Before publishing products to Google Merchant Center, it is essential to know the basic requirements. This article will cover a precheck list, talk about the website, and data feed requirements alongside Google Ads tips.
- Have a link on the footer of all pages that points to a return and refund policy (learn more on how to write a Return and Refund Policy)
- Have a link on the footer of all pages that points to a payment policy page.
- Have a link on the footer of all pages that points to the delivery policy covering the shipping time, shipping costs etc…
- Have a link on the footer of all pages that points to a disclaimer page.
- Have a link on the footer of all pages that points to a terms and condition page.
- Valid contact details that can be easily found on the site
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Business Hours
- Contact Form
- Physical Address that can be resolved in Google Maps
- Social Links
- All countries outside of the US, Canada, and India must have the prices listed, including VAT (tax) for both the data feed and the website.
- Make sure your sales prices are real, do not show a sale price if they are the same all year round. This will cause a misleading suspension.
- If you show a sale price, ensure the sale price is shown first, then the regular price.
- Checkout processing, as well as the processing of any personal information (such as the address, email, etc.), must be secured (SSL-protected, with a valid SSL certificate). This means that the checkout URL must resolve to HTTPS and not HTTP
- Do not force a customer to accept terms and conditions using a checkbox.
- Make sure all payment options are clearly explained before the customer starts the checkout procedure
- Typically merchants show all payment option image icons at the footer of the website.
- You must accept at the minimum credit and debit card payments.
Product Landing Page
- Don’t copy other merchants’ content. Create original images and descriptions.
- The product landing page must have the title, price, description, image, currency, availability, and buy button visible. These elements must also be visual above the fold (visible without scrolling).
- No links to generic pages such as categories, the home page or search pages.
- Pages must be the same and accessible for all browsers and countries (no IP redirection).
- If listing variants, make sure the landing page product has the correct variant pre-selected and has the correct structured data.
- The product information must be relevant both in the data feed and landing page.
- Prices need to be visible (learn more on landing page optimization)
- When listing multiple prices such as VAT inc, VAT ex, etc.. the first price that is visible must be the value that the customer will be paying for. Also, ensure that the font size is equal to or greater than the other prices listed on the page.
- Targeting multiple countries requires your landing page to be in the target country’s correct currency and native language.
- Show the correct availability (In stock, out of stock, pre-order, backorder)
- The shipping price you add in Google Merchant Center, must be accurate or overestimated.
- You can offer delivery to specific regions within a country, however you need to setup regional availability and pricing.
Other non-critical requirements :
- Google periodically validates your prices using structured data. It is recommended that you integrate structured data, including JSON-LD and Opengraph. This keeps your data fresh on Google Shopping and increases your data quality. This is very useful for multiple prices, including tax, excluding, rrp etc.
- Include popups that obstruct customers’ natural behavior, such as blocking the add to basket button, checkout, or other critical elements on the site.
- Disable the back button.
- Use country / IP blocking.
- Submit wrong bulk pricing, where the cheapest is listed. In addition, you have to submit the minimum purchasable volume. So, for example, if you sell bundles of 10, 100, and 500, even though 500 might be the cheapest per unit, you need to submit the total price of 10. Also, remember that Google Shopping is consumer-based, where they tend to buy 1 unit.
- List prices VAT exclusive.
There are several methods for publishing products to Google Merchant Center. Below are the most common options.
- Google Sheets
- Great for when you have less than 50 products to manage. The downside is that you have to manually update all the data every time a price or availability.
- Text Delimited or XML
- You can build your own data feed using a scripting language such as PHP. Development knowledge is required and not recommended for beginners. Contact your developer to find out how to set this up.
- Web Crawler
- A fallback option for small websites, that are not too serious about advertising. This has many issues such as missing products or incomplete data.
- Management Tool / Plugins
- An automated system that takes care of the heavy lifting. Daily updates, ranking tools, easily disable products, editing, rules, etc… My recommendation.
Every newly created Google Merchant Center Feed will receive an initial manual and automated review. The Google Reviewer will look at your website and product data feed. This process can take up to 3 business days.
- Use your SKU as ID.
- Submitting images is best done with a white background and 800 by 800 pixels. Do not submit images with text, logos, watermarks, people, or borders.
- Shipping prices must be accurate, or an overestimated
- Shipping prices can be added either in the data feed or in Google Merchant. Remember that any data feed shipping values overwrite the settings in Google Merchant.
- Focus on the titles as the titles define the search terms your products are eligible for.
- Submit VAT inclusive prices, Google Shopping is a consumer marketplace, and thus the prices must be all in
- Ensure that your prices and availability are up to date daily.
- GTIN (bar codes) values must be submitted when the manufacturer has assigned one.
Your Google Data Feed minimum requirements
- All Products require :
- Image (Minimum 250 by 250 pixels) (Recommended 800 by 800 pixels)
- Google Category
- Link to website
- Brand (If GTIN is supplied)
- GTIN (If the manufacturer has assigned a bar code)
- For Apparel products above plus below :
- Item Group ID (only if you have multiple variants)
- Age Group
- Shipping / Tax
- Shipping and Tax must be added to either the data feed or at the Merchant account level. (US only)
- Link your Google Merchant Center account to Google Ads
- Weekly maintenance is required.
- When making changes, always wait at least seven days for the effects to take full effect. If you are using Performance Max up to 1.5 months.
- Check search terms report for irrelevant keywords. (For standard shopping)
- Large product lists split the ad groups up by brand, category or custom labels.
- Use Audience remarketing.
- Enable location bid adjustments. (For standard shopping)
- Enable device bid adjustments. (For standard shopping)
- Increase bidding on top performers.
- Use ROAS as your bid targeting method instead of cost per conversion.
- All sales, generally have different values by using conversion value divided by advertising costs allows you to bid more effectively than cost per conversion
- Create tripwire offers
- List products that are a great jumping board for selling more. For example, list something cheaper than your other products.
- When advertising, think about the customer’s lifetime value. Simply advertising without taking all of the rest into consideration might cause for lost opportunities.
- Repeat orders
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