Some great SEO news to end the week. I’m now seeing the unpaid Shopping tab listings available across various different countries while using a VPN.

On October 8th, I wrote on Twitter about how I was seeing the unpaid listing showing in Australia. I’m now seeing a global launch of the unpaid listings.

Based on the launch schedule, this was announced to happen mid-October, after being available in the US since earlier this year. Now that it’s October 16th, safe to say the time has come.

Within the Surfaces Across Google (SaG) program (you’ll need to opt-in), there are two primary types of listings that can appear within Google:

  1. Organic Product Carousels: listings that appear in the web search results (main section) and are based on product feeds via Merchant Center and Structured Data added to web pages

  2. Unpaid Shopping Tab Listings: listings that appear only in the Shopping tab and are based exclusively on product feeds via Merchant Center

With the SaG program, there is also technically Google Images with Google Lens as a listing type, but those don’t have much awareness or interest around them at this point in time.

Along with the free listings update in the Shopping tab, I’m also seeing some changes within Merchant Center with respect to reporting – which wasn’t showing previously in my dashboard.

SaG Performance Reporting within Google Merchant Center

When it comes to reporting of unpaid Shopping tab listing performance, we don’t yet have reporting capabilities within Google Search Console. So Merchant Center is currently the home for this data.

I’m now seeing this report populating within my dashboard, and should also be available for others if you wanted to check. Here’s what this looks like within Merchant Center:

As you can see above, clicks first started being recorded in my dashboard on October 7th. This makes sense because I only started seeing the listings appear the following day, which gives me confidence in the data.

Along with clicks for SaG results (in this case, only unpaid Shopping tab listings) we can also see various information about which products are actually surfacing within the Shopping tab, which is a very useful insight.

When it comes to the unpaid Shopping tab listings, there are some important aspects to have in place. Aside from having an errorless feed (which is a no-brainer) it’s important to have tracking in place and a reviews strategy in place for Google.

Getting the most out of the free Shopping tab listings

I’ll likely have more recommendations on this point as time goes on, but having tracking in place within Google Analytics is an important first step for assessing on-site SaG performance.

A while back I had this setup in preparation for the launch of SaG in Australia for an eCommerce site I manage. I can see that this matches up with Merchant Center well which is encouraging. And my first sale 😏

I’ll likely tweak this setup a bit now that I can see how traffic is flowing. A great guide on setting up tracking can be found here, which I’ll be looking back to now that the official launch has happened in my region.

Aside from this, ensuring product reviews are in check is an important one to be across. For instance, reaching the 100 reviews in 12 months threshold will allow you to get the Seller Rating on your unpaid listings, but only for supported providers.

When you reach the review threshold, along with the various other criteria that I linked to above, you’ll get the tidy looking x% positive label alongside your listings. Here’s what this can look like across every listing accessible via your feed:

For this particular site, they have 6.9K reviews in the UK that count toward their Seller Rating. This is well above the threshold of 100 reviews, so they will get more prominence with their free listings. This might be something (who have been documenting their product launch process publically) may like to work toward getting.

Final thoughts

Safe to say that I’m excited about this release. I do work with a couple of eCommerce sites in Australia, so will be keeping a close eye on performance and opportunities for improvement.

Based on a recent report, the opportunity of getting more business for unpaid listings is looking hopeful. Early findings showed highest conversion rates in the Home & Garden space, with the most traffic being sent in the Healthcare sector.

I’ve checked to make sure unpaid listings are showing in various locations, but please let me know if you’re yet to receive them. But for the moment I’m seeing this as a worldwide launch of free listings in the Shopping tab.

SEO tool providers: what tools are you working on to track and optimise performance for unpaid listings? Feel free to reach out to me to test out your product once available.