Link - Google Merchant center Feed Specification Guide

 

Link_Google_Merchant_Center_Feed_Specification_Guide

 

Google Merchant is an intuitive tool that can be used to hunt for shops and product details. These details are disclosed to all shoppers who make use of Google. By using the merchant center, all your products and services will be made available to customers around the world. When they search for products on the Google platform, they will be able to see your products and shops. Indeed, this is a smart way of branding and advertising your venture to the rest of the world. Google merchants rely on a few guidelines. To make the most out of google merchant, you must stick to its rules for formatting. 

 

Definition - Link

 

Google merchant focuses on creating shopping ads. Users clicking on these ads will be redirected to a landing page which is designed on your website. The URL to your website must be integrated within the shopping ad. Also, you must ensure that your website's landing page is functionally and ready for traffic. 

 

Required/Optional

 

The use of Google Merchant is apt for shopping advertisements. However, it is an optional feature for shopping actions. This means the ad will redirect customers to your website. But, it may not translate into a shopping action. 

This feature has a unique link attribute. Online sellers need to populate this attribute with the URL of their websites landing page. As soon as a mobile or desktop user clicks on this link, they will be redirected to your website. 

 

Formatting guidelines for Link

 

  1. When you are dealing with shopping ads through Google merchant software, it is important for you to stick to certain formatting rules. As mentioned previously, these rules play a vital role in building effective and accurate links to your shopping website. 

  2. Type: Only ASCII codes and RFC 3986 compliant characters will be accepted for the URL. And, you must ensure that the link meets the requirements of both http and https. 

  3. Limit: The total number of characters you can enter in the URL would be 2000. Indeed, creating a URL that exceeds 2000 characters is not worthy. Mainly because potential customers wouldn’t remember such a long URL. And, when end users don’t remember your URL, they are less likely to revisit. 

  4. Feed: The shopping ad link can have two different types of feeds. You can make use of text or XML feeds. When you rely on XML fields, the URL should be encapsulated between the link tags. Of course, this denotes that the only connection between your website and the shopping ad would be this URL. For a text feed, you don’t need to use the link tag. There is a complete Google Merchant Center Feed Guide to help you with this. 

  5. Schema: Google and many other online platforms make use of structured data. Using structure data, information gets extracted from your website. Markups and annotations from your website will be stored. And, this data is extremely useful during online searches. Choosing to give structured data into your Google merchant shopping ad is optional. But, by incorporating you may attract more traffic to your website. 

 

Below is a summary of the important formatting rules

 

Type*

Identifies the URL type

Must be RFC-3986 compliant

Only ASCII Characters

Should be http or https

Limit*

Total number of characters in URL

1 – 2000 characters

Schema

Microdata that is used by search engines during crawls

Optional, but can be populated with landing page product information

File Format*

Can be chosen between text and XML feeds

Text Feeds: http:/www.chocolate.com/original-chocolate

XML Feeds: <link>http:/www.chocolate.com/original-chocolate</lin>

 

Minimum requirements for Link



  1. When you want to advertise your products and shop using google merchant, there are few requirements you should satisfy. If you fail to meet the requirements, the ad will be rejected immediately. Every user is supposed to create a google merchant account. This account has details of all the products you have advertised. And, when a product is disapproved, it will be mentioned in your merchant account center. 

  2. At any cost, the link should be both desktop and mobile-friendly. Technically, you need to fill two fields while setting up the page.  You must populate the link field. You should enter a value in the mobile link field. 

  3. RFC 3986 is all about being compliant with https and http. 

  4. A lot of people tend to create websites on the go. They forget about the domain name. Well, this is a risky move. Your domain name should be valid and verified. Google merchant doesn’t encourage the use of domain names that are not verified. 

  5. Google crawls into websites. However, it doesn’t crawl into all sites. If a site is search engine optimized and meets google standards - the search engine would crawl into it. This is why you should create URLs and content that can be crawled by google. 

  6. Never include any symbols in the URL. All symbols and spaces in the URL should be replaced.  If there is & in your URL, replace it with &26. 

  7. The ad must redirect to your website immediately. The user should not be asked to make any registration.  The user should not be asked to sign in or sign up.

  8. Any shopping ad can have only a single link. You cannot populate multiple links into a single ad. Not all links can be redirected to the landing page immediately. 

  9. On some websites, you may need to perform legality checks. For example, the age and gender of the user may need to be verified. All of these legality checks should be performed when the user reaches your page. 

 

Best practices for Link

 

In addition to the basic requirements, there are a few best practices you must keep in mind. These steps will optimize your shopping ad and guarantee performance.  You must be specific about the data published. Try to be accurate with every piece of information about the product. These details should be conveyed in less than 500 characters. Anything longer will need to be expanded, and it wouldn’t appeal to the user. You must maintain a minimum of 150 characters for the description. 

 

  1. The URL used should be extremely stable. It must not change from time to time. 

  2. The landing page shouldn’t change frequently. When URLs don’t change, they turn into timestamps that will be remembered for a long time. The moment you change the URL, the search engine needs to crawl into it and evaluate the page again. This will take time, and result in unnecessary processing. The landing page must be chosen with care. Ensure that the right variant is picked.  Attributes like age group, size and color attributes must be populated carefully. The mobile_link attribute should be populated. And, if you have a unique landing page for mobile users, don’t mix it with the conventional, desktop link in Google Feed

  3. When you want to enable Google Ads for tracking needs, you must populate the ads_redirect attribute. However, it is advised to reduce the number of redirects. This is because redirects can increase the time required for a user to reach your landing page. When they are sent to multiple intermediate sites, it can be a waste of time and totally stressful. With negative online experiences, the user is more likely to turn away from your website. 

  4. Make use of schema.org micro-data. Micro-data is a small piece of information. These details are required to identify how data elements will be populated on your landing page. In general, the micro-data must have all product information. And, it should match perfectly with the details in your landing page.

 

Examples for Link

 

1.  Product with variants

 

 

2. Product without variants

 

 

Summary

 

On the whole, this Google Feed Specification Guide is all about helping you to prepare the right shopping ad with perfect URLs. Stick to these best practices and basic requirements for an uninterrupted experience with Google Merchant. Indeed, this is one of the most reliable tools for branding and creating awareness about your venture to the rest of the world. 

 

Further readings on Google Feed 

 

  1. How to Troubleshoot your Google merchant center data feed?

  2. What are the Requirements to Google merchant center data feed?
  3. Tips to Optimize Your Google Merchant Center Data Feed

  4. How to create the correct Feed for multiple countries?

  5. Google Merchant Center Feed Guide.