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Using search engine shopping feeds for your online business

Just as marketing is an essential part of a traditional retail business, advertising and marketing is essential to your online business as well. It does not matter how much time and money you have put into designing and setting up your online store if you cannot get visitors to come in and make a purchase. Marketing and advertising promotions can be overwhelming when starting a new online business. One marketing tool you should be using is search engine shopping feeds. Ecommerce businesses use product feeds to reach a wide audience through comparison shopping sites and search engines. While you may be familiar with, or at least have seen examples of a shopping data feed displaying product information in search engines such as Google, there are also numerous other shopping search engines and comparison shopping websiteswhere you should be submitting your information. A shopping or product feed is a detailed file generated from your website that provides product details such as product descriptions, photos, pricing, and special promotions.

XML files & shopping feeds

You likely used XML files in creating your ecommerce website. This will help simplify the creation of your feed files if you or your web designer is familiar with the technical challenge XML can present. A good store-building service such as the one provided by Shopify may also have shopping feed information as part of your features package. Most search engine shopping feeds support data in text spreadsheets as well as XML. While text files are easier to create it is also easier to make a mistake with data entry so be sure to check your data before submitting to shopping search engines. Many businesses using Google’s shopping feeds find that one-third or more of their traffic comes from Google. For this reason, Google should be one of the search engines you use when you are ready to submit your shopping data feed to search engines. The benefit of using the Google shopping search engine is in addition to directing both traffic and sales to your business, you immediately have the potential to present your business to a large audience of shoppers. Your information is also then visible to Google’s universal search results.

Creating data sheets

As you begin creating your data sheets, give thought to your product title using keywords that will match shopper search queries. Shoppers may search by product brand, model, type, or specific attributes such as price, color, or size. Because product search engines will highlight the part of a shopper’s query that is a match, the right product title will influence your click through rate. Once you have your product title, compose a product description that also makes use of keywords matching shopper search terms. Pricing influences shopping decisions and comparison product feeds allow consumers to spot value at a glance. This is where pricing your product competitively or offering special promotions can increase traffic and sales. Product search engines allow you to input many specific attributes and features. The more features you include, the greater the possibility your products will match those shoppers are interested in buying. Do not try to cut corners or expenses by not including a product photo or at least a business logo. High quality, appropriately sized photos dramatically increase your click through rate! For many shopping search engines, you also have the option to include customer reviews in the form of text or star ratings. Positive customer reviews will help build trust for you and your products. As a new business owner, you can encourage reviews with special promotions that offer a discount off their next purchase in exchange for a review.

Shopping feeds & marketing costs

When factoring in product search engine feeds into your marketing budget, remember that with few exceptions, product search engines cost you money each time someone clicks on one of your products. For this reason, it is important to spend time compiling keyword rich data, then monitoring, managing, and updating your product feeds consistently. Product search models will continue to change offering a challenge to you to stay informed in order to see results. Product feed analysis will help you focus your marketing efforts to reach your targeted audience. It also makes sense to submit your shopping data feed with the search engines that get the best results. CPC Strategy compiles data from across the web to analyze the best comparison search engines online and lists the top ten search engines on their blog. They also provide an overview of the top ten search engine profiles including several that are free.

+ Jannelle Pierce

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