to obtain more direct e-commerce searches.
- Technology Advancements: A lot has changed in eight years. Google has advanced enough to only show organic listings for real products accurately (for example, products that actually match their description) and are actually in stock.
- Economic Developments: With many stores either closed, limited to pick-up only or limited to website sales due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the importance of e-commerce has changed substantially. This was the true catalyst for this change as it greatly serves both consumers and businesses, especially businesses that are hurting now financially that just can’t afford extra ad spend right now.
How Will Google Organic Shopping Results Work?
At first, you might not notice a difference as the Search feed will not change. You’ll start to see the same layout of paid Shopping Ads at the top and the bottom of the Shopping tab, starting in late April and rolling out over the rest of the year. This layout will also be applied to the Google Shopping Hub.
Organic results will be fueled by Google Merchant Center, just like the paid ads are. If you don’t have a Google Merchant Center account already, you can follow the steps here to do so.
An essential step is to ensure that you have set up surfaces across Google. In Google Merchant Center, go to Growth at the bottom of the left navigational toolbar. Then click on Manage Programs. You’ll see the “Surfaces across Google” box in the very top left.
For this particular client of mine, it was already activated. For another, I had to enable the setting. This is what you’ll see AFTER you have a catalog uploaded and reviewed. All I had to do was click the checkbox that I read the policies and that my account complied, then click Accept.
You’ll then be taken to a screen that looks like this. I opened up the Program Settings so that you can enable this setting even without a shipping policy link. However, I highly recommend that you add one if you have it or create one if you don’t.
What Will The Impact Be?
There is the potential that there won’t be a ton of new traffic to your site. After all, not many people visit the Shopping Tab and even fewer visit the Shopping Hub. And even the traffic that visits the Shopping Tab will face paid listings first. If you are running Shopping Ads, you should keep running them as this change will not replace their impact on your bottom line.
In the interim, I recommend you take a look at your feed to make sure everything is accurate. Fix any errors reported in Google Merchant Center. Lastly, review your Titles and Descriptions to make sure they adequately cover what someone might search for to find your products.
Hopefully these instructions will help you to be prepared for this big Google Shopping change!
What do you think of this change? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!