How Google's paid product search affects SEO/SEM
"How will small business SEO SEM strategies need to adapt to Google Product Search?" This article provides insight on how to avoid an SEM (Search Engine Marketing) meltdown, and ensure that Google Product Search doesn't decimate your small business.
Google Product Search is a change in the way Google presents product related results in search. Read "How paid Google product search results affect the future of SEO and Internet marketing", for some background information on Google Product Search and its effect on SEO and Internet marketing.
Google Product Search is going to affect small businesses, affiliate marketers, and anyone else who relies on content to drive traffic and revenue online.
What paid product search means for sellers & marketers
By forcing retailers to bid for placement in search results, Google is effectively removing the financial conditions for sellers to incentivize other publishers - like affiliate and content marketers.
For example, as a retailer looking for the most cost effective way to get my products in front of potential customers searching on Google, am I going to:
- Pay Google to have my product details (including image) shown at the top of search results
- Invest in an affiliate program to pay other people to create content with embedded affiliate links (conceding paid Google search results to my competitors)
It's going to be very difficult for retailers to ignore paid product search...
Will affiliate marketers and content marketers be discarded?
Retailers have a limited budget and will always look to take the most affordable and effective advertising and marketing they can. That means cutting out the middle man whenever possible. In this equation, affiliate and content marketers are the "middle men" because retailers can go directly to Google instead.
The entire affiliate marketing industry is in line to take a beating because of this.
Will retailers redeploy marketing and advertising budgets?
Organic search traffic, from the perspective of retailers, is now a poor substitute for exciting and engaging product information appearing above organic search results.
This means that the financial incentive to create great content has been removed. Instead the budget needs to go into bidding for placement in product search results and designing high converting landing pages to maximize ROI (Return on Investment) from traffic generated via paid product search results.
Will small business be out-competed by larger budgets?
Up until now, any retailer could compete quite effectively provided they invested a bit of time and effort into creating high quality content that sparked interest among potential customers and drove traffic via Google's organic search results.
However, boutique or niche retailers may no longer be able to compete via high quality content. Instead, larger businesses with big marketing and advertising budgets may simply outbid them and appear above organic search results, across the board .
Bidding for placement on Google product search rewards the largest budgets. It no longer rewards the most creative, unique, or engaging content, products and services.
What types of content will still be valuable?
Assuming the very likely situation that the majority of people searching for products will find what they are looking for in paid product search results, the incentive to create product related content is greatly diminished.
Fortunately, small businesses can leverage different "states of need" in people searching on Google. Not every search is for a product. People search on Google for:
and the list goes on.
By focusing on different user needs, small business can still do the following SEM SEO and marketing activities with great success:
- Provide high quality content that leads to other conversions such as newsletter sign-ups
- Build a social media following
- Encouraging up-selling, cross-selling and impulse buying
- Build trust and authority
The above points can all be leveraged to generate revenue "further down the line".
The future of small business SEM SEO in the post paid search era
Prediction: Google's decision to include paid product search results will force entire industries to adapt by migrating to social media marketing, in a wholesale fashion.
In other words, I think that what Google makes in paid product revenue, they will lose by forcing small business to look for alternatives - and the prime candidate is social media.
Facebook didn't have a successful IPO, but I think Google has just given them a helping hand.
What are your thoughts and opinions on paid product search? Are you using it already? How has it affected your small business? Share your opinions in the comments or join the discussion on Twitter or LinkedIn.
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