Google has announced that they will transition the currently FREE Google Product Search being used by merchants to list their products on Google, into a commercial model built on the Product Listing Ads program. The new paid program will simply be called Google Shopping. Google states that the change, which is expected to be rolled out gradually through Fall 2012, will facilitate better search results and ultimately drive a better experience for the end user.
What this means is that, free organic traffic that merchants have been receiving from Google Product Search is coming to an end just in time for the upcoming holiday season. In order to be listed in the new Google Shopping, it will require that you pay for Product Listing Ads. Product Listing Ads are AdWords ads that include rich product information, such as product image, price and merchant name. They differ from AdWords in that the cost per click is not based on keywords, but instead on attributes of the products that are submitted to Google via feeds.
As noted on Search Engine Land.com*, to better understand this transition, it is first important to know how Google currently works and then examine what changes we can expect starting this fall.
Google Product Search Results Before
In the above image, you first notice AdWords Text Ads above and to the right of the main results. Current Product Listing Ads are listed below the AdWords Text Ads. Product Listing Ads were originally launched in 2010 that allowed for advertisers to show small images next to ads. Below both paid options were free options that still allotted for premium results position. The free listings were powered by Google’s Product Search and from Google crawling the web.
Below is how the new Google Shopping will look with new results.
Google Product Listing Ads are converted into Google Shopping and Shopping Search Listings are removed. The new Product Listing Ads will feature larger images and other merchant information. Below is as closer screen shot of what the Google Shopping Listing will look like.
Google shopping can also now return images in the right side of the main results as evidenced in the image below.
Below is a close-up of what can be featured when Google Shopping is returned in the right column of the main search results.
Google has not announced when free listings will no longer be accepted; however, it has offered incentives to help make the transition smoother.
- All merchants who create Product Listing Ads by August 15, 2012 will automatically receive a monthly credit for 10% of their total Product Listing Ad spend through the end of 2012; and
- Existing Google Product Search merchants can receive $100 AdWords credit toward Product Listing Ads if they fill out a form before August 15, 2012
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