Most SEO guides on the Internet today are primarily applicable to either cloud services or brick-and-mortar businesses that offer local services, but what about e-commerce retail? The online retail industry is booming as people discover that they no longer have to go brick-and-mortar shopping in order to find affordable, high-quality products. However, most searches don’t start on a specific site; they start on a search engine with broad queries that get increasingly more specific depending on the shopper and the clarity of their preferences. The question is then how to make sure that these shoppers not only find your website but are directed to the exact products they’re looking for in a way that helps you close sales? The best way to do this is with top-notch SEO and pinpointed Product Listing Ads (PLA).

PPC – Pay Per Click

The first step to understanding PLA is knowing that it is a PPC advertising method, accessed through the Google AdWords interface for anyone using Google (and who doesn’t?). With AdWords pay per click ads, Google advertises in the ways you request, and you only pay them when those ads generate first level conversions, which happens when users click the links and are taken to your website. This means that to get the most for your money, you need a conversion plan for each and every click.

PLA – Product Listing Ad

If you’ve ever searched for “LED light bulbs” or something similar, you may have noticed a row of images paired with links and prices. These are product-listing ads, and your products can easily be among them. For this process, you need accounts for both AdWords and the Google Merchant Centre. The merchant centre is where you plug in your product information including title, price, image, and product description. The more products you have entered into the system, the higher a preference your listings will get, though this isn’t the only factor.

Using SEO to Enhance Your Product Listings

Unlike paid search result ads, you can’t directly choose the keywords that your products will appear for. Due to the large number of products Google has to choose from, the search engine algorithm tries to find the most relevant listings based on the SEO content of the listing details themselves. This means that the wording you choose in your title and description will have an incredibly powerful effect on when and in which searches your products appear.

However, the limited text space serving dual purposes of product listing and SEO makes word choice particularly delicate. Clients will not be inclined toward products with keyword-stuffed descriptions, but this is also the standard way to ensure that the products appear on the most possible searches. With this structure in place, it’s no wonder that many businesses try multiple listings of the same product under different titles and descriptions for a little a/b testing of conversion results.

Seeing Results

The best thing about PLA is that it doesn’t cost anything unless it works. As long as your products are well optimised and competitively priced, the cost of the marketing campaign itself will be overwhelmingly made up for by the revenue of sales this method brings in. The 2018 Hubspot marketing statistics survey states that by 2021, global retail eCommerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion and yours could be among them. With product listing ads, the setup and SEO is the hard part and then the sales practically make themselves. If you think this method is right for you, there is a lot more you will need to learn about PLA and you’ll probably want to read up. With careful preparation, you could be making automatic sales through Google in days, not weeks.