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Google Revs SERP e-commerce – practical e-commerce

Google is improving product search results by making it easier for consumers to set prices without having to leave the search results.

Ask about an unbranded product, such as “buy blue women’s sundress” and scroll past sponsored listings and local results. Below in the main SERP, Google has added a grid of tile-like product boxes triggered by purchase intent searches. Each tile can contain the product name, images, price, store name, average star rating, and number of reviews.

Screenshot of boxes with a product grid

Product fields appear in the main SERPs and may include product names, images, prices, store names, average star rating, and number of reviews. Click on the image to enlarge.

Plates work differently than conventional organic results. Instead of sending shoppers to a product detail page on an e-commerce site, tiles link to shopping knowledge panels that load in the SERP. Dashboards are similar to product detail pages, but with one big difference: Google adds a list of sellers with prices.

“This is especially useful for users because they can compare prices much more easily,” says e-commerce SEO consultant Aleyda Solis. However, for online stores, this is another obstacle to getting clicks.

How Google ranks product tiles remains unclear. But they are populated with structure data – Schema.org tags or similar. SEO consultants and e-commerce store owners have been arguing for years about which types of structured data are worth publishing because Google didn’t pay attention to all of them.

However, last February, Google expanded support for structured product data, announcing new shipping and returns classes and product variants such as sizes, colors, and materials. This will likely end arguments about the value of structured data, as visibility in product grids and shopping knowledge panels depends on it.

Shopping knowledge panels

In shopping knowledge panels, the store name on the product tile is at the top of the seller list. However, size, color and other sorting options allow buyers to reshuffle their list of sellers according to these variants.

The sorting feature is likely to encourage store owners to work together within a scheme, otherwise they risk disappearing from the seller list. Shoppers using this feature may unknowingly filter out sellers who ignore product variants.

Screenshot of the purchasing knowledge panel

Shopping knowledge panels load directly into the SERPs and include sorting options that change the order of your seller list. Click on the image to enlarge.

“If you have technical limitations or don’t have a developer, there are tools that make it easy to implement Product Schema markup. Wordlift is one. The Schema app is another app,” Solis says. You can also use ChatGPT to generate a product schema.

For e-commerce sellers, the Shopping Knowledge Dashboard reduces the importance of unique landing pages. Many searchers will likely go directly from the product grid to the shopping knowledge panel and to the seller’s product details page.

This development could be beneficial for Amazon, which will appear in more product knowledge panels due to the breadth and depth of its catalog. Moreover, Amazon could use predatory pricing to undercut smaller e-commerce stores on seller lists.

Last September, Squarespace acquired domain name registration company Google. “Maybe Google thinks we won’t need domains anymore,” speculates digital strategist Ross Kernez. “If everything is converted to SGE (Search Generative Experience) and only e-commerce survives, the top of the funnel will disappear. Transactional queries will still be available, but that means people will need fewer domains,” says Kernez.

Mike King, CEO of iPullRank marketing agency, disagrees. “We have heard about the death of websites with the advent of mobile applications. People said: We won’t need websites anymore. Everything will be an application. Well, that didn’t happen,” King says.

Reduced value?

Either way, conventional organic entries are pushed further down the fold. With AI results, paid purchases, pay-per-click advertising, map packs, forums, image carousels and now product grids, it is possible to deliver top traditional organic rankings and get less traffic.

With the development of ChatGPT, the increase in searches for product reviews on TikTok and Instagram, and the recent end of the March Core Update, Google appears to be reinventing web search and perhaps reducing the value of organic search as a marketing channel.

The result could force marketers to prioritize other traffic sources such as social networks, email marketing and generative AI optimization.

You can’t ignore Google’s huge audience. However, with SERPs being so volatile, diversifying your e-commerce traffic sources is becoming more and more important. I don’t see any evidence that e-commerce sellers are shifting resources from organic search to TikTok, ChatGPT, Reddit and Facebook. However, it seems that relying heavily on organic traffic is becoming more and more risky.