Google is one of the most globally recognised companies – and terms – on the planet. Most people don’t “look it up on a search engine”; they Google it. The company was created in 1995 and became the Google we know in 1997, named after a fun play on the word ‘googol’, which is a 1 followed by 100 zeros – roughly how many pages you get when you Google “Jennifer Lawrence” these days!
After rolling out globally, creating ‘Adwords’ and developing the most accurate and strongest search engine there is, Google began thinking about a shopping engine in the early naughties, and in 2002 ‘Froogle’ was born. This is another of Google’s fun word plays – frugal becoming Froogle. That name stuck around until 2012 when it phased into ‘Google Shopping’.
Through many developments and changes between 2002 and 2012 Froogle was, in the main, a price comparison search tool; a way for customers to see where the best deals on the internet could be found, and check out some smaller, independent companies, while shopping based on price and availability.
Previous incarnations of the shopping search were similar to the usual Google, in that customers searching would see some ads and paid links at the top and side of the page, but could scroll down to see natural links too, and do a price comparison. Google Shopping streamlined that look by adding in more images and removing the unpaid links further down the page. This was the first time Google had ever removed unpaid links from any of their search tools, a move met with great dissatisfaction from business owners. Although this rocked the boat, it has created a much more efficient way to search for products. Businesses that continued with Google Shopping were also able to add a new badge to their site – Google Trusted Stores was born alongside Google Shopping, and a strong retail network was created for the search giant.
The next step for Google Shopping was to include Product Listing Ads in the SERPs, which represents one of the most exciting developments in Adwords for years. Being able to see the image, price and brand before clicking the ad pre-qualifies the traffic and greatly improves the likelihood of conversion. This has proved to be a revelation for eCommerce business and if you’re not yet taking advantage of Product Listing Ads, you better get your skates on.