In 2020, Google unveiled a ground-breaking initiative that revolutionised the landscape for ecommerce merchants. This program, known as the Google Shopping free listing program, provided a complimentary avenue for boosting the visibility of products.
Initially, it allowed merchants to only list their products in the Google Shopping tab and on Google Search, all without incurring any costs. However, it has since expanded to encompass an even broader spectrum of platforms within Google's network.
Google's free listings present an exceptionally cost-effective method for reaching a wider customer base organically, yet it is amazing how few retailers spend the time to make sure it is setup correctly. If consumers can’t find you, they can’t buy from you. It’s that simple.
In this article, we take you through the intricacies of the program, and share how you can use BlackCurve’s free tool to find out how visible your own products are on Google Shopping. Do you have 100% visibility? Read on to find out.
Where do free listings appear?
Formerly reserved solely for sponsored product ads and commission-based marketplace listings, the Shopping tab now hosts free listings that appear organically, ranked based on their relevance to user searches. The top carousel is the paid section. Everything under this is free organic results.
When users conduct product and brand searches in Google Images, product listings can emerge at the top of the results.
Free listings can be displayed in rich results alongside standard search results, offering users additional information such as pricing, availability, and ratings.
Why does Google Provide Free Listings?
Free listings not only bolster the visibility of products but also contribute to Google's goal of enhancing the shopping experience for consumers. This endeavor aims to help Google regain ground in product searches, positioning it more competitively against market leaders like Amazon. In essence, if all unfolds as planned, a broader spectrum of merchants will have their products featured on Google's expansive network. Consequently, more customers will find value in the platform, providing sellers with access to a broader and more engaged audience.
Requirements for Free Listings
Opt-in for Free Listings
Google Merchant Center account is required if you wish to advertise your products on Google Shopping. This is essentially providing Google with a list of product information. On setup, you can also opt-in for free listings. It is important to make sure this is selected, or you simply won’t appear organically. This will then give you the ability to have your product information showcased to users across Google's diverse platforms at no expense.
To maintain eligibility for free listings, you must adhere to Google's policies, both for showing products in free listings and for shopping ads. You should prominently display your company's return policy on your website and include it in your Merchant Center Account. Additionally, a link to your shipping policy in your Merchant Center Account is required.
Your product feed must include specific attributes to participate in free listings, including ID, Title, Link, Image link, Price, Description, Availability, Condition (if applicable), Brand (if applicable), GTIN (if applicable), MPN (if applicable), Multipack (if applicable), Bundle (if applicable), Item group ID (for product variants), Shipping, and Tax (if needed).
Optimising Google Shopping Free Listing Visibility
Participation in this program doesn't guarantee automatic visibility on Google's network though. Success hinges on the quality of your product data and its alignment with what potential customers are searching for.
To ensure the optimal performance of your free product listings, it's imperative to maintain accurate and up-to-date account information while providing high-quality data in your product feeds. The quality of your product data plays a pivotal role in determining your products' performance among the organic listings.
It is not easy to then understand why certain products are not visible on Google’s network. You may search for certain products you know you stock on Google Shopping, only to find them not appearing, or not being aggregated correctly, in the ‘Compare prices’ hyperlink. BlackCurve can show you the path to full product visibility on Google Shopping.
Connect your Google Merchant Account to BlackCurve, and we will provide you with a Google Shopping Visibility Score.
Out-of-stock and archived products are excluded automatically, so you should be aiming to get a score as close to 100% as possible. BlackCurve will not only flag to you which products are not visible but even tell you how to fix the issue.
If people can’t see you, they can’t buy from you. Create a free account today!