Optimizing for Vertical Search : Optimizing for Product Search

1/17/2011 11:40:54 AM
Google Product Search is less popular than some of the other Google-owned properties . However, top rankings for product-based businesses in Google Product Search are critical. This is because the top three Google Product Search results sometimes make their way into the main web search results, grouped together as a onebox (specially grouped vertical search results added to the SERPs along with the traditional 10 blue links). This Product Search onebox can appear anywhere on the page—top, middle, or bottom. Figure 1 shows an example for the search canon powershot.
Figure 1. Product search onebox for “canon powershot”

1. Getting into Google Product Search

The first step toward optimizing your website for Google Product Search is to put together a feed for your products and submit them to Googe Base. You can upload products in bulk, and you can learn the specifics of the formatting of the feed at

To be included in Google Product Search you need to upload true physical/tangible products. Google Base will accept other types of items, such as flights, hotels, car rentals, travel packages, and real estate, but such items will not get into Google Product Search.

In your feed, populate as many fields as possible with data (fields such as Brand, Category, Color, Price, Condition, and more). These additional fields will help Google Product Search match you up with more potential customers. It is also important to update your feed as often as possible. Some major e-tail sites update their feeds on a daily basis.

1.1. Product search optimization

Here are some of the basic things you can do to optimize your feed for Google Product Search:

  • Create descriptive, accurate item titles.

  • Use long tail terms in titles, particularly for highly competitive products. Picking the right terms can be difficult at times because there may be hundreds of long tail terms to choose from. Try to pick terms that are a bit more likely to have some search volume, and that have a potential for conversion.On large e-tail sites (with thousands of products) where hand-researching each page is not possible, pick out unique attributes of the products that users may choose to type in when searching.

  • Seller ratings play a big role in rankings in Google. Manage your ratings at contributor sources such as DealTime, NexTag, PriceGrabber, ResellerRatings, and Shopzilla.

  • Product ratings are also important. Get your products rated on sites such as

  • It appears that product names plus brand names in item titles are the best choice. You cannot really invoke non-brand-name searches effectively in Google Product Search.

  • Always include product images. Google Product Search has a preference for products that display a product image (in Bing, if you have no photo, your product simply will not be shown). Here are some tips for product images:

    • Google converts images to 90 × 90 pixels to display thumbnails. Therefore, square pictures will take better advantage of the space.

    • Ensure that the product is sized as large as possible in the picture.

    • Higher-contrast pictures are easier to read in thumbnail size. Make sure pictures are not muddy/low-contrast.

    • Make products appear clearly against backgrounds.

  • Other factors that also may play a part include the following:

    • The perceived authority of the domain

    • Specific pricing details (may be used to sort results)

    • Website’s ranking for the keyword in web search

    • Whether any of the products are deemed “adult” (if so, all of your products might get filtered out due to SafeSearch)

    • Users specifying Google Checkout items only

    • Number of users who have added your Google Product items to their individual Shopping Lists within Product Search, or placed them on their Shared Wish List

1.2. Performance reporting

As of July 2008, Google offers a Performance tab with reporting on how many of your items received clicks, as well as how many items were uploaded and how many are active. You can download the data as a CSV file. Figure 2 shows the type of data you can get.

Figure 2. Google Product Search performance reporting

You can read more about performance reporting at
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