Google Shopping has exploded over the past year or so.
In the first quarter of 2016, the revenue that retailers made from Google Shopping was up 52% from the same period in 2015. In the third quarter, retailers reported profits 44% higher than the year before. And fourth quarter revenue went up another 22%.
The revenue from mobile Shopping ads was even better quarter over quarter, going up an astounding 230%.
This is great news for online retailers, but there’s also a hidden challenge here: competition is getting tougher. Which means it isn’t enough to just add your products to Google Shopping anymore. Ensuring your products’ discoverability is the only way to take full advantage of Google Shopping’s product search surge.
How do you do that? By making your product listings stand out above the rest.
Optimizing product data for Google Shopping supports conversions in three ways.
- Helping people find your products. Simply put, good data makes it more likely that your products will show up in search results. To make data search-friendly, it not only needs to reflect the product itself, but the way that people search for that product. This will help Google recognize your products accurately and display them to the right people.
- Encouraging people to click on your products. Once your product listings show up in search results, the next step is enticing people to click on them. Think about what you look for when you shop. What encourages you to click on a particular ad? What makes you wary? Make sure your product data is customer-friendly, speaking to their needs and concerns.
- Getting people to buy your products. Even after people have clicked on your product listings, there’s still work to do. This is where you finalize the sale… or they click away and choose a different listing. The thoroughness and quality of the data provided plays an important role in this decision-making process.
So how can you help your product listings stand out from the competition and make it more likely that people will buy from you? What exactly should you do to optimize your data?
Creating a Product Data Optimization Strategy
There are many things that you can alter in your product data feed to make it more search-friendly and customer-friendly. Start by looking at these five key areas.
An optimized title can drastically increase your product’s search performance. You should always include details such as brand name, product type, and attributes specific to that product. The order you write them in matters, and it differs from category to category.
Here are a few examples:
Apparel –> Brand + Gender + Product Type + Attributes (e.g., color, material, size)
Books –> Title + Type + Format (e.g., paperback, eBook) + Author
Electronics –> Brand + Attributes + Product Type + Model
Hard Goods –> Brand + Product Type + Attributes (e.g., size, quantity, weight)
Seasonal –> Occasion + Product Type + Attributes
For example, in the apparel category, you might write “Nike Men’s Sleeveless Athletic Shirt Red Size XL.” For seasonal, you drop the brand in favor of the occasion, like so: “Mother’s Day Birthstone Necklace 5-Stone Customized.”
Google Shopping campaigns don’t use keywords. However, this doesn’t mean you should avoid keywords in your written copy. Quite the opposite. Rather than using campaign keywords to bring up relevant products, Google searches the product details themselves. If the details seem to match the search, that product will be in the results. That means you need to write your descriptions with your targeted keywords in mind.
Not sure which keywords to target? Use the AdWords Keyword Planner, take a look at search query reports from Google Webmaster Tools, and look at the historical search queries from your own campaign.
Don’t just include these words, either. Think about synonyms. Colloquialisms. Similar phrases. It is valuable to include any terms that people might search for when looking for your product.
Always use high-resolution photos, and provide multiple angles as well as images of the product in use when applicable. Do not scale up smaller images, or use thumbnails.
Don’t submit illustrations or generic images. There are only three exceptions to this rule. Illustrations are allowed for the Hardware and Vehicles & Parts categories, and you can submit single color images for any paint category.
It is important that the images you provide accurately reflect the product you are selling, especially because online buyers cannot see or touch the item like they would at a brick-and-mortar store.
Manufacturer images of products are fine, but they are unlikely to help you stand out. One way to do that is to hire a professional photographer to take your own pictures.
If you resell products from another manufacturer, you should use Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs). When your products have this number and someone does a high funnel specific search, only one PLA will appear. And when people click on it, it takes them to a product landing page showing only what’s available for your online store.
Just as valuable, it helps your products show up when people use words like “Top” or “Best” in their queries. If you maintain high customer review scores, you should end up near the top.
Say you mainly sell seasonal products such as grills. In most places in the U.S., people can’t use their grills all year round. Take advantage of the market demand and price competitively during season. When season is coming to a close, it’s time to drop those prices. Since many people searching for products (especially out-of-season products) are also looking for deals, having your item show up on the lower end of this spectrum can help you stand out and make more sales.
Depending on your product category, there may be many other areas where you can optimize data. One great way to look for ideas is to search for competitors’ listings and see what they are doing that you are not.
Now that you have a starting point, it’s time to create your optimization strategy so you can increase your product’s visibility and beat out the competition. If you have questions about optimization best practices, reach out to our experts here at GoDataFeed.