Google Shopping is a dedicated shopping search engine from Google. It allows people to find products for sale from merchants online, offering features such as product information, prices, stock availability and merchant ratings.

Unlike “regular” Google, only those who pay are included within Google Shopping. Google Shopping changed to this all-advertising format in 2012, backtracking from a strong stance it had previously taken against the practice. That did, however, bring Google in line with how most other shopping search engines operate.

Google Shopping results do appear within regular Google searches, whenever Google believes there’s a shopping match. These results are normally shown in a special shopping box integrated into regular results, which also shows a “Sponsored” disclaimer.

You can read more about how Google Shopping works in our articles below:

How To Take Control Over PLAs & Product Search

While there is no shortage of literature on managing product-level keywords and product listing ads (PLAs), it seems that lots of advertisers still struggle with creating the initial structure and its subsequent maintenance over time. If you are an online retailer and your business is significantly dependent on product level keywords and ads, you might be interested in hearing about a couple of ways those processes can be improved – your priority being to offer the most relevant results for product-related queries. Controlling Product Level Keywords/Ads In Traditional Paid Search There [...]

Bing Attacks Google Shopping With “Scroogled” Campaign, Forgets It’s Guilty Of Same Problems

bing-scroogled-featured Bing is attacking Google over its shift to a pay-for-play shopping search engine through a new "Scroogled" site, pledging that Bing has "honest search." Great campaign, if it were true. It's not. Bing itself does the same things it accuses Google of. It's also another indictment of how little the FTC is doing to protect consumers from "search results" they might not realize are ads. Google Shopping Goes All-Ads Earlier this year, Google changed to a "paid inclusion" or pay-to-play model of accepting listings for its Google Shopping site. Phased in over the summer, as of October 17, only merc [...]

“Shortlists,” 360 Degree Product Views, And Promotions Added To Google Shopping

3DPirateShip As consumers prepare to get serious about their holiday shopping, Google is introducing new features to its pay-for-play Shopping search engine, including 360 degree product images, deals and discounts, and a collaborative shopping list. 360 Degree Views Start With Toys The company has started its effort to get 360 degree images of products with the toy category -- a natural for the holiday season. Google VP of Product Management Sameer Samat told me the company's priority is on products that consumers like to examine closely and feel in the retail environment -- such as apparel, shoes a [...]

The Mess That Is Google Shopping

google-shopping-featured One of the things Google promised by moving Google Shopping to the pay-to-play model for merchants was how much the experience was going to improve for shoppers. If that's the case, I'm sure not seeing it. Come on a little tour. Amazon Don't Play That Game The new system began on October 17. Perhaps the most striking change by Google deciding that it would only list merchants if they pay to be included is the absence of a little known online retailer called Amazon. Nope, Amazon doesn't want to play Google's game, where it only gets included if it pays. This type of absence is exactly [...]

Google Widens Test Of Affiliate Advertising In New Pay-For-Play Shopping

Affiliate Advertising on Google Shopping After last month's major change to Google Shopping, making the service solely pay-for-play, the company is exploring ways for affiliates to participate via Product Listing Ads (PLAs) in the US. Google Shopping has been testing ways of working with affiliates for nearly six months in alpha and is now opening up the beta to additional participants, according to Eric Tholomé, product management director of Google Shopping. The idea is to allow affiliates to bid on PLAs for products sold by their merchant partners, adding additional data to Google Shopping and allowing Google to tap into a [...]

Google Gives Update On Shopping Going Full Paid Inclusion, Hints At AdWords’ Future On Q3 Call

NikeshArora311 Now that Google's new pay-for-play Shopping is in full swing (the changeover took place October 17), the company used its earnings call to share thoughts on its success thus far, and its future vision for the product. Additionally, Google execs came out with some tidbits about the status and future of other elements of its advertising business. [caption id="attachment_137132" align="alignright" width="259"] Nikesh Arora[/caption] According to SVP and Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora, the company is listing more than a billion products from tens of thousands of merchants and over 100,0 [...]

Google Gears Up To Recruit Merchants For Pay-For-Play Shopping In Advance Of Holiday Season

google-shopping-featured As the crucial holiday etailing season approaches, Google is pulling out all the stops to get merchants on board to the new pay-for-play Google Shopping. Today, the company announced that it will switch to all paid listings as of October 17. Previously, Google product results were fueled by product feeds provided by merchants, at no charge. Back in May, the company announced Shopping results would come from paid Product Listing Ads (PLAs) only, citing a need for more reliable and up-to-date data. With this milestone approaching, the company is pushing educational opportunities to get mer [...]

Circle Of (Search) Life: Google Brings Catalogs Back To The Web

google-catalogs-2012 Google Catalogs, a service that Google resuscitated last year on tablets, is coming to the web as part of Google Shopping. Actually, "coming back to the web" might be more accurate. Google offered catalog search on the web as early as 2001, and then abandoned it in 2009 due to low usage. The new version of Google Catalogs is admittedly different, though -- it's browsable, not searchable. Beginning at, shoppers can browse by brand name, category or use Google's list of Featured catalogs. As best I can tell, there are several hundred catalogs in the system. R [...]

Etsy To Bankroll Product Listing Ads For Its U.S. Sellers

EtsyPLAlanding Google's decision to eliminate free product listings in favor of paid Product Listing Ads (PLAs) for Google Shopping has reverberated through the ecommerce world. One consequence: online marketplace Etsy has decided to pay for its U.S. sellers' products to be listed in PLAs through the rest of the year. The ecommerce company, known for facilitating the sale and purchase of handmade and vintage items, fears the impact Google's change would have on traffic over the holiday season, and doesn't believe sellers would place such ads themselves. In its blog post, Etsy said it would be spending mor [...]

Product Level Ads: Tribulations Of A New Traffic Source

Free clicks from Google Shopping were a gift. We all knew it, loved it, and were holding our collective breath because we knew one day it would go away. As you are probably well aware, that day is sometime in October of this year and the transition has already begun to take place. Beyond the obvious financial impact on businesses caused by having to pay for something that was once free, are Product Level Ads (PLAs) really a bad thing? Is Google getting greedy? Or are they just taking another step in their eternal quest to improve user experience? To get the low down, I called on an old f [...]

Amazon Refuses To Pay-To-Play In Google’s New Shopping Search

google-rejected-featured [caption id="attachment_132770" align="alignright" width="131"] Stores offering Kindles on Google Shopping[/caption] As Google shifts its Shopping search to a pay-for-play model, one key commerce company appears to be sitting on the sidelines -- Amazon. As noted in a New York Times feature that ran over the weekend, consumers who search on Google Shopping can find Kindles from a variety of stores via the listings, but Amazon isn't one of them. Google Shopping's omission of the most powerful ecommerce brand on the webraises the question of how successful the company's new model will be. [...]

Google Drops Its Veil At Times, Reveals Ecommerce Ambitions

Google has been dropping lots of hints lately about their desire to become not just a leader in advertising, but a leader in  ecommerce as well. A recent Forrester report claims that 30% of all online shoppers start their product research at is just fuel to the fire. Google is trying to combat that growing percentage with more sustainable consumer-focused ecommerce initiatives, centered around local availability, the Google Wallet, Google Shopping, and Google Trusted Stores. The following is an analysis of Google’s recent ecommerce developments. Google Shopping Testing New [...]

Best Practices To Get The Most Out Of Google Shopping

As you should know by now, Google recently announced that it was combining its free Google Product Search listings and Product Listing Ads (PLA) to Google Shopping, where all listings would be shown in an auction based process akin to PPC. This is a significant change for retailers as it means that a significant percent of traffic that has until recently been free until recently, is now paid. Thus it is imperative for the retailer to focus on effectively managing and optimizing Google Shopping campaigns. How Google Shopping Works: A Very Short Summary Google Shopping works differently fro [...]

Google Shopping – The Balance Between Old & New

One of the most talked about changes introduced by Google on May 31, 2012, is the launch of a paid program from Google Shopping based on Product Listing Ads (PLA). Since its announcement, we have seen a huge change in shopping results. Google Shopping listings replace the current Google Product Search listings, which are part of the organic search listings. In this post, I will explain what Google Shopping is all about, how it affects retail merchants and outline steps to mitigate the impact and seize opportunity. The Old Model Since 2002, Google has been listing relevant products whe [...]

Google Bans Weapon-Related Listings From Google Shopping

google-weapons-ban-featured Google has begun notifying merchants that it won't allow them to continue to listing weapons-related items for sale in Google Shopping. Searches in Google Shopping for things like "pistol grip shotgun" (above), "gun scopes," "shotgun shells" and many other terms are leading to a results page that says the term "did not match any shopping results." Outdoor Hub broke the news late last week, and linked to an online petition that includes a copy of the letter that Google has sent to affected merchants. The letter says that Google will "begin to enforce a set of new policies for Goog [...]

Google Shopping: 7 Advanced Tips & Strategies For Merchants

Commercial Site Box The new Google Shopping is based off of your typical paid comparison shopping engine, such as Pricegrabber, Nextag or It’s a move that presents significant opportunity to the merchants who chose to stay and play in the market-rate CPC program, with no minimum CPCs. Many small merchants and some SEOs have shown their disgust with the move and will  likely take their products elsewhere to advertise. Affiliates will also have trouble on Google Shopping, making the potential traffic pie much larger. Even marketplaces will be affected. Merchants who sell on Ebay or Amazon [...]

Google’s Free Trusted Stores Seal Program Opens To All U.S. Merchants

trusted-store-logo Google has been testing its Trusted Stores seal program since October of 2011, and now the program is opening up to all U.S. merchants with a self-service sign-up interface. Merchants who participate will have a "Trusted Stores" badge -- which opens to provide information about the company's shipping and customer service record -- appear beside their AdWords ads. The badge won't be a ranking signal. "It's an ecommerce certification that helps shoppers feel comfortable with buying online even if they don't know the store they're buying from," explains Tom Fallows, group product manager a [...]

Google Acquires KikScore Technology And Assets To Complement Trusted Stores

Kikscore-popup In an effort to expand the kind of information available to online shoppers via its Trusted Stores program, Google has acquired the technology and certain assets of KikScore, a trust seal company serving mostly small businesses. The cost of the intellectual property acquisition wasn't disclosed. According to a post on KikScore's site, the standalone service is being shut down on June 28. The company suggests users turn to Google Trusted Stores as an alternative. "There is still great work to be done for small businesses and that is why we are so excited that an industry leader will be ab [...]

Marketers React To News Of Google Shopping Changing To Paid Inclusion With Hope & Concern

google shopping A few days after Google upended the ecommerce marketing world with the announcement of upcoming changes to what will now be called Google Shopping, many retailers and marketers we spoke with are positive about the switch, though there are definitely some serious concerns. You'd think taking a product from free to paid would cause an outcry (and there is some of that) -- but for many, instead, it's an answer to long time concerns -- concerns about control. More Control = Happier Marketers Cindy Starr, VP of external marketing at VistaPrint, a printing company with more than 65,000 products [...]

Google Product Search To Become Google Shopping, Use Pay-To-Play Model

google-shopping-featured Google Product Search is getting a new name, Google Shopping, and a new business model where only merchants that pay will be listed. It's the first time Google will decommission a search product that previously listed companies for free. The company says the change will improve the searcher experience, but it will also likely raise new worries that Google may further cut free listings elsewhere. "This is about delivering the best answers for people searching for products and helping connect merchants with the right customers," said Sameer Samat, vice president of product management for Goo [...]

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