In mid-October, Google transitioned its free, organic links of Google Merchant to a paid model called Google Shopping via Product Listing Ads. Google has just announced that it plans to release the same commercial model internationally to the following countries: the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Australia and Switzerland.
The search engine says that it will be a gradual transition in order for merchants to optimize their campaigns and the first major change will be on February 3, 2013. At this time, Google will release cleaner results for shopping queries in addition to some of the new commercial formats on Google.com that appear like square units. These new results will replace current search results and will be labeled as “Sponsored” and appear in the space that is currently paid search ads. Google expects the international transition to be complete by the end of the second quarter in 2013.
Google’s ultimate goal for the Shopping transition is to create a better shopping experience so that users will find products in one place and are able to compare features and pricing and read merchant reviews easily. Google believes that a paid model for merchants allows better, more relevant product data which will lead to a better experience for shoppers.