In April 2020, Google began the rollout of free product listings in its search results.

These listings mimic the results of paid Google Shopping results. Each listing includes an image of a product, product pricing and a link to the vendor in a search result.

Originally available to US-based advertisers only, free product listings are now available to South African marketers too.

Who qualifies for free product listings?
Free product listings on Google are available to ecommerce websites that meet one of two criteria:

a product feed that has been loaded to the Google Merchant Centre, or
structured data markup of products in an ecommerce store.
Google is using the programme to incentivise users to use the Google Merchant Center, and to engage with its paid shopping ad options in future.

Companies that upload their products to the Google Merchant Center are rewarded with listings on the Google Shopping tab. They also quality for free product listings in Google Search and Google Images search results.

Ecommerce sites that have structured product data markup qualify for product listings in search results. However, they won’t be given free product listings on the Google Shopping tab.

Product listings on Google Local

Google has also recently enabled a feature on Google My Business that allows ecommerce websites to upload their full product catalogues to their local business profiles.

Users who interact with a business via local search results can then view product images and pricing on the business’s location listing, and click through to a relevant product on the website.

This can help convert local search traffic into direct ecommerce sales.