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Google's Best Practices for Product Search
Thursday, June 18, 2009
If you have ever done a search in Google for a certain device or perhaps a certain product, you have no doubt experienced blended search results as part of the results that were returned for you. Chances are you were served up with images, news results, video results and most likely shopping results. Yes shopping results are a type of blended search result and Google has recently shared some additional information about best practices for products search.

Benefits of Product Search
  • free submissions
  • unbiased rankings if you are not using other Google products (such as Adwords etc.)
  • great for users who are conducting research on various products that they may be in the market for
  • product search appear in the blended results known as universal search results in Google (Quite often they appear in prime real estate of the SERP)
On the product search product pages, users can access information such as product description, pricing, aggregate reviews and seller ratings. Again this provides great information for users who are looking to gain information and make a more informed purchase decision.

Product search is based on Google Base (an XML database if you will) with a list of items and attributes. In order to get your products into Google Base, there are four methods to choose from:
  1. Manual Submission - submitting each item individually. So this is good if you only have a couple of items to submit
  2. Feeds - which can be a tab-delimited text file or xml.
  3. Store Connector - if you have an existing store on Yahoo or eBay
  4. Google Base API - where you can upload, update and delete items
Google Product Search Best Practices
  • ensure that you have an accurate representation of the products submitted
  • submit as many recommended attributes as possible (this does not mean higher ranking however)
  • Gain a positive reputation - we know that this is important in YouTube for videos, but gaining positive reviews and such can go a long way in building trust with the community and ultimately may have an impact on if you show up in the universal search results
  • include UPC with your listing
  • include Manufacturer Product Code with your listing
  • include the brand
  • include the conditions
  • ensure that you include a high quality description
  • include a quality image
  • The feeds topicality or relevance to the results is the item that will have the largest impact on ranking. The more accurate and descriptive that you can make your feed, the better off you will be in terms of ranking.
  • Adding custom attributes will not boost rankings by itself.
  • Submit timely and accurate information
  • Listings do expire after 30 days
  • Google recommends submitting as often as possible

Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google has a great video describing these items and more.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, June 18, 2009  
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