By Jordan Silton, SEO Strategist

There has never been a shortage of products for sale on the internet, but those products are now starting to be readily available in the search results. Google, Yahoo and Bing all have their own shopping engines, the most popular being Yahoo! Shopping. A lot of people use these shopping aggregators, but even more go directly to the search results to find a website that sells the products they are interested with. Search engines have had to adapt to meet the intent of user queries, and with the introduction of universal search, Google was the first to tailor the format of search results to the predicted user intent, and four years after the initial press release, we now see live Twitter feeds, videos, images, mp3s, local results and more, directly available from the main search portal.

Although there are many universal elements in the search results, local results and products have come to the forefront. Go ahead and search Google for any product you can think of. You’re most likely going to see an image of that product and some locations nearby where you can buy it. There are many ways products have changed the landscape of search, but there are two main ways any e-commerce business in the Unites States should be leveraging products in their paid ads: product extensions and product listing ads. Both ad formats require a Google Merchant Center account. The first step to get started is creating an account and uploading your product feed.

Product Listing Ads

Product Extensions

Product extensions are, exactly as the name implies an extension of traditional paid search ads. Using the “Ad Extensions” tab within your AdWords account, you can link your Google Merchant account on a campaign by campaign basis. When you enable product extensions, Google will identify keywords within your account that signal intent to view a product, and a plus box will appear. When expanded, the plus box displays images, titles, and prices of relevant products. We have found that product extensions increase CTR of paid search ads. Product extensions can appear in tandem with other ad extensions such as location extensions, phone extensions, and sitelinks extensions.

Product Listing Ads

Product listing ads operate separately from paid search ads. Although they are controlled by AdWords, product listing ads they do not use keywords to display ads. Up to three product listing ads can be served per page and are located in the top right corner, above the paid search ads on the side of the page. There are many advanced tactics you can use to segment your products for product listing ads, but at minimum, your feed must contain the following attributes to be eligible for product listing ads: id, title, description, condition, price, image_link, link. If you are looking to drive more traffic to your site that is specifically interested in your products, product listing ads typically generate a higher ROI than traditional paid search ads and will give AdWords campaigns additional reach and exposure.

Google developed this informational video to promote product listing ads and product extensions, but don’t take their word for it – test it yourself!


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