What is Google Product Category and How to add it to your Product feed?

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What is the Google Product Category?

The Google Product Category is a basic element of all Google Shopping ads. It aids Google in identifying if the products in a given feed are a good match for a given shoppers query. 

These are categories that help in spotting the right products from the feed. The product categories are strongly connected to the Google Merchant Center Account. 

These algorithms are also extremely useful in building algorithms that choose terms, used to display products in the Shopping Section. There are marked differences between Product types, and Google Shopping Product Categories. 

The product category comes from Google’s Taxonomy. The algorithms assign products to feeds automatically. However, the assignment can also be done using manual methods. 

Google algorithm automatically sorts the products as well. The sorting algorithm works on the description, product title, pricing, and brand.

Advantages of adding Google Product Category to your Feed

a. Helps you to be in the Google Shopping spotlight

To begin with, Google Product Category helps in building your presence. It will ensure that your brand finds spotlight in the Google Shopping, and Search Results pages. 

Most of the time, brands tend to build their product feed with information that synchronizes with the search queries executed by potential shoppers. With the help of the Google Product category, this becomes much simpler. 

When retailers build and categorize their product feed with the right pieces of information – it becomes easier for the Google algorithms to map against user queries.

b. Helps you to have greater control of your campaign targeting

By getting more specific with the categories, you will be able to stay relevant in the industry. This is when brands gain bigger and better control of the campaign. 

As mentioned previously, Google makes use of algorithms to ensure that relevant products are matched against consumer searchers. With more specific and relevant categories – your campaign will become easier. 

However, it is important for you to ensure that the categories are not chosen lazily. For example, you should not settle with “undedicated categories”. 

Always be specific, and dedicated about the category you choose for the products. This makes a huge difference in your campaign targeting efforts.

c. You can reach more potential customers who are searching for your products.

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Next, you can focus on more target audiences. This works because algorithms are used to map the products against user searches. By ensuring that the mapping is accurate and more relevant – you will be able to reach as many customers as possible. 

When compared to traditional methods, this increases your chances of reaching more target audiences. Some products can be categorized under multiple product categories. 

To see these results, the following needs to be done:

  1. Your products have to be categorized accurately.
  2. Your campaigns have to be organized with product types.

d. Improved Ad Performance in terms of Impressions & Clicks.

There are several different types of impressions. Each of these impressions has unique facets. The facets will give you an in-depth study of how your campaigns are working online. 

When it comes to product impressions, it is all about viewing one specific product or several offers on a single page. This scenario is quite relevant on the loading page of products. 

Each of the products on the page will have an impression. These details are given in Google Analytics. In fact, these details can be shared with JavaScript extensions too.

e. Many other channels worldwide (Pricerunner, Criteo, Facebook) that make use of the Google Product Category in the feeds you give them.

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Google Product Category is strongly connected with channels, across the web. This includes channels like YouTube, Shopping Tabs, and even the Images Results page. 

Apart from products from Google, the feature connects well with Criteo, Facebook, and PriceRunner. These are unique platforms that help in understanding the overall performance of your site.

PriceRunner is a site that helps in comparing multiple products. It is useful in identifying how well your product is performing along with others in the market. Next, you have Facebook which is important for creating an impression in the online world. 

The impression data pulls together a clear analysis of how well your products are performing in the market. It helps brands understand the actual visibility of their products and services. 

This is why using Google Product Category, along with Google Analytics and Google Campaigns is important. This combination helps you extract crucial pieces of information about your growth, revenue, and future.

f. Google Loves accurate data in your Google Shopping Feed, so If you add Google Product Category on all your Products, chances are there for easy approval of your Feed by Google.

As mentioned previously, the accuracy of data plays an important role in Google Merchant Center and other tools associated with the Google Shopping Feed. 

Before a google shopping feed is mapped against a user query, its authenticity and accuracy are carefully evaluated by the search engine. There are special algorithms to decide if the data uploaded by the merchant is truly reliable or not. 

Hence, if you want a product to be displayed as a part of the search results, and if a product category needs to become visible to its end users – you need to be careful with the content. Always make the Product categories and mapping as accurate as possible. This makes it easier for the feed to be approved as well. 

Moreover, merchants who post highly accurate content are likely to see better ranks online. This directly translates to higher revenue, more traffic, and better leads.

How to find my Google product category?

a. You can find your products “Google Product Category” from Google’s official taxonomy list include every single potential category for your products. This is the recommended and highly accurate way of understanding where your products belong to. 

Most of the time, Google accepts product categories that are present in this list. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, if you are making a calculation based on the tax system followed by the United States, you can choose to override the tax rate that is applied to your products. 

Also, if there are category-specific requirements in the attributes, they can be enforced easily on the products. For instance, product categories like mobiles and apparel need additional fields. Other than these optional pieces, all the categories you need can be found in the official taxonomy list.

b. With over 5,582 official categories, it is a lot to try to process with the naked eye. So, it’s better to download the whole list of product categories as an Excel sheet (.xls). Or a normal txt file (.txt) here. 

The most difficult thing about using the Google Taxonomy list would be the count. You have more than 5000+ different categories, which are officially approved by the search engine. 

Trying to identify the right category for your products can be a challenge. As quoted, if you are going to search through the list manually, you will need to spend lots of time and effort. Hence, you need to come up with an automated method for executing the task. 

According to experts, the content can be downloaded and stored in a suitable spreadsheet format. This format can be filtered and analyzed by third-party tools. The method is known for saving time and being more efficient than manual hunts for product categories.

How to Add a Google Product Category in your Google shopping feed?

a. How to add a product category is based entirely on how you created your Google shopping feed. This holds good for all Google merchant center programs. The specification needs to follow the format suggested by Google. 

Also, you need to ensure the accuracy of the content across all possible surfaces. This could be Shopping Actions, Shopping Ads, and even Google Search Engine itself. The method you use to include the product category depends strongly on the technique you use to build the shopping feed. 

Most of the time, retailers rely on spreadsheets that have all the products in a specific category. These spreadsheets are then uploaded into the Google Merchant Center. On the other hand, you can also choose to add the data into the system manually. What is important would be the validity of the information you load. 

Remember, Google uses this data to match your product against the right query. Making a mistake here will cost you online traffic, and potential shoppers. Regardless of the method you use to create a Google shopping feed, always focus on how reliable the product feed is going to be.

b. If you manually created a feed with a template, you can manually edit the CSV or Google sheets file to add the Google product category attribute. As mentioned previously, one of the oldest and most followed methods for building a product data feed is through excel file formats like .csv. 

These files are known for holding huge volumes of data, which retailers would never want to lose. In fact, this data can be exported easily into your Google Merchant Center account and used across multiple campaigns. 

The sheets used to upload the product category attribute needs to follow the rules and regulations imposed by the search engine. It is important for you to ensure that the attributes are written without any mistakes. 

Also, the attributes need to match with the categories that were seen in the taxonomy list of Google.

c. However, if you use an eCommerce platform like shopify, it’s likely that you used it or an app like an easy google shopping feed to generate the feed for you. 

Apart from the very old manual method, you can make use of various tools and applications to upload the category information. This works well because it saves lots of time, and gets rid of unnecessary mistakes.
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Ecommerce platforms like Shopify have many third party libraries that can help you build the shopping feed with just a few clicks of a button. Yet again, you need to pay close attention to the content, structure, and authenticity. Why? These are the factors Google looks for.

d. In that case, you can edit the product category inside the Google Shopping feed app settings. And click the “Edit Products” option. Once the feed is completely uploaded, and your products are ready to be showcased to the online community – you may need to make certain changes. 

One of the most impressive features of the Google Shopping Feed application would be the ability to make changes at any hour. Unlike Google Campaigns that have restrictions on the kind of changes you can make – the shopping feed is quite flexible. You can introduce new attributes, and re-map content into different categories. 

These changes will be required time after time. Mainly because retailers tend to introduce products, and Google algorithms keep improving on a daily basis.

In order to make changes, you need to enter into your Google Shopping Feed and navigate to Edit Products. Here, you will find the options required for adding, deleting, and re-assigning product categories to your products.

e. And edit the Google Product Category of your Product and click “save”. Before clicking “Save”, you need to make sure that the data entered is valid. This check can reduce the need to re-edit content in the Shopping Feed. 

Often, retailers who handle thousands and thousands of products don’t have the time, and patience to check if the data entered is accurate or not. This is always an expensive mistake to make.

f. Finally, click on the “Update Feed” Button. This would be the last step in you building the Google Shopping Feed. The Update Feed button brings all the changes to the end-user. It lets the rest of the world see what your products are, and the categories to which the products belong. 

The Update Feed allows the changes to be taken through a set of Google Algorithms. These algorithms ensure the data and decide if the content can be displayed to the end-user. It also verifies if the newly updated product categories match with the list given by Google (taxonomy).

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 g. Now all your changes are synced with your Google merchant center and ready to display in google shopping. When your Google Shopping Feed gets updated, the data in your Google Merchant Center is also changed. These changes happen automatically. 

And, they are programmed to happen across all the campaigns which carry the products you have modified. However, to see the actual results of your modified Shopping Feed, you need to use the right queries in the Google Search Engine. 

This is exactly what happens when customers enter queries. Google takes these queries and finds products that best match the request. If the data entered in your Google Shopping Feed matches the requirements of a customer – the content will be displayed.

Google Product Category FAQ

How to find my Google product category?

Google Product Category can be found as a part of managing your Feed. Here, you need to navigate to “Manage Feed”, and then select “Define Fields”. In the define fields page, you will find “Google Product Category“. This is the field that needs to be modified. 

To identify the right category for your products, navigate to the Manage Feed, and Taxonomy Search Page. This page will give you all the approved taxonomy fields of Google. 

Enter the most appropriate category in the “Default Value” field, and “Update”. For every product, you will be able to choose only a single category. The above change needs to be resubmitted into your product’s data feed.

What is Google Product Category?

Every product that is showcased in Google Shopping can be categorized. Most of the time, the products are given automatic categories from the evolving list of product taxonomy. 

As a part of categorization, on-topic descriptions, high-quality titles, and even accurate brand, GTIN details and pricing have to be provided. These are important pieces of information that can help in categorizing your products accurately. 

The attribute used to identify the category would be “Google_Product_Category”. These attributes help in overriding the category information Google has assigned to your products.

How do you find the product category?

To find the product category, you need to make use of the Google Taxonomy list. 

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This list has more than 5000+ categories, across which your products and services can be mapped. The list is evolving on a daily basis. Hence, it is important for brands to ensure that their product categories match with at least one of the items in this list.

How do I list a product on Google Shopping?

In order to list your products as a part of the Google Shopping platform, you need to build a Google Merchant Center account. This account has all the details your Google Shopping account needs. 

From Search Ads to Smart Shopping Campaigns to Local inventory based advertisements, Google Shopping synchronizes with the Merchant Center for data.

Who feeds Google with information?

The most important source of information for the Merchant Center would be the primary feed. This is a data source used by the Merchant Center to display all your products on the search engine results page. 

Yet, the data provided by merchants, and retailers using the primary feed needs to match with the policies and product data specification of Google. As a part of providing data to Google, you only have to focus on building an accurate primary feed.

Conclusion

On the whole, Google Shopping is a versatile platform for building your brand. It helps in hosting your ecommerce business on the web, with more authority and reachability. 

The process of building a strong presence online becomes difficult, or rather impossible without Google and its Merchant Center programs. 

And, Google Product Category plays an integral role in the Google Shopping Feed. It focuses on categorizing products, and ensuring that the right results are generated for every user query.

About the author

Karthik Ramachandiran

Google Ads Expert From Bengaluru. Share his Expertise Here