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Google Shopping is powerful and if you’re selling online you need to give it serious consideration as a channel. But it can be complex too – until now. We have partnered with Google to integrate Google Shopping directly into the Selz dashboard.

No need for other apps or third-party services. Selz merchants will be able to create Google Shopping campaigns and set daily limits from within the Selz dashboard, and leverage Google’s powerful AI to optimize the rest. It’s all about simplifying your workflow. 

This powerful new feature will be released over the coming weeks as part of our new suite of plans. So let’s take a look and see why your business should be unlocking the power of Selz’s new Google Shopping feature.

Why You Need Google Shopping

Google is the gold standard for search. The release of Google Shopping in 2012 and Smart Shopping in 2018 opened the door for growing businesses everywhere to harness the power of Google.

Google says that advertisers implementing Smart Shopping campaigns see a +18% uplift in conversion volume and a +23% increase in return for every dollar spent.

So, what kind of results have small businesses really seen with Google Shopping? Case studies have shown increased conversions, an increase in clicks, and lower cost per conversion.

Your customers trust you. There are thousands, maybe millions of potential customers out there who need your products, but don’t know about them yet. Those potential customers trust Google. Google Shopping will help them find you.

How Does Google Shopping Work? The Ultimate Guide to Google Shopping 2019

How Google Shopping Works in 4 Steps
Become a Google Merchant
The Feed: Google Shopping and Your Ecommerce Site
The 8 Most Important Factors for a Successful Google Shopping Feed
How does Google Shopping Work with Google Ads?
What is Google Smart Shopping?
Making the Most of the Google Shopping Network
How to Make Google Shopping Work for You

So How Does Google Shopping Work?

Google Shopping sounds like an online marketplace, but it’s actually smart advertising.

This feature builds on the success of text-based Google Ads. Google Shopping ads are sometimes called PLAs (product listing ads) and they include images and product details.

Google places these listings directly on their wildly popular search engine. A click on your ad brings that customer directly to your ecommerce site.

Google Shopping listings put your products at the top of Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) letting you reach millions of viewers with your products. You can also include information like reviews, special discounts, and pricing.

These listings let you show targeted customers your products before they visit hit your website. The clicks they collect tend to be from visitors who are more likely to buy.

What does Google Shopping Cost?

If the Google AI places your product on a search results list, it offers great exposure with no expense. You only pay for your Google Shopping listings when a customer visits your store.

Bidding for the Google Shopping top spots happens through the same CPC (cost per click) auction process as Google Ads. It’s up to you to decide how valuable placement for a specific search is for your business.

Google Shopping and Selz

The Selz integration with Google Shopping directly connects your Selz account to the Google Merchant Center.

This simple and powerful integration lets you list all your products and product variants with Google Shopping at once. Your Google Shopping listings will automatically update as you add new products.

You can run campaigns directly from your Selz dashboard by connecting with Google Ads. Your Selz dashboard is also a hub where you can check out analytics and transparent reporting.

A woman works diligently at her computer as she learns how does google shopping work? to sell more products with Selz the ecommerce platform for growing businesses

How Google Shopping Works in 4 Steps

  1. Set up your Merchant Center account
  2. Create your feed by connecting your Selz Store to the Google Merchant Center
  3. Create a Google Shopping campaign to start advertising your products
  4. Measure the effectiveness of your campaigns with Google Analytics

You’ll need to set up these four accounts to get started:

  • Google account
  • Google Merchant Center account
  • Google Ads account
  • Google Analytics account

If you don’t already have a Selz account, signing up for this powerful platform is simple. You can use your Google account to sign up, so no additional passwords to remember when you log in. Sign up today for a free 14-day trial.

Make Sure Your Business Has Everything You Need to Get Started

You’ve set up your accounts. Now, to use Google Shopping, your ecommerce website must meet the below requirements:

Google Shopping Ads policies

You must meet the Google Shopping requirements before you start your first campaign. Take a careful look at their policies for prohibited content and practices, restricted content, editorial standards, and technical quality.

Google My Business

Google My Business must verify your business and ecommerce website

Contact information

Your ecommerce website must display at least two of these three contact methods:

  • Telephone number
  • Email
  • Physical business address

Secure checkout process

Your ecommerce website must have a valid SSL certificate for payment processing.

Collection of personal data

Any sensitive or financial personal information from your customers also requires a valid SSL certificate for secure processing.

Return policy

Your ecommerce site must provide a clear and prominent return policy to your customers.

Billing terms and conditions

Your site must provide clear and prominent billing terms and conditions.

Complete checkout process

Customers from any location in the world must be able to complete the checkout process on your ecommerce site.

That being said, it’s best to write your website and product information in the official language of the country you want to advertise in.

Learn more about the full Merchant Center requirements here.

A handsome tool kit photographed the same way it would be for the google shopping platform for this article how does google shopping work? The ultimate guide to google shopping 2019

Become a Google Merchant

What is the Google Merchant Center?

The Google Merchant Center is an online dashboard where you can manage how the products in your online store appear in all Google ecommerce products like Google Shopping, Google My Business, and Google Commerce Search. You can also make changes to your online listings on this platform.

How to Set Up Your Google Merchant Center Account

Setting this up is straightforward. Head to the Merchant Center and click sign up. During this process you will claim your URL, proving to Google that you own the domain you want to advertise on.

You can use Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager to verify ownership if you already have those accounts set up. There are also a couple of other simple ways to verify.

Configure Your Shipping and Taxes

Google Shopping gives you the option to display shipping costs in your ads.

You’ve already set up this information in your Selz store, and all you need to do is confirm it in the Shipping section of Google Merchant Center.

Once your account is set up your product feed will automatically feed into the Google Merchant Center.

What is a Product Feed?

Your feed is your product data, presented in a format that Google can read and understand.

You can build your feed in a few different ways.

Manually

You may have heard some griping about the complexity of entering product information for Google Shopping.

This mostly comes from businesses who have opted to enter their product information into a spreadsheet according to Google’s specifications.

This process can be challenging and time-consuming. Building your own spreadsheet also leaves a lot of room for error, which can add more time to the approval process.

Plugins, Apps, Extensions

There are a range of extensions, plugins, and apps that can pull data from your ecommerce site and format your product data for Google.

These extras may not be your best bet because formatting is so vital to success with Google Shopping. Entry details that seem tiny, like extra white space or special characters, can dramatically affect your success as you build your feed.

Direct Integration

Native integration with Google Shopping through the Selz ecommerce platform allows you to add products to your Google Shopping feed and your Selz online store at the same time.

This direct integration not only saves you crucial time as you build your feed, it also automatically updates as you add new products.

Integration is also valuable for a busy small business owner because it allows you to make edits and monitor your feed from your Selz dashboard.

You’ll spend less time moving between different programs and tools. This means more time optimizing the reach of your products.

What Comes Next

Once you’ve connected your Selz store to the Google Merchant Center Google will process your product feed. It will usually take 3 to 10 business days for Google to approve your pending product.

Google will let you know if they find any errors so you can start troubleshooting. You may see some errors and warnings. This usually means that there is some incorrect or missing information.

Some errors are an easy fix, but others may take more time. One common error to double check – make sure you have the correct product details for each of your products. You’ll also want to watch for item level errors. If a product has even one error, you won’t be able to run ads with that product.

The Feed: Google Shopping and Your Ecommerce Site

Your product feed will be the most important factor in your success with Google Shopping.

Google Shopping uses your product information as they decide where to place your ads. This means that your product feed can’t just be accurate, it also needs to be full of clear and useful information for your customers.

In the same way that the Google search engine crawls your website, Google Shopping will search your feed to decide if one or more of your products is useful for a particular Google search.

If your products show up for the right searches, you will get more clicks and more sales.

It can be helpful if you’re already familiar with the basics of ecommerce SEO, because these skills will help you make the most of your Google Shopping feed. If you’re new to SEO, this article is a good place to start.

Google Shopping does not target keywords. That doesn’t mean that keywords aren’t important. What it means is that your success depends on the details you include in your product feed.

As you prepare to enter your products into your store, think about getting your products to show up for the right search, getting your customers’ attention, and getting them to click.

An elegant picture of painted eggs for this article about the google shopping network and becoming a google merchant

The 8 Most Important Factors for a Successful Google Shopping Feed

Product Title

A strong product title will have an exponential effect on your ecommerce site traffic. Your product title needs to be accurate, descriptive, and search engine friendly so that Google matches your ads with the right search queries.

Those tips are important, but still pretty general. To create the perfect product title for Google Shopping us this checklist:

Fill every character with useful information

Google’s keyword character limit is 150 characters. Don’t waste characters on promotions, promotional text in your title can create errors that you will need to fix before your ads will run.

Put the most important information at the start of your title

Google reads titles from left to right. This is different from the way school teaches most people to write, so it may take some practice to write “T-Shirt – Red, Women’s, Small, Cotton” instead of Small Women’s Red Cotton T-Shirt”.

Use your keyword research

Include your top keyword in the title if it applies to your product but limit it to one important keyword.

Use the most common name of your product

It’s great to be original and to show your personality, but it’s also important for your customers to be able to find what they want.

Write in the most common case for your product

Titles written in ALL CAPS will create errors and could affect feed approval.

Add product details like brand, color, gender, and size

Customers are more likely to buy if they writing out a longer search query, so details like these can increase the likelihood that someone will click when they are searching.

Think about what is important to your customers’ as they shop

If the model, year, or any other detail is important, make it a part of your product title.

Keep an eye on your product titles

The internet moves fast, and so does the way your customers search for products. Update your product titles regularly and consider their influence on the performance of your product listing.

Brand

You may have your own brand, or you may be reselling another brand, either way, you will usually need to include the brand of every product in your feed.

Your brand might not be a “brand name” yet. If that’s the case, include your brand a little later in your product title and emphasize more searchable terms to attract customers to your products.

That being said, a brand can be a powerful selling tool, and if you’re reselling products from a well-known brand, it is often effective to start with the brand name.

Searching by brand name can be another way that shoppers indicate their intention to buy, and adding a recognizable brand to your product title can increase your click rate.

Product Pictures

Images are an important part of search results online today, because data says that images get more attention than lines of text.

Great product images are incredibly important for your Google Shopping ads. High-quality, well lit, and well-composed images can sell themselves. Read this for perfect product photography advice.

For Google Shopping image specifics, You’ll also want to follow these tips:

  • Make sure your image is easy to see in a thumbnail and on your mobile phone
  • Google requires a white background behind your products
  • Leave out any text, watermarks, or brand logos, these will create errors and delays

Price

Once your product image and title have attracted a customer, the price of your product is the factor that inspires clicks. It can be tempting to choose a price for your product and stick with it, but ecommerce moves fast.

Monitor your analytics carefully and keep an eye on competitors to make sure that your price point is in the right spot for clicks, sales, and profit.

Product Description

The product description is another important opportunity to optimize keywords. Get specific about your product and its features.

It can be tempting to use this space to tell a story about your product and company, but that strategy won’t bring you the most value on Google Shopping.

This is because your product description in Google Shopping is more for Google than it is for your customers.

Use your 5,000 character product description to bring your product to life with your top keywords. Approach writing your product description the same way you would a game of “I Spy.

Think about and describe:

  • Who uses your product
  • How they use it
  • Color
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Texture
  • Shape
  • Material

As you write your product descriptions, pay attention to the product title tips listed earlier in this article.

Product Category

Another challenge for some newcomers to Google Shopping is picking a category. You’ll pick from an extensive list of over 6,200 categories and subcategories.

Google’s list of categories and subcategories can be a little overwhelming.

The list is useful because it lets Google know how to group your product with other similar products. This ensures that your products show up for the right Google searches.

You can choose only one category for your product, so be thoughtful about your selection.

You may not be able to find a perfect category match. If that’s the case, your best strategy choose the closest category. Then you can use the optional product type section to get more specific.

Product Type

This section lets you independently define the category for your product. Naming your product type lets you specifically target your niche with your product listing.

Advanced Feed Considerations

As your business begins to enjoy the value of Google Shopping, you’ll also want to take advantage of more custom features within the platform.

For instance, custom labels are helpful when you want to optimize bids. These labels don’t affect search queries for your ads, so they provide an opportunity to refine your business process.

Other Information to Prepare in Advance

You’ll want to pull together a few more details before you enter your product.

These include:

  • Unique link to your product detail page (Link to your specific product, not to your home page)
  • Product availability
  • Condition of your product (especially important for resellers)

You’ll also need to clarify whether your product is for adults or all ages.

If you sell products like books, music, and movies, the sections above are all you need to think about. If you sell any other type of products, like clothes, there are more fields you’ll need to complete and optimize.

Unique Product Identifiers

Unique Product Identifiers are codes used nationally, internationally, or both, to easily identify your product.

These numbers are usually found on the barcode on the product packaging of manufactured products. If you can’t find the number there, you’ll need to inquire with the manufacturer.

The process of finding these numbers can be a challenge for some businesses, but their addition to your product listing will pay off. This unique code will help your product show up in more specific searches.

A short glossary of the most common codes:

GTIN – Global Trade Item Number

The original manufacturer assigns this unique identifying number.

If you need to enter the GTIN for your product, you will also need to submit the brand attribute. For North America, we recommend including the MPN.

If your product doesn’t have an assigned GTIN, submit both the brand and mpn numbers instead.

UPC – Universal Product Code

This number is the same as the GTIN and is the most commonly used identifier in North America.

ISBN – International Standard Book Number

This number is used globally for books.

MPN – Manufacturer Part Number

The original manufacturer assigns this unique identifying number.

You can read more about the comprehensive unique product identifier requirements here.

There are more product details that you’ll need to enter if you run a business that sells clothing or other products with variants. You can find a comprehensive list here.

Perfume bottles on white for an article on how to increase sales for your ecommerce site

How does Google Shopping Work with Google Ads?

Once the Google Merchant Center approves your feed, you can set up your first Google Shopping campaign. These are often called PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns.

Google Ads is where you set your ads budget, manage your bids, gain insights, and make optimizations based on performance. You can also do these things from your Selz dashboard.

You should already have a Google Ads account by now, if not, this article will walk you through the steps.

How Google Ads Works

In Google Ads you bid on specific keywords in the hope that your clickable text ads appear in Google’s search results.

If your bid is successful, your ad rank decides your ad’s position on the page.

Google calculates ad rank by multiplying your top bid with your quality score.

How does Google determine your quality score for text ads? By combining:

  • Your click-through rate (CTR)
  • How applicable your keyword is to the ad
  • The quality and relevance of your landing page and copy
  • Historic Google Ads Performance

If you have a high quality score your business could pay less than your competitors and still get the top ad placement for your keyword.

For more details, check out this infographic.

If you’re an old hand at Google Ads, this is your reminder that setting up and managing Google Shopping isn’t the same as a traditional text ad. You can skip the next section.

For those who are new, there are a few things to set up before you launch your first Google Smart Shopping campaign.

Google Ads: Who, What, and Where

Name Your Campaign

The name of your campaign is important if you plan to run more than one campaign at a time. Most businesses will, whether you’re running campaigns for holiday ecommerce or A/B testing.

Search Networks

Your Google Ads campaign will be bidding for placement on Google Search and Search Partners. You can also opt for placement on sites like AOL, YouTube, and Google Maps.

Location

Your ads will show up everywhere in the world, unless you name a specific location.

Priority

You can set your campaign with low, medium, or high priority. This is important when you have more than one campaign running at a time.

Google Ads will show products based on priority first and bid second.

If you include one of your products in multiple campaigns at the same priority level, the highest bid will win the ad.

If one of your products is in multiple campaigns and those campaigns are at different priority levels, Google will place your ad for the highest priority campaign.

Google Ads Default Bids and Budget

Budget

Your daily budget should be a number you’re comfortable with. You’ll want to set a small budget in the beginning and slowly increase based on results. You can change your budget whenever you want.

Still not sure where to start? Set your budget for no more than $5-10 per day.

Bids

Start with a modest bid and increase your bid over time, while carefully monitoring your results.

If you’re looking for a solid number, set your default bid somewhere between $.01-0.5 per click. Depending on how competitive your niche is, you may want to set your bid in the $.06-.85 range.

Your default bid only applies to products that you don’t set a specific bid for.

Bidding Strategy

There are many different bidding strategies, and the detail can be a bit mind-boggling.

While you are testing your first campaign, it’s a good idea to select Manual CPC as your bidding strategy. As you begin to see what works for your business, you may try another bidding strategy.

Delivery

This section determines how often your ad will show up in search and how quickly you go through your budget.

The default delivery is standard. You may want to consider accelerated delivery. This option lets you measure the effectiveness of your campaigns more quickly.

A Google Ads Tip

When you’re measuring performance and updating your bids you can group your products by brand, category or by custom label.

You don’t sell all your products at the same price, right? So, for the smartest use of your ad budget, use the custom labels you created for your feed to make separate product groups.

These product groups will let you set different bids based on important factors like product popularity or profitability.

A pair of jean shorts is just one of millions of things you can sell to generate revenue for your ecommerce site with Google Shopping and Selz

What is Google Smart Shopping?

You’ve set up Google Ads. You’ve set up your Google Merchant Center account. Now that you’ve set up a great shopping feed of your products, it’s time for Google Smart Shopping.

Smart Shopping is the easiest way to start advertising with Google’s vast network for any ecommerce site.

Google Smart Shopping campaigns use automated bidding and ad placement to advertise your products on Google’s networks.

Google Smart Shopping for Small Business

Google Smart Shopping is perfect for small businesses with limited budgets and time. Google built this feature with the 50% of small businesses without a website in mind.

It makes online advertising accessible for those who have found it hard to keep up in the shift to digital business.

Smart Shopping also works. In early testing, these campaigns showed 20% higher conversion than a traditional campaign run at a similar cost.

To try Google Smart Shopping, you’ll need an email list of at least 100 active users. Read here to make sure you meet all the remaining requirements for Smart Shopping campaigns.

Benefits of Smart Shopping

Google Smart Shopping will automatically match your product with the right search query and create your ad for you using the details from the product feed in your Selz store.

This smart feature will also use data to optimize the bidding process, and to place your ads at the best time for your best customers.

Another benefit – the Google automation will test different image and text combinations from your product feed to create an ad with the best potential for conversion.

These are data-driven automated campaigns. This means that it doesn’t matter if your best customers are shopping on their mobile phones at 6 pm in New York or on a desktop during lunch in California.

Your Google Smart Shopping ads will be where your customers are.

What does a Google Smart Shopping campaign cost?

You set your own daily budget. The minimum recommended budget is $5 per day. You only pay if someone clicks on your ad.

Smart Shopping combines the qualities of standard Shopping campaigns and Display Remarketing campaigns. Because of this overlap, don’t forget to pause those campaigns if there are products you want to promote on Google Smart Shopping.

You might want to move your budget for those campaigns to your new Smart Shopping campaign. If you do, it makes it easy to compare your new campaign with the success of past campaigns.

Using this smart feature means that you won’t have some of the control that you’re used to. But the value of automated bidding, a bigger audience, and more great customers in your sales funnel are worth it.

Google recommends running your campaign for at least 30 consecutive days to reach top performance. It will be tough but be patient. The benefit of this feature is that it lets you focus on everything else that your business needs to do right now.

Making the Most of the Google Shopping Network

Google Shopping is a Selz feature that can not only get your business sales but get you real profit.

Before you start celebrating your success, take another look at the big picture.

Align your Google Shopping feed with your business goals

The Selz integration means that you can shift your focus from making the perfect spreadsheet to crafting a feed that attracts customers to your products.

Think about your best-selling products and your current audience. Is this what you want your business to look like one year from now? What about five years from now?

You’ll want to focus your Google Shopping campaigns on your most profitable products.

At the same time, consider the future of your business as you create and optimize your product feed and your buyer journey.

  • How do your products represent your brand and your business
  • Which products are the best way to introduce someone to your brand
  • Which products are a harder sell?
  • What is it about your products that attract your most loyal customers?

Understand the place of your business in the Google Ecosystem

You may not be a PPC expert. That’s OK.

That said, the better you understand how the process works, the better you can use these features to the advantage of your business.

Google Shopping Competition

Another important part of success in Google Shopping is knowing your competition. You didn’t start your first business without understanding what you were up against. This advertising platform is no exception to that rule.

Spend some real time looking at your keywords in incognito search results. Consider the products, product images, and prices that appear at the top of the page. Look at how often your competitors show up, and which of their products appears most often.

Keywords

Make the most of keywords that don’t have much competition. Less competition means more clicks for your products.

Google Shopping Bids

You set your default bid when you set up your Google Ads account, and Google Smart Shopping has automated bidding. There’s some great advice if you want to experiment with manual bidding here.

Automated bidding gives you the opportunity to prioritize your long-term goals while Google’s AI takes care of your bids. Their automation is data-based and responds to real time changes in trends.

As you check your ad performance and budget, remember that paid traffic doesn’t convert the same way that organic web traffic does. Set a budget that you can increase as needed.

You’ll also want to give it some time. Your budget may not hit your set daily limit right away. As your click-through rate improves, more customers will see your ads in their search results.

People who were already looking for you will keep looking for you if you sell great products. Google Shopping is an incredibly valuable tool, but it doesn’t have magical powers.

A smart shopper is pictured in this article about Google smart shopping

How does Google Shopping Work? By Helping You Make Data-Driven Business Decisions

Google Shopping gives you the chance to see specific data and to optimize your feed based on conversions. One of your first steps in the process was to set up your Google Analytics account. Make sure you’ve linked your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account. Now you’re ready to make that account work for you.

Monitor your progress

Keep a careful eye on your data. Take note of what looks good, and make adjustments if things aren’t panning out. Shift your focus from winning for one page of search results to improving your bottom line.

How does Google Shopping Work? It Gives You Data to Better Understand Your Customer Journey

In Google Analytics you can see:

  • Where your customers are clicking
  • How much time they spend on your ecommerce site
  • How many pages they visit on your ecommerce site in session
  • Whether they click or “bounce” once they arrive on your landing page
  • Whether they’ve watched a video or filled out a form

You can use this data to create better lists for email outreach to your leads, write better newsletters, and to send more personalized information to your customers.

Reporting for your Google Smart Shopping Campaigns

You’ll want to review your Analytics reports on a regular basis. If you can’t weekly (or daily), review these on a monthly basis.

If your products aren’t getting impressions or clicks it may mean that your feed doesn’t give Google enough information to show your products at their best.

Start by taking another look at your product titles and product descriptions. You may be showing up for the wrong keywords, so do a little research.

If your products show a high number of impressions but a low number of clicks it often means that your feed is in good shape, but the price of your product isn’t as attractive as your competitors in the search results.

If your prices are in the right spot, take a closer look at your product images.

You can also increase conversions by taking advantage of customer reviews.

If your competitors have strong product reviews and you don’t it will be hard to compete.

You can show product reviews with Google Shopping once you get Google approval. Google Shopping also integrates with Yotpo and Disqus if you are already using these apps for reviews on your Selz store.

How to Make Google Shopping Work for You

I hope you are as excited as I am about Google Shopping after reading this article. It takes time, effort, and exacting attention to detail to make the most of this feature. There is intense competition.

It’s also a dream come true for many busy small businesses.

Most online shoppers are looking for new interesting products. Your potential customers want personalized attention and convenience.

Google Shopping will make it easier for those customers to find your products.

This feature is a simple and powerful way to connect new shoppers with your brand, product line, and Selz ecommerce site. It’s time to scale your business. Are you ready?

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana Rumberger

Jana is Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is an active visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.

4 comments

  1. James

    Thanks for this detailed article. It’s a lot to take in but super helpful.

  2. John Candy

    Great Article.
    Got a good knowledge of how goggle shopping works.
    Thanks for sharing this valuable information.
    Keep Blogging !! Looking forward to know more from you.

    1. Jana Rumberger Selz

      Jana Rumberger

      Thanks for your generous comments John! if you’d like to learn more, you can subscribe to FounderU and get details on every new blog we publish.

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