Essential SERP Features in Google’s Shopping Marketplace

  • July 9, 2024
  • SEO
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Google’s Evolving Landscape: From Search Engine to Shopping Marketplace

Over the past two months, Google’s launch and subsequent pullback of AI Overviews (AIOs) have been the center of attention in the SEO community. However, another pivotal change has occurred that hasn’t received as much scrutiny: Google’s transformation from a traditional search engine to a comprehensive marketplace for shopping queries.

AI Overviews: A Brief Overview

AI Overviews have indeed made significant waves. In my initial analysis, I observed an adverse impact of -8.9% on pages referenced in an AIO compared to those ranking at the top of classic search results. Following this, it was noted that Google retracted 50-66% of AIOs. Yet, features and AI functionalities within SERPs for ecommerce queries are proving just as influential as AIOs.

To delve deeper into trends affecting shopping queries, I analyzed 35,305 keywords across various categories such as fashion, bedding, plants, and automotive over the past five months using SEOClarity. The key insights are as follows:

  • Product listings appeared more frequently in the number one position in June compared to February 2024.
  • SERP features like Discussions & Forums have gained visibility, creating new opportunities for marketers.
  • The visibility of SERP features fluctuates, adding complexity to SEO metrics.

Google Shopping Marketplace: A New Era

Google’s transition from a traditional search engine to a robust shopping marketplace is evident. Integrating the web results with the shopping tab for related queries aims to challenge Amazon’s long-established dominance. Here are some key facets of this transformation:

  • Google has incorporated product filters and direct checkout options directly within search result pages, crafting an ecommerce-like experience on Google Search.
  • This transformation may substantially impact the organic traffic that merchants and retailers depend on.
  • Google’s newly introduced direct checkout feature enables merchants to link free listings directly to their checkout pages.
  • This strategic shift aligns with the need to rival Amazon’s prosperous advertising model.
  • Google faces the ongoing challenge of balancing its search engine role with generating revenue via the shopping marketplace, especially given its reliance on logistics partners.

An Illustrative Example:

Imagine you are searching for kayaks during the summer season. On a desktop (when logged in), Google now displays product filters on the left sidebar and product carousels prominently at the top of classic organic results, including ads.

On mobile, the user experience is slightly different; product filters appear at the top, ads precede organic results, and product carousels are formatted as popular products. This interface closely mirrors Amazon’s layout, emphasizing the deliberate shift in Google’s approach.

Impact on SEO: Key Observations

Product Listings and Their Prominence

In the examination of 35,305 keywords, 85.6% displayed product listings, making them the most visible SERP feature for shopping searches. From February to July, the appearance of product listings in the first position increased from 39% to 43%, while their presence in the third position slightly declined. This shift underscores Google’s focus on enhancing the visibility of product listings.

Discussions & Forums: Growing Influence

Discussions and forums have also seen a rise in visibility, growing from 28.7% to 34% of all queries within the analyzed period. This trend is consistent with Reddit’s significant SEO visibility gains over the past year, highlighting the appeal of authentic, user-generated content in people’s decision-making processes.

SERP Features: Visibility and Impact

While the visibility of most SERP features remained stable between February and July, the notable change was in Discussions & Forums. These features ensure that despite high visibility not always equating to high impact, user-generated content is becoming increasingly valued.

Google’s dynamic adjustment of SERP features can introduce variability in key SEO metrics such as click-through rates (CTR) and traffic, making it essential for SEO professionals to monitor these fluctuations closely. For instance, the “Things To Know” feature experienced a temporary 37.5% reduction in visibility, illustrating the volatility and the need for continuous observation and analysis.

Conclusion

In summary, Google’s evolution towards an ecommerce-centric model, combined with volatile SERP features and the growing visibility of forums, is reshaping the SEO landscape. Staying informed about these trends is crucial for adapting strategies effectively.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal


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