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Thanks to universal search, more product search terms on Google, especially when they include words such as 'buy' or 'cheap' are now returning shopping results, often above the organic results.
In this example for a search for 'buy Sony Vaio' on Google UK shown below, shopping results take the top spot, ahead of those from Sony. With such a prominent position in the SERPS at stake, getting your products listed there is clearly a good idea, so how does Google determine which products appear there?
Tom Critchlow of Distilled provides some excellent tips in a guest post on SEOmoz today, here are some of his suggestions:
The way into Google's product search results is through Google Base, and Tom has been looking at some of the ranking factors:
Having keywords in your title tag is an important ranking factor.
In the product submission form you have the option of entering information about your product in around ten fields, and you can also enter customised fields. Most are optional (including colour, weight and size) but, according to Tom, adding more data helps you rank higher, as well as for a variety of product searches, which certainly makes sense.
Keeping product data up to date
A ranking factor recommended by Google; updating product information with latest prices, availability etc is crucial.
Having some positive reviews for your site is one of the strongest ranking factors, and Tom lists some of the sites that Google takes its reviews from in the US and UK.
Unsurprisingly, and as Andrew Girdwood predicted in a post on this blog a year ago, Google is using the carrot of product search rankings as a way to push Google Checkout. According to Tom:
In my experience and research Google Checkout reviews seem to count for more than reviews left on 3rd party sites. This does seem to make sense since these reviews are presumably more trusted by Google (since it controls the spam filtering and authentication) than 3rd party reviews. That said, it does mean you have to have Google Checkout enabled to profit from them!
For more detail and tips, see Tom's post, as well as Google's own advice on improving your products' ranking; for instance, it advises adding images to product feeds to increase the likelihood of shoppers clicking on your items.