Google’s Merchant Listings (formerly “Popular Products”) SERP: How to Optimize to Improve Organic Visibility

Google’s Merchant Listings (formerly “Popular Products”) SERP: How to Optimize to Improve Organic Visibility
Ramesh Karki |
Google Popular Products SERP feature

With the increase in competition in the marketplace, Google has added more product discovery features to its search results pages. In January 2020, Google introduced the newest feature, “Popular Products”, in the shopping platform is one of the popular Google SERP Features. It shows organic product listings in the SERP to make shopping easier for everyone.

Note: “Popular Products” is now formally known as “Merchant Listings” in Google’s reporting.

This SERP feature allows brands to easily feature their products with the product image, title, price, reviews & rating, and the number of stores that are selling the product. Google’s Merchant Listings section helps retailers get their products noticed in the search results. Merchant Listings also make it easier for shoppers to browse products from different stores and brands.

popular products of running shoes

What Are Google Merchant Listings?

Google Merchant Listings are unpaid and organic displays of Google Shopping product listings. It searches for popular products from sellers and shows them in a single window in the Google SERP. It is a carousel of products available to buy, which contains items related to your search term.

This SERP feature by Google provides fast and valuable options to shoppers to analyze and compare the products. Merchant Listings are potentially helpful for smaller e-commerce retailers to compete against big e-commerce sites by optimizing their Google Merchant Center product feeds and optimizing product detail pages (PDPs) under relevant categories and product searches.

Google Merchant Listings occupy a generous percentage of SERP real estate. So, you can get good visibility by showing up under this feature. Among the apparel and accessories category keywords, Merchant Listings were seen above the fold 35% of the time as shown below. Learn more about these insights in our Apparel & Accessories Google Market Pulse.

Visibility of Popular Products

This feature needs to be incorporated as a part of any online retail business strategy to drive traffic and measure key performance indicators. This SERP component by Google boosts product search experiences and creates more opportunities for retailers to have a presence on the platform.

How does it Work?

The listings work based on organic traffic searches. When shoppers conduct product-related searches, the popular products section highlights various items, combining products from Google’s Merchants Center. Merchant Listings operate in carousels of up to 10 products being visible at a time. Shoppers can see more product options and can click on filters to narrow the selection of products. The filtering options are by price, brand, style, department, size, type, etc.

When the shopper clicks on a popular product, Google loads a new search results page using the product’s full title.  Retailers are not charged for this click because the popular product results are links to Google Shopping listings. After selecting a certain product, the user can see the listing of products collected from different retailers along with images of products, snapshots of reviews, and links to the products section of retailers selling similar products. Clicking on the retailer’s name directs you to the product detail page on the retailer’s site where you can complete the purchase.

Popular products example - running shoes on Google SERP

How to rank in the “Google Merchant Listings” SERP Feature?

GrowByData offers a Merchant Listings Scorecard to help SEO professionals find optimization opportunities and provide executives with key competitive intelligence.
GrowByData offers a Merchant Listings Scorecard to help SEO professionals find optimization opportunities and provide executives with key competitive intelligence.

The products that appear in this section create more organic search opportunities. Online retailers need to follow the basic steps to develop and optimize their PDPs to properly drive traffic to product pages improve the product’s ranking on Google and ultimately improve profitability. The basic steps to follow are:

  • Make sure that the product detail page consists of the keywords searched by the customers.
  • All product detail pages should follow the best practices of Google.
  • All PDP pages should be in the Merchant Center product feed.
  • The product schema markup found on each product detail page should have all the recommended properties.
  • When using the Structured Data Testing Tool to validate the markup, make sure that there are no warnings.

Google can gather the required information to pick out a product match for a search query from the Google Merchant Center product feed and structured data on your website. To make their products enlisted in search results any retailer can submit their feed in real-time to Google. Take the following steps to have your products appear in the Merchant Listings section:

  • Ensure that you set product schema markup with Structured Data and that your product detail pages contain properties like image, name, review, brand, description, SKU, and GTIN.
  • Upload your product feed to Google via Google Merchant Center. Retailers can upload, store, and update product data with all the necessary information via the Merchant Center. The required properties of the product feed consist of id, title, description, link, image, price, brand, GTIN, and stock availability.
  • Your listings will automatically show in free listings if you have enabled “free product listings” in the Merchant Center. However, submitting a product feed to the Merchant Center isn’t necessary if you have structured data markup on your website. This allows Google to fetch your site and understand your product detail page.
  • You can submit additional feeds and can provide additional information through Google’s Manufacturer Center.

How to optimize your product feed attributes for Merchant Listings?

Optimize the following attributes to increase your chances of getting featured in the Merchant Listings section:

  • Title of Product

To win a spot in the popular products carousel it is important to have a well-built title and effective keywords. You need to incorporate appropriate keywords in schema markup and product advertising data feed. While optimizing product titles it is useful to include variants (color, material, size) and demography (age, gender) of your product which is often searched by shoppers.

  • Product Reviews and Ratings

Reviews and ratings play a major role in this format. They are very prominent features of Google’s popular products. It is also important to have effective and well-maintained product pages to have positive reviews of the site.

  • Product Price

Brands competing in Google Shopping with their resellers need to set prices competitively which increases click-through rates, brand impressions, and Share of Voice. Popular products offer smaller eCommerce sites a way to compete with bigger stores. Especially, if they can price competitively while having optimized product details.

  • High-Quality Images

It is important to focus on providing high-quality images as visuals are more highlighted by this feature. Also, make sure to follow the specifications and requirements of the platform while submitting your product images.

  • Availability of Options

You can add more optional attributes to the product feed for better performance of your products. You need to have options like additional colors, sizes, and material types for a product to help you gain a competitive edge when you are competing against multiple retailers.

Merchant Listings in Mobile Search

In recent years, smartphone and mobile shopping trends are rapidly increasing. With the growing trend of mobile shopping, popular product listings feature in mobiles enables retailers and brands to drive more shoppers, organic visitors, and efficient organic search traffic to your website. It is important to monitor the results of mobile traffic, and optimize product data feeds, and metadata property associated with your products to expand your online presence.

How does Marketing Intelligence help to measure and optimize Merchant Listings on Google?

Marketing Intelligence that includes tools like Search Intelligence Solutions and Competitive Product Experience helps you monitor Google SERP visibility. It can also identify optimization areas in your product detail page or product feed attributes which is crucial to increasing visibility on SERP features like popular products on Google.

Product Experience Intelligence monitors and analyzes product detail page data from marketplaces like Google Shopping and provides holistic visibility into third-party sellers, competitive reviews, ratings, and competitive pricing to optimize prices and promotions. It encloses all the aspects from product detail pages, i.e., product content and quality from popular product searches in the marketplace which provides agencies and brands with competitive product insights to adjust to make the product more competitive and improve total performance.

GrowByData SERP Monitoring tools monitor SERP data from various locations and analyze your brand’s performance against its competition. Such granular SERP data analytics helps you better understand the competitive landscape in the Merchant Listings SERP component.

Using Search Intelligence in conjunction with Product Experience Intelligence helps you enrich, optimize, and syndicate product data across marketplaces and e-commerce stores. Additionally, it provides brands and retailers with enhanced product and pricing visibility by gender, size, color, and SKU to help you understand what products and what product content ranks well to optimize for popular product listings on Google.


An interactive and prominent organic SERP feature like Merchant Listings needs to be optimized for successful SEO. Brands and retailers in the eCommerce world aiming to appear in product searches and attract attention to their products will be greatly influenced by this prominent organic product display feature as it will make it more convenient for shoppers and help retailers & brands increase their organic product visibility.