It will soon be free for merchants to list products in the Google Shopping tab in search results.
SEOs and site owners focusing primarily on organic search can, for the first time, add Google Shopping to their toolkit.
Before the end of the month, this change will take effect in US search results with plans to expand globally by the end of the year.
The rollout will begin as soon as next week, at which time search results in the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free product listings
Explaining why this decision was made, Google cites the fact that struggling businesses cannot afford to pay for Google Shopping listings at this time.
“And as consumers increasingly shop online, they’re searching not just for essentials but also things like toys, apparel, and home goods.
While this presents an opportunity for struggling businesses to reconnect with consumers, many cannot afford to do so at scale.”
With digital commerce being a lifeline right now for both merchants and consumers, Google is making an unprecedented move by offering free product listings in search results.
“With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship, but are less discoverable online.”
Here’s how this change benefits retailers, shoppers, and advertisers:
- Retailers: Free exposure to millions of people who search for products every day on Google.
- Shoppers: Discover more products from more stores, including some they may not have otherwise heard of.
- Advertisers: Paid campaigns will be augmented with free listings.
Existing users of Merchant Center and shopping ads will not have to do anything extra to benefit from free listings.
For retailers new to Merchant Center, Google says it will continue to streamline the onboarding process over the coming weeks and months.
A Merchant Center account is absolutely necessary to publish free product listings, as all listings in Google Shopping are dependent on product feeds uploaded to Merchant Center.
See: A Beginner’s Guide to Shopping Ads
Free listings are not rolling out until next week, but it’s well advised for retailers to set up a Merchant Center account as soon as possible.
New Partnership With PayPal
Along with this monumental change to Google Shopping, a new partnership with PayPal is being launched.
Merchants can link their PayPal accounts to Google Shopping, which is said to speed up the onboarding process.
PayPal now joins Google’s existing partners, including Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.
Other Notes About This Change
Google specifically states that Google Shopping will consist “primarily” of free listings.
That’s because the company is still accepting paid listings, which will receive prominent placement at the top of the Google Shopping tab.
Also, paid listings will be the only ones shown within the product listing ad carousel in Google Search.
It’s fair to assume the same applies to anywhere else shopping ads are shown outside of the Google Shopping tab, such as the recent addition of shopping ads in Gmail.
See: Google is Expanding Shopping Ads to Gmail
So there are still benefits to paying for advertising, but if you’re looking for ways to save money on advertising this is one area where you could consider cutting back.