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Actionable Google Shopping Feed Optimization Guide

February 16, 2021

Google Shopping Feeds are helping businesses scale up now more so than ever before. Since the start of the pandemic, brick and mortar businesses have been making the switch and going digital.

Over 46% of product searches start with Google. Higher customer satisfaction rates and loyalty are two of the biggest reasons people shop on this popular platform. But not all businesses can sell on Google. Merchants have to be approved and verified first. And this process starts with optimizing Google Shopping feeds. Stores that have their feeds optimized well are more likely to get authorized for selling online and enjoy greater visibility in SERP pages.

Additionally, with acceptable optimization practices, Google automatically creates shopping ads and helps convince prospective buyers to click on them. In short, it makes merchant stores look more professional. Products show up for the right search queries and are not mismatched with the wrong leads this way.

Why Should You Optimize Your Google Shopping Feed?

For shopping advertisers who don’t have a massive list of products, it makes sense to manually upload a spreadsheet of their inventory and generate Google Shopping ads.

But for stores with vast lists of items for sale, optimizing the Shopping feeds is a no-brainer because Google can then crawl and index their websites to create shopping ads automatically.

When a Google Shopping Feed is optimized correctly, there is no need to update the inventory manually.

  1. Increase Visibility in Google Shopping

Shopping feed optimization is sort of similar to following the best SEO practices. It helps in providing customers with essential information relevant to their product search queries. When customers type in specific keywords, relevant ads are triggered in SERPs.

  1. More Click which leads to more sales

Online stores get a better standing and digital presence when they optimize their shopping feeds. This leads to more clicks on the ads, which end up in greater conversions and sales.

  1. Improved Segmentation

There is the added benefit of improved segmentation for stores that are planning on running multiple shopping campaigns. Products can be segmented based on the type of products being sold and the channels they’re selling in. Additionally, these products can be segmented based on mobile devices, desktops, and tablets.

  1. Increased Relevancy

Using a cynical keywords strategy and optimizing content copy, Google prevents the wrong products from showing up in search engine queries.

For example, if a customer is looking for kids’ shoes, they won’t be shown ads related to adult shoes. Search results displayed are narrowed down and very specific, which leads to better conversions.

Google Shopping Feed Guidelines

Google has a list of specifications for merchants and outlines what requirements must be met for sellers to get approved on the platform. Here are some of the standard guidelines outlined below.

  1. Promote only products available for direct purchase

Out of stock products and products acquired from third parties are usually not approved. Sellers must sell what’s available in their inventory and specify it on shopping feeds. The shipping time is taken, taxes, import duties, and additional costs must also be mentioned.

  1. Use at least one official language.

English is the primary language used to generate Google shopping feeds, but sellers from other countries can use their native language to promote store products.

  1. Tell customers about your return and refund policy.

A working link to a store’s returns and refund policy must be added to the home page’s footer and product landing pages.

Merchants will have to write down how long it takes to process cancellations (15 days, 30 days, etc.), the method of refunds, and outline what happens to damaged and defective goods.

The procedure for requesting and processing these returns and refunds should also be explained.

  1. Collect User Information Responsibly and Securely

Selling users’ contact information data is not allowed by Google. Google has policies on what sort of compliance feeds have to follow regarding user data and doesn’t allow merchants to collect and store personal data.

  1. Verify and Claim Your Website URL

Google explains how to verify and claim your website domain through this guide. For a seamless experience, it’s recommended to add meta tags to your website’s HTML.

  1. Website Requirements

Google has various requirements when it comes to updating the Shopping Feed. Landing pages must show the key features of products clearly and include a ‘Buy Button.’ Please avoid using any design elements on your website that don’t work and do not enable Flash or ActiveX because Google’s programs don’t support them.

  1. Provide Accurate Contact Information

Make sure your store address and details are up-to-date. Providing accurate contact information also involves ensuring that phone numbers are accessible and highlight the store’s opening and closing timings.

  1. Secure your website checkout process

Your website should provide a seamless checkout experience. From adding items to the cart to selecting payment modes, getting shipping estimates after calculating taxes, etc., these factors should be cleared out and well-defined.

  1. Display Return Policy

Highlight your returns policy on your homepage, and make sure you list it at the bottom of your products. Your return policy should inform customers how long It will take to process refunds and get items returned.

  1. Billing Terms and Conditions

The billing terms and conditions must be clearly outlined and read by your customers before they can finish the checkout process. This also includes whether the billing and shipping address will be considered the same or different.

  1. Ensure your site users can complete the checkout process.

This may seem obvious, but a smooth and hassle-free checkout process will significantly lower bounce rates. You’re more likely to get customers returning for future purchases if you make the checkout work ow hassle- free. Think along with the giants like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba and try to provide express checkout options for speedy deliveries.

  1. Sign in to your Merchant Center Account regularly.

Signing in to your Google merchant center account regularly will indicate how active you are managing your online store and making sales. It’s essential, and not being active enough could get accounts flagged.

  1. Make sure your data meets the Google Product Data specification.

Google’s different Merchant Center programs have individual product data specifications that must be met to match products with the right queries. More details on that are mentioned here.

How to Optimize Google Shopping Feed

Optimizing your shopping feed will bring numerous benefits to your store. Firstly, it will influence your product rankings, create a good first impression among customers, and enhance your store’s visibility. But the most significant benefit is how it’ll make content organization so much easier and make managing updates a hassle-free process. If you nail your Google shopping feed optimization work ow, you’re going to spend far less time fixing mistakes and updating data manually. Everything will go smooth, and you can focus on what you do best – that is, creating new products and marketing them to your customers.

Here are some tips below.

  • Product Titles Are The First Thing to Optimize

Product titles should be search-friendly and not just clickbait. Find top-performing keywords using paid or free SEO tools and include them in your titles. SEO optimization is the rst step to Google shopping feed optimization, and this applies to product descriptions as well.

You should also ask yourself what your current budget is when you’re making bids on specific keywords and see if your titles have these keywords incorporated in them.

  1. Put the necessary details at the front of your product titles.

Key features which should be included in these (and that determine ranking in SERPs) are:

  1. Product attributes (form, shape, color, gender, )
  2. MPN Number
  3. Title casing
  4. Ease of readability

  1. Add category and brand to Product title

Category refers to the product type, while the brand is the manufacturer. The more instances of brand names for products, the more likely they are to get shared and show up on the search engine.

  1. Add specific product info like size, material & condition.

This refers to the product-specific attributes, and it varies from product to product. Gender preference may also be considered since some items are geared specifically for men, women, and unisex.

  1. Always use high-quality images.

High-quality images don’t just create a professional look for your store but make your brand stand out as authentic. Use good lighting for your photos, and where possible, natural lighting.

Remove noise, grain, and do not use any fancy filters. Google’s algorithms are intelligent enough to detect signs of too much tampering with photos. Please keep it clean, simple, and professionally present your products.

  1. Provides the highest resolution image_link

Google has guidelines in place when it comes to image size and PPI (pixel per density). Adding links for your images is mandatory. Avoid using broken links and double-check to see if they’re working.

Avoid placeholder images or images that include promotional messages or logos. Pictures with watermarks, transparent logos, cutouts, and colored borders are not accepted by Google and considered terrible for shopping feed optimization.

  1. Product Types

If you’re selling shoes, electronics, and toys in the same store, it’s a good idea to categorize them. Clean up your product types by combining plural and only the same product types as one. You can consider adding sub-categories for your products too.

  1. Nest Your Product Types

Nest your products but don’t do it randomly. Refer to the Google Taxonomy and organize them based on it.

  1. Provide the most detailed product_type values that you have

The more details you add, the more visible your products will be on the search engine platform from a granular level. It helps in adjusting bids too later on.

  1. Provide your most accurate product data

It’s recommended to make sure you provide accurate data about your products to Google. It should include a valid GTIN (Global Trade Item Number), correct pricing info, country of origin, sizing, weight, etc.

  1. Maintain up-to-date price and availability

Pricing should be in the local currency, and it should be mentioned whether the products being sold are in stock. This is why making sure your excel sheets are updated regularly is essential.

  1. Use google_product_category values that are at least 2-3 levels deep.

Adding two to three levels for your product category values will make the computation of taxes and product identification easy. Google automatically assigns product category values by default for shopping feeds, but sellers can change this manually.

Make sure you use the latest categories and follow the best practices when submitting your data for updating your Shopping feed.

  1. Use a unique product id and title value for every item in your product data.

A unique product ID will differentiate your products from the rest of your catalog. For example, let’s say you’re selling a gaming console and a newer release of the same brand comes out.

Your unique product ID will prevent a mix up between the two even though they’re the same color, size but different models.

The ideal title length for your products should be 150 characters, and there are different ways you can go about optimizing your product titles.

  1. Provide the gtin whenever available for your products

GTIN IDs help Google in indexing your products and create PLAs for its various programs. Products without a GTIN are hard to find through search queries by users.

Adding the GTIN in will uniquely identify your product, prevent mismatches, and make your products eligible to be displayed on Google’s various shopping programs and features.

  1. Clean The Product Data

If the content copy doesn’t look clean, Google’s algorithms will flag it and not crawl it. This will affect the rankings and overall visibility.

  1. Misspellings

Misspellings like grammatical errors, extra white spaces, missing punctuation, and sentence structure issues are not tolerated well.

  1. Use of another language

Writing the content copy in multiple languages or not ensuring consistency for all the product pages is a sure re way not to get product listings approved.

  1. Avoid wrong use of capitalization

Google Shopping Feed optimization involves making sure capitalization’s are applied correctly in product descriptions. Product titles and names should be case sensitive.

This is common sense and second nature to advanced marketers, but beginners often make this mistake. Using free tools like Grammarly to proofread your content before submitting it for approval will prevent this.

  1. Use Third-Party Apples for Google Shopping Feed Optimization

If you’re tired of manually optimizing your shopping feed and want an easier way to go about it, you can rely on various third-party apps like AdNabu. You can find many more on the Google Play Store, and it takes a few minutes to install and set them up.

Test them out and go with what works for you. Ultimately, it’s about managing your online store and ensuring everything is running smoothly for a hassle-free experience.

Conclusion

Lastly, don’t forget to revise your content and make updates to it. Keeping your website updated and making sure the landing pages are working fine is crucial. Pay attention to your conversion rate optimization on your ads to make sure you’re getting the best click-through rates. Google will analyze your website when you submit your online store application for approval. The PLA (Product Listing Ads) will link back to your main website, which is why you want to make sure it’s set up well in the first place.

Run an in-depth website analysis and see where most of your traffic is coming from. Do A/B split-testing when launching new campaigns and test out different features to give your users an overall good experience. If your website is working, your inventory and Shopping Feed data is up-to-date, and you’ve already got positive reviews rolling in. It’s just a matter of giving it time and building momentum to boost your revenue and make those sales.

Until then, keep hustling and good luck. This contribution is from AdNabu. AdNabu helps improve sales in Google Ads for Shopify stores. If you are running the google search, google shopping or display campaigns in Google Ads, their app helps increase your sales.

Robert , founder of Nimbus Marketing, with his family on the porch of their Westchester home
Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

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