“In the past, I would just suggest, ‘Hey, just upload the products you actually want to advertise, it’s easier to manage,’” Kirk Williams, owner of ZATO Marketing, said in reference to what he would’ve advised clients before Google opened up its Shopping results to free listings, during our Google Shopping session of Live with Search Engine Land. “Now, I would reverse that and say ‘upload and manage your entire catalog because you could get free clicks,’” Williams advised.
He shared an anecdote about a client who he was managing ads for on a specific category of their products, although their entire catalog was already uploaded onto Google Merchant Center.
“What we realized then is, ‘Hey surfaces across Google is still showing free listings for their entire catalog,’ even though [the client], at this moment, only wanted us to invest money in a specific category,” Williams said, adding that this is a clear benefit to having your entire product catalog added into Merchant Center.
“The vast majority of our accounts seem to be in that 3–4% range,” he said of the ratio of clicks on free Google Shopping listings compared to paid listings, noting that this figure seems to have stabilized from the higher ratios he was witnessing in mid-April when Google announced free product listings in Shopping.
Why we care. Whether you’re advertising or not, every retail search marketer should become familiar with Google Merchant Center and product feed optimization. Opting into Surfaces across Google in Merchant Center now enables your products to be shown organically on Google Images, in Search sections like the Popular Products carousel and Google Lens and now in Google Shopping.
Adding your entire product catalog in Merchant Center will help ensure you get maximum visibility in organic results for your products without having to worry about ROI consideratons that come with advertising.
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