Google may soon become an even better tool for businesses. Currently the market leading search engine/ruler of the world is improving its B2B shopping functionality by testing a new product called Google Shopping for Suppliers(the link takes you to the Shopping for Suppliers home page). The new section was launched in January and is currently on trial in the USA and the Far East. 

Google Shopping for Suppliers accommodates the unique needs of B2B service selling, which has had difficulties reaching audiences through the original Google Shopping page. Addressing the gap in the market, Google has launched this initially in the electrical and electronic industries. Using the service, users will be able to search more specifically, connect with suppliers and find what they are searching for a lot quicker.

Here’s what the Google shopping results for battery design currently look like: battery design and here are the results for PCB design

Whilst this is fascinating to buyers, this news is particularly interesting to Stone Junction’s clients who are, in this context, the sellers. It means that they can appear in Google search results much more frequently and effectively. To gain the best results from Google Shopping for Suppliers, companies are asked to pay a one off fee to appear as a verified brand, which then places their products ahead of others in the results.
That said, there does seem to be evidence that you will still appear, without paying the fee, but your results will be much less obvious than Google verified suppliers. This could be useful to know if you are in a market where there are very few companies showing up for certain terms, meaning you may not have to pay to verify.

How to SEO shopping for suppliers 
SEO is an important marketing tactic for every company and there is no question that the best way of appearing highest in the Shopping for Suppliers SERPs will be a hot topic.

I’m guessing that the ranking factors that determine your position (other than being a verified supplier) will be similar to those that determine your position in Google Shopping itself. These are very close to regular on page factors for a page, with one significant difference; reviews.

If Shopping for Suppliers follows this lead, it will become very important to have reviews of your services and products on relevant review sites. At the moment, it’s not clear whether these will be the regular review sites or industry specific ones – drawn from your vertical trade press. I personally suspect the latter. Google has done so much work to make the search process independent and rid it of SPAM, I doubt that it will suddenly start drawing reviews from irrelevant sources.

SearchEngineLand has this to say on the subject, “Recognizing that B2B transactions often involve negotiations on shipping costs and volume discounts, many Google Shopping policies on Pricing and Payments, Shipping, Taxes and Returns and Refunds either do not apply or have been modified for the Google Shopping for Suppliers program. In fact, Google Shopping for Suppliers does not rely on the Merchant Center technology that Google Shopping does. So, the data feed requirements of Merchant Center are not the same, and setup process is different.”

Meanwhile, Chris Rand at BMON points out, “Google says it's going to make a big deal out of company certifications (such as ISO9001), and verification of the supplier's contact details, which is good. To have a company profile page, on a high-profile Google service like this, is an opportunity which no company can afford to miss. I'm guessing that even standard Google searches on your company name might be given that page as a result option in the future.”

I’m going to be keeping an eye on what’s happening with Google Shopping for Suppliers. I suspect this service will not fail in the USA and thus we can expect to see it on our side of the Atlantic very soon.

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