A really interesting development has developed recently with one of Googles products which is Google Shopping. This has gone through various changes over the years in particular with its name, starting out as Froogle, then Google Base, then Google Product Search, then Google Merchant Centre and now Google Shopping (which they seem to be sticking with).
So Whats The New Setup For Google Shopping?
Previously it was a free product search engine where webmasters could integrate their feed into and list their products to millions of potential customers. The new process however will involve a paid product listing model and this is really a big shift for Google who once scoffed at the rival search engine Yahoo for their stance on paid product listing service.
Why The Change?
While Google Shopping as a free service was popular, it never took off quite in the way Google had hoped for, which is why they have made the change. Furthermore it comes down to business and with Google Shopping often getting top of the search results listings for product searches; it makes this a potential gold mine for them.
Businesses will want their products to be featured on Page 1 above all the other organic listings and if they have to pay to do this, they will. Google has such a strong hold on the market that they can afford to do this now and while companies might not like it, they have little choice but to embrace the change.
Is This Rolled Out Everywhere?
With Google they often roll out changes to services in different countries at different times. America normally gets the changes first, and other countries get them in due course. We are based in Australia and we only got Google Shopping less than 2 years ago, while in the UK Google Shopping had been around for 10 years.
At present it has been rolled out in the US and seems to have been successful and we are beginning to see it roll out in other countries over the next few months.
Is This A Good Thing?
It is hard to say whether or not it is good or bad. What is apparent is websites that have been getting lots of good traffic and conversions from the free Google Shopping, will now lose this revenue stream.
It is going to be really interesting to see how small retailers can do in this environment because its does seem like it will be geared towards the big brands and businesses with large online marketing budgets. Google has stressed that the Google Shopping results will be separate from the organic listings and so SEO is still going to be a key factor for ranking.
Google Shopping is Google’s move to try and move into the Amazon / Ebay type market. Obviously these are completely different services, however Google is definitely trying to establish its mark among retailers and leverage their superb hold on commerce on the internet.
Jonathan works with Bang Online Marketing based in Perth who specialise on SEO, Google Ad Words, Email Marketing and Social Media Strategies. They keep up to date on all the latest industry news which helps Bang keep competitive in the online market place. Connect with them on Facebook to keep updated with them!