How to Improve Your Google Shopping Ranking
Google calls its Shopping campaign feature by many names- ‘shop window’, ‘lifeline’ and ‘front-door greeter’. All of these are accurate- every business’ shopping campaigns function as the online front door to users wishing to window shop or actually make a purchase.
It goes without saying, then, that to improve Google Shopping ranking is to make or break their entire search ad and digital marketing strategy. But before getting into rankings and optimization, it is important to understand what Google Shopping is.
The tool, which links to Google Merchant Center, allows eCommerce businesses to show your ad, with the product image and product title, on the top of Google’s search engine results page and across certain Google platforms. Users can then search, view and compare products without having to leave the page or application they’re on. If they’re interested in some product ads, a click-through will lead them to the business website page- either a landing page, category page or singular product page, depending on what had been advertised.
With the continuously growing number of ads and advertisers, competition between similar businesses has become more neck-to-neck than ever before. It can be hard to stand out from the crowd, and even harder for users to pick what might suit their needs the best. To address this issue, Google rolled out a product rating procedure that arranges ads based on user product reviews and then shows them to users based on the search terms entered with modifiers.
The modifiers are key here because they’re what Google uses to identify whether the user wants to see product ratings or merely wants a display or carousel of related photos.
Only Google knows the exact metrics used to identify what products rank and what don’t. However, the general consensus is that the firm looks both at rating quality and rating quantity. Rating quality is the number of stars out of 5 given by each user to a product, while rating quantity is the number of ratings given by users overall to one product.
The weight of each ranking is high on the desktop browser but increases multi-fold on mobile devices because Google only shows three ads, and makes the ranking of each product or ad pop even more prominently. Therefore, securing a spot in the top three mobile ads means you will rank in the top 5 on desktop and this inevitably will lead to more leads and a higher conversion rate.
Why do eCommerce businesses need to focus on Google Shopping ranking?
Need #1: Builds credibility.
It’s natural human behavior to assign more credibility to something that’s ranked highly and by many people. Therefore, rankings and ratings play an important role in building the credibility of a business from scratch or reinforcing it for repeat visitors.
Need #2: Increases first-time buyers.
A huge part of running an eCommerce business is getting first-time users to convert to buyers on their very first visit. This reduces the need for remarketing campaigns and cross-selling but also displays that your ads and products have made a good enough impact to spark a payment the first time out.
Need #3: Influences purchase decisions.
Ranking high on Google’s list can give an eCommerce business a near-monopoly over a browsing user’s behavior and purchase decisions. This is because many of these ‘top-selling’ or ‘best products’ that are highly rated appear early on in the purchase funnel and are more likely to leave a lasting positive impression on a user than if they see the same link in a regular search engine ranking.
Need #4: Encourages more reviews.
When customers see the number of reviews that a product has, or have enjoyed the product immensely, then they’re more likely to leave a review and a star rating of their own. This is only a boon for the business, because more reviews meet one of Google’s metrics, while a good product or great customer service may well fuel the meeting of the other metric, which is rating quality. Either way, increasing and encouraging reviews never did any harm.
How can you improve your Google Shopping ranking?
This is a question a business must ask themselves if they want to flourish on search engine results. Rankings and star ratings are emblems of trust embedded right into the ad so they increase footfall and generate brand assurance. To set up Google Shopping Ad rankings, a business can follow:
Method #1: The default way
Fill in the ‘products rating interest form’ set up by Google.
Ensure that each product has more than 50 reviews through Google Customer Reviews.
If reviews were collected through a third-party aggregator, then a business must get in touch with that party to set up Product Ratings on Google.
Enter your Merchant name, Merchant Center Account ID, Home page URL, target country and other personal details.
Of course, setting up your ads for Product Ratings isn’t as simple as this form. Google has a set of strict policies that apply to all merchants who decide to sign up for this program, such as:
Merchants must give Google monthly updates on reviews.
Review feeds must align with Google’s content policies and must be of high quality.
Reviews must positively be collected and owned by merchants and shouldn’t belong to third parties or other businesses.
User-generated images can be used but these again must pass Google’s stringent policies.
Method #2: The AdNabu way
To have product ratings set up and generated by an experienced team of experts, sign up for free on AdNabu. With years of knowledge in developing and managing effective Google Shopping campaigns, the AdNabu team can assist in developing the perfect rating model that not only boosts a business’ rankings and Quality Score but also encourages customers to leave more positive feedback.
AdNabu understands the importance of Product Ratings and general Google Shopping rankings to a business, so a good deal of their efforts is also channeled into devising strategies and plans to improve ratings through digital marketing or other Google tools.
To get started, all it takes is 5 minutes of your time to sign up for a free trial on AdNabu:
Navigate to the AdNabu homepage.
If you’re registered, click on the ‘Login’ option and enter your dashboard.
In the top left corner, you will be able to see a ‘Start Now’ button- click on it to begin.
Best practices to improve Google Shopping Ranking
Best Practice #1: Gather enough reviews.
Google needs at least 50 reviews for a product to be listed for Product Ranking. However, it’s always better for a business to start off with more than that so as to see immediate effects. It’s important to ensure that these reviews have been shared with Google and that subsequent ones are also sent to them.
Best Practice #2: Make leaving reviews easy.
If you have a review section on your website, make it easily accessible and user-friendly. This will encourage users to leave reviews when they see it. Many businesses also provide discounts, points or sweepstakes for users who leave reviews about a product and this incentivizes the entire process, making it much more rewarding for a user, too.
Best Practice #3: Improve your Quality Score.
Your quality score, assigned to you by Google, is an estimate of the quality of your product ads, used keywords and destination landing pages. Once again, the exact measurement metrics are only known to Google, but a quality score can heavily impact an eCommerce store’s chances of making it to a top 5 product ranking.
Best Practice #4: Collect positive reviews.
The quantity of reviews doesn’t hold much effect on a rating if the quality is bad. Therefore, try to ensure that you receive positive reviews that focus on the product. This could be triggered through good products, excellent customer service, timely delivery and so many more factors that influence a buyer’s decision making, interest in the product and how much they enjoy it in the end.
Best Practice #5: Use negative keywords.
Negative keywords are those search terms that you don’t want to draw a match for. By identifying and setting negative keywords, you can streamline traffic generated by ads to a flow that is more relevant and readier to purchase than without negative keywords. These also help to improve quality score, which monitors how much traffic you’re getting through these ads and the quality of said traffic.
Best Practice #6: Use a good product image and product title.
To generally increase reviews and improve ranking, it is crucial that an eCommerce store use high-quality, high-resolution images in their ads. It’s also equally important to craft compelling product titles that are capable of drawing a user’s attention while also being accurate. These need to be aligned to the landing page the ad leads to, otherwise, there’s a dissonance in the information given out and Google may issue warnings or suspensions if it's drawn to their attention.
Best Practice #7: Monitor using Google Ads.
Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) can give you crucial insight into how your ads are performing in general. This can help your Google Shopping ads rank higher because it identifies what’s doing best and what products or ads are failing. Using this, you should be able to rewrite description text or optimize products’ titles to better promote your products and also increase their chances of appearing in the top-ranking carousel that appears in the Google Search results.
Things to Consider while improving your Google Shopping ranking
Consideration #1: Improve product titles and descriptions.
Your products may not be showing up for long-tail searches on Google if their product descriptions are not detailed enough. Since Google uses your product inventory information to monitor your products and deliver search results, it’s essential that your titles and descriptions contain as many attributes as possible so that they appear as broad match or long-tail searches.
Consideration #2: Use a product ID to monitor metrics.
In the Dimensions tab of Google Shopping, you can use the Item ID option to go beyond overall campaign performance and pay attention to individual performance parameters for each individual item within a product type or product group. This allows you to focus carefully on the ins and outs of each product to optimize them and increase their chances of ranking.
Consideration #3: Look at Devices report.
This tool allows retailers to view different performance statistics across various devices. This is key because mobile Google Shopping ads generate higher and higher amounts of revenue year after year, thanks to the scrollable carousel on mobile devices.
Consideration #4: Set device-optimized bids.
For an extra layer of adjustments, you can maintain mobile traffic as a separate campaign. This allows you to set bids based on devices and purely based on items that you see performing better on mobile than on desktop. The same traffic doesn’t come from both desktop browsers and mobile browser; the number of ads, device screen, and internal optimization is all decisive factors in driving traffic.
Consideration #5: Optimized products titles.
Product titles are the number one factor in optimizing your data for Google Shopping ads. 80% of why an ad shows up in Google is because of a product title; the remaining 20% comprises other feed attributes like product descriptions and bidding. Product titles should ideally follow a natural flow that is similar across all products. They should also have keywords; while pure keywords aren’t too important in Google Shopping, these keywords are essentially key terms that derive from user search queries. However, avoid keyword stuffing at all costs because this could cause trust and approval issues down the line. Be descriptive enough to include all important attributes like size, color, and gender if applicable. However, keep in mind the character limit while writing.
Consideration #6: Stick to character limits.
While writing descriptions and product titles, it is crucial to keep well within the 150-character limit, ideally around 70 characters. This is because past 70 characters, a title gets truncated so you essentially only get those 70 characters to convincingly grab a customer’s attention. While crafting titles, keep them as close to search engine queries as possible to highly elevate your chances of showing up and then ranking as a relevant, trustworthy ad or product.
Consideration #7: Product and Seller ratings are different.
Google displays two types of star ratings: product ratings and seller ratings. Product ratings are what customers who have bought that product have to say about the quality of the product and possibly how accurate the ads were. Seller ratings have to do with the sellers’ customer service, delivery, packaging, and other determining factors. Both of these are crucial when trying to increase rankings, but seller ratings are more in a seller’s control primarily because they can make changes to strategy and logistics if required.
Consideration #8: Use only clean images.
Google is highly particular about the images used in product ads, unlike text ads which don't need images. The company will disapprove products if they include anything that reduces the virtual genuineness of a product, like watermarks or heavily overlaid logos. Clean high-quality images against an all-white background are key to getting your ad listed in the first place and then moving up in the rankings.
Consideration #9: Monitor Conversion Tracking.
Through Google Ads or Google Analytics, you can track purchase behavior and click-throughs for your online store. Ensure that your tracking code snippets are adjusted properly so transaction details are correctly recorded. Also, ensure that a tracking code is properly installed on your store to see where your traffic is coming from and if it has anything to do with your products ranking.
Google Shopping ranking is the passport to a successful eCommerce online campaign and a surefire way to generate more leads and keep those conversion rates soaring high.