Data Feed Optimization for Google Shopping
- How can I get higher ranking in the search results?
Google has been giving higher ranking to more optimized item listings. In order to maintain and enhance ranking, merchants need to be proactive with their data feeds, and follow Google's Improving your Data Quality guidelines.
We offer a one-time data feed optimization service for a flat fee. We would go through and add relevant attributes to your feed, and then offer you tailored suggestions for additional improvement. In some cases, it can make a big improvement in your ranking, although this is not guaranteed. See our Data Feed Optimization page for details, or submit an optimization request.
You also have the option of optimizing the feed on your own by following our Data Feed Optimization Tips for Google Shopping.
If you have a legacy store, you can add attribute data to your product captions. Our Custom feeds have the capability to extract that information and submit the attributes to Google. See our instructions for legacy stores for more information.
- How should I configure the brand, MPN, and GTIN/UPC fields?
Google requires at least two of the following three attributes for almost every product.
- Brand - brand name or manufacturer of the item
- MPN - manufacturer part number
- GTIN - global trade item number (UPC, EAN, JAN, or ISBN)
- Leave GTIN blank if it is not available.
- Not all items have a GTIN. For those items, leave the GTIN field blank and provide the brand and manufacturer part number (MPN) instead.
- GTIN is required for certain designated brands.
- For certain designated brands, you must provide a valid GTIN when the item condition is new.
- Specify MPN and Brand for items with no GTIN
- If the products are white-label, vintage, custom-made, or manufactured by you, then just set brand to your company name and map MPN to your internal product code or SKU field.
- Specify UPC codes as 12 digits
- To avoid an invalid identifier warning, always specify UPC codes as 12 digits. There should not be any hyphens/dashes or spaces in the UPC code, and remember to include any leading zeros.
- Use the complete Manufacturer Part Numbers
- Two or more character MPN values are now allowed. A single character MPN will result in an error.
- Use only one Manufacturer Part Number
- If the MPN has multiple variations of hyphenation, spacing, or capitalization, only specify the official or most common one.
- Use real, accurate information
- It is not useful to insert dummy, made-up, or generic values for these fields. You should only put information in these fields if it is real and accurate, otherwise, Google may suspend your items.
- Request exceptions for disallowed items
- If identifiers are not available for your products and Google disapproves the listings, then contact Google via your Merchant Center account to find out your options.
Looking up Identifiers
There are several ways to obtain the above information for your products.
- Search for the item in Amazon and look in the Product Information section.
- Contact or check the website of the item manufacturer or your supplier
- Read it off the product packaging
- Hire a Product Data Entry service
Multiple UPC codes
If you have multiple UPC codes for a single item, specify each one separated by a comma and space.
If you have products with size/color variations, each with a different UPC code, you have numerous options with varying complexity.
- Create a catalog field called 'upc' in your store catalog, and specify each UPC code separated by a comma and space.
- Create catalog fields called 'upc' and 'upc-multiple' in your store catalog, and specify just one of the UPC codes in 'upc', and all the UPC codes separated by commas in 'upc-multiple'. Google can accept comma-separated UPC codes, and for other shopping engines, you can use the single UPC code.
- With a Custom feed and some special programming, we can multiply your listings by each size/color option.
- Factors that affect ranking in Google Shopping
There are many factors that affect ranking, performance, or clicks that you get from Google Shopping. Listed below is not meant to be an exhaustive or accurate list. Google's algorithms are secret, and below is simply our best guess based on Google's recommendations and other Internet chatter.
Factors That You Control
- Product titles and descriptions
- The amount of your bid, daily budget, and other Adwords settings
- Submitting all other, relevant product data
- Submission frequency (daily is best)
- Site uptime and load time
- Completeness and accuracy of the product data
- Following Google content policies
- Following Google quality guidelines
- Following Google editorial guidelines
Factors Out of Your Control
- Competition from other merchants
- Google's ranking algorithm, which is constantly being changed
- Customer demand for your products
- Customer demand for Google and Google Shopping
- How much Google promotes Product Search
- Do you offer search engine optimization for Google Shopping?
We offer one-on-one consulting to optimize your data feed. While we can help you optimize your feed, we do not offer content optimization services at this time. However, we have collected the best advice we can find below, and can assist you in following that advice. By simply following these tips, you can dramatically increase your ranking in Google Shopping.
- Daily update frequency is recommended for all data feeds
The recommended feed update/submission frequency is Daily for all feeds. Submissions and updates are free, so there is no additional cost to make this change.
If available for your store platform, then the free, Daily Plus option is recommended.
Auto-skip is a legacy setting and can be Disabled for all feeds.
Google's high-quality data requirements ask that you provide up-to-date pricing and availability information in order to provide the best experience for shoppers and improve your ranking. This is recommended even if your listings do not change often.
Many other shopping engines also encourage frequent submissions to keep your listings fresh. For example, eBay Commerce Network (Shopping.com) also has the capability to accept frequent data feed submissions. Therefore, to get the best results from all shopping engines, we recommend Daily submission of your feed.
To change the setting, go to My Account. Then, go to the Manage Feed > Modify Settings page. Set the Update Frequency, the Auto-Skip setting to Disabled, and then save the settings.
Please contact us if you require custom scheduling or more frequent submissions.
- Tax and Shipping settings for Google Shopping
Starting June 3, 2011, tax and shipping settings are required for all Google product feeds targeting the United States. You can enter these settings at the item-level or account-level. It is easier to enter the settings at the account level.
Account-level tax and shipping rules
Item-level tax and shipping rules
Your Google feed may be pre-configured to read Google shipping/tax information from relevant fields in your store catalog. If you need to supply item-level tax and shipping values, then please add columns for those in your store catalog, and refer to the instructions below.
- Tax & Shipping Instructions - click on the 'shipping' and 'tax' attribute links
- Google Product Category and Product Type attributes
- google_product_category - (optional) select one Google Product Category from the taxonomy
- product_type - (optional) any merchant-supplied category
How to set Google Product Category
You have four options for setting Google Product Category values in your feed. Here is a summary.
- Option 1: Leave it blank and let Google auto-categorize
- Google automatically categorizes your products if you leave google_product_category blank. Their system does a good job for common products, so this is a good option to consider.
- Option 2: Set a default value for all items
- You can configure a default value that applies to all items in your feed where no other google_product_category value is available. This option is typically used in addition to Option 3 or Option 4. Refer to the How to set a Default Value for Google Product Category section later in this article for specific instructions.
- Option 3: Map to a field in your catalog
- If you have google_product_category values in your product catalog already, you can map your Catalog field to the 'google_product_category' field in the feed from the Manage Feed > Define Fields page.
- Option 4: Use our Categorization Service
- For a one-time setup fee and small monthly fee, we can categorize your products for you by mapping each of your categories to a closely matching Google product category. See google_product_category Categorization Service for details.
How to set a Default Value for Google Product Category
Use the instructions below to add a default Google product category value for your data feed.
- Go to the Manage Feed > Define Fields page.
- Click Edit for the
- Look up the appropriate category by going to Manage Feed > Taxonomy Search page (The official list is here: Google Product Taxonomy)
- Enter the category in the Default Value box without double-quotes, and click the Update button. You can only choose one category.
- Resubmit your data feed.
How to map a Catalog Field for Google Product Category
Your feed may be pre-configured to use an appropriate Catalog field from your store catalog. To change or add that setting, follow these steps:
- Go to the Manage Feed > Define Fields page.
- Click Edit for the
- Enter the field name from your store catalog in the Field Name setting, and click the Update button.
- Resubmit your data feed.
Google Product Category Tips
The quotation marks around the category are optional, and we recommend leaving them out for clarity.
Google may accept categories with altered spacing, but our system is more strict and expects the spacing to be exactly like it is in Google's official taxonomy.
Electronics>GPS > Sport GPS
Electronics > GPS > Sport GPS
Google changes the taxonomy from time to time, and you need to update your categories when they do that.
If you have missing or invalid categories, you can find out in the Google Validation report in your account.
If you have a large number of items, start out by specifying a top-level category, like Electronics or Home & Garden, just so the items can be listed. Later, you can go back and put in more detailed categories for better results.
product_typeis a recommended field and you can provide your own, merchant-specific category in this field. The feeds are pre-configured to put in your merchant category or path in this field.
product_typeis a very important field for two reasons. First, it is one of the few fields that is used as a source of keywords for searching. Second, you can set up product groups by product_type in your Shopping Campaign to optimize your bids by category.
You have the option of overriding this pre-configured value with the value from any of the fields in your store catalog. You can also set a Default Value that will be used for any items without any other product type. You can configure this field by going to Manage Feed > Define Fields > Edit
- How to configure Google Shopping Availability attribute
Your data feed submits the ‘in stock’ value in this attribute by default, so there is generally no need to do anything further. Note that your data feed generally filters out items with a zero price and items that are not orderable.
To specify availability information for specific items, follow these steps.
- Add a custom field to your store called google-availability.
- Populate one of the values listed below for each item. Google only accepts these values for the availability attribute.
- 'in stock' - you are accepting orders and fulfilling the purchase
- 'out of stock' - you are not currently taking orders
- 'preorder' - you are taking orders for an unreleased product
Your data feed's availability attribute should already be configured to read from the google-availability field. If you need to change the field name, follow these steps:
- Go to the “Manage Feed > Define Fields” page.
- Click “Edit” for the availability field.
- Enter the field name from your products table in the Field Name setting, and click the 'Update' button.
- Resubmit your data feed.
- What are the ways to submit custom attributes in my Google feed?
If you have more fields in your store catalog, you can output them to your data feed by adding Catalog Fields from the Manage Feed > Define Fields page. Refer to Defining your Custom Attributes for details on how to name the attributes in the feed.
The values in the above field types are passed through directly without any changes. If you need special handling, consider upgrading to a Custom data feed. We have customizable field types that can do things such as remove HTML tags, remove boilerplate text, and re-categorize products.
- How do I optimize my keywords for Google Shopping?
Quick Tip: Optimize the first 70 characters of the title, and the first 140 character of the description for best results. Describe the item accurately and concisely within that limit with all relevant keywords for the item.
Because Google’s search algorithms are secret, there is no guaranteed way to improve your visibility and ranking in the search results. Furthermore, as the algorithms change over time, your visibility and ranking will also change over time. The following are only general techniques to improve your search engine ranking for Google Shopping.
The closer your product descriptions and titles match the keywords that people are typing into the search box, the higher the resulting listing. Keyword order and spelling are important. Matches in titles rank higher than matches in descriptions. On your site’s product pages, text size, placement, and contrast affect the importance of the keywords. (Hidden text in meta tags is generally ignored.) These guidelines are not absolute.
- Target Keywords
- nike air max 360 mens
- Nike Air Max 360 Mens Size 7 Sneakers
- Nike Air Max 360 Mens Size 7 Sneakers BB low basketball shoes. The Mens Nike Air Max 360 BB is designed for the athlete...
- Keywords are the first words in the title and description.
- Keyword spelling matches exactly, including punctuation and plurality (case does not matter).
- Keyword order matches exactly.
- Keywords are repeated in the description multiple times, with variations.
- Use the suggestions that pop-up when you search in Google to determine the correct keywords to target. The most popular keyword phrases appear higher.
- Longer keyword phrases (i.e. the most specific ones) have the highest conversion rates.
- Will Checkout badges improve my ranking in Google Shopping?
Google Shopping is an unbiased product search engine, and therefore, usage of Google Checkout or Adwords does not affect your ranking. However, your store will be more prominently featured by having the Checkout badge next to your items. This is one avenue you may wish to investigate further. We currently do not offer any services in this regard.
- Title Length for SEO: Importance of the 70 character limit for Google
According to Google's Product Feed Specifications, the 'title' attribute has a suggested maximum length of 70 characters. Therefore, products with long titles will still be listed in search results.
However, since Google search results only display about 70 characters of the title, and products with long titles are not as user-friendly, it stands to reason that products with longer titles may be demoted in the ranking. Furthermore, the words after 70 characters may not be considered as relevant. Some SEO experts also recommend keeping page titles under 70 chars. Therefore, our opinion is that while an appropriate title length is important, it is not strictly necessary for every product. Similar reasoning applies to page titles for Google's organic search ranking.
Note that we have no direct knowledge of Google's algorithms, so the above suggestions represent an opinion only.
If your product titles are excessively long, we can program your (Custom) feed so that all the titles are limited to a 70 character title length by truncating long titles at a word boundary. However, we generally do not recommend this. The loss of visibility penalty due to the lack of important title keywords is typically greater than the minor ranking penalty due to having more than 70 characters. Keywords in the title are very critical to getting your products to show up for particular searches.
- Strategy for the transition to Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs)
Your existing Google Merchant Account data feed is used to create a new Adwords Campaign for the Product Listing Ads. Here are the steps to take to make the most of the transition from free listings to pay-per-click listings with Google Shopping.
Enable Product Listing Ads
Go to the GMA Adwords Settings page and follow the steps in the wizard to set up a default campaign. You can set your daily budget to $1.00 and default bid to $0.01 while you learn how it works.
Starting Out Small
We recommend you set your maximum bid to $0.01 per click and set your maximum daily spend to $1.00. This will cap your spending to $30/month, and deliver you up to 100 clicks per day. Customers searching for hard-to-find items, or those sorting by price or other factors may still find your items and click on them. This is a good way to get started without a huge investment of time or money.
Refining the Campaign
For strategies on optimizing your your product listing ads campaign, please see our article: How to optimize your Product Listing Ads Campaign
- How to Optimize a Google Shopping Campaign
Set up Google Analytics Tracking URLs and track your conversions in Google Analytics.
To prevent paying for irrelevant clicks, you can configure negative keywords in your Adwords campaign. In your campaign settings, on the Dimensions tab, select search terms to see the keywords that are coming in. Then, you can start adding the negative keywords on the keywords tab, in the negative keywords section.
Weekly Bid/Budget Adjustment
On a weekly basis, you should review and adjust your bid and daily budget. Small changes in the bid can result in big changes in traffic and conversions. It needs to be maintained at least once per week because the competition is changing all the time.
With Shopping Campaigns, your daily budget could be exhausted before the end of the day. Please contact Adwords and ask them about showing the ads evenly over the day, or scheduling the ads to only appear at certain times of the day.
Bidding by Price Range
We can help you set up your feed so you can set your bids based on the price of the product. This allows you to bid more on higher-priced items, and less on lower-priced items. To learn more, see: Google Shopping Bidding by Price Break.
On the Product Groups tab of your Shopping Campaign Ad Group, you can click the plus icon next to All Products to set up different bids for different groups of products. You will want to bid higher for high price/margin items, and lower for low price/margin items. You can set up a target by the following fields:
- Item ID
- Product Type
- Custom Label 0
- Custom Label 1
- Custom Label 2
- Custom Label 3
- Custom Label 4
If there are items you do not want listed, you can filter these from your feed. You can filter items individually, or by attributes such as price, category, markup, or any other product attribute. For instructions, see our Filtering Techniques and Instructions.
Titles and Descriptions
The first 70 characters of the title and the first 140 characters of the description play a key role in determining the ranking of your items in Google Shopping. Include words that accurately describe the item. Irrelevant information here will lower your ranking. Do not include boilerplate text, shipping terms, availability information, calls to action, block capitals, etc. See our keyword optimization page for more details.
- Google Shopping Best Practices Guide - free
- This official Google guide covers optimizing your feed, setting up product targets, bidding strategy, and analytics.
- The Google Shopping Guide for Business Owners - free
- This guide covers bidding strategy with product targets, and includes examples of how to best use the information from Google Analytics.
- Using price breaks to increase your Google Shopping ROI
Are you bidding the same price for clicks on your $10.00 items as your $200.00 items? If you bid too high, it may be too costly to sell the $10.00 item, and if you bid too low, you may miss sales opportunities on the $200.00 item.
This easy optimization will let you customize your bid by the price range of your products, allowing you to submit your whole catalog of products to Google Shopping. This can significantly lower your conversion cost and improve your return on investment in Google Adwords Shopping Campaigns (previously known as Product Listing Ads (PLA)).
Our Google Shopping feeds include a free feature to define price breaks, also known as 'ranges', 'brackets', or 'buckets'. The price break values will be placed in one of the custom_label_X fields. You can use this setting to set up product groups that target different price ranges. In this way, you can set lower bids for lower priced items, and higher bids for higher priced items.
- Go to My Account
- Go to Manage Feed > Define Fields for your Google Shopping feed
- Click Edit for the
custom_label_3field (If that field is in use already, you could select any other custom_label_X field.)
- Enter your price breaks in the Price Breaks input box. Separate each one with a comma (and optional spaces).
For example, if you enter
50,200,9999, this will set up three price breaks of
50.00for products priced between $0.01 and $50.00,
200.00for products priced between $50.01 and $200.00 and
9999.00for products priced between $200.01 and $9999.00. NOTE: Any settings for Default Value and Catalog Field will be ignored. Refer to the instructions on the Add or Modify Field page for details.
- Make sure your highest price break is greater than your highest priced item. Open the Request Price Breaks Setup Form to see the price range for each of your feeds.
- Go to the Manage Feed page and click the Submit button. (Allow an hour or two for processing.)
- Log into your Google Adwords account
- Under your Google Shopping campaign in the left side-bar, select the ad group that you want to customize.
- Click on the Product groups tab
- Next to the All products product group, click the plus icon or pencil icon
- In the gray drop-down box, select the Custom label 3 field
- Click the bulk add values manually link
- Enter each price break value, e.g. 50.00, on a separate line. The price break value must have two decimal places, and must not have any double quotes or commas.
- Click the Add values button
- Click the Save button.
- The new product groups will appear in the list. Click the Max. CPC box next to each group, and enter your maximum cost-per-click bid for the price range.
- If you follow the example above, you will have three new product groups as follows:
- Make sure to set an appropriate bid for the Everything else in 'All Products' product group. For example, you can set the bid to $0.01 (or anything less than or equal to the bid on your lowest product group). This is a catch-all rule that ensures all your items remain listed, in case you ever add items with prices outside the ranges that you set up.