The search for higher listings on Google Product Search - CPC Strategy

Update 6/16/2013: Find out our latest tips on Google Product Listing Ads in this free 20,000 word guide: http://www.cpcstrategy.com/product-listing-ads

How do I show up higher on Google product searches?

I love Costco. There I said it! They have free samples, a huge store (we’re American right?), and multi-pack everything. However, even though I have proclaimed my filial loyalty–I can’t control what Costco sells, or how they aggregate their products- much as any merchant who sells through Costco cannot.

In addition to using the trendy double use of o, Google performs a similar function in the ecommerce area. Google is a free search engine, and provides a solid user experience. Additionally, they are competitive, and continually updating and adding new features. Consequently, Google Shopping generates a lot of traffic, and almost every merchant wants to be listed high on Google searches.

A situation which generates one of the frequent questions Account Managers are confronted with:

 How can I get listed higher on Google Product Searches?

Ranking on Google Shopping

A question which reminds me of the ancient science of Alchemy: In that it is immensely alluring, and many have tried- many have failed. Alchemy isn’t given credence as a real science in modern society, partially due to the immense failure rate (we’ve basically deemed it impossible). This is unfortunately the answer I often share with hopeful merchants.

Although paid Comparison Shopping Engines provide the opportunity to bid higher to gain better rankings, Google does not follow this practice.

Just as Costco has intricate product placement rules, return policies, and an infuriating membership fee, Google follows its own rules.

Luckily for both merchants and users, Google’s  ideology for organic search (and the one which also applies to Product Search) is user centric. Google touts that its aim is to facilitate the user experience, providing relevant, time sensitive, and fast data (although some may disagree).

A solid way to optimize results in Google would be to mirror that mantra. Generate user friendly content, and a user friendly interface. Provide useful products, and helpful customer service- and customers will flock to your door. Moreover, Google will notice your prowess and chances are you will gain more relevancy and Google traffic. This approach may not win you any immediate results, but it is a valuable and effective long term strategy. Google will deem your site more relevant for its UX focus, and users will appreciate those same features and become loyal patrons.

Google is constantly improving, and always changing its algorithm, so it is nearly impossible to stay up to date, and continually adapt to those modifications. It is far better to take a long term approach than constantly play catch-up with Google updates.

If however, you are looking for results this minute, there are some strategies we have noticed which improve performance.

Improve Google Performance

Free Shipping and Variations

Google’s latest updates prioritize comparison pages and free shipping, as it deems them important elements for the user.  Some merchants have semi- shadily updated their shipping information to take advantage of this preference. Listing any and all variations to be included in Comparison pages is a slightly more white hat strategy.  If you are not using a child feed on Google, this can also be very helpful.

Give your data feed a facelift

Take a good hard look at your data feed. Google prioritizes accounts with more relevancy and those with fewer and less frequequent feed errors/suspensions.

Does your feed have correct shipping information, variation attributes, marketing  messages, etc? As a reliable and relevant site-you can also gain relevance over time simply by being listed on Google and following their rules.

Surveys

Consumer surveys are also an important element in the Google search, as well as other CSEs. Be sure you are generating seller reviews on Google, CSEs and other review sites. Even if reviews don’t improve rankings, they can help create conversions.

Social Relevance

Although Google’s +1 button has lost some SERP visibility, G+ indications of social approval are an element of the Google ranking system. An important one for Google, as it  will also be an element of their analytics next year. Maintaing G+ for your products and company is an important step on the road to Google SERP dominance, as well as encouraging social media interaction with users.

*Disclaimer:

None of these strategies will be the silver bullet in improving your Google listings. Although they may work short term, the efficacy may decrease as more merchants are savvy to specific modifications. Google may also start enforcing stricter rules, and or change its algorithm.

Either course of action is liable to changes as many ecommece variables continue to modify and develop.

What has your experience been with ranking higher on Google SERPs? Any advice or warnings for those looking to rank higher on Google Product Searches?

More Google-tastic insights:

Google Police

Google Trusted Stores

Panda Enforcement

About the AuthorMary Weinstein is the Director of Content at CPC Strategy, with extensive experience in all things retail search, Ecommerce, Google Shopping and digital marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time educating online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee. See all posts by this author here.