Google’s job is to recommend the best available websites and pages, based on the requirements of the user. When browsing online for products or services, everyone wants to know they are getting a good deal.
If the same product is available from 10 different retailers at 10 different prices, you of course want to pay the lowest price you can. After all, why would you pay £10 for something that’s available elsewhere for £7.50.
Logically speaking, therefore, product pricing should be a huge ranking factor. If Google exists to provide the best possible recommendations, surely price competitiveness is a big deal…right?
An Important Reminder for Online Retailers
Truth is none of this should come as any surprise to those who know their SEO. It was a full six years ago that Google’s John Mueller stated outright that product pricing is not a ranking factor.
This week, Danny Sullivan has taken to Twitter to once again remind online retailers that pricing does not influence their rankings in any way:
“Prices change all the time, so it wouldn’t be that useful of a ranking signal.”
Now, what is important to note is how nobody is disputing the importance of value for money, and the extent to which cost-effectiveness should ideally be a ranking factor. Instead, it is simply a question of practicality – making product prices an SEO signal would be practically impossible.
On a single website like Amazon, you could be looking at (literally) millions of fractional price adjustments each day. Online retailers are constantly adjusting their prices to ensure they stay competitive – even if just by a few pennies to ensure they undercut their competitors.
An Impossible Ranking Signal to Monitor
As things stand right now, there is no realistic way Google (or any other search engine) can keep such a close and constant eye on pricing as a ranking factor.
Instead Mr Sullivan highlighted how customers can use filters to find products and services within their preferred price bracket.
“You can, of course, sort by price if you choose or make use of some price filtering.”
So while product prices are not a ranking factor, they can still make a big difference in practice. If a customer is looking for the lowest price on any given product, they can find it with price filtering.
Undercutting the competition could therefore work in your favour – just don’t expect it to propel you any higher in the rankings.