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Feed: Google - Building Google Shopping feeds that sell

Sarah Bacchus
Sarah Bacchus
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The success of your products on Google Shopping depends largely on the quality of your product data. This is because Google uses data quality to determine the ad relevance portion of your Quality Score, which ultimately determines whether your products appear for any given search. Quality Score comprises three parts:

  • Ad relevance: This measures how closely related your listing is to the search query.
  • Click-through rate (CTR) / expected CTR: This is the ratio showing how often people who see your ad end up clicking it. It indicates how likely it is that your ads will get clicked when shown for that keyword.
  • Landing page experience: This measures how well your landing page gives shoppers who click on your ads exactly what they’re looking for.

Important fields to include in your Google feed 

Submitting data for a majority, or all, of the fields below can optimize the quality of your product data --  subsequently increasing your ad relevance, CTR, and overall Quality Score -- resulting in better visibility and increased sales on Google Shopping.

Field name Field description
Title The title of your product should be descriptive, accurate, and include relevant keywords.
Description Your product description should be detailed, informative, and highlight unique selling points.
Brand, MPN, and GTIN (UPC/EAN) These are unique product identifiers. Make sure to include them in your product feed.
Google product category This helps Google to understand the type of product you’re selling.
Product type This helps to organize your products into specific categories, which can help shoppers find them more easily.
Image A clear and high-quality image is essential to grab the attention of potential customers.
Price Competitive pricing can help to increase clicks and conversions.
Apparel categories These are specific categories for apparel products.
Sales tax This is important to include if applicable.
Shipping Clearly state your shipping options and policies.
Availability Update your product feed regularly to reflect changes in stock availability.
Condition Make sure to accurately describe the condition of your products.
Custom labels Use custom labels to further organize and group your products.
Additional required* fields Make sure to fill in all required fields in your product feed.

 

How to optimize important fields

Title

One of the most crucial elements of a successful Google Shopping campaign is the quality of your product data, and some are more important than others. The perfect example to start are product titles. A well-optimized product title not only improves ad relevance but also enhances the user experience by helping shoppers quickly find what they are looking for. Here are some best practices for product titles:

  1. Keep it concise and descriptive: Your product title should be descriptive but not long-winded. Google Shopping limits titles to 150 characters, so make sure to include the most important information first, such as brand, product type, and top keywords.
  2. Use relevant keywords: Use relevant keywords that shoppers are likely to use when searching for your product. However, avoid "keyword stuffing" by using too many keywords or irrelevant ones that don't relate to your product.
  3. Follow a consistent format: Consistency is key when it comes to creating effective product titles. Follow a consistent format that works for your product and your audience. For example, you may choose to include brand, product type, gender, size, color, and other important descriptors in your product title.
  4. Avoid promotional language: Do not include promotional text like "on sale now" in your product title. This can negatively affect your ad relevance and may be disapproved by Google.
  5. Do not use all caps: Avoid using all capital letters in your product title as this can appear spammy and negatively impact the user experience.
  6. Test and refine: Optimize your product titles based on your products and your customers. Continuously test and refine your product titles to ensure maximum performance and engagement.

Description

To optimize your product description, keep it keyword-rich and specific to your product. However, avoid including other available variants such as color, size, and material, as it can cause confusion and show the wrong product to potential customers. Stick to common uses of your product, and keep the length of the description to 500 characters or less. Note that the first 100 characters carry the most weight, so be sure to include the most important information at the beginning.

Brand

As mentioned in the product title optimization section, brand is an important attribute for Google to index your product listings and serve them to relevant search queries. If you are the brand owner, this gives you control over how your brand appears in Google Shopping. But if you're a retailer, it's important to get to know the brands you sell and how they appear in top listings. Regardless, make sure to list the brand of every product you offer without exceptions.

MPN/GTIN (UPC/EAN)

Unique Product Identifiers (UPIs) such as Manufacturer's Product Number (MPN) and Google Trade Identification Number (GTIN) are crucial attributes for your product feed. The MPN is usually the SKU, and the GTIN may be the UPC or ISBN. If you have already provided the brand for your products, you'll only need one UPI, either MPN or GTIN. But if you have both, use both.

It's essential to submit accurate values in the UPI fields because Google uses them to group products it serves up to a search. Therefore, the values you enter in the UPI fields must be universally used for that product. All Google Shopping listings for that product, including yours and your competitors', should share the same UPI. Incorrect UPIs will prevent Google from matching your products to established product groups, resulting in a lower impression share.

The Identifier Exists value should only be used for custom, one-of-a-kind, or special items such as custom T-shirts, art, handmade goods, vintage products, antiques, books published before 1970, and other unique items.

Google product category

When categorizing your products for Google Shopping, it's important to choose the most accurate category possible to ensure that your products appear in relevant searches.  Google's category tree can be overwhelming, with over 6,000 categories and subcategories. To simplify this process, you can use GoDataFeed's categorization engine to search for matching categories. When selecting a category, try to get as far down the taxonomy tree as possible. If your product doesn't fit neatly into Google's taxonomy, use the Product Type field to provide additional clarity. Google Product Category is now an optional field to submit on the feed level. Google now automatically categorizes your products based on the different product attribute fields we submit on the feed level.

Product type

Product Type is particularly helpful for retailers whose products don't fit into the category tree. To get the most out of this field, use your store's categorization as a guide and get as specific as possible. Use the last subcategory in the product page's "breadcrumb" as a reference for your Product Type.

Product image

Product images don't directly affect ad relevance, but they do impact click-through rate (CTR). To optimize your images, use a white background and avoid watermarks, logos, and text overlays. High-resolution images of at least 1,200 pixels in height/width are recommended. Consider your product images as a virtual showroom and provide alternative views and angles, close-ups, and in-action images. Display product variations to answer potential customer questions.

Price

Price is a critical factor in the purchasing decision, particularly if your products are sold by other retailers advertising on Google Shopping. Before setting a price, research your product and competitors' prices to determine a competitive price range. Research shows that Google Shopping's algorithm favors products with lower prices, so setting a competitive price can improve your ad placement and impression share in Google Shopping SERPs.

Apparel-specific attributes

For apparel products, Google provides some additional required and optional fields. These can help your products in two distinct ways:

  1. Accepted values inside these fields often match longtail keyword searches.
  2. These attributes are used as levers for filtering within SERPs.

The following are apparel-specific attributes and acceptable values:

  • Gender (required for apparel): male, female, or unisex
  • Size (required for apparel): actual size of product
  • Age group: newborn, infant, toddler, kids, adult
  • Color: color of product
  • Size type: regular, petite, plus, big and tall, maternity
  • Size system: US, UK, EU, DE, FR, JP, CN (China), IT, BR, MEX, AU

Sales tax

If you sell in the U.S., you must set up tax rates for each state you charge taxes for. If you sell in the U.S. but don't charge tax, indicate that in your tax settings. There are multiple options for tax rate, and these can be applied both at the account and data feed level. Be sure to consult your tax advisor to understand which options would work best for your business.

The options include:

  • The manual option: This applies a flat rate that charges all customers the same amount of tax regardless of where they're located.
  • The destination-based option: This applies taxes based on where your customer (the buyer) is located. This option assumes that you have nexus everywhere in the state (in every city and county). So if the state is a home rule state where sub-state nexus matters, the destination-based option might not be accurate.
  • The tax attribute within the data feed: This is for the collection of non-standard tax rates or if products are exempt from tax.

Shipping

You can set up shipping rates in your Merchant Center settings using the following options:

  • Free shipping
  • Fixed-rate
  • Carrier-calculated rate

If you use carrier-calculated rates, shipping rates will be based on dimensions, weight, user location, and origin postal code. The following attributes are required in your data feed for the carrier-calculated option:

  • Shipping weight
  • Shipping length
  • Shipping width
  • Shipping height

Custom labels

Custom labels allow you to group products in ways that make sense to your business rather than Google’s categorization structure. To implement custom labels as attributes in your data feed, follow these steps:

  1. Assign a specific definition for each of the five custom labels.
  2. Specify the possible values for each custom label.
  3. Use these custom labels consistently across all products in your Merchant Center account, assigning the appropriate value to each product according to the custom label definition.
  4. Each of the five custom labels can only have one value per product.

You can have up to five custom labels in your product data feed. These start with 0 and end with 4. The values for custom fields will vary based on your products and your business's unique needs, but here are some common examples that can easily be adopted by a wide range of sellers:

  • Seasonal: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Price Point: Under10, Under50, Under100, Over100
  • Price Margin: LowMargin, HighMargin
  • Promotional: Clearance, OnSale
  • Performance: BestSeller, LowSeller

Availability

The availability field in your product data feed tells Google if your product is in stock, out of stock, or available for pre-order. This field only has three accepted values:

  • “in stock”
  • “out of stock”
  • “pre-order”

Condition

The condition field in your product data feed tells Google if your product is new or used. This field only has two accepted values:

  • “New”
  • “Used”

Be sure to accurately set the availability and condition fields in your product data feed to ensure that your customers receive the correct information about your products.

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