Google Announces Google Shopping and the End of Free Traffic

Google Shopping

For more than a decade, eCommerce websites have been thriving on the quality of free traffic sent by Google Product search, but recently Google has decided against serving free lunch to the eCommerce website, and turned its product search engine, Google Product Search, into a full-scale product comparison website Google Shopping, and with it the search giant has decided to do away with free listing of products in newly christened Google Shopping. The transition from free listing to paid, which started in June, will soon be complete and after that a webmaster will need to pay for the product listing.

Why Google has taken this route?

As Google claims, it has taken the step to improve searcher’s experience and give them better result for their product searches, and as the company says, this will push sellers to keep their listing updated, which will help buyers get current price, and special deal right in the Google SERP (Search Engine Result Pages).

How will it affect the business on web?

The changes made by Google are going to affect Google’s SERP as well. The product search, which constitute a significant section of all searches done on web, will reflect a sponsored listing from Google Shopping, which will push organic result even lower (see image below). It appears Google is becoming more interested in showing paid listing over organic ones, which will threaten the existence of small websites, which can provide high quality content but may not be able to compete in PPC bid. It eventually will be a loss proposition for the searchers.

Google Shopping Example Search Results

Click Image to zoom this picture.

By stopping the flow of free traffic to e-Commerce website, Google is going to add on to the cost of running a business on web, which will tighten the noose around the neck of eCommerce website owners making it difficult for them to make profit.

Although Google says that it will help small websites compete in the market place, it is an unlikely scenario. Seeing the deep pockets of giants like, Wal-Mart, eBay, etc., it is easy to imagine how quickly these companies will outbid PPC bids placed by small business owners for important keywords. A small business owner with a limited resource may not be able to compete with giants of e-Commerce world.

Not only that, small business owners will also miss the opportunity to cash in on this change because of the limitation of work force their businesses have. In absence of a full-time IT person, a small business will take time to adapt to the changes, which will mean that they will quickly lose traffic as well as sales. As one person or a very small team typically runs a small business, it will also not be in position to take advantage of the new system because of the steep learning curve. To migrate to the new system and make the best use of it, a small business will need to take help of an specialist who can not only place bids for relevant product-based keywords but can fine-tune the listing based on inventories available at the store.

If the change had been limited to Google shopping page, the impact might have been a little less and would have affected only the traffic on the E-commerce websites, but the way it is going to incorporate information pertaining to product search in Google’s SERP, it will surely make lives of affiliate marketers and small websites very difficult. See the image below to understand how Google is going to display result for a specific product model.

The new change will bring joy on some faces and frowns on others, but if, as a small business owner you, you want a piece of traffic from Google than you have no choice but acclimatize yourself with the new environment because it is going to stay here. You will need to learn the nuances of Google Shopping, listing, and bidding on products effectively to save some bucks without losing on the quality of traffic you get from Google.

In case you need our expert’s help in adapting your eCommerce business to Google Shopping, write to us now.

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