Google Shopping Feed Best Practices for Shopify Stores

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Google Shopping Feed Best Practices for Shopify Stores

Google Shopping feed is a spreadsheet/ a file that comprises all the products present over your eCommerce store and are advertised over through Merchant Center. This spreadsheet works with different product attributes that combine your products for Google to populate them over search results. 

Still, confused? Let’s try again!

Your Google Shopping feed is like a folder that comprises all the relevant information around the different categories of products present in your store. Your product feed is the major player when using Google Shopping to place your ads on the SERP. 

Reason? The algorithm at Google Shopping ad uses its crawler to run through your product feed and extract all the relevant information that would help it to populate search results for different product categories.  

Now that we know that Shopping campaigns are entirely different in their approach, when compared to the standard Search campaigns, let’s understand the same with an example:

Let’s say that you are an eCommerce store owner who deals in apparels and wants to use the Google Shopping ad for featuring their products on the search engine results page. In such a situation, you need to develop a product feed that aligns with Google policies. 

You need to provide the crawlers with every little information around your store (product, categories, images, color, variants, and more). This allows the search engine to show your store as results of a specific query (say a user searches Google for ‘buy nightdress (your business interest) near me.’

Now, when you are new to Google Shopping feed, the chances are that you might get confused while developing your feed. Further, even if you get lucky and align with all the search engine rules, the chances are that there might be some ways to refine your product feed for the better.

Being the smart store owner that you are, we are quite sure that you won’t want to miss out on the chance of perfecting your feed for maximum sales and conversions. 

Therefore, let’s start by understanding the signs of a bad Google Shopping feed:

Signs of a Bad Google Shopping Feed

1. Out Of Stock Products

Easily one of the most frustrating sights to come up to (if you are a shopper looking for an item you wanted). Navigating through Google to reach a store where you finally find your product but with an “out of stock,” sign can truly be a turndown. 

While some of your potential customers might consider waiting for the re-stock as an option, a majority of them will prefer shopping for a similar product elsewhere, even if they have to pay something extra.

Considering the chances of losing business, are you sure you would like to keep your’ out of stock’ products running in the feed?

2. Disapproved Product

While it might be an eCommerce store owner’s worst nightmare, imagine being in a situation where you have crafted the perfect Google Shopping feed after working for days around it. 

Everything in your product feed is neatly placed, the feed aligns with the ad policies, your bidding strategy is on point, every product in your category is neatly divided and segregated into sub-categories, and you have also placed your negative keyword policies. In short, you have the perfect Shopping feed! 

Now that you have crafted the feed, you enable your perfectly curated feed and start pushing your campaigns live. But, here’s a twist, your feed starts receiving disapprovals as soon as the ad starts to populate.

Disapprovals over Google Shopping might happen for several reasons over Google shopping, ranging from policy violations to missing attributes and having unknown categories.

Considering that this might be the situation with almost anyone, disapproved products can be a great turn off!

3. Different Price on Feed & Landing Page

Having a difference in your product prices can be a significant violation for your Google Shopping feed, leading to your ads getting disapproved. Being focused on improving customer experience, Google hates it when stores put up different prices in their feed & landing pages. 

Further, having inaccurate pricing for similar products is one of the top reasons visitors abandon a website and prefer shopping elsewhere. Now, this isn’t the worst part yet! What’s worse is that you have already spent a portion of your budget in the process where visitors have clicked on the ad and explored your website for nothing. 

Even though no shopkeepers would want to keep inaccurate prices, they might creep in at the time of sales when a retailer changes to a slashed price. Therefore, it’s essential that you keep your feed up-to-date with every minute change.

4. Non-Optimized Product Titles

88% of Shoppers approve of the fact that the title, content, and description of a given product is a factor that influences their purchase decision. The better they can relate to the product, the closer they are to hit the ‘add to cart’ button.

As we know that Google Shopping is a ‘NOT’ a platform that works on keywords, this nature of the platform makes it crucial for you to optimize the product title and description to ensure relevance in search results and impressions.

When you think of optimizing your Google Shopping feed, you will come across numerous tips and tricks that will help you optimize your product title with relevant keywords and how user search data allows you to find out the high-density keywords that the people are using to search for a specific product in your store. 

Further, the order of your keywords also matters a lot when you are selling different products. Say, for example, you sell books, then your product title should include “Title + Type + Format + Author.” 

5. Irrelevant Product Images

Being a general user of the internet, how happy would you be when you look for a specific product over the search engine and come with all the abrupt images?

The sight would not be so pleasing, right? Similarly, when certain vendors fail to put relevant images for their products, they might start receiving disapproval as it disrupts Google’s customer experience. 

Similarly, it might also decrease your relevancy over the SERP and cause you to lose the budget allocated over your product ad. The visitors would leave the moment they find an irrelevant product image.

Quite some powerful examples of a bad Google Shopping feed, aren’t they? However, now that you know the mistakes you should avoid, why not check out the Google shopping feed best practices to formulate a high-quality product feed for your store!

Yes, we know you want to miss out on this; so let’s have a look at some of the best feed practices for Shopify stores: 

Google Shopping Feed Best Practices for Shopify Stores

1. Product Title 

  • Out of the 175 characters you are provided to create your product title, make sure that you include the brand name’s title. In cases where the brand name is not very popular in terms of search, you can consider shifting it to the middle or end. It should look something like “Brand+ Product + Category.”
  • Include all the relevant information that makes the title more enticing (color, style, patterns & size).  
  • Include the gender to which the product is applicable. This way, you improve the relevancy of the product. 
  • Make sure that you include the MPN attribute to your title. You should follow the required attribute when the identifier_​​exists is chosen as a yes, and there are no GTIN present in the title.
  • Push all the relevant information around the product to the first 75 characters of your title. When you use such settings, you improve the chances of showcasing the products in a truncated fashion over the shopping carousel.
  • Match the title description of your product to the most popular queries listed in the search for your product. Further, when running the campaigns, you can easily refer to the search terms reports to adjust the titles accordingly.
  • Be specific in your approach; use distinctive elements like material, color, or size for titles representing variants. 
  • Take an example from your competition and go with the title structure that suits your products the best possible way.
  • Avoid or try to minimize character symbols like hyphen and pipe symbol (“|”) in your title.

2. Google Shopping Campaign Merchant Promotions

  • Ensure that you are using ‘Free Shipping’ in the right manner. Try to pair it with a specified purchase to entice customers to buy extra. 
  • Lower the Free-shipping threshold when you are running seasonal offers or promotions over your eCommerce store. However, make sure that you highlight the ‘free_shipping’ attribute.  
  • Use the promotional strategies in a sales multiplier fashion. When you hold promotional events like ‘buy one, get one’ or ‘Buy one, Get one 50% off’, make sure that you use the ‘prices slashed’ attribute in the checkout process to ensure transparency over sales.
  • Make sure that you are using tiered percentage discounts to entice the buyers into purchasing more!
  • Allow brand-specific rebates to market the promotional event to the suggested bandwidth. 

3. Product Images Best Practices

  • When dealing with your product images, the best practice is to include the image attribute: image_link
  • Always use your product’s primary image, place the best relevant image first while using a white background, paired with good lighting and a nice angle. 
  • Try using natural light for your photography as it saves you from problems caused via white balance. 
  • Use unique product images to stand out from the crowd. The search results are often populated with similar product images that are provided by manufacturers. Try to be unique and set apart from your competitors.
  • Make your image URL available to Google’s crawlers. Always try to upload your product images over your Shopify store’s admin panel to allow the out-of-the-box robots.txt file to easily crawl the image.
  • Use an image that meets the policy of Google settings (at least 100x100px for products that are non-apparel and a 250x250px for apparel). 
  • Keep up with the accepted file formats for your images, such as JPEG (.jpg/.jpeg), non-animated GIF (.gif), and PNG (.png).
  • If you want to create a carousel, use the additional_​​​image_​​​link attribute.

4. Use Proper Product Category Best Practices

  • Always include google_product_category for your product category attribute to align with Google’s policy for the product category. 
  • While Google might state it to be an optional field, use it ‘ALWAYS’!
  • When you categorize products for different countries, make sure you are using the latest taxonomy list from Google. 
  • Try being as specific with your categorize as you can. Example: The dog food is an accurate fit for “Animals & Pet Supplies,” the taxonomy ID of 1250 “Animals & Pet Supplies > Pet Supplies > Dog Supplies > Dog Food” is well defined. Try to keep up with the same for improved relevancy. 

5. Product Type Best Practices

  • Check out for the attribute product_type when you are optimizing your product feed for the Shopify store.  
  • You are free to set values under the product_type without having to refer to the taxonomy. This attribute will not affect your shopping campaign but will refine the search results. 
  • With the product_type attribute, you can easily segment your ad groups without going through much trouble. This way, you can simplify your bid management strategy!

6. Product Description Best Practices

  • While you are provided with a 5000 character limit to set up your ideal product description, make sure that you keep it short and crisp as visitors rarely go through all of the descriptions.
  • Push all the useful content around the product over the first 500 characters and try to make sense of your description all along. Similar to the title, descriptions also require relevant information in the beginning.
  • Don’t forget to use keywords that your customers generally use to search for your products, as it will help you improve your relevance in search results. On the other hand, when you update your product description using keywords in Shopify, you can improve your SEO rankings. 
  • Make use of XML entities and escape characters while you are adding HTML tags to your feed. Try using the standard HTML tags, except the ones of style and canvas. 

7. Product Price Best Practices

  • Use the attribute price+currency for setting up the prices of your products.
  • You should always represent similar products prices over the feed and reflect similar values and currency on the landing page.
  • Sum up your prices to two decimals. Under a situation where your price that is exported from Shopify contains more than two decimals, you need to implement the changes manually inside your product feed.
  • Always go for the Automatic Item Updates when you are using prices for your products. This way, it ensures that the costs over your product landing page and product feed remains the same. 
  • When dealing with product bundles, multiple packs, or bulk quantities, follow the Google pricing policy. This policy asks you to submit the overall price of the least purchasable bundle, multiple packs, or bulk quantity.

Conclusion

Using your Google Shopping feeds accurately is the key to improving relevancy over your search results. Further, when you design your product data accurately, improved results are just the beginning! 

We hope that you now have a clear insight into the different ways in which you can perfect your Google Shopping feed for Shopify stores.

Key takeaways

  • Your Google Shopping feed is like a folder that comprises all the relevant pieces of information around the different categories of products present in your store. 
  •  In cases where the brand name is not very popular in terms of search, you can consider shifting it to the middle or end.
  • Always include google_product_category for your product category attribute to align with Google’s policy for the product category. 
  • Be specific in your approach; use distinctive elements like material, color, or size for product titles representing variants.  
  • Sum up your prices to two decimals. Under a situation where your price that is exported from Shopify contains more than two decimals, you need to implement the changes manually inside your product feed.

About the author

Karthik Ramachandiran

Helps Shopify stores to easily set up their Google Merchant Center & Create Google Shopping Feed with a few clicks & without any errors & run Google Ads.