I watch Google Merchant Center and the results it feeds to the universal results in the main SERPs pretty closely. I noticed something a little different today. For several months Google has been showing a marked preference for product results from the big brands. In my industry this means a lot or products from Amazon and Home Depot were dominating the products showing up in universal results.
They seem to be at least trialing becoming more of a “comparison” engine by weighting the results much more towards products which can be found at multiple vendors.
In a search for “hardwood flooring” where before the listings were dominated by big brands, 4 of the 5 results now show no brand listed in the results.
When clicking on a non-branded result the link now leads to the page comparing the same product across differnent vendors on Google Merchant Center.
Does this signal a slight shift away from the favoritism Google has been showing big brands in the last year or so or is it just a test of Google Merchant Center becoming more “comparison” oriented? We’ll just have to watch and find out. It’s also worth noting that this funnels much more traffic back to Google Merchant Center itself rather than directly to the Merchant.
I suspect this is a precursor of Google ramping up their ability to monetize the Merchant Center.