Google Shopping Feed Audit: The Definitive guide

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What is Google Shopping Feed? 

The new generation is all about fast-paced technology usage. Technology makes life a lot easier and that fact is undeniable. Internet, more so, has turned out to be a solution for everything that seemed impossible at a certain time. The reach of anything you do online is more and is always effective and beneficial for your venture.

Google is a worldwide search engine that has been at the top of its game ever since its inception. There are various other search engines, but Google has never been replaced and its successful benefits are unparalleled.  

Out of many of its features, Google shopping feeds are one of the most beneficial platforms that has been developed by Google and there is absolutely no doubt about how useful this has turned out to be for all those who want to establish a successful business online. 

Google shopping feed provides an opportunity for that and if the right techniques are followed, the right tools are used, then the targeted audience will be informed about an intended business through the ways by which the Google shopping feed makes this experience a fruitful one.

Google shopping feeds have all the right told and techniques to help you create a feed for the products you want to sell. It is an online platform where you make an account and feed in information so that a feed is curated that has all the information about your products. 

This information helps to inform your potential customers about the kind of products that you are selling. It is based on this information that Google creates shopping ads for you. 

Since it is an extended platform of Google, every time a potential customer searches for a product that is similar to yours, using the Google search engine, your products pop up after the person hits search. Now your products can either pop up on the main search page itself or under the intended shopping tab, it varies. 

For example: When someone searches for “blue running shoes”, and they use Google to search for the product, they are most likely to see these shopping ads with the same product, which are most probably sponsored by Google, pop up at the top of the page. 

This is because of the Google shopping feed that you have created, which has all the necessary information about your products. Google has created an ad based on that information and it is because of that accuracy of the information and then creation, that now your ad is visible to all your potential customers, every time they use the keywords that are present in your product title or information as well.

Why do you need to Audit your Google shopping feed?

Once you have been given knowledge on what and how a Google shopping feed can be helpful for you, it is important to understand how auditing is an important factor too. 

Auditing is important for any kind of business. What is left to understand is in the world of digitization, how has auditing become imperative for online businesses as well. 

Auditing is an important tool to assess and analyze the various ways that ads, ad tools, and ad spend works, and how is it being beneficial for the sales of the business. Google ads and Google analytics are two core factors that build up the crux of the process of auditing your shopping feed.

As mentioned earlier that to build a Google shopping feed, there are certain tools that you need to be aware of that help in the flourishing of the business. Auditing is one of them which helps in listing all the necessary information about your products. 

The next step involves the usage of this information for various goggle products such as the ads, campaigns, shopping, and most probably the product search, all under the banner of Google.

It is a very laborious process and auditing your Google shopping feed might take a lot of time, but the result is worth it. At the end of the day, auditing will help any company or brand with a very clear understanding of how their ads are being made, sold, and received by potential customers which gives them a broader understanding of how to improve their optimization for maximum reach and profit  through their Google shopping feed.

Advantages of Google shopping feed audit

  • Auditing your Google shopping feed will help in creating a broader reach of understanding of the barriers as well as the effectiveness of your ads on a broader level.
  • Auditing is all about how fruitful your expenditures on your ads are proving to be, and that is important to know to understand how these ads are being received by potential customers. 
  • It is important to keep a track of how these ad tools are used and made to get an idea about the kind of optimization that needs to be done. 
  • Auditing Google shopping feeds give a better scope of optimization of your product listing. 
  • Auditing helps in understanding the reach and performance of your shopping feed. 
  • Helps in acquiring more potential customers by understanding the core optimization needs for your product listing.

Attributes to Audit on your Google Shopping Feed

There are certain attributes or rather essential steps that you need to keep in mind in the process of auditing on your Google shopping feed. 

It is important because that helps in polishing your understanding of how auditing works and what are the limitations that you need to be aware of to ensure maximum profit of the sale of your products, through the process of auditing. 

There are a certain set of dos and don’ts that you need to follow for each of the attributes, let us have a look at them for a better understanding:

1. Title

Titles are the gateway to understand what product you are selling. Make sure that your product title is easily understandable, it needs to have the right keywords and they have to be placed at the very beginning of your product title. 

Since auditing helps in understanding your products and helping in improving their optimization on Google search. Here are some things to note:

Recommendation 

Have your product title that instantly gives an idea of what it is, the color, the size, product type, material – all the basic information needs to be present in the product title so that the customer is not left confused and instantly understands what the product has to offer, like – “Blue Running Shoes”

Do’s

  1. Add the right keywords
  2. Follow the Google shopping optimization techniques
  3. Use the right keywords
  4. Put the important words in the beginning

Don’ts

  1. Do not use too many languages in one title
  2. Avoid capitalization in everything
  3. Pay special attention to the length of the title
  4. Don’t use any kind of language that sounds promotional

2. ID

The Id is very specific and is the only way of providing certain identification to your product. This field needs to be filled at all costs when you are making your product feed. 

Without the ID value, Google can’t identify your product and give it a unique identification that is going to help your potential customers.

Recommendation 

Unique identification needs certain steps to keep in mind. Your Product ID can be with variants or without variants, it depends on what you are selling and the amount of information you feel is sufficient for the optimization of your product ID. 

For example, if your product is Google sunglasses- they are in the shade of green- the product ID is going to have a unique item group ID which will help in forming the product ID.

Do’s

  1. Have a unique and stable ID for your product that differentiates it from other products
  2. Always use the same product ID, across the length and breadth of different countries and the different languages in use

Don’ts

  1. No invalid Unicode character should be used
  2. No white spaces should be allowed in your product ID
  3. Don’t use casing to make your product ID different as it might cause a problem during filtering

3. Description

Your products should have a very easily understandable description of them. This description needs to be crisp and clear and just like the product title, needs to have all the keywords that a customer would be looking for when directed towards your product.

Recommendation

It is all about putting the relevant information at the beginning so it instantly captures the attention of the customers. Some of the important factors that are most recommended to be mention in the product description are the brand, product type, price range, material, uses, maybe some technical specifications if any.

Do’s

  1. Keep the relevant information right in the beginning
  2. Keep it very informative and short with only what needs to share
  3. Include its key features and special features if any

Don’ts

  1. Any sort of link leading to any other store
  2. Never share confidential information on billing and payments
  3. Do not use any kind of promotional tactics 

4. Link

Though this is optional, you can sort for the right mobile links or any other device link for your shopping feed. You have to be sure that you are responsible for doing so. 

Not adding the right links might never get the kind of traffic you aim for. You can use a link for additional images as well

Recommendation

Always attach the right link. Keep your product links hassle-free and simple. Create a link in a way that has the basic keywords used in the link so that the consumer is sure that they are clicking on the right link to get to the intended product on your shopping feed.

Do’s

  1. Attach the right links to make your products more enticing
  2. Have more links than one such as additional images link, mobile link, etc.
  3. Always have a verified domain
  4. Always begin with HTTPS

Don’ts

  1. Don’t link some page that is not legally approved
  2. Don’t forget to encode your URL to make it more legit

5. Image Link

When it comes to digital platforms, images have a very effective role to play to attract more customers. That is the reason why  it has been recommended to give special attention to the quality of the images used for the products being sold on the shopping feed.

Recommendation

It is best advised to follow the Google merchant rules which will help in the most beneficial impact of auditing on Google shopping feed. Image links are most recommended when your product has a list of images that will be useful for sales. 

This image link will be used by Google in helping to identify your product, hence it is recommended for optimization purposes.

Do’s

  1. Use encoded URL to link the prime image of your product being sold
  2. Always use HTTPS
  3. For fashion images, there are certain megapixels and MB specifications that need to be adhered to

Don’ts

  1. Don’t go for formats that are not approved – for example, use approved ones like –JPEG where you use either .jpg  or .jpeg
  2. Avoid usage of scaling or thumbnails
  3. Prototypes are strictly unacceptable in any format

6. Availability

Please keep updating the availability of your product from time to time. This has a big role to play in the process of optimization of the sales. 

Auditing on your Google shopping feed won’t be able to generate the right numbers for your ads and ad campaigns if the availability of your products is misleading when a potential customer searches for it.

Recommendation

Always make sure that the information of availability is provided correctly. It is most recommended to be sure to not give the wrong direction to potential customers. Your availability needs to be recommended and present as a part of the information for the product.

Do’s

  1. Your product’s availability information should always be mentioned
  2. It should be matched with the availability factors

Don’ts

  1. Do not submit your product without checking its availability
  2. Do not update the availability without matching it with the basic requirements provided by Google for the same

7. Price

The pricing of your products is directly proportional to the location and target audience of your products. There are numerous factors that determine the price range of the products which is one of the first and foremost things that a potential customer would be looking for when searching for a particular product.

Recommendation

Tally with the countries your product is being sold to arrive at a proper pricing range. This is also important to decide the variants of currency that will be listed for your products. 

It is also recommended to be aware of the platform where you are selling your product, which in this case is online, and arrange a price range accordingly.

Do’s

  1. Submit a precisely agreed upon price range in tandem with the availability of matching of the product
  2. Adding taxes depends on the country where your product is being sold, so keep that factor in check
  3. Always double check if your product can be sold online in the price range you are mentioning

Don’ts

  1. Do not choose one currency if there are multiple countries you are selling your products in
  2. Do not forget to mention price-related information
  3. Do not forget to add the VAT and GST specifics to the pricing

8. Brand

The brand name is what will help in the optimization process a great deal. A brand name is what helps in creating a base in the longer run. 

You must provide a brand name so that the customer is made aware of the existence of the products that come under your brand name specifically. 

Recommendation 

Except for books, movies or maybe recording brands for that matter, it is most recommended for most searched products, if they come in your product range, always have a brand name to validate it. 

It is a part of the unique identification of your product and you must have one for maximum effect of the ads you post.

Do’s

  1. Keep the acceptance and understanding of your consumers in mind when you come up with an uncomplicated name for your brand
  2. Use your store name itself to represent your brand if you are the one making those products
  3. In case the brand name is unavailable, at least mention the name of the manufacturer.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t make the mistake of submitting terms like – the brand name does not exist or N/A – it is not good for your store’s exposure
  2. For certain compatible products, do not forget to submit the GTIN

9. GTIN

GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number of your product which is very essential in case you are selling your products globally. It comes very handy when shipping the products and also adds on to the validation and some source of faith for the consumers.

Recommendation

GTIN is most recommended as in case of its absence, Google might not even accept the submission or listing of your product. In case there is no need for it and it is not mentioned, then it can be acceptable. 

But if any of your product listings have a certain GTIN number assigned, you need to mention it to ensure the acceptance of your product.

Do’s

  1. For compatible products, the GTIN you submit or the brand that you recommend needs to be compatible in terms of the fact that the brand is associated with compatible products as well
  2. Product identifiers are most recommended for multipacks
  3. In the case of bundles, the main product needs to have a product identifier

Don’ts

  1. Do not use space or dash in your GTIN number as it can hinder the validity of your GTIN number
  2. Do not apply unassigned product customization if it has not been mentioned or does not follow the terms of the GTIN number of the product
  3. OEM brand products should not be made aware of any compatibility or replication instances of your product

10. Sale Price

The sale price of your products is determined by the visibility it has. This is where auditing of your shopping feed comes into the picture where they determine whether your products have that kind of visibility or not to have the right sale price.

Recommendation 

It is best recommended to first ensure the visibility of your product and then determine the sale price. A sale price should not be fixated unless all the factors are in place.

Do’s

  1. Understand the attributes of the price
  2. Submission of the sale price should be following the price attribute as mentioned with the non-sale value of the price

Don’ts

  1. Don’t forget to draw similarities between the pricing of the product to that of the main page
  2. Don’t forget to consider the non-sale price

11. Google Product Category

Google shopping feed is a massive platform and there are tons of categories that are present in it that differentiate the different products.

Recommendation

Though this is optional in the Google shopping feed audit process, it has its perks. Understand what your product entails and accordingly place it in one of the recommended Google product categories that is recommended to you in the first place, based on the understanding of the product description you have provided on the feed.

Do’s

  1. Do include at least one category
  2. Do be very specific in allotting categories

Don’ts

  1. Don’t avoid the contracts for the selling of mobile products
  2. Don’t make it complicated by involving too many categories

12. Product Type

Your product type is also an important part of making your product uniquely identifiable. All products cannot be listed under the same type, they have variations.

Recommendation

It is best recommended to have a suitable product type so that the consumers get a clearer idea regarding the product.

Do’s

  1. Be direct and specific with the product type
  2. Use terms that are easily understandable by consumers

Don’ts

  1. Don’t involve too many product types in one title or the description

Google shopping feed FAQ

FAQ’s are important as a part of customer satisfaction. It is imperative some basic understanding is provided to make the navigation process through these shopping feeds easier for the consumers.

Q1#  How do I audit a Google Shopping feed?

It is a simple 3 step process where you have to thoroughly analyze your SKU’S. Make a note of all the opportunities lost and also make a note of your feed scorecard – all of which will give an understanding of the optimization for the ads posted.

Q2# What is Google Merchant feed?

This feed is a one-stop destination that has all the necessary information needed for your products that you are trying to sell, and that too through Google Merchant Centre. Each of the attributes that you assign for your products will be used by Google in the grouping of those products.

Q3# How do you rank on Google Shopping?

The few most effective steps for this would include using special offers, ratings, and customization by Google. Avoid using negative words and try moving the traffic around your feed now and then.

Q4# Which of the Google Shopping feed attribute is not required?

Certain additional image links, sale price, and data related to it, product category, expiration data – are a few of the attributes that are not required.

Q5# How do I optimize Google Shopping?

Basics such as avoiding negative words, being aware of your competitors, understanding auditing for optimization of your feed and campaign structure – are a few of the beneficial ways of optimizing your Google feed.

Conclusion

Audit Google shopping feed has a sole purpose and that is to ensure maximum optimization. All the factors discussed and the FAQ’s listed, help in making sure that maximum profits are reaped out of this process.

About the author

Ra Karthik

Ramachandiran Karthik is the Digital Marketing Manager at Adnabu. He loves to help Shopify stores grow their business with Google Shopping & Google Ads, using advanced features like multi-currencies, multi-languages, Metafields. Karthik has a lot of experience in digital marketing and enjoys exploring new ways to make advertising more effective for both advertisers and customers.

By Ra Karthik