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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.

Configuring product identifiers 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)

Background Info and Best Practices for GTIN/UPC

GTIN is the category (or hypernym) for UPC, GTIN, JAN, etc.

So UPC is a type of GTIN. Much more in-depth discussion is here: About unique product identifiers: Google Merchant Center Help.

Our 'aten_smart_gtin' field will find the right 'GTIN' from among all the relevant fields in your source data, which can be viewed from Manage Feed > Analyze Source Data page in your feed.

In case it finds multiple values, it assigns a weight to each one it finds and then chooses the one with the highest weight.

You can put the GTIN/UPC of the item into any of the UPC/GTIN-related fields and 'aten_smart_gtin' will find it, validate it, and insert it into the feed. It also validates the check-digits for UPC and EANs.

As a best practice, I recommend to enter all GTINs of any type into the GTIN field, and not use the UPC field since that is more limited in scope. For example, it would be confusing to put an EAN into the UPC field.


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.

  1. Create a catalog field called 'upc' in your store catalog, and specify each UPC code separated by a comma and space.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 ( 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.

Google Product Category and Product Type attributes


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.

  1. Go to the Manage Feed > Define Fields page.
  2. Click Edit for the google_product_category field.
  3. Look up the appropriate category by going to Manage Feed > Taxonomy Search page (The official list is here: Google Product Taxonomy)
  4. Enter the category in the Default Value box without double-quotes, and click the Update button. You can only choose one category.
  5. 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:

  1. Go to the Manage Feed > Define Fields page.
  2. Click Edit for the google_product_category field.
  3. Enter the field name from your store catalog in the Field Name setting, and click the Update button.
  4. 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.

Incorrect Spacing:

Electronics>GPS >  Sport GPS

Correct Spacing:

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 Type

product_type is 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_type is 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 product_type.

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.

  1. Add a custom field to your store called google-availability.
  2. 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:

  1. Go to the “Manage Feed > Define Fields” page.
  2. Click “Edit” for the availability field.
  3. Enter the field name from your products table in the Field Name setting, and click the 'Update' button.
  4. 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

NEW: These recommendations have been updated in 2024 to reflect Google's change in recommendations to use all 150 characters, but put the most important keywords in the first 70 characters.

According to Google's Product Feed Specifications, the 'title' attribute has a maximum length of 150 characters. Title's over that length are truncated automatically, and a warning is shown in Diagnostics.

Our system automatically truncates titles over 150 characters on a word boundary, in most cases.

Google search results only display about 70 characters or less of the titles, because products with long titles are not as user-friendly. Nevertheless, Google recommends using all 150 characters of the title. Just be aware that the words after 70 characters may not be considered as relevant for search, and will not be displayed in search results.

You may still want to keep page titles under 70 chars for general Search Engine Optimization for Google's organic search ranking.

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

Campaign Tracking

Set up Google Analytics Tracking URLs and track your conversions in Google Analytics.

Negative Keywords

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.

Scheduling Ads

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.

Product Groups

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:

  • Category
  • Brand
  • Item ID
  • Condition
  • 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.

Additional Resources

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.
How to Set Up a Feed & Shopping Campaign with Bids by Product Price


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 Ads Shopping Campaigns (previously known as Adwords or 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.

  1. Go to My Account
  2. Go to Manage Feed > Define Fields for your Google Shopping feed
  3. Click Edit for the custom_label_0 field, or any other unused custom_label_X field
  4. Enter your price break points in the Price Breaks input box. Separate each one with a comma (and optional spaces).
    custom_label_0 Price Breaks set to 50,200,9999
    custom_label_0 values will be 50.00, 200.00, and 9999.00
    Ranges will be $0.01 - $50.00, $50.01 - $200.00, and $200.01 - $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.
  5. Make sure your highest price break is greater than your highest priced item.
  6. Go to the Manage Feed page and click the Submit button
  7. Wait for the feed to be resubmitted and Google to process the update. Depending on the size of the feed, it could be a few minutes to a few hours.
  8. Log into your Google Ads account
  9. Under your Google Shopping campaign in the left side-bar, select the ad group that you want to customize.
  10. Click on the Product groups tab
  11. Hover your mouse over the All products product group, and click the pencil icon that appears
  12. Select Custom label 0 in the Subdivide All products by: drop-down box
  13. Click the bulk add values manually link
  14. 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.
  15. Click the Add values button
  16. Click the Save button.
  17. 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.
  18. If you follow the example above, you will have three new product groups as follows:
    • 50.00
    • 200.00
    • 9999.00
  19. 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 have a bid, in case you ever add items with prices outside the ranges that you set up.
Matching Product IDs to Preserve Click Stats in Google Merchant Center

Why preserve product IDs?

When changing feed providers, it is important to ensure that the product IDs match between the old feed and the new feed. Google Shopping tracks performance metrics like clicks and sales by these IDs, and adjusts the ranking of your items based on their specific performance. If you submit the same products with new IDs, then all the performance history is lost. This can reduce your ranking, click-through rate, and impressions, until Google has time to gather performance data for the new product IDs.

What is the impact of changing product IDs?

One of our customers with an established feed and sizable traffic changed their product IDs to make a clean break from an earlier feed system. Their performance statistics (impressions and clicks) dropped substantially. It took about two months for the performance to recover, but it did eventually recover.

For the many customers who are starting a feed for the first time or with little performance history accumulated, changing product IDs has little to no impact.

You can find Best Practices for Product ID in the GMC Help website.

How do I see the previous feed's product IDs?

If you have already uploaded a new feed, then the easiest way to see what the old product IDs were is to follow these steps:

  1. Go to Products > Diagnostics tab in your Google Merchant Center (GMC) account.
  2. Click on the Item Issues Chart on a date where the old feed was in effect.
  3. Click on the View Examples link for any of the listed Issues.
  4. Look in the Item ID column for the old item IDs

How to change or select a different field to map to Product ID

  1. Go to Manage Feed > Analyze Source Data for your Google feed
  2. Acceptable field names are those that are 100% populated and with 100% distinct values.
    (You can choose other fields, but you may get missing or duplicate ID errors.)
  3. Go to Manage Feed > Define Fields for your Google feed
  4. Click Edit for the 'id' field.
  5. Select the field name from the drop-down
  6. Click Save
  7. Click the Quick Submit button from the Manage Feed > Submit a Task page.
Should I include 'out of stock' items in the Google Shopping Feed?

Google generally recommends to include 'out of stock' items in the feed for products that are temporarily unavailable. By doing this, it eliminates the potential for an activation delay due to a review when a product is re-introduced.

In practice, a short-term (less than 30 days) removal of an item does not incur any review delay when re-introduced. A longer term (more than 30 days) removal of an item also typically incurs no delay when reintroduced. However, especially in certain categories, there could be a delay of anywhere from a few hours to a few days. This is not documented anywhere, just based on experience.

However, 'out of stock' items do NOT appear in Google Shopping search results, and do not receive any traffic from there.

Product feeds do not have any effect on Organic Search listings, so those would continue to appear in Organic Search with price/availability using the structured data tags on your site.

In cases where the catalog has many errors/warnings, it is preferable to filter the 'out of stock' items from the feed. The reason for this is that you can then see the errors and warnings only for actively listed items in the diagnostics, and then work on correcting those errors. Otherwise, those get drowned out in all the other errors on 'out of stock' items.

It is very important to get the errors on 'in stock' items fixed and data quality increased (e.g. by adding images), because those are the only items that are eligible to appear in Google Shopping search results.

If your items are available on a delayed basis, such as preorder, call-to-order, drop-ship, or backorder, then you can use the 'preorder' or 'backorder' availability values. Google requires an 'availability_date' with these values. If you do not have availability dates, then the feed can be programmed to set 'availability_date' to a date that is two weeks out (for example).

Note that 'preorder' is for items which have never been on sale before, and 'backorder' should be used for all other cases of delayed availability.

For further details, see here: Availability [availability] - Google Shopping Feed Specifications