Google Shopping is the dominant force in eCommerce by far, driving nearly 80% of device ad spend and generating more than 85% of clicks. Put simply, if you want to compete online, you need to optimise your Google Shopping.

But beating the competition and delivering a high return is far more complex than just creating an account and getting stuck in. You’ll need high-quality product listings to help maximise your visibility, clicks, and conversions.

So in this article, we’re going to look at what it takes to optimise Google Shopping product listings and succeed in this competitive world. But first, some context.

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Why do Google Shopping product listings matter?

Google Shopping is a paid platform. But it’s not a simple ‘pay for placement’ model. Instead, since the launch of Performance Max, you have to bid on Google Shopping Performance Max campaigns, and how much you bid will impact where your products are shown. Unlike Google Ads however, you don’t get to choose your keywords.

Instead, based on the data you supply, Google Shopping decides when and where your ads appear. This means that the key to success is creating high-quality product listings with rich data.

What’s more, Google Shopping ads operate on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, so you pay based on interactions, not impressions. This can be effective, but you should consider the goals of your listings and may need to optimise for conversions and profit, rather than impressions and clicks.

Now let’s get into our checklist! 

Optimise Google Shopping product titles

Titles are arguably the most important component to get right in Google Shopping product listings. They’re one of the first things a shopper will see and are heavily weighted by Google Shopping’s algorithm for relevance. They need to be informative, detailed, and keyword-optimised – so that Google can easily identify keywords to match the products with. 

Product titles on Google Shopping are often shortened to fit on smaller pages. You get 150 characters for your title, but only 70 are normally displayed in a thumbnail. When you also consider that shoppers typically scan rather than reading in detail, it’s clear you should prioritise which information to include, and in what order. 

In most cases, the best title optimisation for apparel is brand, gender, product type, and then key attributes like colour, size, or material. This is different to electronics, where titles favour a slightly different order of brand, attributes, product type, and model number. 

Priorities can also vary by product category. So you should be checking which keywords to include in your titles by assessing different variants to see which perform best and convert most customers. You can do this easily with Google Shopping management software, which assesses how your product data is performing on a daily basis. 

In general though, the rule is to keep your titles as short as possible while including the most relevant content and making sure they are specific and easy to read. 

Pick images that stand out on Google Shopping

A picture is worth a thousand words. So pay attention to the images you use to promote your products. Although titles are key for ranking and important to capture the attention of shoppers, your product images (particularly the lead thumbnail) are the most critical element in terms of actually grabbing their clicks.

Here are a couple of things to look out for when adding images to your product listing:

  • Make sure the image is large and clear by taking it with a high-quality camera.
  • Make the primary image one which sells the product the best and conforms to Google’s minimum image requirements.
  • If you need to use stock images, make sure they’re cropped to show the product on its own.
  • Some products, like clothing, look better on a model.
  • Vary how your products are shown – for example, on or off models and from different angles.
  • Remove unnecessary clutter like backgrounds and added text.
  • Standing out can also help. If everyone else is using models, try going without.

Clear and high-quality images will help you stand out from the competition. Without them, your product listings will look bland, boring, and likely fail to convert customers, so make sure you’re at least using a stock image as a bare minimum.

For a bit of inspiration, take a look at the example below, which shows how a well-chosen image with a model can stand out from everything else around it. 

a screen shot of a google shopping listing for a red shirt.

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Get your Google Shopping filters right

With the number of products listed online, filtered searches have become a very popular way for shoppers to limit their results and find exactly what they want. Getting your product in front of these buyers is critical to success online. And to do that, you need to understand Google Shopping’s filtering criteria.

If you’re selling clothing, then filters might include sizes, colours, or even materials. But these aren’t all the same. Different search terms will deliver different results, which you can read more about in our article on how products appear in search

For example, a search for ‘trousers’ might show nine colour categories – black, white, grey, brown, red, orange, green, blue, and pink. The American term ‘pants’ could introduce beige for a total of 10. ‘Jeans’ might drop the colour filters to just black, brown, and blue.

To make matters worse, these product filters change over time and can vary for different people, based on their past search history.

Accurately colour matching can be extremely time-consuming, especially when you have thousands of products to go through. This is one of the reasons retailers turn to Google Shopping management software.

Software like Upp.AI has AI technology that can cross-reference Google Shopping filters with on-site product data and Google Shopping feeds. This added intelligence makes Google Shopping filters much easier to set up and maintain, turning them into a cost-effective way to convert more buyers. 

Make sure Google Shopping listings are up to date

Google requires your listings to match the data on the product pages they’re linked to. This is to make sure that products are up-to-date, accurate, and in stock.

If there are any differences, your ad could be taken down. And if you repeatedly break this rule, your campaign could be suspended. That’s why it’s incredibly important to double-check Google Shopping ads for accuracy.

This is another area where Google Shopping management software can help, automatically cross-checking and updating listings to eliminate any risk.

Think beyond the product listings and put data first

Optimising Google Shopping campaigns is a complex and multifaceted process. But doing so with the right technology will help you consistently bid correctly and make sure your products are driving profit. This is where it’s useful to categorise products and ad groups to ensure bids aren’t going to waste and that your business goals are being reached.

There are also other ecommerce platforms worth considering. You need to be on Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and Facebook — along with maintaining your own website. The more time you can free up with Google Shopping-specific software, the more you can focus on these secondary avenues for revenue.

What’s critical for all of these platforms though, is building a central, constantly up-to-date data repository. Once your data needs are under control, you’ll have the chance to be more creative with your marketing campaigns, by focusing on creating compelling titles and product descriptions – or investing more into digital ad spend using the money you’ve saved by eliminating constant data maintenance.  

Getting this right on a business-wide level is crucial to your success online, so it’s worth investing in the tools to do it properly. That’s where Upp. can help, so if you’re a retailer looking for an edge on Google Shopping, talk to us today about how we can help. 

BONUS Make sure that your product listing strategy aligns with your entire ecommerce campaign

It’s wise to ensure that your Google Shopping strategy aligns with your entire ecommerce campaign. This is to ensure that you bid correctly and convert your leads into effective sales. This is where it’s useful to categorise your products and ad groups to ensure your bids aren’t going to waste and also to ensure that your business goals are being reached.

A Google Shopping strategy requires a lot of time and resources, but there are other ecommerce platforms that could be beneficial to your needs. You need to be on Amazon, eBay, Instagram Shopping and Facebook — along with maintaining your own website’s product listings. That means making sure that all of your time is not spent on Google Shopping and you are coordinating the products you are pushing on Google Shopping with broader strategies that encompass all of these channels.

When used together with your Google Shopping product listings, ecommerce platforms can be a powerful tool to synchronize all of the data and information across multiple platforms, and automation gives you more free time to focus on your campaign. What is critical, however, is building a central data repository from which you can coordinate and synchronize all elements of your campaign.

Once your data needs are under control, you will have the chance to be more creative with your marketing campaigns, such as focusing on creating compelling titles and product descriptions or investing more money into ad spend. Getting all of this right on a business-wide level is crucial to your success online. However, making sure that your Google Shopping products listings are optimised is a vital step in that process and strategy.

Let’s get this done 🚀

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