Google product search offers a rich array of opportunities for publishers to place their products in front of shoppers (there is a bulleted list of the opportunities right at the start of the interview). Mayuresh does a great job of spelling out the way to get started with Google Commerce in this interview. If you sell physical products this interview can act as a guide on how to get started and how to prioritize your efforts from an optimization perspective. Here are the key points:
- You must sell physical products online to participate.
- One opportunity is to place Google Commerce Search on your site. This provides visitors a way to search your product catalog using Google's search technology. It is a paid product.
- The first step is to create a Merchant Center account.
- The second step is to verify that you are the owner of the website.
- The next step is to provide a data feed of all your products.
- Implement a test feed before going live, as this will allow you to find and remove errors upfront.
- The most important optimization step is good quality data. This is worth a lot of effort, as Google will lose faith in feeds that show errors.
- Make absolutely sure that the pricing data is accurate.
- Plan on having a ISBN code, UPC code, or EAN code (Europe) for all your products.
- Have images for all of your products. (Mayuresh): “it's to your benfit to send uys good images for every product”.
- Update your feed (Mayruesh): “at least as often as your website is updated”.
- The Content API is useful for large feeds where it may be desirable to make partial updates (e.g. change only the price for 200 products). However, you need programming expertise to use it.
- (Mayuresh): “Product reviews are important, and they provide a good signal to users about products”.
Eric Enge: What are the benefits of participating in product search?
Mayuresh Saoji: Any merchant that sells physical products online is a good candidate for participating in Google product search. Participating in product search provides you with a forum for sending structured data on your products to Google. It allows merchants to show more rich data in many formats:
- On Google.com
- Google Shopping
- Google Product Search
- Product Ads and Product Extensions
- Google Shopper in Mobile Search
If they are Google Commerce Search customers, which is a paid product, then that same data is leveraged to power the search and discovery experience on their e-commerce website or mobile application.
The end goal is to drive a lot of qualified traffic to publishers, and that's the best reason for doing this.
Eric Enge: Basically, it is like a Custom Search Engine, but for products?
Google Commerce Search (GCS) is an e-commerce search solution designed specifically with online and multi-channel retailers in mind.
Mayuresh Saoji: It has some general similarities, but Google Commerce Search (GCS) is an e-commerce search solution designed specifically with online and multi-channel retailers in mind. GCS has several advanced features besides product recommendations to help retailers improve their conversion rates.
Eric Enge: Great, what's the best way for someone to get started?
Mayuresh Saoji: First you create a Merchant Center account. This is where you tell us about your business, your store, and provide us with your URL. The second step is to verify that you are the owner of your website. This is still part of the signup flow, and once that's done then now you have a valid Merchant Center account. That's one part of the story.
The other part of the story is to start submitting your data to us. Google has published a product feed specification, and you need to adhere to that specification, and then you can submit data in one of a number of formats to us. You can submit it as a tab delimited (TSV) file, a flat file, XML file, or via the Content API. Many of our larger retailers use the Content API, and that allows them to easily submit hundreds of thousands of items (and much more), and also makes it easy to make very quick changes to specific attributes of those items.