Ever heard of Google Product Search? Don’t worry, most small business owners haven’t, since it’s still rather new. But if your business sells products, it’s one free service you should definitely get to know.
Basically, Google Product Search helps buyers find and purchase products of almost any kind across the Internet. Businesses can submit product information to Google Product Search so that potential buyers can quickly and easily find you online. Google hasn’t put much promotional muscle behind this yet, so even finding the right place on their site can be a channgle. But you can just follow the links in this post.
Here are four reasons to consider submitting your product information to Google Product Search:
- Targeted: Product search is a parallel Google search universe dedicated solely to, well, products. Shoppers who search there can avoid irrelevant search returns, focusing on products only. That helps drive traffic and sales to your business.
- Free: Having your products included in Google Product Search is free. There’s no charge for uploading your information, and no charge for any additional traffic you receive to your website.
- Timely: Showing up in Google Product Search makes it possible for you to attract more qualified leads and buyers. You reach shoppers precisely when they are searching for a specific item to buy. Your products might also appear on Google’s main site, depending on their search relevance.
- Flexible: You maintain full control of your product information and can keep it accurate and fresh with changes and updates as needed. That way, your customers will find the relevant, current items they’re seeking.
The process for getting listed and discovered is straightforward, although uploading your product information to Google will take a little tech know-how if you do it yourself.
You will need to upload your information with a data feed of some kind to Google’s automated system. You can also use a direct upload or Google’s application programming interface, known as an API (only for developers with tech know-how). For most small businesses, Google recommends a basic data feed that contains all of your content in a single tab-delimited text file.
For merchants, the gateway into Google Product Search was previously through an obscure place called Google Base. That just changed, however, and your ticket to this party is now through a newly created Google Merchant Center. To find it go to: www.google.com/support/merchants.
You can send Google your data feed directly through a Merchant Center account that’s free and easy to set up. Google Merchant Center also lets you manage your product listings in AdWords.
To see what qualifies as a “product” for this service, check Google’s product data specifications. Some things you might think of as products are excluded, including real estate, job and vehicle listings.
Don’t want to fly solo?
You can easily get help submitting your data to Google and making sure it is properly integrated on the site by working through a Google Product Search Partner.
Google Product Search Partners will help build and submit your bulk uploads, making it easier to drive traffic and sales to your online store. All partners approved by Google are leading data management and e-commerce solutions providers. This route involves fees, of course, but will help you manage your products online with greater confidence, convenience — and results. Product Search Partners will:
- Submit expert feeds with all required attributes, allowing your products to be better matched to relevant search queries
- Upload product catalogs daily, ensuring that your items remain active and up-to-date
- Have a dedicated technical team to support you.
Product Listing Tips
Be sure to include links to your website in your data feed to Google. However, if you intend to include such links, you will first have to register your site URL in the “Website URL” field when you create your Merchant Center account.
Take advantage of other free services available through your Merchant Center account for monitoring your products’ performance. For example, you can track how your listings are doing, including total times your item appears in search results, and the numbers of clicks you’ve received.
The Google Merchant Center Help Forum is a great place to find answers and ask questions on how to make this work for you.
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Filed Under: Marketing
About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.