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Google Shopping Changes to Paid Listings

Google Shopping [1] is changing up its page model this Fall by only featuring paid listings rather than organic search results.

At first, Google only included organic results on its shopping page, and it currently features a mix of both paid listings and organic results. But as more and more companies pay to advertise with Google, the company decided that showing only paid listings will benefit both the merchant and the consumer.

In a post on the Google Commerce blog [2], the company stated that it hopes companies that pay to have their listings featured on the Google Shopping page [3] will be more likely to keep information like prices, availability, and product specifications up to date. And with those improvements, the company hopes that consumers will be more satisfied with the Google Shopping experience, thus benefitting the merchants that advertise with Google.

The new layout will not only impact the page at Google.com/shopping, but it will also impact what shows up on the basic Google search page when users search for a product name or type.

For example, if someone searches “telescope,” a row of product listings appear below some of the other search results, and there may also be some sponsored listings on the right sidebar in space that was previously reserved for AdWords.

Other Google search results will not be impacted by this change. The page will also include a few other minor changes such as larger product images.

Page ranking for search results will be based on relevancy and bid price, so it will essentially work the same way as the organic search results work now, just with paid ads. Google also said that merchants will be given the opportunity to offer specials like discounts via the shopping page in the future.

Overall, this change could be seen as a mixed bag for businesses. Of course, there will be no more free traffic from Google Shopping results for companies that choose not to advertise, but those who do may gain more control over their listing information and relevancy.

If Google really can make Google Shopping into a better experience for the consumer, then advertisers who purchase product listings may potentially benefit from the change.