By Dennis - Comments: 164
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A Google Shopping feed that works is the thing that’s keeping you from the fun part of advertising watching sales come in 🤑

Some lucky people manage to get their product feed working on the first try. But since you’re here reading this article, I bet you’re not one of them.

It’s not rocket science, but it can be very tricky to know what to fix and then to find where to fix it.

I’ve set up hundreds of Shopping campaigns and I’ve encountered most problems at least once.

So in this article, I’ll take you through the various parts of a shopping feed, how you avoid these devilish errors and how to get to fix them as quickly as possible.

Bonus: Don’t get lost in the details. Get our free Google Shopping checklist to guide you through the rest of the process so you can start selling on Google Shopping in no time! Grab it here!

Here is what we’ll cover in case you want to jump ahead:

Part 1 –  Basic Google Shopping Feed Fixes

Let’s start with the easiest part, the name.

The feed you need for Google Shopping is known under a ton of different names: merchant center feed, google shopping feed, product data feed, product feed, data feed, etc.

Those might sound complicated but all of these are the same thing: a file with all of the product information of your store in a format that can be read by another system.

These kinds of feeds are used by a lot of different systems. But if you want to advertise your products in Google Shopping, you’ll need to adhere to Google’s requirements.

Google Shopping Product Data Specification

Google has a long list of specifications that explains which data they need and in which format they need it in.

If you’re having problems with your Google Shopping feed, this is probably where things go wrong.

The exact requirements depend on the type of products that you sell or the country you’re selling in.

In what follows, I’ll describe all of the required items. You won’t need to pay attention to all of these, but if you’re stuck, going through this list and understanding what goes on behind the scenes might give you a clue how to fix it.

id

The product id is the number you use in your store to identify a specific item. It’s important that the number is unique in your product feed. You can use your SKU number or the id generated by your store platform.

If you want to sell in the same country in multiple languages, you can use the same product id for the same item in a different language.

title

For the product title attribute, you can describe your product in up to 150 characters.

Be sure to include the most important keywords at the start, because Google often will show only the first 35 characters, as you can see in the screenshot below:

google-shopping-normal-search-results
Product listing ad with short product titles

In the Google Shopping portal, a bigger product title up to 75-100 characters is shown. But the majority of people won’t see this page:

 

google-shopping-portal-search-results
Google Shopping portal displaying longer product titles

The product title is one of the product attributes with the biggest impact. So make sure you include import product details like brand, color, material or size.

Pro tip: a good product feed title usually also is a title with a lot of SEO benefits

Avoid promotional text in your titles like Free Shipping or Limited offer.

description

The product description is where you give all the product details a customer cares about: features, dimensions, use cases, etc.

These descriptions don’t show up in the search results, but they do in the Shopping portal (this is a tab of the search results page).

google-shopping-product-description

You have up to 5000 characters, but only a few of those will actually show. In the screenshot, about 175 characters are shown. If we check the seller’s website, the product description has over 1400 characters.

So use the limited real estate smartly. Get your most important point across first. And although the rest of the product description might not be visible, it can help Google to understand what other keywords your product would be relevant to appear for.

As with the title, avoid promotional text.

google_product_category

The google product category attribute tells Google which category your product belongs to.

The category attribute is no longer required. If you don’t pick a category, Google will pick the most appropriate on automatically:

google-shopping-automatic-google-product-category-feed
If you don’t provide one, Google automatically assigns a product category to your products

This feature hasn’t been around for too long, but Google’s guesses of the product categories that I’ve seen were pretty accurate.

If you want to supply the data yourself, you can only use the pre-defined values from the Google Product Taxonomy list. Don’t just settle for the highest level category, try to be as specific as possible.

Example: you’re selling a jersey for cycling:

Don’t settle for the general category: Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Activewear

But be as specific as possible: Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Activewear > Bicycle Activewear > Bicycle Jerseys

Being as accurate as you can help to increase your visibility.

If you’re selling bundled products, pick the most appropriate category.

product_type

The product type is another category indicator. It’s not required but highly recommended. This one is mainly used for the organization of your Shopping campaigns.

This advertiser can organize her Shopping campaigns based on the product type attribute

You’re also not limited to the categories that Google has, so you can create your own subcategories to make the organization easier.

If you do use this, be sure to include the full string. In the example above, maybe your store only sells cycling jerseys. So you could have:

Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Activewear > Bicycle Activewear > Bicycle Jerseys > Woollen Jerseys

or

Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Activewear > Bicycle Activewear > Bicycle Jerseys > Nylon Jerseys

link

You have to provide a direct link to the product page (not your homepage) and it has to include the https:// (or http://) part. If you have a specific page for mobile traffic, you can supply that link via the mobile_link attribute.

image_link

This is the main product image. If you have multiple images, use the additional_image_link attribute.

It’s best to use the best quality image you have, preferably 800px x 800px, but higher is always better. Ideally, the shot needs to be of the product on a white background.

Don’t try to be clever by adding extra text or logos to the image, that won’t work.

But do have a look at the current search results. It happens often that all products have the same image, often dropshippers that use the product images supplied by the manufacturer. That means that you could stand out with a different angle or higher quality image. This is exactly what anime store DokiDokiDesu did.

Let’s take a look at another example of this tactic:

google shopping feed product image attribute
Seller #5 grabs the attention with a slightly different product image

condition

The product condition is a required attribute for all products. Options: new, used or refurbished

availability

The product availability is a required attribute for all products. Options: in stock, out of stock or preorder.

Note that items available for preorder are eligible to show in Google Shopping. If you want to prevent this, be sure to adjust this in your product feed.

price

The product price + currency is a required attribute for all products. For example 15.00 USD. The currency needs to match the country you’re creating the feed for.

You need to include VAT into your price, except if you’re targeting the USA, Canada or India.

sale_price

The sale_price attribute to communicate a special deal on a product. It is an optional attribute with the same requirements of the product price attribute.

google shopping feed sales price attribute
Here is what the sales_price attribute looks like in a product list ad

 

Common mistake #1

The attributes condition, availability, sales price, and price are pretty straightforward, but Google is very strict about the accuracy of all the data in your product feed.

What you put in your feed needs to match the data on your website. If the price doesn’t match, a product will get disapproved.

To avoid this, make sure to update your Google Shopping feed is updated frequently. Check in the Automation section below for some tools that make this process easier by integrating with your store.

gtin

Gtin or Global Trade Item Number is a unique product identifier. You probably know these better as barcodes. Depending on you where you are located or source your products from, you’ll use a different system:

  • UPC: 12 digit number mainly used in North-America
  • EAN/UCC: 8,13 or 14 digit number mainly used outside North America
  • JAN: 8 or 13 digit number used in Japan
  • ISBN: unique identifier for books

If you have multiple options, for example, a UPC code or an EAN number, you can use either one of them.

If you are selling a multipack or bundle, use the gtin of one of the products.

brand

The brand name of the company that created the product. Don’t include your own store name or the name of your distributor. If it’s a product that you have created yourself and you’ve bought a UPC/EAN barcode from a party like GS1, do add your brand name here.

mpn

Mpn or Manufacturer Part Number. This is a number provided by the manufacturer of the product. It’s required for products that don’t have a valid gtin number.

identifier_exists

The identifier_exists attribute indicates whether a product identifier exists for this product. Here is how to use it:

  • You resell items that have a gtin / mpn and a brand: identifier_exists needs to be set to TRUE
  • You sell old or custom items: identifier_exists needs to be set to FALSE (Google then won’t require a gtin, mpn number or brand for these products in your data feed)

If you don’t provide a value, Google will set it to TRUE.

Don’t try to be clever and set the identifier_exists to FALSE to avoid having to look up or enter all the product identifiers. Google really needs this information to match you with the right search queries.

 

Common mistake #2

For most products, Google requires 2 out of 3 product identifiers. These are the following attributes: brand, gtin or mpn.

Because a lot of sellers will have different product titles or descriptions, Google uses these product identifiers to figure out which products are the same.

If you don’t supply the correct information, your products might be disapproved, or it will fail to get clicks. This means it’s in your own interest to do the legwork to include these product identifiers.

If you haven’t been using gtin or mpn identifiers, check with your suppliers, they should be able to provide them.

But I’ve also had many cases where a supplier didn’t know or didn’t have any product identifiers.

My next move is usually checking sites like upcitemdb or barcodelookup.

For example, I tried to find the UPC number of an Anker Powercore 13000 power bank. I opened up upcitemdb. The screenshot below shows me all of the different product variations.

gtin_upc_mpn_barcode_lookup

I assume Google has a similar database.

If you don’t add the product identifiers to your shopping feed, Google will match your products based on the product titles.

So if your product title is “Anker Powercore 13000 power bank”, Google will show Shopping ads with searches for power bank.

But there are a lot of other ways to describe this product: battery pack, external battery, etc. Thing is that your competitors are probably using a lot of these keywords. And if you use the same product identifiers as your competitors, you’re able to tap into this multitude of searches.

Special product attributes

Besides most of the required attributes covered above, some categories or cases require you to add additional information into your product feed.

item_group_id

The item_group_id attribute is necessary if you’re selling a product that comes in multiple variations like a different color or size.

The attribute indicates to Google that there is one “core product”, with small variations. It allows customers to explore variations right in Google Shopping:

google-shopping-feed-why-use-item-group-id-attribute
Selecting size and color straight from the Google Shopping portal

Each of the products that have the same item_group_id needs to have one product attribute that differs

For example:

  • Green chinos 32: item_group_id: chino12 – color: green – size: 32 –  age_group: adult
  • Green chinos 34: item_group_id: chino12 – color: green- size: 34-  age_group: adult
  • Brown chinos 34: item_group_id: chino12 – color: brown- size: 34-  age_group: adult
  • Blue chino 32: item_group_id: chino12 – color: blue – size: 32-  age_group: adult

Below I’ll cover each of the attributes that are used in the variations.

If you submit multiple products with the same item_group_id, but with identical attributes, you’ll see the “duplicate variants” error. You can fix this by making sure each variation is unique.

color

The color attribute is required for all apparel items and indicated the color. The value you need to provide to Google needs to be the actual color spelled out: black grey, teal, etc.

If you have multiple colors, you can provide up to three colors by putting a slash in between colors. For example: yellow/green/white

gender

The gender attribute indicates the gender the product is for.
Possible values are male, female or unisex.

size

The size attribute indicates the product’s size. Multiple values are supported, but you have to stay consistent across variations.

In our example above we were using the size for the pants: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, etc.

If you’re also selling shoes you can use the common shoe size in your region: 7, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, etc.

Also, S, M, L, XL are possible.

If the product contains 2 size dimensions, like a pair of pants, you can combine them separated by a slash: 32/34 for example (where 32 is the waist and 34 is the length)

age_group

The age_group attribute is required for all apparel items and it indicates which target audience the product is meant for. Possible values are:

  • newborn: 0-3 months
  • infant: 3-12 months
  • toddler: 1-5 years
  • kids: 5-13 years
  • adult: 13 years & up

These values will help Shopping match products to search queries like “sun hat baby 7 months”

So in most cases, you’ll use set age_group to adult. Note that this is different from the adult attribute, which is explained below.

adult

The adult attribute is required if the products contain nudity or sexually suggestive content. if your product doesn’t contain this, you don’t need to supply it, it is set to no as default.

Often this is linked to a checkbox in your store’s back-end. I have had one client where this was all switched on by mistake, which caused the products not to be shown. So make sure this one is only turned on if it needs to be.

custom_label_0-4

To finish, I want to mention the custom_label attribute. These are extra pieces of information you can add to your product feed. Adding custom labels to your Google shopping campaigns takes you into the optimization realm of your Shopping campaigns. (When you set up your campaigns in Google Ads interface, you’re able to use these custom labels to define your campaign structure)

But I wanted to add them here in case you want to provide extra information to your feed.

The Google Shopping Policies

Besides all of the required product attributes, there are also some meta requirements you need to pay attention to. These are the various Shopping policies.

Violating these policies is what gets your Google Merchant Center account suspended. I’ll cover each of them below and show you how to fix them.

suspended Google Merchant Center account
Example of a suspended Google Merchant Center account

Prohibited or Restricted product policy

If you are selling products that are heavily regulated or not allowed on Google (categories like alcohol, adult content, tobacco, counterfeit goods, weapons, drugs, copyrighted content, etc.) you could run into these types of errors.

So if you’re not sure about your products, check the list of prohibited or restricted items.

This can change depending on the country you’re selling in. So if you’re expanding internationally, the grounds for disapproval might be different.

Landing page policy

Google wants the best possible experience for a user on your site. If the link you provide to the landing page is broken or returns a different kind of server error, that product or your whole feed might get disapproved.

A second common error in this category is sending the user to the homepage instead of the specific product page.

Welcome gates or popups that block the whole page are also not allowed by Google. So if you do use a popup, make sure it’s easy for the user to get around it.

Check the list of landing page restrictions.

Return and Refund policy

You need to have clear information on your site on how a customer can get a refund or how she can return an order.

If you don’t have these policies in place, your feed will be suspended, and if it remains unsolved, your account suspended.

Shipping settings

You need to provide accurate and complete information with regards to the service (fast, slow, express, insured, etc.) and associated costs.

If you are shipping from outside the country you are targeting you need to provide clear information about the cost and type of service. Also, be clear about extra customs fees that might be applied to the order.

The basic thinking behind this policy is: don’t surprise your customer. Be clear what to expect and what it’s going to cost.

There are two ways to set your Shipping rates:

  1. In your Google Merchant Center account (recommended)
  2. In your product feed

I prefer #1 because it gives you a good overview of the shipping rates that are active.

If you include the shipping values in your product feed it overrides the values in GMC. That’s where things often go wrong.

Problem 1: incomplete shipping value

There are two ways to pass the correct data for this attribute, one is to do this in a single field:

shipping: US:::4.95 USD

Or add all of the subattributes separately:

shipping_country, shipping_region, shipping_service or shipping_price (only this last one is required).

Problem 2: Calculated shipping rates

Sometimes, shipping rates depend on the weight of the product. If you’ve configured the different brackets in GMC, you need to make sure that you send through the weight value in the correct format for each product. This includes the value + measurement unit.

Tax settings

In most countries, the price you provide in your feed will include sales tax. Only in the United States you’ll need to configure the tax settings in Google Merchant Center: which states do you owe tax in, what percentage, etc.

Going through all these attributes, I hope you’ve spotted the errors you were making before and have managed to fix them in your back-end.

Lifting your Google Merchant Center suspension 
If your account got suspended and you’ve fixed the issues that led to that suspension you can request an account review.
In my experience, Google is really quick (a couple of hours up to 3 days) to lift an account suspension if you’ve put in the work to fix the problems. Be aware that this is a manual process, so there will be an actual person looking at your account. If you’re sloppy, lazy or didn’t make any changes, reviewing could take longer and longer or your account suspension could be permanent! If your suspension is lifted, you still might get some errors for the feeds that are in your Google Merchant Center account. Once you see errors pop up, you’ll have a couple of days to fix them or delete the feed from your account. But if the errors pile up and you don’t fix them, you’re on your way to an account suspension.

 

Bonus: Don’t get lost in the details. Get our free Google Shopping checklist to guide you through the rest of the process so you can start selling on Google Shopping in no time! Grab it here!

Part 2 – Fixing Errors In Google Merchant Center

All of the information above will already improve your data quality and shed some light on any policies you might be violating.

When you’re fixing your feed, you can use the Diagnostics overview in the Products section of Google Merchant Center to see if you’re making progress and indicate what other problems you need to fix.

google-merchant-center-diagnostics-overview
The Diagnostics overview in Google Merchant Center

There are 3 types of issues that can occur:

Account issues
These are issues that affect your whole account. For example, an unclaimed website, no Adwords account linked or a missing return & refund policy.

Feed issues
These problems are related to the fetching, uploading or processing of feeds.

Item issues
These are the bulk of the issues you’re trying to fix with this article, mainly related to the data quality.

Clicking on each section will outline exactly what is wrong and what you can do to fix them.

Not every problem has the same importance, In Merchant Center there are 3 different types of problems:

  • Errors: critical problems that need to be addressed asap
  • Warnings: important things to fix when you’re done with the errors. These will often increase visibility
  • Notifications: suggestions to optimize your product feed

Here is a look at a Google Merchant Center account with its share of problems:

issues-google-merchant-center-account
Errors and warnings in a Google Merchant Center account

 

Bonus: Don’t get lost in the details. Get our free Google Shopping checklist to guide you through the rest of the process so you can start selling on Google Shopping in no time! Grab it here!

Part 3 – Advanced Google Shopping Feed Fixes

By now you should have been able to fix a lot your feed issues.

But some problems require a different approach. In this section, I’ll tackle these with different approaches and new tools that can help.

Creating a shopping feed from scratch

If you’re unable to get any of the integrations or feed generators to work, sometimes you need to get back to basics to find the underlying issue.

With shopping feeds, that means creating a new simple product feed from scratch where you can control each and every variable.

You can do this when you’re creating a new feed in Google Merchant Center. Google will generate a new spreadsheet that’s linked to your GMC account and which detects any changes and automatically updates the information in your product feed.

google-merchant-center-create-new-primary-product-feed
Create a primary product feed with Google Sheets

This is a very time-consuming approach, plus all the data needs to be updated as soon as something changes in your store. So I only use this approach if products rarely change or if I need to troubleshoot why a specific product feed won’t work.

There also is an official google shopping feed template. It’s a copy of the template that you’ll get from Google Merchant Center if you use Google Sheets for your product feeds. Be sure to also check tab 2 in the document called Example. This will illustrate how to use the template.

Product variations, Bulk Changes & Multiple Feeds

Luckily, you don’t have to go through the above to create your shopping feed. Most ecommerce platforms will have some kind of integration with Google Merchant Center. Shopify, for example, has its own free app that pushes your products into Merchant Center.

And for some stores, that’s all they need. But in some cases, you need extra flexibility or features that these basic setups are too limited.

To me there are a couple of features that make dealing with product feed a lot easier:

  • Properly handle product variations
  • Ability to quickly make (bulk) changes
  • Manage multiple product feeds
  • Take advantage of custom labels
  • Use optimized feeds for Bing, Facebook Ads, etc.

Some of these or must-haves, others will save you some time.

There are a ton of tools out there that will help you do this (skip ahead for a big list of them). They all work in the following way:

  1. Grab product data from the store (via an app, plugin, extension, API, etc.)
  2. Ability to edit data in your product feed via the tool
  3. Push feed(s) to Google Merchant Center

All tools below will do #1 and #3. But not all will do #2.

With the free or cheap ones (except for Feed Rules), you don’t have the ability to edit any of the data in your product feed before it gets pushed to Google Merchant Center.

That means no bulk changes, multiple product feeds or custom labels.

These often have the features that really make the difference. They go under a number of different names: data feed management software, feed management, shopping feed platform, etc.

Google Shopping Feed Tools

The main benefit of these comes out when you’re managing multiple product feeds. That can be google shoppings feeds for multiple countries or a feed for Google and another for Bing Shopping.

These are the main providers of this software:

You’ll see the pricing varies widely between the different tools. Don’t make a decision purely based on price. If you’re interested in any of these tools, sign up for a trial and explore what they can do for you.

Pro tip: most of them will include a free setup, which will help you get your product feeds ready in no time!

Google Merchant Center Feed Rules

Feed Rules is a little-known feature in Google Merchant Center can do some of the things these platforms can, the only difference is that you can do it for free.

using-google-merchant-center-feed-rules
Adding a custom label via Google Merchant Center Feed Rules

You can use these to add new information to your Google Merchant Center data feed and make bulk changes. In the screenshot above, I’ve used the functionality to add a custom label to the feed, depending on the product type.

Google Shopping Feed for Shopify

A quick search in the Shopify app store shows you’ve got plenty of choices:

shopify-google-shopping-apps
Google Shopping Apps in Shopify’s App Store

Opinions over which one is the best vary. I’m a big fan of the standard Google Shopping app by Shopify. it used to be buggy but they’ve worked hard over the last couple of years to improve it.

Here is the list of solid options:

  • Google Shopping app by Shopify (free – by Shopify) – link
  • Feed For Google Shopping (paid – Simprosys InfoMedia) – link
  • Google Ads & Google Shopping (free & paid – Clever Ecommerce) – link
  • ShoppingFeeder (free & paid – ShoppingFeeder) – link

Some of the data feed management providers mentioned above, also have their own Shopify apps: Channable and DataFeedWatch.

Google Shopping Feed for WooCommerce

To generate your shopping feeds on WooCommerce, there are many plugins out there. Two of our favorites:

  • WooCommerce Product Feed PRO – link
  • WooCommerce Google Feed Manager – link

Apart from the above, all the feed platforms also offer WooCommerce support: GoDataFeedChannableDataFeedWatch & Sales&Orders

Google Shopping Feed for Magento

To get your Magento product feed working, there are plenty of extensions available:

  • Google Shopping Feed – M1 (paid – Magmodules) – link
  • Google Shopping – M2 (paid – Magmodules) – link
  • Simple Google Shopping – M1 (paid – Wyomind) – link
  • Simple Google Shopping – M2 (paid – Wyomind) – link

Most of the data feed management providers mentioned above, also have their own Magento extensions: Channable (M1) Channable (M2), DataFeedWatch (M2).

Google Shopping Feed for BigCommerce

BigCommerce now supports Google Shopping on all plans via the Sales&Orders app.

Other BigCommerce apps that will help you with Google Shopping:

  • DataFeedWatch – link
  • GoDataFeed – link

Google Shopping Feed for 3dcart

3dcart also offers Google Shopping support with a variety of modules:

  • Automatic Google Shopping Feed (paid – 3dcart) – link – screenshot looks like it +5 years old, so don’t know about the quality of the app
  • DataFeedWatch (paid) – link
  • GoDataFeed (paid) – link
  • Sales&Orders (paid) – link

Google Shopping Feed for Prestashop

  • Google Shopping Merchant Center Module (paid) – link
  • Google Shopping Export (paid) – link
  • Google Shopping Feed in 3 min (paid) – link

Master the subtle tweaks of the setup

You made it till the end, congrats!

Now you know how and where to fix the problems with your Google Shopping Feed.

If you’d like to know what to do after setting up, check out my Google Shopping course. Through a series of video lessons, you’ll learn how to set up your Shopping campaigns for maximum impact. The feedback from our students has been really great so I encourage you to check it out!

Bonus: With your errors fixed (hopefully) it’s time to start your campaigns. Our free Google Shopping checklist will help guide you through the rest of the process! Grab it here!

About the author

Dennis

Dennis is the founder of Store Growers. He's an ecommerce PPC expert from Belgium and has been running Google Ads campaigns for over 8 years.

His goal is to cut through the BS when it comes to ecommerce advice and provide you with tactics and strategies that will make you more money.

Read more

164 responses to “How To Fix Your Google Shopping Feed Without Going Crazy

  1. Thank you Dennis! My team will be glad to help any of your readers on their Google Shopping Feed. 🙂
    We know it can be tricky, so we created the tools for it.

    Best.

    Olivier – CEO Shopping Feed

  2. Hi Dennis,

    Many thanks for this great article. Indeed, Google Shopping can be tricky. My team and I have been maitaining our Google Merchant Center module for PrestaShop (this one: http://addons.prestashop.com/en/comparison-shopping-prestashop/1768-google-merchant-center-google-shopping.html) since 2010, so we’ve lived through quite some stories and have great experience helping customers with it. Feel free to send any PrestaShop shop owners our way, they won’t be disapointed 😉

    -David @ Business Tech

  3. Hellow sir i am using woocommerce and i want to link my product to google shopping and i want to know how it update automatically after adding a product to store

    1. Hi Md asad,
      The Wocoomerce extension mentioned in this article (Google Product Feed) will do exactly that: automatically update the product feed and send it to Google Merchant Center.

      Let me know if that works for you!

          1. I have also encountered issues now where google says my mobile landing pages are unavailable – HTTP 5xx response.

            The pages all function properly on desktop and mobile browsers – it is only when google crawls the site that it finds issues. They have found 85 products to have this issue – when I manually inspect each URL on the search console, most of them are fine with only a few coming up with 404 errors (I repeat, these pages all work 100%)

            Google, Wix and Ecwid have looked into this and do not know how to help.

            Website has been functioning for over a year with no issues with the goolge shopping ads

          2. Hi Brice,
            That’s a pretty annoying problem to have.

            Perhaps the answer is in the “mobile landing pages” that are giving server error codes. Here are a couple of idea to start figuring this out:

            • Do you have the same problems for non-mobile pages?
            • Are you using separate mobile landing pages?
            • How has Google crawling changed since you started having these problems?
            • Is Wix maybe throttling a crawl? It can if you have many products/URLs that get hit at the same time

            Hope these help!

  4. Hey dennis

    Is it possible to change feed titles keeping it little different from website titles in an automatically magento updated feed (daily updation) . Any smart way to let the feed gets updated regularly via FTP except for the title. This way i can insert few high performing search terms into the product titles

  5. For Shopify customers using the free Shopify app, there are some limitations if you are a clothing retailer selling a product with various color variants — The app will only publish the first variant.

    To get around this (and have some custom control over your feed if you need it) you can actually generate the proper feed xml by using a custom Collection template. I’ve described the process here: https://business.czarto.com/2016/06/14/shopify-google-shopping-feed/

    Best,

    Alex

  6. Thanks so much for this article and for the Merchant feed template. I was desperately searching for this info and some template and I found what I needed. A big thank you!!!!

  7. For those of us making bespoke or customised products, there are several considerations – particularly when it comes to google-product-category, brand and item identifiers (mpn, gtin, etc…)

    I use Zencart (latest version) and then install some really good third-party plugin modules:-
    Sitemap.xml generator
    Google Merchant Centre Feeder
    Google Analytics Tracking Code Creator

    The key is the CHRONLOGY in which you set things up.
    1. Make sure your webshop is ORGANISED and STRUCTURED, where the site admin has the capacity to contain all the data relating to how Google uses the above protocols. So, understand what Google needs from your site in order for the site admin functions to create data feeds that comply with Google’s standards and taxonomy. Make sure your product data is able to store (in the database and in individual data fields) all the parameters that need to indicate to Google, that your eventual data feed is compliant.
    ALL e-commerce sites should be SSL Secured, and it is BETTER if you have a dedicated IP address for your site’s hosting, onto which a DEDICATED SSL Certificate is installed. Google is making it almost “mandatory” for e-Commerce sites to have SSL, and will favour SSL sites in search ranking and results. If you host on a “portal” (organisations that advertise that you can have a webshop up and running in 10 minutes), you may be obliged to use their “shared” SSL – which is better than nothing, but not ideal. If you can, build and host a STAND-ALONE web shop, where you are in full control. Not everyone can do this – but it’s by far the preferred way to sell on the internet.
    2. In Google Merchant Centre, some product categories have additional required data-sets. For example – GPC (Google Product Category) 166 – Clothing & Accessories… additional REQUIRED attributes (in addition to the global required attributes), include AGE, and GENDER. So make sure your software enables you to add these attributes when a GPC requires you to do so.
    3. Once the structure of your website is 100%, Create your Google Analytics account and make sure that the tracking codes are kicked into action when needed. For example (such as on non-product pages), it is not necessary to invoke certain google remarketing jscripts. However, when a product page is rendered, the page source should contain additional Google jscripts when/where necessary.
    4. Run your website (and various web-pages) through Google’s pagespeed checker. Take note of what may be slowing the site down. Google also has testing tools for “mobile-friendliness” and what is called “Structured Data” (the latter growing in importance for good SEO and search results rendition. If you get poor scores on any of these tests, your site’s technical guys need to be kicked in the a…
    5. When your site is BOTH technically and content “competent”, it’s time to submit sitemaps. Here, you create a Google Search Console account, and when ready, use its features to upload a sitemap.xml file. Then LINK the Search Console account to your Analytics account.
    6. If you plan on using Google Advertising services, then create your AdWords account now. Start simply, with a single, easy campaign, and just one or two ads. (Within a week or two you can start going into more detail – but at first, the main thing is to have it ACTIVE.
    7. Then, generate your product feed (usually an XML file).
    8. Create and configure your Google Merchant Centre account – again, linking it to both Analytics and AdWords accounts. They all need to “talk to each other”.
    9. Upload (or submit) your product data feed and “populate” Merchant Centre with your products. Do this first using the TEST UPLOAD on Merchant Centre, as there are bound to be errors. You can download a CSV report, showing ALL the errors. Fix any errors, then TEST again. When the test results of the feed upload show NO errors, submit the feed as “Standard” and this will populate Merchant Centre with your products.
    10. You may need to wait a day or two before all your products indicate as being “active”. Only when they are active, can you then go back into AdWords and create a specific “shopping” campaign that MUST be linked to the relevant Merchant Centre account (and associated product feed / data).

    Over the years, this has become more detailed and complex – and is best handled by someone who has experience and knowledge. Messing it up can wreak havoc on your search results, your advert quality scores and (eventually) your bank account…

    1. Wow Grahame, thanks for your contribution!

      I absolutely agree to get your foundation straightened out before you start with feeds. If you get stuck somewhere along the way, it’s usually very messy to clean up (believe me, I’ve been there :P)

  8. Thanks for the great article! We are using WooCommerce. We have set up two feeds in Google Merchant – one targeting the US and one targeting Canada. We’re using the same xml file from WooCommerce for both feeds. The Canadian feed works perfectly. But the US feed has shipping errors on every product. The shipping is set up in Google Merchant as a flat rate for the US – very straightforward. It must be common for companies to run shopping ads in multiple countries using woocommerce, but we just can’t seem to get it working. Any ideas on how to fix our shipping error? Thank you 🙂

  9. Hi and thanks for the superb tutorial,

    I tried a lot’s of feed plugins for woocommerce and found only one for free which works quite good for GMC: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-product-feed-manager/
    In the free version it is limited to 100 products (I guess per feed) and does not support variations. The payed version is 69€ (which I havn’t tried yet) supports also variations and other stuff.
    Just wanted to let you know!

    1. Hi Tom,
      Thanks for letting us know! The plugin market is always changing so it’s good to hear about your experiences with this one. I’ll add that one to the list.

  10. Hi Dennis,

    I’ve an issue with Google Merchant center. I’m getting few errors like “missing required attribute gender”, “missing required attribute color” etc. . I’m using Rocket Shopping plugin, where I’ve mapped columns but still it’s not fetching data from magento.

    1. Hi s_vinod,
      I haven’t used that plugin myself, so not sure what’s going on. But here is how I would investigate:
      – check the feed (xml) that you’re uploading to GMC, to make sure that those values are exported
      – check the products with the warnings in GMC: are those values coming through?
      – do you have the correct google product categories? (if you list a product as fashion, you’ll need to supply those values)

      Hope these suggestions help!

  11. Hey,

    A client of mine mytruwood.com is struggling with getting their DPA ads and google retargeting dynamic ads images to appear bigger.

    It seems a bit smaller than was wondering if there is a way to make it so the images of the watches were a bit more zoomed up so it showed off more of the watch than the whitespace around it.

  12. Hi Dennis,

    Hope you are well?

    To begin I would like to thank you for writing this article, I found it very enriching and useful.

    I am a Digital Marketing Executive for a greeting card company.

    We are currently facing an issue with our product titles in our product feed. We have an extensive list of 3000 cards in the feed, since launch our PLA’s haven’t been performing well at all.

    The main reason being because of the card title, which aren’t SEO friendly. These product titles describe the card e.g. one of our father’s day cards:”A MEDAL?! – FUNNY FATHER’S DAY CARD”, as you can imagine nobody is going to look for a specific card title like that or very rarely.

    The problem all of our product titles are taking pulling the titles we have on Magento. We would like to update the product titles with the category they belong to + The name of the card artist. to retake the father’s day card it would result in e.g.: Funny Father’s Day Card By Antoine Holmes. However, considering that we have 3000 product title to update I was curious to know if you knew an extension or a software that would enable me to operate bulk changes instead of having to go through all the product title and change them one by one?

    Have a good weekend,

    Thank you for your help,

    Milan

    1. Hi Milan,
      Thanks for your comment!
      I have to say I’ve never managed a store on Magento so I don’t know the ins and outs of the platform.

      A quick search showed by that it won’t be very easy to do in the interface & I couldn’t immediately find a tool to do this for you.

      But perhaps Excel can? I’d try something like this:
      – Export all products, category & artist. If this last piece of data is part of your description, you need to put that in it’s own column.
      – Create new product names based on your criteria
      – Import new names & merge info based on product id or sku
      – Re-create your product feed

      Since these changes might also impact your URLs, make sure to put the proper redirects in place.

      Hope this helps!
      Dennis

  13. Hi Dennis,

    Hope you are well?

    To begin I would like to thank you for writing this article, I found it very enriching and useful.

    I am a Digital Marketing Executive for a greeting card company.

    We are currently facing an issue with our product titles in our product feed. We have an extensive list of 3000 cards in the feed, since launch our PLA’s haven’t been performing well at all.

    The main reason being because of the card title, which aren’t SEO friendly. These product titles describe the card e.g. one of our father’s day cards:”A MEDAL?! – FUNNY FATHER’S DAY CARD”, as you can imagine nobody is going to look for a specific card title like that or very rarely.

    The problem all of our product titles are taking pulling the titles we have on Magento. We would like to update the product titles with the category they belong to The name of the card artist. to retake the father’s day card it would result in e.g.: Funny Father’s Day Card By Antoine Holmes. However, considering that we have 3000 product title to update I was curious to know if you knew an extension or a software that would enable me to operate bulk changes instead of having to go through all the product title and change them one by one?

    Have a good weekend,

    Thank you for your help,

    Milan

    1. Hi Milan,
      Thanks for your comment!
      I have to say I’ve never managed a store on Magento so I don’t know the ins and outs of the platform.

      A quick search showed by that it won’t be very easy to do in the interface & I couldn’t immediately find a tool to do this for you.

      But perhaps Excel can? I’d try something like this:
      – Export all products, category & artist. If this last piece of data is part of your description, you need to put that in it’s own column.
      – Create new product names based on your criteria
      – Import new names & merge info based on product id or sku
      – Re-create your product feed

      Since these changes might also impact your URLs, make sure to put the proper redirects in place.

      Hope this helps!
      Dennis

  14. Hello Dennis,

    Thanks for the great post. I am running exportfeed.com’s woo commerce plugin for my product feeds. I was able to successfully upload my first feed and some of my products are getting impressions while others are not. Also when I do searches myself only some of the items show up. Any ideas what could be causing this?

    1. Hi Alejandro,
      There couple be a couple of reasons for products not showing up. Here is a small checklist to get more clarity around why products aren’t showing up:
      – Are the product approved in merchant center?
      – Are there merchant center warnings about those products?
      – Are competitors showing up for these products?
      – Are bids competitive enough?

      Let me know if these help!

  15. Hey Dennis,

    Great article. Do you have any experience using Woogle? It seems to be a pretty powerful tool but quite complex.

    Definitely running into a few issues configuring the API URI properly and would love any advice.

    Cheers,

    Neil

  16. Hi Denis,

    Great article!

    ShoppingFeeder is happy to help any of your readers regarding Google shopping issue.
    We’ve built the most comprehensive extension to help merchants manage product listings on marketing channels and increase revenue.
    We support Magento, Woocommerce, Prestashop, Opencart and Shopify.

    Keep the good work!

    Regards,

    Henri Martin – Business Development Manager ShoppingFeeder

  17. Thanks for the great post. I worked with Adwords for 5 years in Brazil, and we have many problems in small or medium stores. This post is complete, here I am approaching the Merchant API. Hugs.

  18. Hi Dennis

    What a fantastic article, it is a really good read and so comprehensive compared to much of the articles which are just scratching the surface when in comes to domain of feed management. I have worked with data feed management for more than 3 years now and setup integrations for a lot of small, medium and big stores i Scandinavia, but still there where some key take aways from this read.

    Please let me know if you are ever in DK, and we would love to have you by the office for a chat about feed management and beer on the house of course 🙂

    Best regards
    Steffen L. Jørgensen
    WakeupData

    1. Thanks for the kind feedback Steffen 😊

      First time I hear about your tool, what would you say is the main differentiator with other data feed management tools out there?
      -Dennis

      1. Hi Dennis

        Sorry, i just saw you’r reply now. “Better late than never” 😉

        First of all, i will say that the tools that you have mentioned are really good and cover a lot of the basic problems e-tailors encounter.
        Our differentiator lies in the flexibility that we offer the customers, a flexibility which only will be available on more high-end solutions, such as ProductsUp(here our differentiator is price 😉 ) e.g. but still are priced on the same level as the more commonly used platforms(DFW, Channable etc.)

        I have to admit i am not as updated with the other tools solution as a day-to-day user will be, but here are some of the reasons why people choose our solution instead of the others.

        In terms of enriching the data we offer merging, which means that we can merge any source of data or local file to your feed(BI-, Recommendation-, Popularity-, Cost-, Weatherdata, etc.) in order to make intelligent or enrich it with relevant data to create automated campaings etc.

        Furthermore we can enrich the feed by scraping from URL’s, meaning you can add product information from product pages which aren’t in the feed all ready. That can be additional images, breadcrumbs, color, brand etc. – Or if you don’t have feed all ready, we can crawl one for you, instead creating manually 😉

        When in comes to working with data for different channels, such as Google shopping, we have the conditions-hierarchy(which you see in most feed management systems) but we also have an expression engine, where you can do any changes to the data that you would want by using simple expression. That could be to create search-term optimized titles, remove html, get the right format, etc.
        – In the expression you also have the option to do split-testing on any attribute, meaning you can split test on titles, images, descriptions etc.

        Lastly, we have an image editor(not so relevant for Google Shopping), which allows customers to create image templates for different channels.

        If you would have the time, you are very welcome to contact me or simply create an account in the system, then you can try it out for yourself 😉

        Again thank you for a great article!

        Best regards
        Steffen

  19. This article saved me when I have struggled with the feed for 3 days! I just knew identifier_exists should be fault for custom products ! Thank you so much! Although my feed validation result still indicates invalid data but no indication of what goes wrong…

    1. Happy we save you extra days of struggling.

      Unfortunately that’s often how it works, getting your product feed in shape by slowly fixing one error after the other..

  20. Thanks a bunch for taking the time to put this together Dennis! I do have a quick question for you that I’m hoping you can shed some light on. We have just introduced the item_group_id attribute and for some reason all the items within a group are being handled by Google as unique, individual products rather than as variations. This is despite the value for item_group_id being the same for all groupings. And thoughts to share?

    1. Hi Russ,
      Thanks for your kind feedback!

      For the products that you want to group with the item_group_id attribute, what’s are the attributes that are different between variants?

      My first thought would be to make sure you provide values for all products within the item_group_id (if your variants have different colors and sizes, provide values for all products).

      1. You’re quite welcome Dennis, and thanks for the prompt response.

        The attributes which we’re setting item_group_id for are size, color and material.

        But initially we were starting off with just trying to set it up for the size attribute. This is the point where they were all being treated as separate products rather than variations.

        1. This type of stuff is pretty tricky. Sometimes I’ve successfully fooled Google . But more often than not, it doesn’t work, or works for a while and breaks than.

          I’d try to replicate the thing you had before the change (the one that worked) and slowly make changes based on that. (One way to speed this testing up could be to create a Google sheet just for these products, that saves syncing time with your cart or feed provider).

          Hope this helps!

  21. Hello,

    Thanks so much for this article, however how long it will take to show information about uploaded data?

    I went to Diagnostics it just show No data display.

    In current issues section, it shows the message Looking good for Account, Feeds and Items but above

    Best regards,

    1. Hi Lisseth,
      Diagnostics can take some time to update. Even if you’ve corrected your errors and have uploaded them, you still might see the same errors and warnings.

      If that happens, I always double check the actual product information and make sure it contains the values I want them to.

      Which data are missing?

      Regards,
      Dennis

  22. Hi Dennis,

    I have checked your Google shopping feed list and I have 2 doubts. Please help me clear doubts.

    1) Identifier Exisits – I have products that have no gtn, mpn or brand should I set it to identifier exisits to FALSE?

    2) SIZE – I have some indian dresses that have NO size, for selling to USA it requires size, I dont know what to add there.

    Thank you

  23. There are some new and free Google Shopping Feed apps out there, I noticed for Shopify and Prestashop there is Cobiro. I’m not sure how it differs from the traditional ones. Maybe you have an idea?

    1. Hi Adrian,
      Just had a look and it seems that Cobiro goes a bit beyond just getting your product feed into Merchant Center. It claims to also take over all of the management and bidding of those campaigns, all powered by AI.

      I’ve used a few services like these with some of my clients and I haven’t been convinced of their effectiveness.

      Do let us know about the results if you do decide to go with them 🙂
      -Dennis

  24. Hi Dennis,
    1. How many hours is your course?
    2. Do you recommend a Shopify app for feed of thousands of apparel products including color/size variations?
    3. What are your fees to setup and/or manage Google Shopping campaigns on a Shopify store?

    1. Hi Al,
      1. The complete Google Shopping course runs to almost 5 hours in total. It’s a good mix of setup, optimization and advanced concepts. But rest assured, you’ll have great campaigns running long before you hit that 5 hour mark 🙂
      2. I would try the default Shopify Google Shopping app. It recently got a refresh (it’s treated as a sales channel now) which took care of a lot of problems (variations etc.). If you need to do more special things (eg. target a country with a different currency than your store), I’d look at the special data feed management tools described here.
      3. I don’t offer the setup as a standalone service anymore. But do offer it as part of Google Ads management. The exact fee depends on your ad spend, but our lowest tier starts at $799/mo.

      1. Hi Dennis,
        Need your input…as still thinking about purchasing your course. I’ve used DataFeedWatch for past year for feed; but its too confusing for me. I’ve hired freelancers to setup for me; but can’t even continue to get freelancer support on their app; as it’s confusing for a novice. I need to switch. I’ve narrowed down to Sales & Orders and Wordstream. If I watch your course, will it benefit me to use one of their apps? I sell apparel. I have thousands of SKUs per season; so large inventory. I want to have control of my own Google Shopping campaigns…so that I control and maintain my ad spend. Can you recommend or advise best self service way to proceed with Sales & Orders or Wordstream? I want most efficient way to get lots of my products to be shown when customers search for my products.

        1. Hi Al,
          Sorry to hear about the problems you’re running into.

          You might not like my answer but I think tools like DataFeedWatch and Sales&Orders are what you need. Their interfaces might be different or easier to use, but they both have very similar functionalities.

          They will take your product info, give you the ability to make changes to the feed and push it the Google Merchant Center.

          (I wouldn’t recommend Wordstream for Shopping, I’ve used it and find it lacking a lot of functionalities necessary to manage your campaigns well.)

          The course will help you get a better understanding of all of the different pieces that you need to get right. Especially how to use these product feed tools to make sure you keep control over the performance of your Google Shopping campaigns.

          Hope that makes sense!

  25. Hello Dennis!

    I have been reading your articles but think a paid phone call might be where I need to go. Currently, my eCommerce site is on Squarespace that just released a product feed for facebook. I have linked those two but there already are some issues (categories filling incorrectly, facebook wants to be the checkout instead of pointing back to the website, instagram won’t pick up the product catalog- probably starting here). While I was connecting the two I was able to open the file that squarespace created on google sheets and this is where I think I could add those extra columns for a google merchant feed. I have verified my website and am ready to upload a product feed on google merchant. However I am feeling unsure and overwhelmed and don’t want to start creating more problems than fixing them. They probably need to be functiong fairly well before I hit the throttle on my Ad Words scheme. Does this sound like something we could work on? Thanks so much

    1. Hi Moskie,
      That sounds like a bit of a challenge indeed!

      If I understand correctly, you’d like a feed for Facebook (which you can also use on Instagram) and one you can link to Google Merchant Center to use with Google Ads, correct?

      Quick disclaimer: I haven’t done any product feed setup for squarespace. So based on your comments & what I found while Googling, here are some ideas:
      – modifying that facebook product feed: if you manage to access this feed and transform it into a feed that Merchant Center likes, you’ll run into the problem that the feed is a snapshot of your store. If you add/remove products, changes prices, change URLs, Change product images; you’ll have to manually update the feed again, otherwise it will be out of sync (which Google doesn’t like).
      – find a tool/service that integrates with Squarespace to create a feed for one or more platforms. These tools usually have a monthly fee attached to them, but they will remove a lot of the headaches and very often help you with a free setup.

      here are a couple of data feed management tools that support Squarespace:
      https://squarefeed.io
      https://feedarmy.com/google-shopping-feed/squarespace/
      https://feedonomics.com (more high-end)

      So we could jump on a call, but I don’t think I can be much more helpful then steering you clear of the manual route and mentioning these tools. At this point, I think singing up for one of these tools I mentioned is a better investment.

      Then when you’ve got your campaigns running smoothly, we can jump on that call to get them more profitable 😉

  26. Very helpful article.
    One question though, your article says:
    “You sell old or custom items: identifier_exists needs to be set to YES (Google then won’t require a gtin, mpn number or brand for this products in your data feed).”

    But identifier_exists should be set to “false” in this situation, not Yes. Or have I misunderstood?

  27. Hi Dennis

    Thank you for a great article, with some great insights 🙂 – I work with feed management my self, and we are just starting to onboard our first US clients(our main market share is in Scandinavia). – And it’s good to read a bit about what we are up against 😉

    Best regards
    Steffen

  28. hi Dennis , i have set up GMA ,now the problem is how do i get the product data feed from Yves Roche/Otter box .they email gets sent
    to me Daily but have no clue on how to view/if possible . where or how do i get them & put them on the sheet .
    totally lost .the product data export get sent via Commission Junction .

    best regards Paul

    1. Hi Paul,
      Not sure what you mean. Are you trying to be an affiliate for Yves Rocher/Otterbox in Google Shopping?
      Because that’s not very straight forward:
      1) Google only allows the actual brand/website owner to advertise in Shopping.
      2) If you’re in the EU, a way around that is to use a Comparison Shopping Service. But you’ll have to see if the brand actual allows affiliates to advertise on Shopping.

      Hope that helps!

  29. Hey Dennis,

    Thanks for providing so much info about the google shopping feed. This post is a GEM for all the people who are getting started with the google ads.

    I have an e-commerce dropshipping store on the Shopify platform and I am using the free google shopping app. And still, I am facing one problem that my feed is updating automatically on a daily basis, which resets the time for shopping feed approval. And because of this problem, my product feed is in pending stats from a long time.

    Do you suggest to enable the automatic updates for the “price attributes” only in the google merchant center account?

  30. Appreciated for the shared this article, It’s really in depth and full information for whole users who got this issue. I would also like to share with a circle of mine. Currently, they’re many users getting the issue in google Marchant Account, we have written on that issue as well Here it is: https://i-verve.com/blog/google-merchant-account-suspension-reasons-solutions-for-magento-online-store-website/

    if you have further question feel free to revert here.

    Thanks

  31. Hey Dennis,

    I need for help regarding google merchant center i have uploaded product in feeds but after that product is going to feed and product status also showing active and Surfaces across Google is also active but in the below column in the name of Item Status showing Violation of shopping ads policy and there is no manual review option for all products and same item status showing so what should i do for fixing the issue please help.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Shahid,
      That’s an annoying problem, do you get any impressions/clicks for these products?

      Just found this same issues in an account of mine, says I violated the policy about “Partial nudity in personalized advertising”. And it’s for a poster with a picture of a rocket taking off.

      I do have the “Request review” option on the Google Merchant Center product page. Do you see that?

      That solved my problem. (Note that you can only request a review once every 7 days)

      If you know you’re not violating any policies, request that review. If you’re not sure, have a look at all of them: Return and refund policy – Landing page policy – Prohibited or restricted product policy – Shipping settings – Tax settings.

  32. Hey Dennis,

    Thank for your supportive information relating the google merchant center.

    I am completely sure about my product there is not violating of any kind policy of google merchant center,but main fact is that there is no option available for manual review only showing that learn more relating the Help or information of policy violation.

    In item status issue is Violation of Shopping ads policy and affected destination was blank and action it was Review Shopping ads policies and update your feed to meet the requirements
    Learn more

    So what should i do for manual review please help.

    Awaiting For your responsive Revert.

    Thank U

  33. Hey Dennis,

    There is no impressions and click on total products main fact is that it is not showing in google shopping ads because of showing a violation of shopping ads in item status of each product so what should i do please help.

    Thank u,

  34. Dear Dennis,

    I have set up a feed using Google Sheets inside Google Merchant.

    The Shopping Ad is displaying correctly but the landing page URL is also pulling in the homepage so instead of loading the landing page I am getting the homepage as displayed below. I am using Magento 1.

    https://www.clc-online.co.uk/?url=https://www.clc-online.co.uk/renz-rw-home-3-1-pitch-binding-machine.html

    I have contacted Magento support but they are saying the problem lies within Google Merchants. Google Support are saying the problem lies with our server. I would be very grateful for help on this. Thanks Graham

    1. Hi Graham,
      That’s an annoying problem. Here is what I would do:
      1. If the landing page URL is correct in Google Sheets
      2. In Google Merchant Center, go to List, find this product and click on it. That gives you all of the product details, check if the link is correct there
      3. In Google Ads, go to your campaign settings, look for the heading of “Campaign URL options”. I think your homepage might have been filled in, hence the error.

      Hope that helps!

  35. hi Dennis,
    i am a dropshipper and very new to this !! i made an account in google merchant and it got suspended ..and they told me i have to put my business ph-no or business address when i try to fixed the issue it seems i made a mistake to put united states as my business base … it is suppose to be my targeting country . so now i do not know how to fixed it . so should i just make a new google account or make a virtual business phone no.?
    please help !!

    1. You can close your Google Merchant Center account (look at your Account settings) and open a new one afterward.
      That can take up to 48 hours, so give it some time.

      If that still gives you trouble, you might have to re-try with a different email/Google account.

  36. Hi Denis,

    I have tried myself to resolve the problem which are getting into Google Merchant Center but not getting proper solutions for that so can you please let me know how to resolve this issue. Following is the error getting int Google Merchant Center.

    Error Name:- Processing failed [image link]

    -Thanks in advance…..

    1. Hi Ritesh,
      Here are a couple of things you can try:

      1. Open an incognito browser window to test the actual image links are working
      2. Replace any symbols or spaces with URL encoded entities (& -> &26)
      3. Make sure your URL can be crawled by Google: check your robots.txt (Test it in Google Search Console)
      4. Review the image you’re trying to push through. And make sure it is smaller than 16MB and smaller than 64 megapixels
      5. Try changing the file name to force Google to re-check
  37. Hi Dennis,

    Thanks to explained in brief but I have checked each and every things that you mentioned in spite of Google Merchant Center getting an error.

    I thought Google Merchant Center resolve the problem automatically.

    Now the error has been resolved by Google Merchant Center.

  38. Hi Dennis

    I am an adwords certified and i still find it difficult to add shopping feeds. I am fine with display ads or search ads but when it comes to shopping ads, it feels like i am an novice.

    1. Hi Vicky,
      You’re not the only one 🙂 Because of the lack of keywords, Shopping is for many experienced advertisers a puzzle. Give it some time and you will see results!

  39. Hi Dennis
    Thank you for such informative post that i haven’t found in other pages. I am a new dropshipper and I currently face 3 difficulties that needed your help/explain, here they are:
    1. My suppliers doesn’t know anything about MPN and GTIN, as the result I have to set identifier to FALSE and I acknowledge that you suggest GG will find it difficult to match my product with customer search. Is there any solutions for it?
    2. I wonder if is there any process to opts only show ads in first line or/and right side of normal SERP?
    3. My main product feature is custom (engraving/printing/craving) and I find it difficult to promote same product but with different ideas, any suggestion for it?
    Appreciate your help! Thank you in advance 🙂
    Best Regards.

    1. Glad to hear it’s useful!

      Here are my thoughts:
      1. if you can’t rely on product/brand names, your product titles become the most important thing to focus on. Make sure that the keyword you want to show for are included. Check the search volume for tops keywords in keyword planner or a tool like SEMrush to get an idea about the volume.
      2. The top positions are for the advertisers that have the best quality score and the highest CPC. In SHopping it’s usually the CPC that prevents advertisers from showing up in those top slots. My suggestion is not to worry too much about it for now. Focus on getting the amount of impressions and clicks up first.
      3. Would also run text ads to see if you get more volume on these campaigns.

      Hope these help!

  40. Dennis,
    What an outstanding post. Thank you so much for this detailed, unbelievably helpful resource. I appreciate the time you put into this. If I ever write a post involving Shopping ads, I will be sure to mention/link to you.
    Thank you!!
    Ray

  41. Dennis, I have a website that sells home decor that I started 10 years ago and have added products to it ever since. At the time and since then I have always thought in terms that home decor was a product geared to a grow-up, meaning adult. I now have 10,000 thousand products for which the Google Shopping Attribute, “Age Group” is ticked as “Adult”. I need to neutralize this “age group” area quickly. Is there a term that can be used in the CSV File for my Products that will make this area neutral again, without the difficult task of removing “adult” separately from every product?

    Any info will be greatly appreciated.

    Regards, Guy

    1. Hi Guy,
      The Age Group attributed is actually only required for Apparel products. That’s because it’s an important piece of information for those products.

      That’s not the case for your home decor products. So you can safely remove it from your feed.

      Have a look at Google Merchant Center feed rules, this will allow you to make these type of bulk changes to your feed.

      Hope that helps!

  42. Hi Dennis,

    Thanks a lot for this amazing article! I have a question: when we fix the issues, is there a way to let google Merchant know that we fixed them? Like Fetching in Google Search Console.

    Thanks in advance.

    Kind regards Vildan

    1. Hi Vildan,
      When you’ve made updates to your feed, you can either wait for the changes to be picked up the next time your feed is uploaded to GMC. Or you can be a little more proactive about it.

      The way on how to do that depends on the way you’ve connected your store to Merchant Center:
      – If it’s via the API (like Shopify or Bigcommerce), you’re able to initiate a “push” from those platfroms
      – If you’re uploading the feed with another tool or FTP, you can Fetch your feed in Merchant Center. You can find this option in the Procsessing tabe of the Feed section (Products > Feeds > Processing)

      Let me know how that works out for you!

    1. Not much to do but wait.

      Wait a couple more days, after you could try to reach put to Google via the support in Google Merchant Center.

  43. Hi there, great article! Quick question: Assume I have a tshirt in 3 colors (red, blue, white). Obviously I will submit each variation and link them using the group ID (all 3 versions also have a different GTIN). BUT do I also have to submit the neutral color-less parent product (which does not have a GTIN) as it does not physically exist?

    Thanks a lot
    Peter

    1. Hi Peter,
      Your first idea was correct. Just submit the 3 actual products with the group ID.
      No need for an extra non-existing product.
      -Dennis

  44. Hi Dennis,
    I use shopify and google shopping app, but loads of my products have an error, “Barcode isn’t valid” error. How do I solve this problem? Thanks. Trude

    1. Hi Trude,
      The barcode field in Shopify is pushed through as the GTIN to Google Merchant Center.
      That error indicates that it is not correct.

      So I would double check that the barcode you are using is an official GTIN/UPC number.

  45. If my product title or description is different from the one of my website, because it is a lot shorter than the one I would use for Google Shopping, Google won’t let me? Because I would give more info in my title on Google Shopping.

    1. Hi Elise,
      Your product title or description in your shopping feed can be different than the ones you have on your website.
      I’ve seen a lot of advertisers make a few extra tweaks to their titles to increase visibility.
      -Dennis

  46. Hello, dear Dennis!
    I would be very grateful if you could help me with one problem I faced with in Merchant Center:
    Preemptive item disapproval enabled for policy or data violation: inaccurate prices (due to inconsistent pricing between the feed and the landing page)
    On my website there are two prices: Price and Sales price, all prices are correct. In product feed prices also are correct. Why in Merchant Center there is incorrect Sales price in Final attributes?

    1. Hi Natalia,
      Just to make sure I get this right: the sales price attribute is GMC is incorrect?
      if that’s the case, I’d have another look to where the feed is created to make sure both price and sales price attributes are sent correctly.

      If I get it wrong, please explain it again 🙂

  47. Hi Dennis,

    Thank you for a great article. I have a highly customised WooCommerce website, we use both Google and FB ads. No problems with FB feed, however our Google feed is showing error messages for all products “Unknown ‘google product category’ value”. On individual product pages everything is marked according to the matching Google taxonomy, however this is not being pulled through. Any advice on how to manage this?

    Thank you
    Katya

    1. Hi Katya,
      I would start by looking at your actual product feed to see which value is being pushed through for your products. Sometimes there is a problem with not the whole category name being pushed through, or it gets cut off because of strange symbols “>”.

      If you can fix it in your plugin/store/feed, all the better. If not, you can make tweaks via Google Merchant Center Feed Rules.

      Last option is to take out the product category completely from the feed. Google will then automatically assign a category and your products will get approved.

      Hope that helps & let us know what you find!

  48. Amazing Article Dennis.
    Can you guide me to submit Google Sheet that I created for Merchant Centre. I don’t have GSuite Account. Is it possible without GSuite Account?

    Goutam Das

  49. Hi Dennis,

    I read your blog regularly. I want to know what feed app you will suggest for Shopify.
    I am using Google shopping feed by simprosys.com.
    But the problem is when I override the Shopify product variant (if I found a better seller) from aliexpress via oberlo. My Google ads count it as a new product and lost all ad history and performance of the first product.

    How it is possible to maintain ad history and performance while overriding the product from aliexpress?

    Will you suggest manual google sheet feed? or any other feed app?

  50. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  51. Hi Dennis,

    Thank you for this very helpful guide!

    Question about availability: If a product is set to “pre-order” can that effect it’s ability to show in the results compared to an “in stock” product? My site has products that are made to order so there is about 4 weeks between order and delivery. I have been using “in stock” as availability but technically they are not in stock. I am worried that changing it to “pre-order” might de-rank my ads somehow though. Do you know if there is any bad effect?

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Mal,
      Google’s definition of preorder is helpful: “new items and shouldn’t be used for existing items that are out of stock and will be back in stock at a later date.​”
      So in your case, I think “in stock” is accurate.
      It is the same as my own products, which are also made to order. Yours just have a little longer lead time. So as long as you indicate to your customers that it will take some, I think you’re good.

  52. Hey thanks for the great info – much appreciated and answered a lot of the questions I had about this Google Shopping Feed that has got me pulling my hair out to be honest at the moment.

    I’ve got an ecommerce store selling led lights from a number of manufacturers that are basically custom products – so no GTIN.
    I’ve set GTIN to FALSE and I have MPNs so my products are live but I’m getting this message:
    “Limited performance due to missing identifiers [gtin, mpn, brand]”

    I know you’ve said don’t assign the “Brand” attribute to our supplier or manufacturer names (which is “vendor” in our product data), but I’m really at a loss as to any other method to get better performance. I see some of our competitors are still getting great visibility and I know for sure that they wont have GTINs from many of their suppliers from China. Just dont now how they are doing it.

    Could really use some advise on this mate.
    Again thanks for all the info above.

    1. Hi Byron,
      Great to hear that the article has pointed you in the right way.

      Since you have an MPN number, you have the necessary identifiers (MPN+brand). So here is what I would try:

      Don’t any value for your GTIN (remove that FALSE value you mentioned), set your identifier_exists attribute to TRUE and send through your MPN and the brand.

      1. Hey Dennis,

        Thanks for the super fast reply!

        So it is fine to assign my Vendor name as the Brand name and then this should work as this is currently empty.

        Kind Regards,
        Byron

  53. Dennis, what are your thoughts one this… I recently noticed some shopping ads with text in it. The image seemed to show a generic product image (it was a type of gate available in various sizes) with text in the image that displayed the perimeter covered by each gate size. At least six results were returned with the same product image but different text (for the size).

    My first thought was “Is text in the image even allowed?” so I checked the product feed specs as this was something that I would love to do for my products when I noticed there is no rule saying you can’t do that! It only speaks against promotional text (e.g. calls to action) and logos. It doesn’t say you can’t use text for details like that.

    I know you say “Don’t try to be clever by adding extra text” but as a shopper I feel like things like dimensions are actually very useful information especially for a product that comes in multiple sizes (min comes in 20!). Also may prevent unnecessary clicks as they can see upfront that my product is right size or not.

    What do you think? I plan to try on a few products and see how it goes.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Mal,
      I’d say go for it and let me know how it goes!
      If you see competitors doing it, and you think they might be benefitting from this, you should try indeed. And if your products are getting disapproved because of it, you always have the option to snitch on them 😛

  54. hi Dennis, I make my products via a range of manufacturers. My products are unique to me (the designs are unique, the products they are on, like mugs for example, already exist!) So I don’t have GTINs, or MPNs, and my only ‘Brand’ is my own. I don’t see what I do here. Am I allowed to leave these fields blank? Or do I somehow have to generate this info?

    1. Hey Sarah,
      The best option in your case is to leave brand, gtin, mpn blank and set the identifier_exists attribute to FALSE. That will indicate to Google that’s it’s a custom product.

      To be sure your brand will get picked up in searches, you can include it in your product title & description.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks so much Dennis, I really appreciate your time & thought. Although I totally get the concept of doing that, I can’t find how to set the identifier_exists attribute to FALSE. It’s not in the Value dropdown list. Do I select ‘Static’ as Value and then add Suffix ‘FALSE’? I’m using ProductFeedPro for WooCommerce.

        1. Hey Sarah,
          Just had a look in Product Feed PRO for WooCommerce to see how to make the identifier_exist change.
          In the field mapping menu, the identifier_exists field came up as default.
          If you then select Static value in that dropdown, you will be able to add FALSE.
          Let me know if that works for you!

          1. Thank you very much Dennis, I did this and my products are now showing up in Google Merchant Centre. Many thanks for all your help & I’m sure this will help others too.

  55. Hi,

    Thanks for the wonderful write up. I also see that you have been helping folks a lot. So, thought of asking you a question.

    I came across an article that mentioned about Google providing Ads for Free. Wondering if you would know if this program is available in Canada too?

    Thanks

    1. The free clicks on Google Shopping program currently is only available in the US. Google has said that it would roll out to the rest of the world towards the end of 2020.

  56. Google Shopping is now free for all to use. I started using Shopify’s free app to send my products to google merchant center. It works but I cannot find a way for it to work properly with variants. I run an apparel shop so size variant isn’t possible. I’ve successfully added my feed and it works but there are listings for every single size. I’m wondering if anyone has successfully added the group_id field manually to the free Google Shopping shopify app? I’m considering switching to some sort of feed management platform. I have 600 products but a whole lot of variants.

    1. Hi Devon,
      I’m using the free Google Shopping app by Shopify and I’ve got the item_group_id field in my feed. This didn’t require any additional configuration on my part.

      In Shopify, this is the id: shopify_BE_153085902876_1777482629148
      And the first part is the item_group_id: shopify_BE_153085902876

      Have a look at one of your products in Google Merchant Center and see if the value is present.

  57. Hi Dennis, all my products are expiring. I use the google shopping app via Shopify. It is basically automated as you know. I have not had any issues with product expiring until now. It has been over 4 months since I set it up. Is there a best practice to get the products loaded and active again without cancelling a campaign and starting over?

    1. Hi Mike,
      That’s strange. The Shopify app normally syncs a couple of times a day with your Google Merchant Center account. That’s mostly to detect avalaibility or pricing changes.

      I would test if making a change to your product information (change a word in a description for example), can trigger a new synchronization. If it can’t, I would try removing the app and installing it again.

  58. Hello, i use Google Shopping in shopify to import my products, there is one product that is getting “Invalid value [availability]” but everything is alright. Can you help me?

    1. Take a look at that product in Google Merchant Center to see which value is being sent for the field “availability”. Either correct it in Shopify or you can fix it through Feed Rules.

  59. Thanks for sharing this Dennis,
    I have a question, let say i have two different brands (brand=abc and brand=xyz) on my site and i want to edit them into their product how to go about it ?

    Right now am trying adding it via Feed rule
    Attribute brand

    If test.product typecontains’collections’›
    Set to: ‘abc’
    If brandhas no value yet › Apply default rule: Take from: test

    how to set for Xyz?

    1. You’re almost there.

      After you’ve set up that first rule, click “Add source”, that will allow you to add another rule for that next brand.

      1. Thanks Dennis, already done it before your replied. I got one more question
        I have Attribute in my raw feed but i don’t want to send that one into final feed
        for example i have attribute “shipping weight” in my Raw feed attributes how to remove it from process feed. i am using XML feed type so its not possible to play direct into the output code.

        1. Within feed rules, create a rule for “shipping weight”, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Add modification”, there you have the advanced option to clear the field.

  60. Hi Dennis,
    One more question how to add an attribute in final processed feed even if it doesn’t exist in Raw feed?

      1. How to exclude a list of ids from processed feed? let say’s i have about 500 group-ids and each group contain 4 item id so let say i want to exclude 100 group ids which is in one google sheet how to do that?

        1. Hey Ali,
          There are two ways to do it:
          – set up a feed rule in GMC and copy/paste those ids to be excluded in there (not that easy to manage)
          – set up a supplementary feed and set these ids to be out of stock, that will prevent them from showing in the feed

          1. Thanks for replying Dennis,
            Can you explain more on 2nd option, may be a screenshot with explanation would do more. 🙂

  61. Hi Dennis, The article only explain how to setup supplement feed didn’t explain how to remove those ids which is in primary feed using ids via supplemental feed.

    1. Hi Ali,
      You won’t be able to remove any ids. But I would use that extra feed to set the availability of those ids to “out of stock”.

        1. – Add extra feed with all products you want to exclude
          – Add a column in that feed with the availability
          – Set all values to “out of stuck”

  62. Hi Dennis,
    Thanks for your insightful article. I am stuck with something and I am going crazy on it. Can you please help me?
    I have a store in Belgium (so there are two languages) but I am unable to import multiple flux into Google Merchant. I have set it up in Google but there are only my products in fr (main language of my shop) coming in. The apps you mention do only one language too.
    How can I handle this problem?
    Thanks,
    Pierre

    1. Hey Pierre,
      In order to run ads in both languages, you need two different feeds, one for nl and one for fr.

      What app are you using to generate your product feed in Shopify? The default Shopify integration (Content API) will only tackle one part: one language in one country.

      Since you need 2 feeds, you either change to a product feed app that supports this, or you leave the French feed via the Content API and add a second feed in a different way. (Other tool, Google sheet, etc.)

      1. Hi Dennis,
        Thank for your quick and valuable answer. It’s a relief to know there are solutions..
        Today I was using the default app and wasn’t able to find an App supporting this till now.
        Do you have any idea of apps supporting this ? Or product feed apps (actually I do not know the difference between both options).. It would be the easiest to do it through an App I guess.
        Thanks for letting me know,
        Best,
        Pierre

  63. Hi,

    I’m have problems with my merchant centre account, items are getting dissapproved throwing a “price mismatch” warning. It states a the product in the value feed is £42.50 but the price on website is £37.50. This is not the case if you click on the product from the menus in my store you’ll land on the product page and it does actually show £37.50 but this is because the page shows you the smallest varient and price first and its not until you actually click on the varient that reflects the £42.50 price that it shows up with that varients price. Its almost like Google are looking at the product through my website and seeying £37.50 and saying “hang on a minute that not what your product says on your landing page, it says £42.50” but thats because there landing on the page showing the smallest varient first. But select the drop down menu and select the varient there flagging and it does show the “value in feed price” there saying is wrong. Its all very confusing. I did get on Google chat and the lady there told me to change my settings to automatic feed updated in the merchamt centre settings. But I did read if you do this while items are dissaproved this till cause the account to go into suspension. I also read you can alter this in a Google support tool however I’m.not experienced enough to do this, Please help.

    Regards

    Jack

  64. I am a Shopify owner and My Google Merchant Center account was disapproved many times. In most situations, Account only showed a violation of Google ads without telling which parts have mistakes. I have 2 questions:
    1. In the same PC and same IP, is this a key to cause that my Google Merchant Center Accounts was blocked?
    In June, my Merchant Center Account “A” was suspended. I did not know which parts have mistakes and the system showing all items with violation of Google Ads Rules. I did submit a manual review application but the Google support team told me the problems still existed. So I registered another Shopify website and uploaded Google Feeds to Google Merchant Center Account through an APP in Shopify called “Google Shopping Feed”. The processing time is about 1 day and 18 hours. I found my Google Merchant Account showing 2 error items and account issues showing “violation of Google Ads Policies”. I felt sad and angry. I can not be told how to fix the problems. I already read enough on Google Shopping Ads Policies.
    2. How can I do to resolve these problems?

    1. Hey Jackie,
      This can get pretty messy indeed. Although I completely understand you created a new account because you can’t seem to find out what’s wrong, Google doesn’t like it.

      There has been a surge in suspensions this last month, so i don’t know what rules they’ve changed. The policies are also so vague that it doesn’t help. My suggestion would be to keep reaching out to Google support with your original account and try to get that sorted.

      And to be very cautious with regards to products/marketing tactics to stay within the (invisible) boundaries.

  65. Hi. We use Google cdn to serve the images. Lately we have been experiencing errors on Google merchant where thousands of items appear as disapproved, for the reason ‘processing failed (image link)’. However a day later we may see that many items are approved. A day later again many items are not approved. This has been going on for 8 days now. We have not done any technical changes on our website. Any suggestions?

    1. Hey Tom,
      That’s very annoying!
      I guess that the Cloud CDN is the cause for this problem. Have you tried reaching out to their support to see if there is any downtime or other issues that could explain the unavailability of this issue.
      One test could be to host the images somewhere else for a few products and see if that fixes the problem. You could copy the image link from your website for example, depending on the cart that you use, that also give a cdn link.

  66. Hello Dennis,

    Just to say thank you for a great, indepth article. I’m quite green to all aspects of developing the google merchant account and their related pages, but I’ve learned a lot reading this. Muchas gracias

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