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Based on my 8 years of experience working with eCommerce brands, I found that; most of them hardly focus on optimizing their Google shopping feed. They just export the data and submit the feed with non optimized title, description with mismatched price and many more errors. Such small mistakes can result in disapproval of your product and may stop displaying them in Google search results. I am well aware about challenges and difficulties faced by DBA team but it really worth when you properly optimize your Google shopping feed. In this article, I will explain important Google shopping attributes and techniques to optimize your feed for better ROI.
Google Shopping has been known by many names over the years – Google Product Search, Google Base and Froogle, but something that has always remained a constant is the highly active ecommerce storefronts. On October 2012, Google Shopping took over Google Product Listing Ads or PLA’s. This move removed the PLA from the organic equation and all that was left was an interesting PPC play. While several practices have changed, advertisers still need to stay on the top to take advantage of the enormous online opportunities.
What is Google Shopping Feed?
Google shopping feed (data feed) is the file that includes list of your products along with attributes defined by Google Shopping policy. Google shopping feed supports different file formats listed below:
- .txt: text
- .xml: XML
- .gz: Gnu zip, compressed text or XML
- .zip: Zip, compressed text or XML
- .bz2: Bzip2, compressed text or XML
Generally I go for either Tab delimited (.txt) or Tab delimited (.xls) files that are easy to manage. Click on respective link to review each file format provided by Google Shopping. (Please note that the given file format are just for your review. You need to follow other specifications too depending upon your products). Find more information about Google shopping feed file format at their official website.
Sample data file will have some basic and require attributes in first row. You need to provide information for each attribute based on Google feed specification policy. Here is the example of required tributes along with product information for your reference:
Understand Google Shopping FEED better
- Feeds in Google Shopping are sent via Google Merchant Center. While the first step to proper optimization would be linking to AdWords account, the best strategy will be setting up separate campaigns for every individual ad. I have explain this process in my recent article on Google product listing ads campaign.
- Google Shopping advocates both CPA and CPC bidding. You can control the bid by including different variables in Google shopping feed.
- Google Shopping account brings in more than 30% of the overall traffic (depending upon feed size and optimization). It is expected that this number will increase in the recent future.
- I found that, cost per conversion is always low in Google PLA as compare to Google search or display campaign.
Google Shopping FEED Optimization Tips
#1 Making feeds comprehensive
I strongly recommend including your all product in Google merchant feed. Best of my knowledge, Google shopping allow add upto 1 million products per account. Exclusion of certain products would mean disarming a whole set of potentially provoking keywords from the AdWords account. You certainly wouldn’t want to sacrifice on relevance. Consumers generally don’t go beyond a couple of SERPs.
#2 Follow Google feed specification in details
Google shopping has already published detailed feed specification for each countries that can be available here. You need to select your country first and it will show detailed specifications based on your selection. Ensure that every field and attribute has a different associated value to it. Missing out on these terms will create gaps in query coverage. While listing products, mention the unique title and descriptive description along with call to action. This will result in higher CTR. Check sample feed example provided earlier in this article.
#3 Enriching feeds for your target audiences
Optimize the feed information based on the queries that users make to reach your product. This will require converting synonyms, terms and non-standard intents into completely optimized attributes for real time queries. If your feed has thousands of products, you can optimize them with the help of excel formulas. (I will publish detailed article on this topic soon).
#4 Optimizing feed product titles
Product titles play a key role when your ads are displayed through Google product listing ads. Even if you have SEO optimized titles, you need to work a bit harder to get fulfilling results. The specific suggestions for product titles are:
- Ensure that the first 25 characters of the “Product Title” are optimized for readability and display. Product titles don’t just facilitate relevance but also user experience. Make best use of the space by using catchy abbreviations.
- Place core tile intents at the beginning of the phrase. Further, try to incorporate the product category/type in the first couple of words of the title.
Apart from the first 25 characters, ensure that the next 45 characters are included for depth and relevance of search. These characters might relate to other special features of the product apart from category and item name – color, size or material of the brand.
#5 Optimizing feed product description
Thoroughly defined product descriptions help the item move up the Google FEED ranks. They will help boost the conversion rates and allow end users to interact more with the product. The specific suggestions for product descriptions are:
- As per Google feed specifications, they recommend limit product description from 500 to 1000 character
- You can include call to action and targeted keywords relevant to your product and category of products
- Make it more descriptive rather than including only keywords. It will improve the CTR of your ads in Google search result.
#6 Other important tips to consider
Apart from these, there are few important tips you need to consider while you are optimizing your Google shopping feed.
- If you are using custom URL parameter to track the campaign, i recommend including rel=canonical links on product pages. That will tell crawler about original copy of the page and will reduce the risk of duplicate content.
- You should update the feed and re-upload the same immediately after you update product price or url or any other modifications done in your website like product not available, out of stock, offers or discount, free shipping etc.
- The product which is blocked by robots.txt or rel=nofollow attributes will give error. The products included in Google shopping feed can not be blocked for crawling
#7 Unique product identifier
If you are selling goods or products that comes under below categories, i strongly recommend including these attributes; brand’, ‘mpn’, and ‘gtin. Here is the list of categories require unique product identifier:
Given screenshot is taken from Google shopping unique product identifier section. I recommend reading this guide to understand unique product identifier in more details.
I have tried to cover important part that is require to optimize feed to boost your Google PLA campaign. If you still need any help or assistance to optimize your Google shopping feed, you can visit below guides or drop me an email.
Google Shopping Feed Useful Resources:
- Google shopping data feed overview
- Support data file format and details
- Shopping feed specifications and format
- Categorize product for Google Shopping
Hope you enjoy reading this guide, looking forward to receive your feedback by comments.