Comparison Search Engines to Drive Traffic   27 comments

Comparison shopping engines have been around about as long as the Internet itself. Most of the current comparison shopping engines accept product feeds from online retailers and allow users to search and sort these lists by various criteria. A product feed is a file, typically in a CSV or Excel format, that contains information about the products listed on your site. Some of the most popular engines today are Shopping.com, Shopzilla and PriceGrabber. Also, some search engines have added a separate vertical to their engines that allows shoppers to only search products; Google’s is named Base, located at base.google.com. The pricing structure allows retailers to submit and list products for free and then charge advertisers either by the click or by taking a commission of every sale made through the engine.

The first thing you should do to optimize your product list for comparison engines is to fill in every product attribute that you can. Most shopping engines provide you with these attributes when you download their product feed template. By filling out all the fields provided you increase your click-to-purchase ratio. You should also optimize your product list by removing low inventory items and products with poor sales. Not all comparison engines provide product feed templates. For example, Google Base only provides a list of attributes to include in your product feed file. Also, note that although you submit your products through Google Base, shoppers use Google Product Search to view your products.

Be sure to investigate the categories that the comparison engine uses to organize its site, and make an effort to filter your products into these categories. The easier your products are for the engine to organize and the customer to find, the more sales you can achieve.

You should have proper tracking in place so that you can evaluate the success or failure of your comparison shopping campaigns. Make sure that the information in your product feed is always up-to-date. Out-of-date product feeds are one of the primary reasons why some merchants fail with comparison shopping. Lastly, make sure that you have at least 50 words or more of text to describe each of your products. You can provide both a short and long description of each product in your feed; tailor your descriptions to the unique file specifications of each comparison engine.

Some comparison engines have paid placement pricing models that allow merchants to bid for priority in the search results rather than the product results being sorted exclusively by relevance or price. In this way, you can influence whether your products show up first or third when a user types in a keyword that relates to multiple Web sites.

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27 responses to “Comparison Search Engines to Drive Traffic

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