Google’s recent decision to change its Google Product search result mechanism to only include merchants that pay to have their names listed on top results has certainly shocked the online world. This move has evoked mixed reactions from merchants even as concerns arise on whether Google could get motivated to implement this commercial model into various other previously-free search results.
While Google has been avoiding the paid inclusion route since inception, this radical move to boost rankings of merchants that provide the best combination of bid prices and keyword relevance certainly has surprised everyone from merchants to industry analysts.
While some merchants are certainly happy with the new proposal since this could offer them a chance to jump over competitors and feature on the top of related results, others are flabbergasted that Google has decided to change a previously-free service to one that now works primarily on bidding.
However, Google claims that this strategy of “Paid Inclusion” that they will display as “Sponsored” listings will ensure that shoppers receive the most relevant results based on their requirements while merchants will be able to decide on where they wish to appear on the rankings based on their budget and keyword relevance.
While this paid move is still in experiment mode in the United States, it will definitely be launched officially by this fall and will also be named “Google Shopping” from the previous “Google Product Search”. Google maintains that this move will enable the company to develop and strengthen its relationship with merchants while shoppers will be able to enjoy shopping a lot more thanks to improved results that are more specific to their exact needs.
While Google will still display free listings below their paid listings, this move will certainly promote paying merchants as well as filter away merchants unwilling or unable to pay for top inclusions. Google is also going flat out to attract new merchants towards this listing model by offering a 10% credit on their PLA or Product Listing Ad spending during the course of the year while offering a $100 AdWords credit for existing merchants.
Even though Google has always been related with offering “Free” services, this recent move to boost their revenues by promoting “Paid Inclusions” over the top of organic search results has surprised, pleased, and even angered many since ironically it was Google that felt that this strategy was “evil” in its fledgling days.