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How To Dominate Google Shopping

by: Michael Costin | October 27, 2015

We’ve been doing quite a lot of work lately with clients who are just beginning to dip their toe in the waters of Google shopping.

If you’re new to the world of Google Shopping, it’s best that you get some advice along the way. It is easy to fail before you start out, and at the risk of sounding totally obvious, that’s the last thing you want.

Before you launch your products, you need to make sure that you understand how the system works. It’s not as simple as merely uploading descriptions, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. No, if you want to ensure success you need to research the Google Shopping processes in depth at the outset.

To get you started, we’ve put together some of the areas you should be considering. I should point out that this article does assume a basic level of familiarity with AdWords and Google’s paid system. As with most things in life, if you wish to dominate this sector, you need to do some legwork.

So with that in mind, here are a few helpful hints that are sure to help you when you first start to build your shopping experience.

Pay attention to the Quality Score

The Quality Score algorithm can at times be an infuriating mystery to the best of us, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. Although we won’t ever truly understand it (Google keeps those cards close to their chest), it is well worth paying attention to the score.

If you want to boost your ranking, you will need to optimise your product feed. You will, of course, need to use the bidding system to help with this aspect of things, but you should not rely on it. There are many theories on how you can optimise this area, but I find it really is a case of trial and error. When you find something that works for one ad group or product, use it.

Set your Campaign Priority

When it comes to setting your Google Shopping strategy, you need to also check out the Campaign Priority function. This feature is helpful if you want to boost particular campaigns over others. For example, when you set a campaign as a priority, it has a better chance of winning an auction than other similar campaigns you might have. That means you can use fewer bids on it than you would otherwise need.

Of course, you can only use this feature sparingly. What that means is that you have to be choosy when it comes to your priorities. This little extra is by no means a miracle cure – you will need to use it aside an excellent overall strategy.

Maintain your product feed well

When you first launch your Merchant Center product feed, there are a couple of things that you ought to know.

The first thing is that you only need one ad group if you are a small company. In short, if you sell less than 200 products, you don’t need to overcomplicate the system. You should also choose your country of sale at this point.

Next, you will need to combine your AdWords with your Merchant Center. If you don’t stay on top of the feed, you will run into problems down the line. You need to keep things as current as possible for the best results.

Separate your Extensions and Product Listings

If you want to separate your traffic, this step is the easiest way forward for you. To get things right, you will need to add an extra column to your feed. You should label the column ‘adwords_queryparam.’

Once you have done so, you should be able to see how users came to your site (the keyword they used). When you start to separate your traffic into different groups, it means that you can see what’s working and what’s not.

Keep things up-to-date

You can either use an external company or Google spreadsheets to keep things up-to-date on your feed. If you manage this side of things yourself, you need to be aware of the techniques.

For example, you need to keep your product titles relevant and descriptive. If something doesn’t work, change it as soon as possible. As you already know, Google Shopping does not use keywords. That means that if a word is not in your main header, it might as well not exist.

You should re-evaluate your product titles as often as possible. That way, you will have the best chance of ranking highly.

Check out your Click Through Rate (CTR)

When you look at your performance figures, you should get an idea of where you stand. What you need to know is, are you performing well in comparison to your competitors? If you add a Benchmark Click Through Rate to your figures, this will be a big help.

First, you need to click ‘Customise,’ and then go to the ‘Product Group’ button, followed by the ‘Competitive Metrics’ one. Once you click that button, you will see that you can add particular columns to your reports. You should click the add button next to ‘Benchmark Click Through Rates.’ Once you have this column, you can compare your CTR to the benchmark one.

This simple function will let you see where your competitor’s strengths are. You can use this information to improve your game.

Understand when an ad group is performing

Part of this process relies on you understanding when things are going well or not. You should take a look at different ad groups and see how they perform. For example, if a product or group gets lots of clicks, are people following through and buying? If it’s a case of all clicks and no sales, you will need to change something about that listing.

On the other side of the coin, if your product fails to get views, you need to make sure that it is visible. When you can identify that your ad group is not a success, it means that you can do something about it.

If there is one product that is letting you down time and time again, don’t remove it. Your initial reaction might be to get rid of it, but there is no need to do that. Instead, just decrease its bid to one cent. When you do that, it will give the other products a chance to thrive without this one holding them back at all.

Avoid a crossover inventory

A crossover inventory means that you waste bids for no good reason. If you have split all your shopping into different groups, you need to be careful. If a particular item falls into more than one group, it could be wasteful.

Since the bidding system you use will vary from group to group, you could have many bids for the same thing. Google will always choose the highest bid no matter what. That means that the low bid is pointless, since the system will always divert it.

Conclusion

There is a great deal to learn when it comes to Google Shopping, especially if you want to dominate the system. The most excellent advice you can get is to keep things updated. If you keep on top of the feed and the bidding system, you should succeed. Remember, this process is not a part-time job – it will take up a lot of your working week. When you get things right, though, you can boost your Google Shopping sales fast.