Google Merchant Center

The Complete Guide to The Link Attribute In Google Product Feeds

0 · by Dennis Moons · Updated on 15 March 2023

When it comes to running successful ad campaigns on Google, landing page relevance is key. 

After all, what good is an ad if the customer ends up on the wrong page? The same goes for product ads on Google Shopping. 

That’s why in this article, we’re going to dive into the nitty-gritty of the link attribute, the landing page in your product feed. 

We’ll cover everything from formatting requirements to troubleshooting tips, so you can ensure your customers land exactly where they need to be to complete that all-important conversion. 

So buckle up and let’s get started!

This article is part of our Google Merchant Center Data Feed hub.

What Is the Link Attribute in the Product Feed?

The link attribute allows you to provide a URL of the landing page for a specific product.

It’s the way to redirect Google Shopping users from a product ad to a product (or a checkout) page on your website where they can complete the purchase.

The value for this attribute can only be a URL that leads to a landing page, so other links aren’t allowed.

Is the Link Attribute Required?

Yes, the link attribute is required for all products, as it’s essential for closing the sale.

The only exception to this rule are merchants who sell products through Buy on Google. It’s obvious, if users can complete the purchase without leaving Google Shopping, there is no need to provide a link to a landing page.

Also, in some instances, users will not be taken to your landing page even though you’ve provided a URL for the link attribute. For example, if you redirect users to a page other than the landing page for that product, you should use the ads redirect attribute

This will allow you to further specify the landing page parameters (and track campaign performance), however, in this case, users will be redirected to the tracking URL – not the one for the link attribute.

The mobile link and canonical link are two other attributes that are related to the link attribute.

The mobile link is for providing a URL that will take users to a landing page optimized for mobile. We will cover this attribute in more detail further below.

The canonical link is used to indicate to Google’s crawlers which of the landing pages is more important for you. It applies to so-called “duplicate pages,” when you have the same page in multiple versions, i.e. one for desktop and one for mobile. 

If you like Google to crawl your mobile landing page more often than your desktop landing page, you can set the mobile one as the canonical link.

Ok, now let’s get back to the link attribute basics.

How Is the Link Attribute Used in Google Shopping?

It’s quite simple: the link attribute sends people to the right landing page.

Note that users need to be referred to a specific page, i.e. the landing page, and not other pages on your website. We reiterate this because Google doesn’t like it when you send users to a registration form or sign in a dialog box before letting them purchase a product.

Google has a long list of requirements for landing pages, including:

  • show all elements of the product,
  • the product that’s on sale has to be prominent,
  • the price tag clearly indicates the price,
  • the page has to take into account the correct location, language, and currency, etc.

In practice, the purpose of having a link in your product feed is to eliminate everything that stands in the way of the sale. Take potential customers to a product page and make it easy for them to proceed to checkout.

Each hurdle along the way can cause conversions to drop.

This includes invalid URLs. If the URL provided for this attribute is not formatted correctly (or doesn’t follow Google’s requirements), users can’t get to your website to complete the sale.

Let’s take a look at the formatting requirements for the link attribute.

Options for the Link Attribute

The values for this attribute are URLs.

They have to start with “http” or “https” and be RFC 3986 compliant. The upper limit is 2000 characters, and the file format can be either for text feed or HTML feed.

If the link attribute is in the HTML feed format, the URL has to be encapsulated between link tags.

For example:

General guidelines for configuring the link attribute

Make the landing page mobile-friendly

Even though there is mobile_link (a separate attribute), the URL provided for the link attribute should be accessible on all devices (desktop and mobile).

Use a verified domain name for your store’s website 

Use the domain that’s verified for your account.

Use URL encoded entities 

Symbols and spaces aren’t supported, so if your URL has a symbol, enter encoded entities. For example, use “%B4” instead of “´”.

Provide only one link per item

Even if you provide multiple links, only the first one will count.

Provide a stable URL

Make sure the URL you give doesn’t change (for instance, no timestamps), because Google has to crawl your site to pick up each change, regardless of how small or insignificant this change may seem.

Provide a URL from the correct product variant

If the user clicks on a product ad about red socks, they expect to land on a page about this specific product variant. Attributes like color and age group define variants, but the right URL will lead to more conversions.

This list is not conclusive, however, it does contain the best practical tips for configuring the link attribute in Google Shopping. 

Let’s check the methods for adding links to a feed.

How To Add the Link Attribute to Your Product Feed

There are two methods to add values for this attribute: through eCommerce platforms or with feed rules and supplemental feeds.

When you add links for your products on an eCommerce platform, they are automatically shared with the feed. It’s a simple intervention in product data.

Alternatively, you can use feed rules to find a specific product in your feed (one that satisfies a rule or criteria) and then provide a URL for the link attribute. If you need to update the links for a lot of products at once, you can create a supplemental feed containing a column with product IDs and a column with URLs.

How to Configure the Optional Mobile Link Attribute?

As we already mentioned, you can add a link to a landing page that’s developed specifically for users who access your website from a mobile.

This attribute is known as mobile_link and is optional.

The formatting requirements for the mobile link attribute are the same as for the link attribute. However, make sure not to use elements like Flash, Silverlight, and ActiveX in your landing page for mobile users because these elements are not mobile-friendly.

If you don’t want Google to index your URL for mobile users, you can either indicate the correct link using a canonical link, or add a no index tag to your mobile link.

Now, let’s move on to solving issues with landing page links in your feed.

Common Problems With the Link Attribute

Google will disapprove of your items if you don’t follow the requirements for the link attribute.

The format of the URL and the landing page are too important for conversions. So, issues with this attribute are serious.

Here are some of the most common issues and how to solve them:

  • Mismatch in the offer

This issue occurs when the offer in the feed is different from the offer on your landing page. This often happens with products available in more than one size (the price is different for each size). The customer clicks on a product ad and when they get to the product page, there is a mismatch because of the size.

You can solve this issue by passing product variants in the URL of your landing page, i.e. having a different landing page for each variant. Check this link for an example:

  • Forcing currency in link

Or incorrect currency when you sell internationally. If you are in more than one market, country, language, and currency play an important role, so make sure to enable tools like Google’s automatic currency conversion to sort this issue.

Check this example:

Landing Page Links in Your Product Feed Are Central for Conversions

So much effort goes into configuring the landing page because conversion metrics depend on it.

The link attribute helps you define the URL of the product (or landing) page, so make sure to follow Google’s formatting requirements. 

These requirements can be straightforward, like starting the URL with “http” or “https,” but they can also be extensive, like providing a different URL for each product variant in your inventory.

Mobile links allow you to offer a better experience to mobile users (and increase conversions as a result). Google has clear guidelines about the elements of a landing page, so do your best to follow them.

Make it easy for Google’s crawlers to index changes to your website by setting canonical links for product pages.

Feed issues with the link attribute are very important, however, they can be solved easily by tweaking the landing page URL.

Dennis Moons

Dennis Moons is the founder and lead instructor at Store Growers.

He's a Google Ads expert with over 12 years of experience in running Google Ads campaigns.

During this time he has managed more than $5 million in ad spend and worked with clients ranging from small businesses to global brands. His goal is to provide advice that allows you to compete effectively in Google Ads.

Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.


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