It will soon be free for merchants to list products in the Google Shopping tab in search results.
SEOs and site owners focusing primarily on organic search can, for the first time, add Google Shopping to their toolkit.
Before the end of the month, this change will take effect in US search results with plans to expand globally by the end of the year.
The rollout will begin as soon as next week, at which time search results in the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free product listings
Explaining why this decision was made, Google cites the fact that struggling businesses cannot afford to pay for Google Shopping listings at this time.
The move comes amid the coronavirus crisis in which many brick and mortar retailers have had to close their doors. An e-commerce strategy has suddenly taken on heightened importance and urgency for merchants. The crisis was the impetus for “advancing our plans to make [Google Shopping] free for merchants,” Google’s President of Commerce Bill Ready said in a blog post. However, the change will be permanent and fits into the longer-term vision for the company’s role in digital commerce.
Before going entirely paid, Google’s product search suffered from a quality problem — with listings that often led to out of stock or entirely different items altogether. Google’s ability to ensure that the information in a product feed matches the data on the site has advanced significantly since then.
Here’s how this change benefits retailers, shoppers, and advertisers:
Retailers: Free exposure to millions of people who search for products every day on Google.
Shoppers: Discover more products from more stores, including some they may not have otherwise heard of.
Advertisers: Paid campaigns will be augmented with free listings.
Existing users of Merchant Center and shopping ads will not have to do anything extra to benefit from free listings.
For retailers new to Merchant Center, Google says it will continue to streamline the onboarding process over the coming weeks and months.
A Merchant Center account is absolutely necessary to publish free product listings, as all listings in Google Shopping are dependent on product feeds uploaded to Merchant Center.