All merchants who run pay-per-click advertising on Google generally have a decent idea about how Google Shopping feed works and how to leverage it. No matter how much it is optimized for search, there is always more than can be done to keep up with new trends.
The pay-per-click is a constantly evolving industry that, coupled with the AI learning advancements, makes it easier for merchants to save time with advances such as Google’s Smart Bidding. With more automation saving time, it is possible to improve the search campaigns and enhance them for better and relevant visibility.
What is Google shopping feed enhancement?
In short, the Google shopping feed is a spreadsheet that organizes and stores all the critical data from your product catalog in such a way that Google can extract precisely the data it needs when it crawls. Therefore that puts the majority of the control of how you show up in search in your hands.
Although it pulls out product attributes using all of its technical might, it is only as good as the relevant information you give to the feed. To show up in the most relevant search terms, the keywords in product titles and descriptions are what Google looks for.
Quite often, the product titles sold by merchants don’t include the critical terms that are needed to show up in relevant searches. It also applies to descriptions as merchants could get carried away by the technicality of the product and forget to add terms that make it suitable in search.
This is more common in generic shopping feeds containing the core attributes but nothing specific to the product. Generic descriptions always attract generic traffic that is less likely to convert.
Although you might be ahead on the conversion journey of a prospect, it is easy to fall behind with poor feed attributes as they continue with their research and are ready to make a purchase. Ultimately it will be a waste of money spent on sales that gains very little or nothing in return.
While it is a bit more taxing on time, efforts spent on google shopping feed enhancement can reach returns on investment than PPC management alone cannot do.
Google Shopping feed enhancement in detail
Your Google Merchant Centre is where you upload or modify the shopping feed of your product catalog. Enhancement can be done at every level to ensure Google gets precisely what it needs to give you your money’s worth of returns.
Your shopping feed has basic requirements that pertain to the Merchant Centre guidelines and more product-specific requirements that help you in your google shopping feed improvement.
Google shopping feed requirements
These are the requirements about adhering to Merchant Centre guidelines:
- Advertise direct purchase products only: All the products that go on your Shopping Ads must be available in your store for purchase. Your ads are not permitted to be used to support affiliate or PPC links as an affiliate or as a comparison-shopping service. All the links in your shopping advertising must lead users to a page from which they can purchase the product they looked for.
- Use official languages: When selling in a different country, it’s essential to use the language of that specific country. You are also allowed to post your ads in more than one official language. It’s critical that the product data that is sent is in the specific language you have chosen, and the data links lead to landing pages in the same vocabulary. Therefore your website will also have to have that particular language and the product data and the chosen language when you register your user data.
- Mention detailed return and refund policy: Anyone who buys from your website should be made aware of your return and refund policies and use it easily. Your guidelines should be clear and transparent, even if you don’t accept returns or give refunds. The policy should detail how their return and refund requests are treated. They should clearly understand what they need to do, the conditions under which they are eligible for return and refunds, and the time frame to apply for it.
- Collection of user information: You must be careful and responsible with how the user data is collected. Credit card numbers and other critical information should be collected on an SSL-protected page. The information gathered on the users should not be sold to third parties or use their pictures or additional personal information without their permission. More importantly, the primary purpose should not be to collect personal information, even though offering free products or discounts in exchange for it.
- Google’s Shopping Ads policies: Google has a specific list of articles and items that cannot be sold online as they are either dangerous or restricted by the law. Your shopping ads should only have items that Google allows the sale of on its platform before you even sign up for the merchant center. Thoroughly go through the rules for shopping activities, advertising, and other merchant center programs.
- Your Website URL: Your website’s domain should be yours, and you have to check your domain in the Search Console to make sure you are the owner and that no one else can claim your account. You should be able to edit the HTML of your site or upload files to the server to check your URL.
- Other website requirements: Many other detailing criteria need to be fulfilled, affecting the merchant center programs you will participate in. The first one is your contact information. Your website must have an accurate phone number of your business and other info such as address and email ID. The checkout process must be secure and sensitive, and financial information is gathered. These must go through a secure processing server (SSL) with a valid SSL certificate. Your billing, return and refund policies must be clear and straightforward. The terms and conditions must be laid out clearly without contradictions.
The product data that is uploaded to the product feed must meet Google feed requirements. Formatting the data accordingly gives Google the exact information it needs when it crawls your feed. Here are the technical specifications:
- Product’s Unique Identifier (ID): The Product identifier must be unique for every single product, preferably the SKU of the company. The ID has to remain the same when updating the data and ensuring to use the same identifier for different countries or languages.
- Product’s Name: The product’s name must suit the title from your landing page and be able to identify the product precisely. Avoid adding promotional content, and variants should have the differentiating attribute mentioned clearly, such as the size or color. Comply with essential requirements for each country. The age rating, for example, should be given for books and other items for sale in Russia.
- Product Description: The description must accurately fit the product and suit the description given on your website’s landing page. Do not add promotional content in capital letters and emphasize product features rather than links to the store or competitor data, sales statistics, or accessories. Descriptions must also be formatted with breaks, lists, and italics for google shopping feed optimization.
- Link (products’ landing page): Your domain name should be verified and start with HTTPS. The URL needs to be encoded and comply with RFC 2396 or RFC 1738. And, unless legally required, avoid lining an interstitial page.
- Image Link: This is the URL of the product’s main image from your domain. The format should be of any approved format such as JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, and non-animated GIF. Fashion goods should have a clear image with at least 250×250 pixels of resolution. Avoid submitting images more significant than 64 megapixels or a file size greater than 16 MB. It should display the product clearly and not contain watermarks, borders, or advertising texts.
- Availability: The availability of the product must be up-to-date.
- Price: The price of the product should be in the currency of the country of sale and prominently mentioned. It should include the value-added tax (VAT) or the goods and services tax (GST). Users looking to buy the product online must be able to buy it at the same price without paying extra for a membership. For products sold in bulk, the price mentioned should be of the minimum purchase quantity.
- Brand: Products from existing brands should have the brand mentioned clearly. Your store name can be used only if you are the manufacturer of the product (including white labeled products). If it doesn’t have a brand, the name of the manufacturer or the supplier must be mentioned in the brand attributes. Avoid leaving it blank or entering Generic or N/A in it. For compatible items, give the GTIN from the manufacturer.
- GTIN: The product’s Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is mandatory for precise identification. Go through the official GTI validation guide and only submit valid GTINs. For products that are compatible, pick the GTIN offered by the brand or the manufacturer. Avoid indicating the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) brand that the product is compatible with or even its replica. Multipacks must use multipack product identifiers, and bundles must have the identifier of the main product.
Why should you enhance your google shopping feed?
There are several advantages to google shopping feed enhancement:
- It improves relevance: enhancing your shopping feed is all about fine-tuning data to perfectly fit what google’s algorithm expects. When someone searches for your product, the algorithms use keywords, categories, product identifiers such as GTIN, descriptions, and more to pull up everything related to it. To stand out among the thousands of search results, your feed will have to be complete and thorough. The closer the information in your feed matches the search, the more likely you will be shown in the result.
- Improved conversion and ROI: The goal of listing on Shopping Ads is to come up in as many relevant searches as possible and make the conversion to drive your return on investment. When so much of your ad money is going into it, you must make a first impression on a prospect and nudge them towards conversion.
- Outshining competition: There might be hundreds or thousands of other merchants with the same products as yours who are given the same set of constraints to work with. The level of detail you give to your shopping feed will help you float to the top in the crowded shopping channel. Constant enhancement of the feed ensures you are close to the search terms and stay relevant despite the competition.
- Advanced campaign enhancement strategies: The custom label attribute can be used in your shopping campaigns to group best-selling items or items that fall under a price range that go according to the trends or the season. You can diversify bidding for specific groups or even make separate campaigns.
How to enhance your google shopping feed?
The product data that is feed into your shopping feed determines the ease with which Google will choose your ad over the thousands of others and display it to a potential customer who searches for it. There are two ways you can make it better: enhance it manually or use automated enhancement.
Ways of enhancing your google shopping feed
To enhance your shopping feed manually, you need to know and understand the depth to which every attribute can influence your relevance. And accordingly, the shopping feed needs to be modified. Here are some of the features that can be manually enhanced:
- Description: The descriptions not only need to be optimized for keywords but should also be relevant in describing the product such that it is easily understood. It shouldn’t contain information about compatible products, similar products, or use unfamiliar words. It also needs to be grammatical and professionally written without spelling errors.
- Availability: The availability of the product should be regularly updated so that google and users can know how much is in stock, what is out of stock and what can be preordered.
- Condition: Condition is a mandatory item for all products that are used or refurbished. It is optional for new products. However, it can be added to all products to improve search results.
- Brand: The brand attribute must be clearly defined to help identify the product. It should also be visible in the images of the front packaging to associate the product with the brand and refine search results.
- Every product attribute that goes into the shopping feed can be controlled by you.
- Works well for customized products and exclusive items sold by the merchant.
- Extensive knowledge about google shopping feed is necessary to get it right.
- Updating manually every day can be labor-intensive.
- Dynamic parameters that can change, such as availability, cannot be changed instantly.
Automated enhancement using third-party tools like App for Google shopping by AdNabu.
Unlike manual enhancement, the automated tool makes it much easier for you to improve your shopping feed. By giving scores out of 100 to every product in the store, the app gives you a metric to gauge the quality of the product attributes as prescribed by Google.
The higher the score, the better chances your product has in performing well in Google shopping ads. These are the product characteristics that show recommendations in the app:
- Title: The tile is your most important attribute as google compares the search queries with available titles and pulls up all the relevant results. To optimize this further, the title should include the keyword and other attributes that associate the product with the type, gender, color, size, design, etc. Using trial and effort on the app, you can develop solid titles and find scores under the “full analysis” tab.
- Description: As mentioned before, the description should be an exact match to what is on the landing page of your website while also describing the product with relevant keywords. The app can analyze and score your description for effectiveness to be improved before sending it to the feed.
- Google Product Category: The product categories must be clearly defined to help the search engine with its taxonomy. Getting the subcategories right can make the difference between what is shows as relevant and what fades into the background. It is important to remember that there is no such thing as too much information when it comes to classifying the product!
- Product Type: Product type gives google the other metric to classify your product more accurately and improve the relevance of your search. This becomes more important when selling excellent products or selling similar products with different user bases. When in doubt, use the analysis tab to develop a score for the product type attribute.
- Promotion Ids: Promotion Ids can be used as identifiers that match the product data to promotions offered by merchants. It’s essential to use unique Ids and the same promotion Id in the promotion data and product data. The app can also give scores based on tests.
- Images: The images always have to be of high resolution or have enough detail to show the product clearly and the brand. It should also not have watermarks, promotional texts, or borders around it. Appealing images can significantly improve the first impression and are consistently scored higher in the optimization of ads.
- GTIN: The Global Trade Item Number is essential for all products. Every manufacturer must submit the product GTIN, which can be used as accurate identifiers for shopping ads. Getting it right will significantly boost your ad performance.
- Automation saves time with enhancement strategies as the apps are updated with the relevant trends in shopping feeds.
- Exporting data to the feed is much easier and free from mistakes.
- Data from variables such as stock and price can be instantly updated.
At the core of google shopping, feed enhancement enriches the quality of information that goes into your shopping feed. Although you may have known about the best practices to set up attributes, the field is dynamic and changes to search better every time. Automating google feed enhancement to apps such as AdNabu comes with the benefit of staying on top of the game and avoiding mistakes that can decrease your ROI.