Google wants to help businesses to reach customers more easily in these trying times

Google is rolling out a set of products focused at helping, particularly small- and medium-sized, businesses get through these trying economic times and adapt to the current retail landscape.

From mid-October, the search giant will make it free for retailers to list their products on the Google Shopping tab through Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, meaning search results on the Shopping tab in these regions will be primarily made up of free listings and offer shoppers more options.

Businesses already using Merchant Center and Shopping ads will automatically see their listings show up at no cost.

According to Google, free listings and ads have got an average of twice as many views and 50 per cent more visits in the US since launching there earlier this year, with small and medium-sized businesses seeing the biggest increases.

In addition to free listings, Google is launching ‘Local Services Ads’ in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK. This product helps people to connect with trustworthy local professionals who are backed by the Google Guarantee badge. Searchers are able to see license information and reviews from previous customers, and can also compare and contact providers.

Professionals using Local Services Ads only have to pay when they are contacted by a customer and will not be charged just for people clicking on the ad.

Finally, Google will roll out Google for Small Business and Grow My Store – which helps local retailers drive customer traffic – to more countries by the end of this year. Google for Small Business was launched in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK earlier this month; while Grow My Store was recently expanded to Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, and Spain.