In the world of e-commerce, the battle for the top spot on Google Shopping is fierce. Many assume that the surefire way to claim the coveted first position is by offering the lowest prices. However, the reality is more nuanced than that. While pricing plays a crucial role in Google Shopping rankings, there are several other factors that contribute to a product's position. In part nine of our ten part series, we'll explore why being the cheapest isn't always the only path to the top during Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), and what other strategies can help you secure a prime position on Google Shopping over this promotional period and beyond.
Setting the Scene
Let’s take a look at this example of a microwave to illustrate the point (mine has just bitten the dust, so it’s topical!). This microwave in question is a Russell Hobbs RHMM713 Scandi 17L 700W Manual Microwave in White:
You can see that Currys has the first position in the table as of 20th October 2023, yet it actually has a price rank of 4 when you ignore shipping, and it slips further down the list when you consider shipping. Conversely OnBuy.com is actually the cheapest on both counts, however it is firmly at the bottom in 10th position!
What Influences Your Google Shopping Position?
Relevance and Quality
One of the primary factors Google considers when ranking products on Google Shopping is their relevance to the user's search query. If your product listings contain accurate and detailed information, such as high-quality images, comprehensive descriptions, and relevant keywords, Google is more likely to place your product higher, even if your price isn't the lowest.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Google tracks the number of clicks a product receives in relation to the number of times it is displayed. If your product has a high CTR, it indicates that users find your listing appealing.
A high CTR is great, but it's not the sole determinant of a top position. Google also assesses the conversion rate – the percentage of users who actually purchase the product after clicking on it. If your product has a high conversion rate, Google will view it as more valuable to users, and it may be ranked higher.
Customer Reviews and Ratings
Customer feedback and ratings can significantly influence Google Shopping rankings. Retailers with positive reviews and high ratings tend to rank better as they get more click-throughs and conversions.
Competitive Bidding Strategies
Google Shopping allows you to bid on product placements, and your bidding strategy can affect your position. The more you bid in total for your domain and the more active your bidding strategy is, the higher you will appear.
Frequency of Price Changes
Google takes into account the frequency of price changes. The more times prices are changed both across your domain and on an individual product level, the more Google thinks the website is being actively managed, and therefore the higher the position you will achieve.
Google uses the benchmark (average price) to determine relevancy, Being the cheapest, does not therefore directly influence your position, but being too expensive will penalise you.
The search algorithm also assesses competitor price position across all your products. If you’re more expensive for a lot of your products, you are likely to get fewer click throughs and conversions, highlighting again, that all these elements do not just work in isolation. They all contribute to supporting each other.
How to Improve Your Google Shopping position?
Securing a top position on Google Shopping while not offering the lowest prices can be a powerful indicator of your product's value and market position, and understanding this is essential to selling out too cheaply during the promotional frenzy of BFCM.
This is what you can do to improve your chances of a higher position:
- To improve relevancy, a well-optimized product feed is essential. Ensure that your product feed is correctly structured (get your GTINs sorted people!), includes relevant keywords, and adheres to Google's guidelines. A well-organized feed can help your products surface for the right queries, increasing your chances of ranking well.
- To improve your CTR, optimise your titles and images, and make your product stand out. A compelling title and eye-catching images can attract clicks, even if your price is slightly higher than competitors.
- To improve your conversion rate, provide a seamless shopping experience, with clear pricing, shipping information, and a user-friendly checkout process. Adding free shipping and single click check-out are excellent ways of minimising cart abandonment.
- To improve your social proof, encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and provide excellent customer service to maintain a positive reputation, as this can offset the need for rock-bottom pricing.
- While bidding higher might seem like the logical choice to secure a top spot, you might not have the biggest budget, so to improve your bidding strategy you will need to be smart. This might involve bidding more aggressively on certain high-margin products, focusing on niche keywords, adjusting your bids based on seasonality, and even ensuring your ads only focus on products where you are competitively priced to maximise your chances of success.
- To increase your price change frequency, utilise dynamic pricing tools to ensure you change prices at the right time for your strategy through automation.
- To improve your price position, leverage competitor pricing insights to:
- Identify where you’re too expensive in the market. These can then be used to either manually adjust your prices to be lower, or in conjunction with dynamic pricing technology to handle the process automatically.
- Assess products where you’re not the cheapest, but are number one ranked in Google Shopping, so you don’t unnecessarily lower prices when you don’t have to.
- Identify where you are the cheapest but not number one, so you can ensure you focus on other areas of optimisation, such as making sure your product feed is accurate and up to date as mentioned earlier.
- If you’re a smaller player, or a newer player that has not had the time to gain Google clout, use the technology to adopt a cheaper position. This can go a long way to getting those clicks and conversions to grow your position overtime.
While price positioning is undeniably important in the world of e-commerce, it's essential to recognize that securing the top spot on Google Shopping involves much more than just offering the lowest prices. Google considers a combination of factors, including relevance, quality, customer feedback, and bidding strategy. By understanding and optimizing these elements in conjunction with your prices, you can improve your Google Shopping rankings, make sure you don’t sell too cheaply when you don’t have to and achieve success in the ever-competitive world of online retail. Remember, it's not always about being the cheapest. BlackCurve can show you the way. Start a free trial today.