Have you seen the new Google Checkout icons which are displayed with paid search ads where the merchant is using Google Checkout? The evidence we’ve heard so far is that those icons lead to a higher click through rate.

What will that do for your paid search rankings?

Try searching Google on “tow bars” – go on you know you want to.

At least at the time of writing this brings back the top sponsored link as ‘towequipe’ and there is a Google Checkout icon also in there.

The (still relatively few) people we’ve talked to about click through rates for paid search ads WITH the Google Checkout icon versus those without all agree that the icon leads to higher click through rates (as you might imagine).

Whether this will remain the case or not we don’t know.

But in the mean time, if it is the case that higher click through rates on your paid search ads lead to better paid search rankings (for the same, or less, money than your competitors’ ads), then isn’t Google Checkout a reasonable paid search optimisation tactic right now?

Or are Google discounting this effect in their ranking calculations? Or is it a cunning way to encourage merchants to adopt Google Checkout?

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein

Published 25 May, 2007 by Ashley Friedlein @ Econsultancy

Ashley Friedlein is Founder of Econsultancy and President of Centaur Marketing. Follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (4)


Tim Barlow

Yes it certainly is increasing click through rates. Interestingly we are not seeing conversions per visitor changing much.

My theory is that at the moment, the newness (about a month or so now in the UK) is encouraging inquisitive (and therefore lower quality) clickers. However this is likely to be offset by those who see the logo as Google endorsing the merchant.

I would anticipate the inquisitive clickers becoming less over time and the endorsement motivated clicks increasing.

about 11 years ago


Andrew Rowson

Firstly I would encourage anyone to search for click on Towequipe for your towbar needs being the owner of Towequipe. By the way Ashley if you are looking for a towbar we can do you a great deal.

We have been a Google checkout merchant for over a month and have had that natty little icon next to our paid search entry for that time.

We have seen a slight increase on our click throughs on Google and our conversions have also increased. The conversions have been driven hugely by the £10 off £30 spend promotion that Google has been financing. However towbars are very much a seasonal product and we would expect an increase during the ramp up to the holiday season

I do agree with Tim that some of this has been driven by inquisitive clickers wondering what the google checkout icon mean.

I will be very interested to compare the click throughs after the google £10 off promotion has finished. I suspect the click throughs will decrease slightly but the percentage of conversions will be higher.

One missed oppourtunity from google is the off line advertising of the scheme where I know that Ebuyer a merchant who is offering Google Checkout has done a lot more then Google in this area through leaflet drops with dispatches, press advertising and through email marketing.

Anyway as a merchant using google checkout it is all good, with no card handling fees, getting your money within 3 working days and also increased click throughs. I hope I will be saying the same this time next year.

Andrew Rowson
Managing Director
Towequipe Limited

about 11 years ago


Tim Leighton-Boyce, Analyst at CxFocus

Heather from Hitwise has published some fascinating research on the effect of the Google Checkout consumer promotion in the USA -- and the drop off in traffic when the promotion came to an end. She even deals with the effect of the Christmas shopping spike by charting the proportion of the merchant's downstream traffic going to the checkout. (Interesting thought: the transfer to the external checkout gives organisations like Hitwise the chance to make educated guesses about the level of transactions taking place.)


As far as the SEO aspect is concerned, my bet is that until every ad has one and the playing field is levelled again, the Checkout logo will have a positive effect. The presence of the graphic will provide an additional differentiation which seems likely to catch the eye in the same way as bold type and the presence of trigger words.

about 11 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at EconsultancyStaff

So here's an interesting one I just came across....

I did a search on 'internet marketing' on Google (http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&rlz=1B3GGGL_enGB225GB225&q=internet+marketing&btnG=Search&meta=cr%3DcountryUK%7CcountryGB)

Can you see the eBrandz.uk.com paid ad with the Google Checkout icon on it?

And yet if you visit their site I can't find a checkout in sight. They sell search services, not goods.

Surely this is a (cunning) misuse of the icon to drive click through (and also therefore reduce click costs)?

Are Google policing this kind of thing?

Ashley Friedlein

over 10 years ago

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