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How can I increase traffic to my online shop for free? Part three

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Google naturally takes around 4-6 weeks to realise your site exists and even then, it won’t automatically list every single page. So with this in mind, you need to submit as much information as you can to Google yourself so it knows that your online shop is there, what kind of products it sells, and most importantly where and when to list you in search engine results. In this episode of The Ecommerce Success Show, I’ll be covering the basics of submitting your online shop to Google, and have added links to the relevant resources to help you get set up.

Before you begin, it’s a good idea to open a Google/Gmail account beforehand, so that all of your Google products can be linked to the same account which makes things easier for management and authentication purposes. Open a free Google account here.

Google Search Console Account

The first thing you need to do is to open a Google Search Console account. This is to let Google know that your online shop exists and encourage it to list you in search engine results. You’ll need to verify that you own your online shop – for EKM customers, you’ll need to select the HTML tag option to verify, but if you’re with a different hosting provider, you’ll need to speak to them to confirm how you can verify your ownership.

Once you’ve verified that you do in fact own your online shop, the next thing you need to do is submit your sitemap. This is a ‘plain text’ index of all of the pages on your online shop, and this makes Google aware of your content.

If you’re an EKM customer, all you need to do is type into the address bar of your browser the domain name of your online shop, with /.xml after the domain name. Press enter, and you’ll see a plain text page listing all of your content. It’s this URL that you need to submit to your Google Search Console account. If you’re with another provider, get in contact with them and ask them how to access the sitemap for your online shop so you can submit it to your Google Search Console account.

Google Merchant Centre

The next thing you gotta do is make a Google Merchant Centre account – this is to basically tell Google that you have items to sell, and it can list these as products within search engine results. As before with Google Search Console, you’ll need to verify you own your website as you did before.

Your next step is to provide a list of your products in the form of a product feed, but before you do this, you need to ensure that each product has had the relevant attributes added to them. Google is smart, but if you submit products with nothing more than a price, description title and picture, Google will refuse to list them.

Minimally, you need to assign an EAN/GTIN or MPN number, which is effectively a code that helps Google identify what your products are and where to list them. Of course, this shouldn’t be set in stone, because different products have different codes. For example, if
Now, before you list any products on this account, you need to make sure that the products have a GTIN, or EAN number – this is effectively a barcode number that helps the product be identified. If the product is something you make yourself, you’ll need to tag it as identifier_exists – as it won’t have an identifying number allocated to it.

Here’s a list of all of the unique product identifiers, Google uses.

If you’re an EKM customer, if you click here, you’ll be able to see a list of the attributes your EKM online shop automatically submits if the relevant fields have been populated, and this Guide provides a list of additional attributes you can add to your products too. If you are with another ecommerce hosting provider, they will be able to advise you what attributes and tags you need to add to each of your products, and you can, of course, refer to Google Merchant Centre Help.

Once your products have been labelled with the correct tags and attributes, you can submit your product feed. If you’re an EKM customer, this can be found within the Google Tools feature of your EKM online shop. If you’re not an EKM customer, you’ll need to contact your ecommerce hosting provider who will be able to advise you where to locate your product feed to submit it to Google Merchant Centre.

Finally, I have a Guide on the EKM Support Centre which provides step-by-step instructions for opening Google Merchant Centre and Google Console accounts and submitting your details, which you may find useful if you get stuck.

Now you’ve submitted your information to Google Search Console and Google Merchant Centre, there’s more chance of your products displaying in search engine results which will, in turn, encourage potential customers to visit your online shop.

If you’d like to learn more about setting up your own online shop, you can speak to our ecommerce experts on 0333 004 0333 or request a callback here.
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