Google Product Search Is Changing - 5/31/2012

Google announced today that the current Product Search program, now a free shopping search engine, will be transitioning to a pay-for-listing model. Google is in the process of running experiments for a small percentage of searches, and is planning on becoming ???Google Shopping??? by the end of summer. Google???s new program is based on the ???Google Product Listing Ads??? (Google PLA) system.

Google is giving merchants a few months to transition to the new model, and they are offering incentives.

Yahoo! Store owners who want to try Product Listing Ads or continue their listings on Google Shopping can sign up by August 15th, 2012 to receive a monthly credit for 10% of their total Product Listing Ad spend through the end of 2012. In addition, existing Google Product Search merchants can receive $100 AdWords credit toward Product Listing Ads if they sign up before August 15th.

Remember, there is a high quality of shopper traffic on Google and it remains large. It will not be free, but there is a greater chance that the consumer will reach you before your competitors if your competition drops off Google Shopping.

We recommend that you continue to send your feed to Google, as well as manage and optimize your feed content. The accuracy, timeliness and quality of your feed will increase data performance. Key information includes but is not limited to Product Names, Descriptions, manufacturer-part-numbers, UPC codes where applicable, Product Categories.

Once the transition happens (end of Summer - October 2012), stores should evaluate if Google's new PLA-based model will work for them. Stores interested in doing Product Listing Ads should set up their account with Google before August 15th to take advantage of Google's bonus offer.

Your Store Wizards / Feed Wizards will continue to refine the Google feed format to comply with Google's new program. We will support you in your transition.

How can I Get More Free Traffic?

There are other shopping search engines that are free. Some of these include: TheFind.com, Bing Shopping (Microsoft AdCenter), PriceScan.com, ShopWiki.com, GoShopping.com and more.

Your Store Wizards / Feed Wizards will keep you informed and assist you as things transition. We will also give you additional free channels you may want to consider. Contact us for more information!

To read more about this transition, go to: http://googlecommerce.blogspot.com/2012/05/building-better-shopping-experience.html (from Google) and http://searchengineland.com/google-product-search-to-become-google-shopping-use-pay-to-play-model-122959 (from Search Engine Land).