Good morning, will free shopping listings be enough for Google to compete against Amazon? 

Probably not, but it’s still a win for some merchants. From organic (back in the Froogle days) to paid and now both: free product listings have begun rolling out on Google Shopping. The news made a big splash for e-commerce marketers when it was announced last Tuesday; organic Google Shopping results were spotted live on Friday — a tip of the hat to Glenn Gabe for calling it out. This expansion should help Google appeal to both merchants and consumers, and help the search engine make some headway in the e-commerce sector.

Google’s going to have to do much more than add organic product listings to reach Amazon’s level, though: “It would take near-flawless execution on multiple fronts to catch Amazon,” writes Search Engine Land Contributing Editor Greg Sterling. At this rate, Google is positioned to become the “Bing of e-commerce,” stuck in second place because it lags behind on customer service, product reviews, consumer trust, a loyalty program like Amazon Prime, and making shopping fun for consumers. Google does, however, have access to omnichannel inventory, a broader dataset than Amazon, and is clearly looking to shake things up. It’s going to be a good showdown.

Many of us are trying to find opportunities to market our brands while walking that thin line between respecting the seriousness of the pandemic and trying to bring some joy and value to our customers. “Something we’ve been doing internally … is creating social engagement opportunities amongst our team through themed Zoom calls, and we published that we’re doing this externally — people were like, ‘I want to get in on that!’” said Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, adding that he was sporting a penguin costume for his agency’s Halloween-in-April-themed all-hands meeting. 

During our Live with Search Engine Land session on Friday, Odden, HubSpot’s Meghan Keaney Anderson, Fractl’s Amanda Milligan and I shared some guidance on content marketing during COVID, including experimental efforts like the example above, how the traditional success metrics need to be re-examined, what brands should be communicating and more. Watch the full session here.

Keep scrolling for your daily Search Shorts and to find out what we’re reading.

George Nguyen,
Associate Editor

Search Shorts

Ramadan, title tags, and blocking

Ramadan searches. Try searching for [ramadan] in Google search, you will get delightful banner, greetings, videos and other helpful information

Title tags. John Mueller from Google says just write your title tags naturally, he said “I’d just write natural titles, the way you’d want them to appear in search, and how you’d want to present them for users.”

Blocking.You need to pick either blocking by robots.txt or using noindex. If a page is blocked by robots.txt, then it won’t be crawled, and then any noindex on it won’t be seen,” John Mueller of Google said.


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What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

Bing disables “trending” feature after wildly inappropriate results – Ars Technica

Brand strategy for a global emergency – Microsoft Advertising

Content Authority: Potential Measures of Authoritative Content – Whiteboard Friday – Moz

Google Adds Get Online Care Telemedicine Links To Local Panels – Search Engine Roundtable

Google ditched tipping feature for donating money to sites – TechCrunch

Google to cut marketing budgets, hiring freeze expected – CNBC

More ways to fine tune Google Assistant for you – Google Blog

PPC In The Time Of COVID-19: You Asked, We Answered – PPC Hero

Respecting rights: Global Network Initiative assessment report – Google Blog

Six Head-Turning Visual Data Formats For Content Marketing – Go Fish Digital

Street View is helping this tour guide stay in business – Google Blog