009 SEO: Free Google Shopping traffic (and Buy on Google news) with Justin Seibert

by April Buencamino-dy

Justin is the President of Direct Online Marketing, a top 200 Premier Google Partner who have clients around the world. Justin’s been named on the Hanapin Marketing “Top 25 Most Influential Pay Per Click Advertising Expert” list three years running, so he knows plenty about the paid side of Google Shopping – and he been busy helping retailers make the most of the ‘free’ side ever since Google announced it earlier this year.

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About Justin

Justin was living in Los Angeles working for a financial company in 2001. They were doing well with radio advertising when they came to him wondering if the internet might be a good way to focus their marketing for the future.

Justin says he knew nothing about the internet at the time, but he was in a position of being able to experiment quite a lot and found some great techniques that worked. He sat right next to the sales team and was able to see in real time the effects of some of these experiences.

The Free Google Shopping Listing

Google shopping results started out as a free Google feature in 2002 and began costing money in 2012. Google recently made them free again under certain circumstances.

Starting on mobile only at first and then expanding to desktop, the free shopping listings include search results in some circumstances and were in part implemented to help business out during tough times. 

Another piece of the puzzle is that Amazon has been dominating the search market recently. For nearly a decade, the two giants have had an acrimonious relationship and Google providing free shopping listings is likely in part a response to that.

Google has expressed they want to roll this out globally by the end of the year. It was launched in the United States and is rolling out to other English speaking countries first before moving on to other major economies. 

How to Get Started

  • Create a Google Merchant Center Account (Free Account)
  • Upload your product feed.
  • You’re Done!
  • If you’re already set up on Google Shopping—you don’t need to do anything!

Optimize Your Google Listing Traffic

  • Follow basic SEO best practices. Make sure all the attributes are in good shape, including correct title information, great pictures, and correct tax / shipping information. Keep up your basic housekeeping.
  • Don’t stuff in keywords—provide great content.

Wait for the Results

For a lot of products, especially very niche ones—you might not see results immediately. But, don’t pass this over! Justin says it’s an opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

As Google increases your visibility your results will eventually begin to rise.

Have you heard of “Buy on Google”?

Google has offered a service for some time now called Buy on Google.

Similar to other marketplaces, businesses can list products on Google and for a commission sell there directly. Buy on Google hasn’t been hugely popular—there have been a lot of restrictions and it’s been kind of difficult to list products.

But—Google just announced that they are opening this up to be 0% commission. You can join the waiting list right now and it’s available in the United States AND to some countries that sell to the United States.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with SEO Marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Focus on content. Content helps everything. It amps up the user experience, provides links, keyword optimization and more. If you can offer value and perspective to the people reading your content, you will help your SEO. Think product page, home page, blog page and any other place you can offer value to your customer.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve SEO marketing performance?

Use Google Shopping for keyword sleuthing. Justin is a huge fan of using Google Ads for SEO. He recommends using Google Ads to see what people are actually looking for. If the keywords aren’t right you’ll waste a lot of effort and devoting a small amount of your budget to searching the ads is worth it. The experimentation gives you a huge leg up on keyword research. 

It’s impossible to improve our marketing unless we’re monitoring the performance – but the list of stuff we could monitor can be overwhelming. So what, for you is the number one SEO marketing KPI?

KPI’s are all about conversions. Depending on what’s important to your business, understand your unique best KPI to show conversions. It could be a return on spend, customer lifetime value or something different.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in SEO marketing?

User Experience and Trust. Google continues to tweak and define but have always been amplifying user experience and trust. The more you can do things that are good for your potential clients, will generally be good for SEO. Press, reviews, store ratings, social media and more. 

Interview Links

Justin on Social media:

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