As the Coronavirus pandemic grew, so did the demand for online shopping. With many retailers forced to close brick-and-mortar locations and consumers being encouraged to stay home as much as possible, online shopping suddenly became the only way for many retailers to continue to do business.
Even though Amazon is far from being the only company to do business online, they’re often the first one consumers turn to when they need to order something. Under normal circumstances, they can be a one-stop shop for just about anything people are looking for, whether it’s a book, pet care products, clothing, or basic household supplies. But even a company as large as Amazon has been struggling to keep up with the surge in online shopping.
Coronavirus Impacts Amazon’s Demand & Fulfillment
In March 2020, Amazon announced their warehouses would temporarily stop accepting shipments of non-essential items from third-party sellers so they could prioritize items people more urgently need during this crisis. People ordering non-essential items Amazon already had stocked in their warehouses also often reported significantly delayed shipment dates.
This announcement meant companies that had been relying on Amazon’s Fulfilled by Amazon program for some, if not all, of their business needed to find another way to make their products available. But it isn’t easy to find another way to sell products that can potentially reach as many people as Amazon can. That’s where Google came in.
Google Brings Back Free Product Listings
To compete with Amazon, Google announced on April 21, 2020 that sellers would be able to have free product listings on Google Shopping. In 2012, Google Shopping had switched to a model in which merchants had to pay for Google Shopping listings. By bringing back free product listings, merchants with products in stock and ready to ship have a way to reach searchers more effectively at no added cost, giving them more visibility than they might have otherwise. Not only does this help merchants, it gives consumers more options to order products that aren’t being prioritized by Amazon at this time.
It’s important to note that this does not mean Google has gotten rid of the option for paid listings. While Google Shopping will now feature both free and paid product listings, sponsored listings will still be featured at the top and bottom of pages in the Google Shopping tab. In main Google search result pages, the products featured in the carousel will also still be paid listings.
How to Improve Your Rankings In Google Shopping
Since appearing in organic searches is one of the key benefits of Google Shopping, you’ll want to make sure your product listings are optimized to reach your intended audience. Google partners with many popular ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce and Shopify, which makes it easier for merchants using those platforms to manage their listings. If you’re interested in taking advantage of these free listings, make sure your feed is set up correctly and that it’s pulling in accurate, up-to-date information.
Take the time to optimize your product listings similarly to how you would optimize a page on your website. Product title tags are an excellent place to start. These should be descriptive and keep the most important keywords near the front of the tag if it makes sense to do so. Some very good things to mention include the model name, brand, size, gender, and the product style. Just be careful to avoid keyword stuffing or coming across as spammy.
Be sure to take advantage of all of the keyword insights within the Search Terms report. This is a great way to find new, highly relevant long tail keywords that may have been caught by standard search campaigns. As a paid media agency running campaigns for ecommerce clients, doing this helped us realize that a large segment of converting users for one of our clients were searching with very specific, dimension-based queries for different product specifications. This allowed us to create new individual ad groups that took users to a customized landing page featuring all of the products that fit within that size range.
These steps may seem simple, but they can go a long way in helping you connect with customers online from the comfort of their homes.