This holiday season a lot of etailers are counting on seeing huge traffic and revenue via shopping networks such as shopping.com, shopzilla.com, smarter.com, and the like. The problem is that most small businesses don’t have a clue how to really use these networks to sell their products, and have even less ability at getting their listings ranking highly compared to the power users that have own “shopping network concierge” on speed dial (that’s right, spend enough money with any specific network and you’ll find yourself upgraded really soon with a personal concierge), not to mention that most small businesses have significantly less budget dedicated to shopping network PPC costs. Here is the truth, ranking highly in shopping networks is not all up to who’s paying the highest PPC amount. These networks use an algorithm to rank product results and then make their money via the PPC amount you are paying. Having a high PPC amount will help you rank because it’s one of the factors, but if you are a small business you can apply these 8 steps to help you maximize your ranking potential while keeping your PPC cost low, allowing you to stretch your PPC budget and earn more profit off the 100 million plus shopping network users (per month). Follow these 8 steps and you’ll be sure to optimize your shopping network marketing channel. 1. Make use of your product title. The product title is the most important element to most network engines for search relevancy. If you are selling LCD monitors don’t simply name your product Dell LCD Monitor. You want to load that title up with keywords. Most networks allow about 200 characters for the title so go with something like: Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP 24″ Widescreen Flat Panel LCD Computer Monitor. 2. Make use of your product description. The product description is second in line in relevancy for most network engines. Use the space wisely. Most allow up to about 1000 characters before they truncate the description. Also realize that the first 50 chars are most important. Include major keywords in the first 50 and also some about a promo you are running. Example: Dell UltraSharp 24″ Flat Panel LCD Monitor. Free shipping for limited time…continue with remaining description. 3. Make sure to input the item SKU number. Many users search by item SKU (a products unique numeric identifier knows as a Stock Keeping Unit) number so they can compare identical products from different retailers to shop for best price, best promo, etc. 4. Always, always include a product image. Each network will allow you to reference an image URL from your website of the product you are listing. This image shows up on their site for the user to see. Make sure the image is thumbnail friendly because the user often only sees the thumbnail and you don’t want that image all distorted. 5. Get your product listed in the right category. A past client asked me why there were doing so bad on shopping.com selling their office chairs. It took me about 5 min. to show them that their chairs were listed in the gardening category. Each network has their own category taxonomy. Learn it. Follow it. Love it. 6. Set your PPC prices appropriately. A high PPC amount will not get you ranked at the top, but a very low one will leave you at the bottom. Set your PPC in a reasonable range based off what you can see others might be doing, and manually set specific prices for your top selling items rather than running with that category default. 7. Get customers to fill out the surveys. Most of us have purchased something online only to have the Bizrate survey pop up after checkout. I hate them, others love them. But, if you want to increase your store’s trust within a given network, one of the best methods is to get positive surveys filled out and submitted. Most network engines have a minimum amount of surveys require to be filled out before you can be a “trusted store”. Work toward this with excitement! 8. Select “product” as your item type when submitting to Google Base. Many make the mistake of creating their own item type, or selecting an item type other than “product” when submitting to Google Base. Don’t be one of them! By doing this you are opting to not have your items listed on Google Product Search (aka Froogle). If you select item type as “product” then your Google Base items will automatically be indexed into Google Product Search and you will see about 10x the traffic flow. This also allows your product to show up in Google Search when product results are shown at the top. Good luck this holiday season, and feel free to share any of your own tips you have learned by commenting.