Google Merchant Center has historically been used only by advertisers. But after changes Google made in 2020, it is important for all ecommerce sites to set up a Google Merchant Center account and configure it correctly. Why? Because Google is now pulling product information from Merchant Center to display free product listings. If your products are in Merchant Center, you will get more traffic and more sales - all for free!
In April 2020, Google announced that they would expand Google Shopping to include free product listings:
Google has been dramatically improving their ability to pull product information directly off the pages of ecommerce sites. But there are some serious issues with this for merchants. Google can parse pages incorrectly. Your theme designer probably designed the product page for sales to humans and didn't stop to think much about how it looks to Google's page crawlers. The only way to ensure that you get all of your products into a format that Google can understand is to create a product feed in Google Merchant Center and optimize that product feed toward perfection.
When Google deployed their Surfaces Across Google program to display product information from Merchant Center in free listings on their sites, they automatically opted everyone in to the program who had a Merchant Center account and a working feed. This meant that anyone who had already set up product feeds automatically got these free additional listings. But with the expansion of this program to Google Shopping site listings, this represents a massive additional opportunity for all merchants, whether they advertise or not. And because of this, it's very important for non-advertisers to bite the bullet and get a product feed set up now.
But it gets even better. In late June, Google announced that free product listings will soon start to show up in Google Search, first on mobile devices, and then desktop:
Again, any ecommerce site that already has a product feed will automatically see this benefit. The best way to ensure Google finds your products, and for you to control what information Google has about your products, is for you to quickly deploy a product feed to pass the correct information over to Merchant Center.
Existing advertisers don't need to do anything special to take advantage of these free listings. But if you are not currently advertising, you should take steps to get your product data integrated with Google Merchant Center. There are a variety of ways to do this, depending on your ecommerce platform and your current configuration.
Psyberware has a lot of experience with integrating ecommerce product data with Google Merchant Center on a variety of ecommerce platforms, such as Magento, BigCommerce, and Shopify. In addition to initial setup and integration, we continuously monitor and optimize feeds to ensure you get the best performance possible. If you'd like to partner with a great team who can get you up and running quickly, get in touch with us.