Tips to Optimize Your Google Merchant Center Data Feed
With your online shopping website comes user usability and sufficient traction on your shopping pages. But what does it take? In simple words, a great feed retains your customers by easing out their navigation of your feed.
You can now take the help of Google Merchant Center to put your product information on Google and make your products available for Google shopping. Your product data shapes the way your ads behave and function on shopping sites.
To make your shopping campaigns successful, you need to provide and maintain high quality, precise and relevant product data, along with optimizing campaigns, bid strategy, and execution.
However, the most significant wins come from optimizing your Google merchant center data feed. Product listing ads on Google shopping provide the best opportunities to reach a greater audience and aim for better targeting.
Here are some useful and vital Google feed tips to help you create a strong set of data and see beneficial results from your campaigns.
1. Think about your customers
1. Map out your customer journey from ads to checkout.
Customers tend to purchase more if they can quickly find what they are looking for and are able complete the transaction swiftly. So, it is essential to discover opportunities that will indefinitely create great shopping experience and make improvements to your product data, landing page and checkout process.
2. Prioritize your most valuable products.
when allocating resources by shifting your focus on products that have the most impact on your performance. Make sure you provide accurate data in all fields to avoid misleading your customers by giving complete and proper information about the products they searched for. Google checks for the authenticity of your feeds and it can remove your product from Google shopping if it finds any errors.
3. Run experiments to identify optimization techniques.
Run experiments to identify optimization techniques which are most effective for your products and target audience. An example would be to add colour to your product titles and measure the change in your performance metrics. Analyzing your ad performance data if they are not as effective as you had expected and then re-optimizing your feed is key.
You should first analyze all aspects of data before spending too much money and then identify further steps. This should be a regular process to ensure maximum benefits from your shopping ads. Other things you can do are look at conversions, search volume and negative keywords for your shopping ads.
4. Take advantage of opportunities to differentiate your ads
Take advantage of opportunities to differentiate your ads with merchant promotions, product ratings, Google customer reviews and local inventory ads. Google Merchant Center allows you to use or create promotion codes like discounts, sale offers, free shipping etc to gain more clicks on your ads and attract customers.
Local inventory ads are a great way to significantly increase offline prices, whereas adding product ratings to your ads builds trust with potential customers and boosts sales as online shoppers heavily rely on Google reviews before deciding to purchase an item.
Customer reviews do not show up for your ads as they are for your store not for the products sold by your store. You would need an average score of 3.5 stars and at least 150 reviews to see your score.
2. Highlight important product details
1. Include important attributes
Include important attributes to your title, like strong brand names, gender, size, color, age group, personalization options and visual details like pattern, design and material. The key here is to provide customers with the most relevant information about your product to match search queries better and lift your ad performance.
But if your title is over 150 characters, Google will not approve your ad and you will be penalized. Product title optimization is necessary because there is no exact match, it’s all broad. The algorithm uses the title to figure out what a person is looking for and matches those keywords with the feed. Hence, it is important to be precise about product information.
2. Put key details at the front of your product title
Put key details at the front of your product title, especially when they are not visible in the image. Google shortens product titles in the ads, so make sure you show your most engaging content at the beginning of the title so customers feel compelled to click on your site.
Optimizing product titles can positively impact the performance by creating good impressions and help grow shopping revenue. It’s also important to understand whether the product listing ads show up for the keyword you have provided, and if at least one of your products show up for this keyword and if your product title or description contains the keyword.
3. Use High Quality Images
The images you provide for the product have to match the product specifications like colour, size, model, etc. You should use the best images to create the desired impression so it will improve the performance of the product.
It’s important to put appealing images, ones that stand out and would make customers click as soon as they see it. Wherever it is possible, use original photos which are specific to your store, rather than manufacturer photos. And in general, Google prefers original images on your website and this applies to your product descriptions as well.
1. Provide the highest resolution image_link
Provide the highest resolution image_link you have available because products with high-quality images are more likely to be shown for relevant searches which will grab the customer’s attention. Customers would want to zoom in on your product and see all the details from every angle, so if you don’t use a high-resolution image, the image will look grainy when they zoom in to take a closer look.
2. Avoid placeholder images
Avoid placeholder images or images that include promotional messages or logos and images with watermarks. It’s important to add proper title tags and alt text to images which should include the product it shows. Put professional images to capture the customer’s attention.
4. Always include the most accurate data
1.Provide up-to-date price and availability
Provide up-to-date price and availability, including tax and shipping, by using automated feed delivery (including intra day updates), the Content API, or structured data markup. Ensure that you update the availability of your products so that customers can be correctly informed whether the products you put up for purchasing are available or not. If these details are not provided, customers will leave your site and the mismatches will cause disapprovals. The more details you give, the chances of your product matching with the search queries also increase.
2. Provide the most detailed product_type values
Provide the most detailed product_type values you have and use Google_product_category values that are at least 2-3 levels deep. Google is increasingly putting more emphasis on product types which contribute to the overall “quality score” of your data feed. Once you organize your products into respective categories, you get a clear visibility over all of your products which in turn helps make the bidding process easier.
The product category is how Google categorizes products within Google shopping. Arrange your product_type in such a way that it starts with a broad group and ends with a specific group. Avoid adding synonyms, search query terms or promotional text.
Products should be categorized only by type. For example: Apparel & Accessories> Clothing> Outerwear> Coats & Jackets> Denim Jackets. You can also create custom labels based on the values you define and how you categorize your products accordingly to differentiate various products, for example, best-selling products, clearance sale products, etc.
3. Use a unique product id and title value for every item
Use a unique product id and title value for every item in your product data. Product title optimizations are key to making your ads relevant to users and is one of the most important attributes in the feed as they are the first thing customers notice when they search for a product online.
Using the same id for each time will keep the history of the data, however, by creating different ids for each product, you can advertise details and attributes of each product and help customers find what they are looking for quickly and easily. If the product titles are specific and descriptive, that could lead to better sales as it becomes more convenient for customers who search for products along those specifications and helps them make an informed decision.
The keywords in the title of your product determines what it will appear for search terms. Your product title is the second most important element in your shopping ad after image.
4. Provide the GTIN whenever available for your products.
The Global Trade Item Number has become crucial in the optimization process. Google uses GTIN from the supplier’s catalog and puts your ad in an auction with other resellers of the same product, which helps understand what product you are selling and it helps boost your ad performance by adding beneficial details about the product.
That way your shopping ad will be presented relevantly to users and will appear in more places on Google, YouTube and other partner sites. GTINs gets you placed with searches like “Best” and “Top” which also cite customer reviews that determine your ad’s position. Merchants who have added correct GTINs to their product data have seen a 20% increase in clicks on average.
5. Match your product data to your landing pages
1. Use the same product title and description
Use the same product title and description of your product data on your landing page. Do not use synonyms or search query terms that are not present in your product’s landing page. Customers expect landing pages or websites to mirror product information on your shopping ad. Failing to do so would result in customers frustrated and leaving your page without purchasing anything, creating a poor shopping experience.
2. Use product landing pages that show the same product variant
Use product landing pages that show the same product variant that you use in your shopping ad. The more ways in which you tell Google about what your product is, the more chances that you will get to show your ads to customers. It can be very frustrating for customers, especially on mobile phones, to choose a product variant again on your landing page after clicking on that very variant in your ad.
3. Use the same names of colors that appear in your product data
Use the same names of colors that appear in your product data, on your landing page. You may confuse customers and get dis-approvals if you show a different color in your shopping ad from that on your landing page. For example, don’t change a color like “Midnight Sky” into “Dark Blue”.
Google Merchant Center converts your product data to their product feed values and then sets up ads for your product listings. It is the foundation for successful Google shopping ad campaigns.
Optimizing your data feed is a powerful and effective way to improve your ad performance on Google with low cost per click and more conversion rate, producing more sales by optimizing the product titles based on the categories they are grouped into, matching feed color to the landing page, using promotions in your feed for high click through rates, selecting the best original image for your product ad and providing GTINs to get your ads placed with searches like “Best” and “Top”.
Further readings on Google Feed
- What are the Requirements to Google merchant center data feed?