One of the more controversial paid search moves by Google in recent years has to be that of Product Listing Ads (PLAs) changing from a free service to a paid one. Many of the clients that I worked with at the time didn’t take kindly to the move and all thought it would damage their business… but that was then. Throughout 2014 and into this year I’ve spent more time working with PLAs than any other part of the AdWords system, those same clients who saw the move to paid as a negative are now not only seeing the benefits but are asking the question ‘how do I become a Google Certified Shop?’
It was inevitable that PLAs would become a more important part of the search landscape for e-commerce businesses, people expect more from their internet experience these days. In the same way that the best websites are more than just reams and reams of text, the best ads these days are more than just a couple of lines of text telling you to buy something. It’s no surprise that all of Google’s biggest presentations in the last 12 months have focused on video and display advertising.
Google have worked hard to improve the set-up, implementation and management of PLAs, the introduction of Shopping Campaigns being the most significant change. Today, managing bids and budgets through AdWords is more sophisticated than ever, which is great for us account managers as well as people searching for products. And if you’ve gone to the trouble of setting up a good customer experience you’ll want to make sure that everyone knows about it, which is where the Google Certified Shop comes into play.
Google Certified Shop is Google’s way of helping customers identify websites that offer great customer service. The process of gaining the badge that you can display on your site is very straightforward, and an added benefit of qualifying is that all your customers will be offered free purchase protection by Google after they make a purchase on your site.
How will Google Certified Shops benefit my AdWords account?
Once you’ve got the badge and are proudly displaying it on your site you are also able to take advantage of seller ratings. These ratings are influenced by reviews collected via Google Trusted Stores. Seller Ratings show alongside your AdWords text ads and Google Shopping ads. If you’re involved in Google Shopping and genuinely offer a great customer experience it’s a great way to make sure potential customers know about it… and it’s free! You’ll also be able to start using the review extension in the Ad Extensions section of the AdWords interface. Individually and collectively these bonus features can help create, or improve, customer confidence and significantly improve click through rates.
Applying for Google Certified Shop Status
Getting things started is very easy but the whole process from start to finish can take several weeks, so we’d recommend getting the ball rolling as soon as you can. Follow these three simple steps
Step 1 - Create an account
Create a Google Certified Shops account – This involves nothing more taxing than signing up to the agreement and providing information about your business.
You can get started here.
Step 2 - Get the code
Technical Integration – This stage is almost as easy as creating an account and is a simple process of adding two pieces of code to your website. At this stage you can also specify where you want the badge to appear on your site.
Step 3 - Show the badge
Sit back and wait… Google will look at your application, and your website, and determine if you qualify to display the badge and take advantage of the additional features associated with it. If your application is accepted you’ll receive an email from Google telling you that this is the case, if you’re unsuccessful you’ll receive details explaining why you’ve been unsuccessful and what you need to do next.
If you’ve got any questions about Google Certified Shops or Paid Search campaigns contact our Paid Search team here, or call us on 0844 245 6677.