For consumers, Google Shopping is a convenient place to find products at the best prices. But for retailers, it is a fantastic tool for selling goods, building ad campaigns, and increasing online visibility.
Google Shopping has become such a popular marketing platform, its ads now produce more than 85% of retail paid search clicks and a return on ad spend (ROAS) of up to 1,000% (or higher), reports Disruptive Advertising’s Aden Andrus. To maximise such revenue potential, sellers must think strategically when launching ad campaigns on Google Shopping.
Google Shopping Best Practices
The Google Shopping algorithm evaluates the products listed on your website, to determine whether your categories match the popular keywords that online buyers use. To perform well, follow these guidelines to better understand this algorithm and more important, to optimise the product listings on your own website.
This is the unique ID you use to identify a specific product in your store. To assign a Product ID, use either the SKU number or the ID number generated by your store platform. Note that you can use the same Product ID when listing your product in other languages, such as for targeting customers in a multilingual market.
You can use up to 150 characters on your Product Title. However, the Google Shopping Portal displays only the first 75 to 100 characters and even less on the main listing page (only the first 35). Work within this limit to capture the buyer’s attention, by front-loading your product title with your most important keywords.
Avoid using clickbait text like “20% discount” or “limited time offer” in your titles. They take up precious space and does nothing for your SEO ranking.
Google Shopping allows a Product Description of up to 5,000 characters, but only the first p175 characters are displayed on the Portal. Therefore, you need to choose your text wisely. Put your main keywords up front, followed by other relevant text, to attract both potential leads and search engines.
But if you can pick only one, always optimise for your target customers first. Be precise with your product description and make sure to give them maximum information with minimal words.
This attribute is optional, but Google will automatically assign a category to your product. Rather than leave it to Shopping, manually select one from the list of predefined values on the Google Product Taxonomy.
Make your product category specific, to help increase the visibility of individual products, as well as bundled products.
Similar to the Product Category, Product Type is also not required but extremely useful. It helps you organise your products in your campaigns, by acting as a subcategory. Moreover, Google Shopping allows you to type in your own product type, instead of having to select from a predefined list.
Take advantage of this by using the entire string to assign a Product Type. This will come in handy later with separating or filtering out products, when you set up your campaigns.
When a buyer clicks on your listing on the Google Shopping Portal, they are directed to the landing page – that is, the product page on your website. It is critical here to keep everything consistent, from the product title and description to the price and image used. But the greatest sin you can commit on your landing page is to generate a 404 error! Seeing reports like Page Not Found or Server Not Found can instantly kill your sale.
Make sure your product is prominent on the landing page and accompanied by a carefully written description and list of features. If you have pop-ups on your website, they must not block the view or distract the customer from their ultimate goal: to buy your product.
Don’t forget to optimise your landing page for desktop display but also for viewing on mobile and other handheld devices, as more and more of today’s shoppers are using their phones and gadgets to find and buy products online.
When looking at Shopping ads, the product image is the first thing that buyers see, and what they see will inevitably influence their decision to purchase. Because Google Shopping will pull the product image directly from your own website, always use photos that are clear, crisp, and high-resolution. Besides the aesthetic aspect of photo selection, Google may even refuse to run a campaign, if the image quality is substandard.
What makes for a good photo? The featured product must be prominent and take up between 75% and 90% of the entire image. It must catch attention and pop out from the background, and not just any old background. Images that are blurred, pixelated, or watermarked are a no-no.
Steer away from stock imagery. Instead, hire a professional photographer or if you’re keen, learn how to take photos yourself using a high-quality camera. If you can, try to feature regular people using your product and take as many photos as you need at multiple angles, until you capture that money shot. Practice makes perfect!
This URL leads to the main product image on your website. Google uses this to display the image on its portal.
Keep your image URLs up-to-date and stable, that is, the link must stay constant, except if the file on the actual page is moved or replaced. Refrain from using URLs with a timestamp or other parts that can change each time you submit your product data.
Most important, prepare your image files not just for your own tracking purposes but also for SEO advantages. This starts with proper file naming.
Refrain from uploading images using the default DSC1234.jpg and the like. Take a few seconds to rename it using the keywords you want to rank for, which then helps with web crawlers do what they need to do. Furthermore, make sure to add a keyword-rich alt text (or alt tag) to every photo, to tell a customer – who came upon your listing all ready and willing to buy – what exactly is on the display.
When listing on Google Shopping, always be completely honest with the condition of the product, to prevent cognitive dissonance on the part of the buyer. Describe the item as new, refurbished, or used:
New: If the item is still in its original packaging and has never been opened, handled, or used.
Refurbished: The product is not new, but it has been professionally restored to working order. It comes with a warranty, although it may not necessarily be in its original packaging.
Used: The product has been used before, the original packaging has been opened, or the original packaging is missing.
Product stockout is a major reason for shopping cart abandonment. Avoid revenue loss by correctly indicating on your landing page the state of product availability – select from in-stock, out of stock, or pre-order – and matching it with the account shipping settings.
Offer the most up-to-date information regarding product availability, and make sure it gets updated automatically or manually after each purchase. Do not use the out of stock option for products that you’re not selling anymore; instead, remove all discontinued products from your product data.
Keep the price and currency on Google Shopping consistent with those on your original landing page. Do not include any shipping costs or import/export duties in your price; use a maximum of 2 digits after the decimal point (ex. $9.25); and make sure that the price will not change, based on the user’s location.
If your product needs to be transported to the end consumer, display on your website both the shipping charges and the minimum shipping order size separately. If you accept multiple currencies, you can display your own country’s currency and simply enable conversion into other currencies, based on the latest exchange rates.
Unique Product Identifiers
The UPI defines the product you’re selling on the global marketplace and distinguishes it from similar items offered by other sellers. It also helps match buyer’s search queries with your offers. Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), and brand names and some of the common UPIs used today.
While not all products have unique identifiers, if your item does have one, enter it on the Google Shopping Portal. Supplying a UPI will help make your campaigns richer and can reduce user effort to find your products. But if your product listing does not have a UPI, you can still list it explicitly in the product data.
Google Shopping can help any retailer increase website traffic and boost its revenues. When used properly, it is an effective platform that reduces the complicated online buying process down to a few clicks. Read our guide, Top 10 Google Shopping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, and start getting the most out of your online campaigns today.
Ready to gain a bigger ban out of your online advertising buck? Digital Excellence has helped top companies like Google, MyTrendyPhone.com, and WallCann execute on their online marketing targets and maximise their ROAS. Contact us and let’s have a chat about how we can help take your business to the next level.