Send Your Catalog To Google

It sounds too good to be true. Get publicity for your business and sell products to Web shoppers. Appear in one of the largest, most popular search engines on the Web. It’s free and it happens even before you post your Web site. Are you in heaven? No, just in Google’s new catalog search section.Google has put together a sophisticated system that scans print catalogs into a JPEG format and then runs an optical character recognition (OCR) program over the JPEG image to convert it into a Web page. The scanned information is saved to a searchable database. When searchers enter a search term that matches text in your catalog, Google’s catalog search results page displays actual pages from your catalog. Visitors see a small version of the page with the search terms highlighted in yellow. They can then click on the small image to view the entire page. Here’s a results page from Google catalog search for the search term: “beeswax sheets.” Click on the small catalog images to view the actual pages from the scanned catalogs. Google is beta testing the system right now, so the only function supported is basic search. However, Google says it plans to add even more benefits in the future, including: Reporting information. Find our what keyword users search on and which keywords lead to sales. Google will give you information to help pinpoint how customers use your catalogs. Advertising. Google is developing advertising programs to “enhance your visibility” in Google Catalog Search pages. Direct linking to your website’s product pages. Link products in the scanned catalogs to the same product on your web site, so users can order from you more easily. Google will also accept digital feeds of scanned catalogs. Since it’s still being tested, the whole scanning and indexing process is free, but there’s no guarantee that such a potentially valuable service will remain that way. When all the extra services get up and running, Google may not be able to keep the whole process free for all retailers. Get your catalog to Google before the search engine decides (if they decide!) to use their catalog search as a money making project. by Larisa Thomason

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