What free Google Shopping product listings mean for your online store

In major news for online business owners, Google has announced that all Google Shopping listings are now free. What does this change mean for your ecommerce store and how can you make the most of it? Here’s what you need to know.

Any digital advertiser, or for that matter any advertiser, will tell you that access to audiences of scale usually comes with a pretty big price tag. This means that Google’s decision to give businesses completely free access to millions of shoppers via product listings could be a huge win for online businesses. Furthermore, smaller companies now have an opportunity to compete with larger retailers by using these free listings. If you’re wondering what exactly this means for your online store or how to make a good Google Shopping listing, here is some information to help you make the most of this new change.

The most important things you need to know about Google’s free product listings

To better understand what this means for you and your online store, here are some general tips and best practices for creating a successful Google Shopping listing and leveraging this change to boost your business.

Search Engine Land mentions that the distribution of free ads and listings, the product feed, and the new PayPal integration are details to pay attention to. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Listings on the homepage of the Google Shopping Hub in the U.S. will still be paid, which means free organic listings will not get as much exposure as merchants paying for advertising placement.
  • On the Google Shopping search results page, paid listings will appear at both the top and the bottom of the page with free organic listings in between based on ranking. This will work the same as the current search listing pages.
  • The product feed is key. You will need to register for a Google Merchant Center account to upload your products to Google Shopping. For help getting started, make sure to read Google’s Merchant Help Center article. One important note is that this feature will be easily accessible to those who already have a Google Merchant account. This is different for new users, as Google mentions there may be some delays in accessibility for a few weeks for new Google Merchant users.
  • As far as timing goes, Google expects that merchants can begin selling for free in the U.S. before the end of April 2020 with plans for expansion outside of the U.S. to follow.
  • A PayPal integration allows Google to pull in seller data faster and verify trusted merchants quickly.

Google Shopping best practices and how to take advantage of its free listings

While free product listings are new, there is still a lot of good information out there about what to do and what not to do, and how to make sure you’re setting yourself up with the best chance for success. Use these tips to get started with your listings.

Include keywords in your product title

While the product title may seem trivial, it’s definitely not. Not only are there Google requirements to be aware of, but there are also some best practices to follow when optimizing your Google product posting.

  • Most importantly, know Google’s basic requirements for the title. This will help you avoid any rework and will help your post to be approved by Google faster. Requirements include things like: there is a 150-character limit, you must distinguish between important variables like color and size, and always use correct grammar and professional language.
  • Things you shouldn’t have in your title include words from multiple languages, capital letters or promotional text, and white space.
  • Best practices for your title include using all of the allotted characters, being as descriptive as possible about your product, putting the most important details first, and being sure to use keywords.

Optimize your product images

Due to the fact that Google pulls product images from their respective websites, it’s important that all of your product images on your website are fully optimized for what Google is looking for. Here are the main things to pay attention to:

  • Image sizes for non-apparel products must be 100 x 100 pixels. Apparel products must be at least 250 x 250 pixels. Images cannot be larger than 64 megapixels and files cannot be larger than 16 megabytes. For full specs make sure to visit Google support.
  • Things your image cannot have include watermark, logo, text overlay, borders, more than one product shown, or a multicolored, dark, or patterned background.
  • Use Google’s image recommendations, which include using a solid white, gray, or light-colored background and showing the product in clear, even lighting, with the item in the correct scale. The image should also be free of blur, excessive pixelation, fringing, or fading out.

Accurately describe your products

Your description should be an accurate description of the product. It must match the product description on your website so make sure that these are consistent before you post. Also, you should only include information about the product. Don’t include sales talk or anything anecdotal.

When in doubt, use Google’s support center for any questions and best practices. Make sure to do your research and due diligence, and don’t forget to experiment! Try different titles and descriptions to see what works best for you. Happy sales!