Surface Across Google: A New Way to Get Free Traffic from Google

S

The chances are that you have, by now, probably heard about the  program that was introduced formally by Google in April 2020. And yes, Surface Across Google (organic Google ), in a nutshell, are free product listings ads in SERPs. 

Back, in 2019, details of this program were announced by Google, that they would start to showcase merchant feed data on other platforms apart from Shopping ads. Today the Surface Across Google program is available in the US and India, and in May 2020 was made open to the UK. 

Google has unleashed some exciting times for the sellers and advertisers with Surface across Google. Do you have Surface Across Google? If not, it’s high time you did! Utilize the Surfaces Across Google program to generate increased ROI and rejuvenate your e-commerce strategies for free.

Google shopping Feed Shopify

What is the Surface Across Google program?

The Google Merchant program allows your product to be seen by shoppers at no extra - in organic product results across different Google platforms like Google Search, Google Images, Google Shopping, Google Lens, and Google Maps. 

Google states, “Just as we don’t charge sites to be a part of the Google search index, merchants are eligible to appear on Surface Across Google results for free.” (source: policy page.)

Google Shopping Tab

Surfaces Across Google

Image source

Google Search

Google SERP with Surfaces Across Google product listings

Image source

Google maps

Google Maps with product data

Image source

Google maps featuring using Surface across Google

Google Images 

Google Images feature products for sale.

Image source

Google images with Surface Across Google (more streamlined)

Four Benefits of Surfaces across google program

If you are looking at adding visibility for your products and increasing your ROIs, the Surface Across Google is one of your best options.

1) Deliver content-rich formatted information: Surfaces Across Google displays via its properties, content-rich formats contributed from the enhanced listings n the Shopping tab. The enhanced listing requires other attributes apart from what there is in Standard Free listings, resulting in increased traffic and accelerated sales. Google will present your product much more like a .

2)  Connect with customers where they are on Google: An exciting thing about the Surfaces Across Google is you will get qualified and targeted traffic with higher purchase intention. Targeted traffic is essential for e-commerce as they generate sales. Online users usually surf with a tentative purpose of buying or learning more about a product. Hence, connecting with the customer when on Google increases your chances of sales conversion.

3) Increase your e-commerce store visibility: Surfaces Across Google gets you in touch with the untapped and unrecognized audience. It is advantageous to both companies who have not paid for advertising their products and for ones who are presently running ads. Secure more traffic and visibility by optimizing your products for Google images with descriptions to facilitate all steps for c

4) It’s Free listing:  You don’t have to spend anything as Google offers you more comprehensive visibility for free with Surfaces Across Google! You have to upload your onto Google Merchant center to get visibility across Google platforms. Ideal if you are starting your e-commerce portal and not intending to spend money on ad campaigns right away.

Shopify Google shopping feed

Eligibility requirements for Surfaces Across Google program

To get your products to leverage the service of Surfaces Across Google, follow Google’s procedures. Thus, before you start creating the product feeds, make it a point to understand these guidelines. 

  1. Currently, merchants who want to participate must upload a comprehensive product to Google Merchant Center or implement a markup on each product page. As of now, the most efficient way to make your products eligible is to set up a complete product feed in Google Merchant Center.
  2. All products must abide by Google Policies specific to Surface Across Google Program. According to Google, “To be eligible for enhanced listings, which show your products in content-rich listings on the Shopping tab, you must follow the policies for free listings as well as those for Shopping ads.” 
  3. Your eligibility is also based upon your data quality and on your present account status.
  4. All products must follow general Google policies and Google shopping policies.
  5. You will need access to various business, banking, EIN, and tax information.
  6. You require the ability to edit your website or get help to do the same.
  7. Lastly, your website must have your email. It must also contain an address, return policy, shipping policy, and privacy policy.

How to set up Surface Across Google for your business?

If you already have a Google Merchant Account to advertise on the Google Shopping platform? If so, you have already set up a product feed for this account, making you eligible to show your products in these unpaid product results and not do anything more to participate. 

However, you might want to edit your product feed so that it shows up as rich organic results on Surface Across Google.

To remove some of the product feed or remove them from the selected destination, you can do so either by Login into your Merchant Center account & Select the products in the Navigation Menu Then click feeds and select the feed you want to edit & Deselect any destinations you do not want. OR Within your product feed, use the excluded destination attribute.

If you want to verify that your products are displaying on Surface Across Google, you can cross-check in your Merchants center account. 

Go on to the left side of the menu and click on the ‘Performance’ tab. Then click on the ‘Dashboard’ tab to see a new performance report for unpaid .

If you haven’t signed up for Google Merchant Center, your first step to avail the service of Service across Google will be to create a Google account. Here, you are required to provide business information like country, display name, and Time Zone to enroll in Google Merchant Center. 

Apart from this, you will need an e-commerce website, where potential customers can be redirected to the product page on your website after they have clicked on the product in Google Shopping. The purchase is not made on Google Shopping. 

They are redirected to the product page on your website from where they will conclude the purchase. If you want the buyers to purchase through Google directly, you have to opt for the Buy on Google option from Shopping Action Program. 

Sign up separately for the Shopping Action Program. Recently Google has announced Buy On Google will soon be free for sellers.

If you do not have Product Feed set up in your Google Merchant account, create your product feed and submit it for approval. You can do it manually or through Automated feed management solutions. 

Once your product feed gets approved, continue with the following steps described below.

  • Sign-in to the Google Merchant Center Account
  • On the left side menu, you will find the ‘Growth’ tab. Click on it, and go to ‘Manage Programs’
  • Select the ‘Manage Program’ and locate the ‘Surface Across Google’ program and click on it and activate the service.
  • Once you are there, set up everything as per Google’s requirement list, and you will be good to go.

Image source

You can opt into Surface Across Google from the Tools Menu of Google Merchant Center.

Data Feed Requirements for Surface Across Google

Standard listing data feed attribute requirements. 

A minimum of five attributes is needed for Standard Listing on Data Feed Requirements for Surface Across Google. They are as follows

  1. Id
  2. Title
  3. Link
  4. Image_link
  5. Price link

It is best to cover as many attributes as possible to improve your data quality and have your products eligible to be shown for more relevant searches. Also, Google recommends using the availability attribute [availability] so that your products are eligible for all search results on Surface Across Google

Google shopping feed shopify

Enhanced listing data feed attribute requirements

If you wish to participate in the enhanced listing, you will require the following data attributes and the standard Listing data feed attributes.

Required for all products

Description, Availability.

When assigned by Manufacturers

Brand, gtin, mpn, (if not assigned GTN)

Used and refurbished products only

Condition

Clothing and accessory requirements

Color. Size, age_group, gender

Multipacks & Bundles

Multipacks

Is_bundle

Shipping and Tax

Shipping, tax

Products with variants

Item_group_id 

Follow the best practices set up by Google for successfully submitting your product feeds. The advantage of submitting correct and optimized product titles, images, descriptions, and other information will help you with Surface Across Google and benefit paid search visibility and SEO. It becomes more accessible for people to find your products with more precise and comprehensive information about your products.

FAQ on Surface Across Google

What is Surface across Google?

Surface Across Google is a free merchant Center Program, which permits your products for free to be seen by shoppers across all Google marketing platforms including, Google Images, Google Maps, Google Search, Google Shopping, and Google Lens.

Who are all eligible for Surface Across Google?

All merchants are eligible for Surface Across Google. Anyone can gain benefits as long as they have the following.
1. Online store
2. Merchant center account
3. Structured data product feed as per googles business practice

How can I advertise on Google for free?

You can advertise on Google for free by opting for Surface across Google in Google Merchant Center. You do not have to spend anything to do this. Google brings you greater visibility across Google platforms for free. 

All you do is upload the product data feed to Google Merchant Center. It is ideal if you are on a small budget and don’t want to invest more in ads or are not ready to start spending more on ads just as yet. 

You don’t need to make alterations to your budget and yet, experience an increase in revenue.

What’s a big deal in Surface Across Google?

Surface Across Google will bring you traffic with the highest purchase intent audience at no cost. Hence it is a big deal to be with Surface Across Google in the Merchant Center Program. 

Google helps these businesses to connect with potential buyers by showcasing your products for relevant searches across Google platforms. In case you haven’t taken advantage of this opportunity as yet, you should do so now.

What does Surface Across Google mean?

Simple, for businesses and brands, it means FREE Google shopping Listings on the organic SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Surfaces Across Google allows your products to be seen by shoppers in Google Search, Google Shopping, Google Image Search, etc.

What are Google Shopping actions?

Google Shopping actions lets customers checkout directly from Google’s website without being transferred to a merchant’s website. They can shop worry-free and pay when they make the purchase. 

It includes simple returns and customer support backed by Google. Manufacturers and retailers who opt for their products into Google shopping actions pay a commission when a sale is made. The commission is competitive and averaging to about 12%. 

How can I sell on Google Shopping?

You have three steps to follow to start selling on Google shopping.

Step#1 – Setting up the Account

First, set your Merchants Account via Google Merchant Center. To do this requires you to have a Google account. Then you sign in to the Merchant Center, selecting a location and setting up your account. 

You are also required to agree to Google’s Terms of Service. 
Lastly, you will need to confirm you own a website and make changes to the content ( verify and claim your website). Once this is done, you can upload the product feed.

Step#2 – Connect your Google Account to Google Ads

Link your Google Merchant Account with Google ads so that you can sign in to your Google ads and create a shopping campaign.

Step#3 – Start selling your products via ad campaigns

You now have to create an ad group, give it a name, and start adding your products. You can then generate a product feed by altering and creating groups with different identifiers, like price, brands, availability, etc.

Can you sell stuff on Google sites?

Yes, you can sell stuff on Google. For this, your product information has to be integrated with Google Merchant Center. You are also required to provide Google checkout information on your website. The product information has to be entered into a spreadsheet and then uploaded to Google Merchant Center. 

Both the Merchant Center and Checkout Merchant needs to be accessed by your Google Account information. Google Merchant Center has also to verify your website. Once you complete these steps, you are set to sell your stuff on Google.

Will Surface Across Google help to save traditional retail?

There is a separate program on Google Merchant Center for this. It’s called Local Surface across Google that shows products available in local stores on Google images, Google Maps, Google Searches, Google Lens, and Google Shopping. This program will help the local brick and mortar stores increase their visibility and a chance to boost sales and revenues.

To opt for this 

1. Go to ‘Growth ‘in Google Merchant Center located on the left-hand menu.
2. Select’ Local Surface Across Google’.
3. Follow the instruction to start this service.

Local Surface Across Google needs a separate local product inventory feeds that lists the products available in your store. You have to submit it at least once a day.

Indeed this has the potential for retailers to merge eCommerce processes to merge with brick and mortar stores.

Conclusion

Have you switched over to Surface across Google? If you haven’t, it’s time you capitalized on the Google Shopping feature to generate higher revenue and redefine your e-commerce marketing strategy

Now that you have read about Surface across Google benefits, there is no point in wasting time and not utilizing it. Enlarge your customer bank, increase your revenues, and expand your visibility at no cost!

About the author

Karthik Ramachandiran

Google Ads Expert From Bengaluru. Share his Expertise Here