The Google I/O Shopping updates relating to PPC and SEO

21 May 2021


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Lee Frame

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With people shopping across Google more than a billion times a day (wow), Google thought it was best to make the whole online shopping experience even more helpful for those of us on the selling side. How are they working on that? Here’s what the Google wizards have planned…

The updates:

  • You’ll remember that Froogle came back in 2020 to allow sellers to add products for free to the Google Shopping tab. Well, now Google is allowing sellers who participate in the Buy on Google checkout experience to no longer have to pay a commission fee
  • The company is also shedding some light on the technology behind the Shopping Graph – an AI-enhanced model working in real-time 
  • Google is expanding their partnership with Shopify, introducing a new, simplified process to let Shopify’s merchants feature their products across Google in just a few clicks
  • Building new, more integrated shopping experiences with the use of Google Lens on screenshots in your phone
  • Introducing a new feature in Chrome that works locally on devices to let people see their open carts when they open a new tab, making picking up from where you left off easier
  • Coming soon, Google will let you link your favourite loyalty programs to your Google account to show you the best purchase options

How does Google’s Shopping Graph work?

Let’s dive into this clever piece of machinery. 

First though, why was it set up? Google doesn’t rest well if it feels like it isn’t showing the most relevant information and answers to people. Its biggest nightmare is you switching to a different search engine because it can’t answer your questions or your shopping terms effectively; or if you simply switch off completely and turn to a good old-fashioned catalogue because you’re just not satisfied with the results or digital experience. 

This is why it worked on gaining a deeper understanding of the products that appear on its platform. Instead of just taking a product listing at face value, it wants to use images, videos, online reviews, and inventory data to give better results, and it’s doing it through AI.

Google says this AI-enhanced model “understands a constantly-changing set of products, sellers, brands, reviews and most importantly, the product information and inventory data we receive from brands and retailers directly — as well as how those attributes relate to one another. With people shopping across Google more than a billion times a day, the Shopping Graph makes those sessions more helpful by connecting people with over 24 billion listings from millions of merchants across the web. It works in real-time so people can discover and shop for products that are available right now.”

The Shopify partnership expansion

Along with better understanding sellers’ products and the brands themselves with the Shopping Graph, Google is also supporting “like-minded partners who share in Google’s mission to democratize e-commerce”, which is why it’s expanding its partnership with Shopify with a new, simplified process to “let Shopify’s 1.7 million merchants feature their products across Google in just a few clicks.” The aim is to allow merchants to “become discoverable to high-intent consumers across Google Search, Shopping, YouTube, Google Images and more.”

Using Google Lens to improve the shopping experience

Another exciting Google update is the use of Google Lens in online shopping. 

Google is really set on making the digital shopping and browsing experience as good as real life, or even better. With its new ‘chat’ feature and brilliant features to the Google My Business (GMB) listing you can use, its Google Lens tool is also being improved.

When you’re out shopping in town, you may walk down the high street and something catches your eye, but you’re not ready to buy there and then. You’ll remember the shop and just come back again on your next local visit. 

When browsing online, Google says “one of the most popular ways people take note of things they like is by taking a screenshot.” So, you may see some to-die-for shoes on someone from a picture in an article, and you take a screenshot to inspire and remind you. Viewing it in Google Photos will give you a suggestion to search the photo with Google Lens, where you’ll be able to see search results that can help you find those items that caught your eye. A wallpaper pattern, teddy bear, gadget… whatever it may be, making online shopping a lot easier.

What does this all mean from a PPC and SEO perspective?

Firstly, allowing sellers to list items for FREE on Google Shopping isn’t something completely new, Google just reverted back to it, presumably, to gain more of the market share. 

Whilst this is a great thing for businesses, especially smaller ones, PPC is obviously what will get your products at the top and prioritised for targeted keywords – meaning quicker and better conversions! 

And when it comes to using Google to shop as a whole, naturally people type in the search bar straight away before realising there is a dedicated Shopping tab. PPC ecommerce ads will gain dominance in SERPs before the pages with great SEO fall underneath. But, both are extremely important, especially when you’re dealing with the more skeptical searchers who scroll past ads to rely on organic results.

With all these innovative updates, you basically just have to keep on maintaining top-quality PPC and SEO strategies to not fall behind. Whilst Google and its tools are improving the shopping experience, it still wants to show websites with great technical SEO, content, and brand assurance to not annoy online shoppers. So, before you get excited about the Lens feature, Shopify partnership expansion, and the Shopping Graph, if your SEO and PPC marketing isn’t cutting it, then Google still isn’t going to reward you.

Still behind with your SEO and PPC? Whether you’ve been a bit lazy recently or don’t have a clue about these terms at all, don’t worry. We’ve got your back and are experienced in handling newbie businesses. Have a chat with us to see what we do and the results we deliver, we’re a passionate bunch at TAL Agency! 

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