Working with Google Shopping, sooner or later, you will deal with product categories optimization. While the majority of people think about ad optimization, they focus on the setting of campaigns, bid strategy, and execution.
One of the most significant areas, which is really valuable for company success is product categories. Your data fid is a subset of your items. It is a special digital catalog of products which contains such attributes as titles, descriptions, GTIN numbers, all the data about your merch, etc. These are the points that are used for the definition of keywords due to which your ads are visible to people.
Google Shopping includes 2 items, which are Google Ads and Google Merchant Center. In the first section, sellers may set the needed budget and modify your bid strategy, while in the second section it is possible to store the necessary data of your merch.
Importance of Data Feed Optimization
To get Google show your ads for a lower price, you need to collect as much info in your data feed as possible. Comparing with something physical, your data feed optimization is similar to a house building. Data feed is a general basic point for the whole Google Shopping campaign. If your data is not optimized, lacks important details, and provides little value, it will be quite challenging to work on Google Shopping.
Here is how Google will treat your listings if they are not correctly optimized:
- Your items will not be visible for some search results;
- You will invest more money in ads;
- The majority of free places will be taken by your competitors;
- There will be no requirable visibility, which will lead to cost overrun.
To make everything clear, let’s examine the case of selling dresses by Gucci. If you created such a title as “Gucci blue dress” and did not add any description and info about the size table, possible colors, designs, ect., your ad will not be relevant for search queries. In case if you were lucky to find your ad there, you would possibly pay too much money compared to your competitors who work with data feed optimization strategy.
Google Merchant Center: Insights
Due to text advertisements, it is possible to see the quality rate, despite Google Shopping campaigns where you cannot get any data. Instead of it, you can use a Google Merchant Center. After downloading data feed to Google Merchant Center, you get an opportunity to see and analyze all the errors, threats, and rejections. In such a way, Merchant Center comes up as a source of quality control to provide you with all the necessary information and accuracy of your statistics.
After you have noticed that something goes wrong, it means that you need to fix everything as soon as possible. So, there are three types of errors in Google Merchant Center. Go ahead to get to know what are they:
- Feed Level Warnings. There is a special feed check. Thanks to it, it is possible to ensure that data feed is delimiting correctly, and all the files are set up and readable.
- Item Level Warnings. This point allows getting to know if some special attributes are not included. Moreover, you will get recommendations and warnings to check everything in a proper way. This is where most problems occur, and it is necessary to fix them in the data feed.
- Account Level Warnings. This issue can lead to an urgent problem, such as Google shutting down your Merchant Center. If there is such a warning about verification, for example, it is in your interests to verify your account as fast as possible.
As far as we got to know about bad issues, let’s discuss some useful habits.
Get used to updating your feed each time you change the price, availability, or other attributes. In such a way, if you have sold 100 items last month, for example, but now you have only 50 of them, you need to change data feed. If not, you can just spend your money in vain. Moreover, these extra products can lead to 404 in the Merchant Center, which is really harmful to the quality of your feed.
Google Product Categories and Product Type Categories
The Google Product Category [google_product_category] attribute is used to classify items. This category is selected from a Google taxonomy. Product placement in product categories is designed to help potential customers navigate your product. This makes it important that you select the right category for your product. Otherwise, you may find that customers are trying to find what they are looking for.
The only function of the Product Type attribute is to help you organize your shopping campaigns by product group for more effective bidding and campaign management.
This has no effect on campaign performance and policy review. It can be assigned any value of your choice. However, as a best practice, Google recommends organizing the “Product Type” attribute similarly to the Google product category.
Product type categories are valuable for your own categorization. In such a way you may choose any options you would like to set for your items. They allow controlling and comparing campaigns by examining reports in Google Ads. While that makes them an extremely important part of your marketing strategy, Google Product Categories play a much bigger role in how campaigns actually perform.
The best way not to feel confused about Google Product Categories and Product Type Categories is to use Google’s product taxonomy as your product_type nomenclature system. You can use Google Product Categories as your product_type categories, but not the other way around.
If you decide to link to another system for your product types, be sure that they are organized and responsibly categorized.
If you are ready to delve into these moments, use our guide below.
- Organize your content
Regardless of whether you are a brand manufacturer in the Manufacturers Center or a reseller in the Merchant Center, this first step should be the content organization. This includes four action elements:
- Centralize your product information
- Modify your product data according to Google specifications
- Adapt all other product information to Google’s content requirements.
- Create a process to update content
You can do this manually or select a product content management system such as Salsify.
- Optimize product names
Use the Google Best Shopping Title best practices. Do not make your product names clickable, make them searchable so that your products are ranked in search engines. Otherwise, they will not appear for user queries.
Here are the factors that will influence your Google Shopping ranking:
- MPN / style number
- excessive capitalization
- HTML issues
The closer the attributes, such as a brand or MPN, are located on the left, the more weight they have in the algorithm. In general, update all your product IDs and all product options in the Merchant Center. Another reason for this is that Google uses the vendor directory using GTIN to auction your product with similar competing products. We will take a closer look at these points later on in our guide.
- Use keywords in headings and descriptions
First, check what keywords your products are already ranking for. Then run a report on your search terms in AdWords to find the most effective queries.
NOTE. The latter may not be keywords for which you are already bidding on AdWords (PPC). These are based on what users actually type in the search bar.
Ask yourself the following questions when writing keywords:
- Are PLAs (Product Listing Ads) displayed for this keyword when doing a manual search?
- Does at least one of your products appear during this search?
- How much do your shopping campaigns spend on these keywords?
- Does this keyword contain product names or descriptions?
This is an ongoing process. You may need to update the names and descriptions of your products when you notice new profitable queries appearing in Adwords.
- Reinforce your ads with product extensions
When the search query is completed, all related products will be displayed under your ad in the form of a plus icon based on your product feed in your Google Merchant Center account.
If you intend to implement product extensions, then optimizing product delivery is much more important. Take note of every step, because a detailed and up-to-date product stream has the best chance of seeing product extensions in their ads.
To add product extensions to your product list, visit the Merchant Center, and click “Ad Extensions”. From there, you can easily add a new extension and select the appropriate product channel.
- Use promotions
Promotions can be created at the mall. Here are our top five results for Google promotions:
- Free shipping
- Free Shipping Threshold Reduction
- Buy one, get one or buy one, get a 50% discount
- Percentage discounts (for example, 5% discount on orders from $ 50, 10% discount on orders for $ 100 or more)
- Discounts for specific brands (for example, one for each brand sponsored by the manufacturer)
- free promotion at the Google Shopping mall
- Use custom tags
Custom tags give you the ability to create more detailed reports that may affect your bidding strategies. Here are some product attributes that you can use as labels:
You are not limited to the labels listed above – use what is relevant to your products and think about what types of reports you would like to see.
- Get detailed information with your descriptions.
Google allows you to use up to 10,000 characters for the description. Take advantage of these characters with these best practices:
- The target is 500 to 1000 characters in length, despite being limited to 10 KB.
- Include the most appropriate attributes (size, estimated age range, special features, specifications, etc.)
- Include visual data (design, material, design) that can help Google return more accurate search results from 500 to 1000 characters for the buyer.
- Use proper punctuation and grammar throughout the description. Limit the use of special characters and exclamation points
- Make sure product images are of excellent quality.
If the images of your product do not show the right product, are of poor quality or sparse, this can distract potential buyers.
Here are some suggestions for outstanding Google Shopping images:
- All your images should have the highest resolution available (at least 800 pixels in height and width and file size up to 10 MB).
- Each additional image should provide additional information about the product to the client (its use, relative size, target customer).
- When it comes to clothing and accessories, shoppers look for product images from all sides.
- The main image of the product should include a clear image of the product on a white background.
Make sure you have at least three good quality photographs for each product. If you don’t have many, start with the best selling ones first.
Optimizing your data feed is a powerful way to increase the efficiency of your Google Shopping ads, lower your CPC, and increase sales. You should also compare your Google Shopping data with search volume and other sources of advertising data. Here are some key points to consider:
- search volume
- and negative
- keywords for your shopping ads.
This is a great place to start looking for additional optimizations to add to your channel. By analyzing your feed and campaigns from this level, it should help you continuously improve your performance over a more extended time period.
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