How to rank products in google Shopping Campaign or Product Level Ads (PLA)

You are all excited about your new Google shopping campaign. You did hard work and finally set up your first shopping campaign. And after a week or 2 weeks or a month, when you analyze the performance, you notice that it hardly had any clicks or even impressions.

If this is the case or even if you are getting clicks but ROAS is not as good as you expected it to be, then you are at the right place. In this article, I will give you the tips and tricks on how you can rank shopping campaigns for your target keyword.

What is Google Shopping Campaign:


Google shopping campaign or Google product level ads aka PLAs are ads that you see on Google when you do a search query related to any product.

Example: Nike Shoe

Shopping campaigns are crux to e-commerce marketing. As per this article, Shopping campaigns now accounts for more clicks than text ads. So, if you are in the e-commerce industry and still haven’t experimented with Shopping campaign, You are losing a big opportunity.

Why is it difficult to rank in shopping campaigns?

So, the important question really is why make a big fuss about it and write a whole blog? Can’t we just stuff keyword and start bidding on it?
The answer is NO. It’s not that simple.

Back in the old days, you were able to update the keywords for shopping campaign and bid on it. But a few years ago, Google discontinued that and now in shopping campaign, we don’t really have the option to bid for a keyword directly. Now there is no option to manually enter the keyword for which you want your shopping ads to be shown.

So, How does Google decide for which keyword or Search query my ads will be shown?
There are a number of parameters on which Google decides whether your ad will be shown to the user or not. The exact parameters or algorithm is not known to anyone.

But, there are some parameters, which Google says are important to rank. Below are some of the ways you should follow if you want your product to rank for a particular search query.  

Before we understand the importance of each parameter, we should know what each of these parameters means:

Product ID:

It is a unique code that will be used to refer to your product. This code will be useful to identify the product while setting up shopping campaign. If you use an automated feed from Shopify, this field will be automatically updated. And it will look something like shopify_us_9374534226_42814579354.
This field can also be very useful while analyzing the performance in Analytics.

Product Title (Max 150 Character): It is the main title that you see on the Google shopping ad. This field gets a limited character length that will be shown to users. So make sure that your product title is the ideal length and all the important keywords are within it.


Product Description (Max 5000 Character): This is where you describe your product. Although max limit is 5000 character, you won’t always need it. But it is important to include an efficient description of your product. This field generally won’t be shown to users in shopping ads, but Google will still use this to optimize your campaign. In the latter part, we will learn how exactly Google will use this.

Link: This is a link (URL) to your product page on your website.

Image Link: This is a link (URL) to the main image of your product. This will be shown to the users when they see your product on shopping ad.

There are few more mandatory fields that you should know;
You can get complete detail here:

Now the main question:

How exactly can you rank in Shopping campaign for the right keyword?

  • Keyword must be in product title :

“The keyword for which you want to show your product ad must be included in the product title”. This is one of the most important factors.

If your product is competitive, then this field becomes even more critical. It will be nearly impossible to see your ads showing up if your target keyword is not in the title.

The more detailed your title is, the higher is the chance to see your product.

For example: if you keep your title as “Nike Shoes” it will be very competitive and will cost more to show your ad.

Instead, if you keep your title as “Red Sports Nike Shoes for Girls”, there will be a higher chance that your ad will be shown for this query.

More example:

merchant centre product title example

  • Target keyword should have a decent frequency in the product description (in product feed):

You will have to identify 2 to 4 main keyword and long tail keyword for which you want to show your products. The Google data feed for shopping ad gives you 5000 character limit to update your product description. It is very important to utilize this limit and write a short and efficient description. Do not forget to include your target keyword and target long tail keyword in the description. It will play a major role in relevancy.

The product description is as important as the product title. If you have limited products but more keywords to target, you can put them in the product description.

  • Landing Page Optimization:

The landing page should be well structured, must follow all standard SEO requirements, and include your target keyword and target long tail keyword.

If you don’t know what basic SEO optimization is, below blog will help you get started:

Read: A Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing

If you are using manual feed, then it is important to keep consistency in terms of product title, product description, and product image. What it means is that you should not say “Nike shoes” in product title in google feed and land them to “Watches” or something completely irrelevant.

If you can keep the same title in google shopping feed and web page title, it will help a lot. Similarly, your target keyword and target long tail keyword should also be included in the product description efficiently.
Further, keep in mind that you should not overdo it and write a description with just keyword stuffing. It MUST be genuine  &100% original content. (of course, you can use the same description as you use to describe the same product, but it should be well optimized).

  • The landing page title should have the keywords:

As I mentioned earlier, this is also one of the factors when it comes to relevancy, authenticity, and credibility of your product and website.

Higher the relevancy of product (title) to the merchant centre title, higher will be the relevancy for a user’s search query to your product. Higher relevancy will not just help you in showing in google shopping ad, it will also help you in getting higher CTR and higher conversion rate, which will ultimately improve return on ad spend.

  • Keywords should be mentioned a few times on the page:

    We have discussed the importance of keyword in title and description. If you update it very efficiently then there won’t be need to include it in other parts. But for some reason you are not able to edit product title or product description, you can still include your target keyword on the landing page and improve relevancy. You can update your footer text, footer link, link in the header, subheading etc.

  • Target keyword should be mentioned in the alt tag of the product image.

    Google crawl your pages and read the alt text of the image to understand the context of an image. The same alt tag is used for Google Image search. So it is very important to write efficient alt text for each image on your website. It is also important to include your target keyword and target long tail keyword in your image alt text.

  • Product image in the feed should match product images on the website

    If you are using a manual feed to update the product. Your image in the feed should be available on the landing page (or product link). If this is not the case and your product image does not match with the relevancy, your product might be disapproved from the shopping campaign.

Conclusion:

In general shopping, campaigns are not that difficult but they are not simple as well. One will have to consider all the optimization point if he/she wish to succeed. From my experience, Shopping campaign takes a while to start ranking, It might easily take 1 to 2 week for shopping campaign to start ranking for your target keyword and if the competition is high, that is if big brands like Amazon, Target, Walmart etc are already bidding on your target keyword your initial kick-off time can even be higher.

Below is a success story:

google shopping campaign success story

You should keep high bid initially or change the bid strategy to maximize click (It will increase your max CPC bid significantly, so you should keep a cap on the budget). Once your product starts ranking and start showing impressions and clicks, you should do “Search Query analysis” and start excluding irrelevant keywords.

Your shopping campaign should show a good result after 3 to 4 week of setup.
Do not forget to analyze Assisted Conversions to fully understand the value of shopping campaign.

Best of Luck.

Feel free to reach out to me if you need any help 🙂

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