Google Merchant Center

The Complete Guide to The Product Title Attribute in Google Product Feeds

0 · by Dennis Moons · Updated on 1 May 2023

The title is one of the most important product attributes in your feed.

It tells customers what to expect from the product while helping Google match products with relevant search queries. 

In this piece, we discuss the product_title attribute in Google Shopping product feeds – what it is, how to add it to your feed, how to avoid your titles being disapproved, and other practical tips.

Let’s dive straight into it.

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

What Is the Product Title Attribute in the Product Feed?

The product_title attribute serves to identify the product using text. The values for this attribute are shown as product titles in product ads, along with attributes like image, price, and availability.

Since the text in the product titles appeals to both users and Google crawlers, the product_title attribute is often the focus of optimization efforts. Poor product titles are a missed opportunity because the title helps match user search intent with an actual product, and this can drive traffic up.

Is product_title Required?

Yes, product titles are required for all entries in your feed.

In fact, product titles are the most important product attribute in your feed, so make sure to treat them as such.

How Is product_title Used in Google Shopping?

The data included in product titles is used to find the best match for search queries. Keyword-rich titles that are descriptive and detailed are instrumental in delivering relevant product ads to users.

It’s self-explanatory, really – consumers may use different ways to search for the product they are looking for. 

Merchants can attract several types of shoppers by combining elements from the phrases that are used to search for products in the product titles. This can be incorporated into the structure of the title itself.

As an example, let’s say you sell soaps. Some people will search for them by:

  • type of scent (lavender)
  • soap ingredients (chemical makeup)
  • expected duration of use (80 washes)
  • size (0.25 L)
  • brand name (Dove) etc.

If the product title for entries in your feed includes all of this data and is structured in a way that’s easy for people to read it, users’ queries will be matched with relevant products.

In other words, when you use the product title “Lavender Soap 50g”, you are missing all other possible ways customers can search for the product (as shown above).

This is why product_title attributes are so important.

Options for product_title

The formatting for product_title is straightforward; you can use text of up to 150 characters. It’s recommended to stretch your product titles to the maximum character limit, however, keep in mind that Google may not show the whole title as titles are shortened for some devices and apps (more on this below).

Also, Google requires merchants to have a different product title for each variant of the same product. For instance, if you sell candles, you can specify the different colors or scents in the product title.

Let’s check out ways to populate attribute values in your product feed.

How To Add product_title to Your Product Feed

The titles you use in product feeds (or shopping platforms) can be different from the titles you have for product pages (on your website). 

Usually, product titles on your site don’t have too many keywords (so as not to ruin the user experience). However, product titles in feeds are quite the opposite – your titles can be descriptive and include a lot of keywords.

There are several ways to add titles to products, and since most merchants have big inventories, some of these options offer a shortcut.

From an ecommerce Platform

The easiest way to add product titles is to update them on an eCommerce platform. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work because the titles may show up with mistakes. So, even if you upload titles in bulk, you still need to check whether everything turned out fine.

Feed Rules or Supplemental Feed

Another option to make bulk changes to product titles is by using feed rules or supplemental feeds within the Google Merchant Center.

For example, if you want to add your company name (or brand) at the end of each product title, you can do this using a feed rule. Configure the product titles by creating a “set to” feed rule following if/then logic (if “title” has no value, then set to “x”).

Feed rules allow you to update product titles in a variety of ways, and by grouping trading items or setting different conditions, you can optimize the titles quickly.

Alternatively, you can upload a supplemental feed with product title data. It’s a simple .xml document with columns for product id and product title.

Specialized Product Feed Tools

Of course, you can add product_title attributes using product feed tools. Some of the tools are specialized for optimizing product titles and can give you suggestions on what to add in the title (based on competitors and data on user searches).

These tools research titles and can notify you if your title is off by comparing it with titles of other businesses in your vertical. An example of this is when a product feed tool recommends using a longer title because your competitors have longer titles for their products.

The goal of these data feed management tools is to increase the relevance of your product titles by offering you options to automate, categorize, and optimize titles. Let’s check out how that’s done.

Product Title Optimization

Tweaks on product titles are quite common, and they can result in a boost in traffic and conversions – no wonder so much effort goes into optimizing titles. It’s quite a popular practice, and we’ve dedicated a separate piece on product title optimization Here, we will provide just a short overview of tips on title optimization.

Title Optimization Formulas

If you haven’t managed Google Ads accounts other than your own, you might not notice this, but there are certain “formulas” for writing product titles that bring a lot of traffic. These “formulas” are the result of research by advertisers who manage many clients (like us).

Product title optimization formulas define the structure of the text entered as a value for this attribute.

For example, the formula for shoe titles is Brand + Product + Keywords + Color + Size + SKU.

This is what that would look like for an actual product:

Salomon Speedcross 5 Trail-Running Shoes – Rugged Rubber outsoles for extra grip – Grape Leaf/black/phantom – 8 Wide – Men’s – 193128238711

Of course, these product title formulas are different in each industry (can’t have the same formula work for shoes, baby products, consumer electronics, or whatever you are selling).

We share dozens of formulas in the piece referenced above. Let’s take a quick look at other title optimization tips.

Product Title Optimization Best Practices

We’ve managed millions in ad spend, and we’ve analyzed the results of other advertisers to come up with some common practices regarding high-performing product titles. Here is what we found:

  • Product titles are different from the title of the product detail page (81%)
  • Product titles are also different from the SEO title of the product page (52%)
  • Product titles have extra keywords that are unique to a specific product (33%)
  • Top advertisers start each word in the product title with a capital letter (97%)
  • Top advertisers use digits rather than spelling out numbers (97%)
  • Adding an MPN or SKU boosts performance in relevant industries, like electronics (16%)

Also, testing plays an important role (as with any aspect of digital marketing). Sometimes, merchants can get good results by including the customer’s search phrases in the product title.

Your product title structure can deviate slightly from these formulas, and if you use the language customers use while keeping the title easy to read, you are likely to see favorable performance metrics. Usually, this boils down to things like keywords, product attributes, product features and advantages, along with a word or two about the product’s unique selling proposition (if applicable).

Let’s turn to optimal title length and alternative title attributes.

Title vs Short_title attributes

If the length of your product title exceeds the maximum character limit, Google will shorten the title. The most typical example of this is product titles on mobile devices, where the user is usually shown only the first 70 characters of the title.

Also, product title length differs across Google depending on the context. For instance, when the user hovers over the product or when the product is featured in a free listing, the title length will not be the same as in Google Shopping.

Short_title Attribute

While adding relevant phrases in your titles helps you to show up for more relevant searches, there are some placements where you want something shorter and to the point.

Google introduced a new product attribute for this, known as short_title, that also improves user experience.

The short_title attribute is optional and can include up to 65 characters. It’s a shorter version of the product_title attribute, meant to better match product landing pages and is mostly used on Display and video placements for Discovery and Performace Max campaigns.

Let’s go over some ways to solve product feed issues with product titles.

Common Problems With the product_title Attribute

When merchants don’t follow Google’s requirements for product titles, the item may get disapproved. We will take a look at some of the common product feed issues with titles.

Commercial text

This is when you include sale info that is not meant for the title. For example, words like “discount” or “free shipping” aren’t allowed because there are other attributes like product availability and product price to highlight promotional offers. The most you can do in a title is to add the brand of a product (usually done by brand owners, not by retailers).

The title is not descriptive enough 

A product title consisting of three words is a wasted opportunity (for instance: “Leather Brown Jacket”). You can use the product title optimization formulas to solve this issue. 

Pro tip: add product data in the title that’s not covered with another product attribute. Say, describe the scent of a perfume, candle, or a soap. Or specify the purpose of the item in the title, for example, there are a dozen different types of safety gloves, so make sure to mention their intended use.

The title misrepresents the product

The description has to be correct. Especially when it comes to creating a reference to what is represented on your landing page (content-wise). A mismatch between a product title and landing page content will get your product disapproved. There’s really no point in doing this, because if the landing page doesn’t satisfy user search intent, the visit will end up as a bounce, and this is wasted ad spend.

Granted, the title in your product feed can be quite different than the product title on your website. Visitors have a lot of contextual info when they check out your website, so there is no need to add a comprehensive title. 

Compare this to a product title on a shopping platform, where customers will see only the product image, title, price, and availability. You’ve got to make the most of the product_title attribute so that customers immediately know what the product is just by looking at the title while browsing.

Spamming the title

Merchants are encouraged to use text that is professional and grammatically correct. 

Product titles can’t feature text in all caps (except abbreviations, like EUR), emojis, excessive use of punctuation marks, foreign characters, or other ways to attract the customers’ attention. 

Punctuation like dash and hyphen is recommended to make the text easily readable by separating different elements of the product title formula.

Product Titles Are Pivotal for Success

The title is one of the first things a customer sees while browsing on a shopping platform. The product_title attribute is among the handful of attributes that are not only required but will definitely show in a product ad.

Providing a descriptive product title structured according to the optimization formulas will improve your visibility, CTR and overall results.

Make sure to include all relevant product details in the title, which will serve to filter out unqualified traffic. The more details in the title, the better customers will know whether they are looking at the right product.

Even if they are browsing with a poor internet connection and the product image takes ages to load, the title will be shown right away and can indicate to the customer that they’ve accessed the right product.

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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