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Shopping Search Engines

Optimising product feeds for better search traffic

Shopping search engines or price comparison websites are becoming increasingly popular with the price conscious shopper, so that any retail website should consider adding their product listings to these tools in order to generate site visits directly to individual products. Some of these involve paid listings, although there are some shopping search engine and shopping directories where sites can list themselves and/or their products for free.

Froogle is the shopping search and price comparison site developed by Google and accessible from the main Google home page. This tool launched in the UK in early 2005, after a period of testing in the US. Advertisers can provide product information for free and results are displayed based on search criteria and product descriptions used. Searchers can sort by price and category or display more products from a selected retailer.

Getting your products ranking well within the Froogle results can be difficult in the more general product categories, as the results tend to be dominated by large established retailers. However, many of the principles of search engine optimisation apply to Froogle results as well and therefore the product feed submitted to this search tool need to include optimised product names and descriptions, plus the submission of listings needs to be updated on a frequent basis to ensure listings remain current and accessible. 

Kelkoo is the current leader in the UK shopping search market, according to the online measurement company Hitwise, as this tool provides its own search tool and also generates the shopping search results through the Yahoo portal. The next largest contender is DealTime, which has recently rebranded under its new name Shopping.com in the US, and although it doesn't own the UK equivalent URL, there is a redirect to a UK mirror site that includes shopper reviews.

Both of these sites list product information from a range of participating retailers, allowing users to sort and compare products by price and category. To get your products listed in Kelkoo you need to contact them to obtain a quote, whilst Dealtime allows you to sign up online. You also need to set up a data-feed to each of these services with your product information and any images, although this is not as complicated as it sounds!

They both charge for this activity on a pay-per-click basis, which varies depending on the category of product you are offering. From our experience this cost tends to be similar or slightly higher than the PPC advertising offered by Google and Overture, but conversion rates can be better. This is because visits that are received from these sources will be from people who are actively interested in making a purchase, although as you will tend to get many visits from people comparing your cost to your competitors, price is a key issue!

If you sell products online and would like to know more about using these comparison shopping sites, including adding products to the Froogle UK search engine, please contact us for more information or to request a FREE website assessment to see how well your website currently performs.