Google shopping’s impact on seo
Over the next several months, Google’s free Product Search feature will start costing ecommerce sites a lot more. Since the launch of Google’s Froogle in 2002, Google has provided a free product search service. The newly launched Google Shopping marks the first time that the company has converted a free service to a pay-for-placement model. Search marketers wonder, what does this mean to organic search?
How Google Shopping Affects SEO
For those who focus purely on search engine optimization, the change may actually be a positive. Some of the placement tests for Google Shopping results actually improve the organic results’ position on the page compared with other paid modules. For example, a search for “teddy bears” before the move to Google Shopping would have resulted in the result at left below. The shopping results are beneath the paid results, pushing the organic search results lower on the page. We can only see one full organic result in this image, and the top of the second.
Enlarge This Image
Today’s shopping results are still in flux as Google tests the best placement for these new ads, but many of the placement experiments are appearing in the upper right. In the example above and to the right, the shopping results appear as an anchor point for the paid search ads, to the right of the top block and above the right block. As a result, Google is able to squeeze two more organic results into the same space that the previous shopping module had taken up.
The experiments are still running, however, with the full launch set for sometime this fall. Until then, Google will likely continue to test and revise placement of the shopping modules to find the balance it needs to strike between revenue and searcher satisfaction. Expect to see larger and smaller modules, different formats and different placements during this transition period. With individual searches producing experimental experiences like the ones below, the true impact on organic search performance will likely be difficult to determine for some months yet.
Enlarge This Image
The majority of the marketing world will not see this change with purely SEO eyes, of course. For most, Google Shopping will likely represent more downside than upside as tight budgets and human resources are stretched even further. Even the relative positive possibility of more organic visibility would be countered with a decrease in real estate dedicated to paid ads.
Google claims that relevance and shopping-result quality will increase as companies are forced to manage their data feeds more closely once payment comes into play. According to Google’s blog, “Higher quality data—whether it’s accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability—should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants.” While there’s some logic to this, it will also have the side effect of forcing ecommerce sites with fewer resources out of Google Shopping, effectively ending what had to this point been a free source of traffic.
For more information on managing the transition to paid placement, see “Google Shopping: Preparing for Paid Listings,” our previous article on that topic.
Sources: http://www.practicalecommerce.com/Tags: Google shopping, SEO, TRAFFIC