Table of Contents
Over the past few years, Google has added special sections to its SERPs (search engine results pages) specifically for eCommerce products. This has evolved to include full feature sections that display popular products, related products, and featured stores. For an eCommerce store, their best bet to appear in these sections is to set up a Google Merchant Center account and optimize the product data in your shopping feed.
There are multiple benefits to setting up and optimizing your Google Merchant Center:
- Better control over your paid and organic product listings
- Increased “free” organic traffic to your product pages (In 2022, Google shopping had over 1.2 billion searches every month.)
- More revenue from Google Search (Google Shopping has a nearly 2% average conversion rate.)
How Google Merchant Center Works
If your store wants to sell items on platforms such as Google Shopping, you need to give Google information about your products. Important details including the product description, its cost, and a product image are uploaded to Google Merchant Center using a Product Feed. For more information on product feeds and how to create them correctly, check out Google’s Merchant Center onboarding guide.
Shopping Feeds and SEO
In the past, it was necessary to spend money on Adwords (PPC) to get a product shown consistently in Google’s search results. Many eCommerce brands use paid Google Shopping campaigns as a core part of their digital marketing strategy, but they are unfamiliar with the organic search opportunities that exist and how to take advantage of them.
Google has free listings in its search results, including a dedicated Shopping tab, where online stores can display their products at no cost. These listings are separate from Google Ads, which cost money every time they’re clicked. Termed an organic product listing, when a user clicks on this free listing, they are taken to your product page where they can make a purchase.
It’s not 100% clear when Google uses shopping feed data in its algorithm versus when it uses on-page content. If a store optimizes its feed but has generic, low-quality descriptions on its website, it may not receive the same SEO benefit.
eCommerce stores need an SEO strategy that optimizes organic product listings along with organic search results to help product listings show consistently in the free shopping sections. These optimizations primarily take place in the shopping feed, but also on your eCommerce website. In this next step, we’ll cover seven shopping feed optimizations to help your products get more organic traffic.
Join our newsletter list today and get 2 emails/month on all-things SEO and content marketing. No sales pitches, ever.
How To Get More Organic Traffic From Google Shopping
Optimize Your Product Titles
Search engines do not instinctively understand your products unless you give them clear directives. One of the best ways to do this is to optimize your product titles wherever possible. If your products have creative names, a search engine may not be able to determine what the product is and then can’t rank you for any keywords.
When optimizing your titles, you don’t need to change the actual name of your product; you just need to change the technical product title (similar to the meta title) in your shopping feed to a description that a search engine understands.
Choose The Right Product Category
Similar to choosing the right product title, choosing the right category can provide a big boost to your product’s visibility. There are hundreds of categories and thousands of subcategories available. If your product has a direct and accurate categorization, it has a better chance to rank and get clicked on.
Use High-Quality Images
Google Shopping results show images with virtually every single product. If your images are low-res or your products look worn down or even fake, fewer people will click on your product listings. Product images are shown in all sorts of Google results, including alongside URL links and in Google Images.
If you have multiple images, choose the best one and put it in the [image_link] field. A high-res, quality picture will certainly help with your conversion rates.
Optimize and Fix Schema Markup & Structured Data
For a seamless organic search experience, eCommerce businesses should coordinate their product data feeds with their SEO team. Shopping feed data is often curated and kept separate from on-page product descriptions. However, they essentially use the same information that is found on each product detail page. The product information like in-stock status, product price, and discounts should be the same on both Google Shopping instances and on your website.
Another reason this is important is that it’s not 100% clear when Google uses shopping feed data in its algorithm versus when it uses on-page content. If a store optimizes its feed but leaves generic, low-quality descriptions on its website, it may not receive the same SEO impact.
Write Keyword-Optimized Descriptions
Most retailers use catalog descriptions or boilerplate content when writing their product descriptions. Instead, they should invest the resources necessary to use high-quality, original, optimized text to give them the best chance to get organic exposure.
The first step is to optimize the product’s description on your website. Do keyword research to find the best keyword for each product, and then use tools like Clearscope or Surfer SEO to optimize the product description. The goal isn’t a complete rewrite, but to include common search terms and long-tail keywords people use when searching for your product type.
Once that is done, you can submit the same content in your Google Shopping feed. Utilizing both of these strategies ensures your description gives you a good chance to appear in Google shopping results.
Include All Required and Relevant Attributes
Google looks for certain attributes for every product, such as ‘id’, ‘title’, ‘description’, ‘link’, ‘image link’, ‘price’, ‘brand’, ‘gtin’, and ‘mpn’. Additional attributes like ‘product category’, ‘product type’, ‘shipping’, ‘tax’ etc. should be included where relevant.
The more attributes you include, the better. While you don’t need every single one to have an optimized product feed, you will see a warning appear in Google Search Console if you’re missing the required ones. Attributes such as title, description, and image are required for your products to show correctly. Without these attributes present, you’ll receive an official error message from Google until you fix the issue.
Collect Product Reviews
Both product ads and organic listings can display a user rating for each product. As we know, these reviews play a powerful role in getting more sales as they provide social proof that your products are legitimate and high-quality.
You need to submit a Review Feed for the product rating to display. This feed can be automated from your store if you use an approved 3rd party review collector like Yotpo, Stamped, or JudgeMe. If you don’t use one of these – or if your review collector app is not yet approved by Google – you can submit a curated review feed to Google Merchant Center once you have a minimum of 50 reviews.
We highly recommend you invest in a review collector app. They’re not expensive and doing this manually or using a free Google widget is cumbersome.
Google has started to introduce “Seller Ratings” in organic listings. This rating scores the overall performance of a store, not just individual products.
This rating is from multiple sources like 3rd party review apps, your own website, and feedback Google solicits.
How This Applies To You
Google Merchant Center is a great tool for eCommerce sites because it has the potential to greatly increase product exposure with more potential customers. If you haven’t yet, create a Merchant Center Account and develop a product feed using these tips. Doing this will ideally give your store more traffic and a nice increase in sales.