How to audit a Google Shopping feed
Article preview: In this article we will present the main methods used to audit a Shopping Ads feed and how to optimize it for better results of such campaigns for your online store.
Following the international trend, Shopping campaigns have become more and more widespread in Romania as well. According to specialized data, more than 76% of paid search in online retail goes to Shopping Ads (Google Ads, Amazon, etc.). Considering that over 16% of the global retail budget goes to paid search, it is essential to audit and optimize these types of campaigns (starting from the product feed), which can generate 2-digit decreases in invested budgets.
Google Shopping Ads campaigns are based on a product feed (uploaded to Merchant Center). and the more optimized it is, the higher the relevance of ads and the posibility to segment your campaigns (which is extremely important, especially for online stores with a wide range of products).
In today’s article we will review some elements that we consider when auditing a Shopping feed for our customers.
1. Cum eviți suspendarea contului Merchant Center
To ensure that users have a positive shopping experience, Google has a strict policy regarding the content of the product feed. If the products in the feed violate these rules (incorrect prices, out-of-date availability, non-compliant images etc.), the products are marked, and if the situation is not fixed within 28 days, Merchant Center will become more aggressive in marking products that violate these aspects. If you are dealing with a suspended account, you can contact the support team here.
How do you increase the number of eligible products?
Products rejected due to price or availability
These discrepancies lead to low conversion rates and an unpleasant user experience.
Recommendations: You can submit products to the Merchant Center via the API #or use a product feed with an update rule several times a day to enable Automatic Item Updates, the way Google can update product listings in ads using the language markup for structured data that you find on your site.
For example, if the most recent data feed includes an item that costs RON 4, but the product landing page shows a price of RON 3, the item will be updated to RON 3 in the ad.
Invalid or missing images
Ask producers or suppliers for good quality images as much as possible and make sure the image links are valid before uploading it to the feed. If you still receive notifications even though the image link is valid, you may change the image URL which will cause a recrawl, the product being approved after that.
You can find some recommendations here:
Product pages cannot be accessed
Product pages must be accessed by users and Google crawlers. Errors that may occur:
- Page not found (404): The page is not found on the server
- Could not connect / HTTP 5xx response: when the Google crawler tried to access the landing page, the server was unavailable (e.g. the website was under maintenance)
- Hostname not resolvable: could not resolve hostname. DNS configuration must be done correctly.
The URL in the “link” attribute must start with “http://” or “https://” and use the domain name you confirmed when you created your Merchant Center account or on the Site Confirmation tab from your Merchant Center account. All used symbols must be replaced by URL-encoded entities, such as comma =% 2C. You can test the current configuration with the Search console instruments.Don’t forget to select Smartphone as the download type.
If you’ve fixed these issues and updated your articles with a new feed upload or through Content API, the errors you see here will normally disappear in a few days. If you want to speed up the process, you can increase the access rate with Google crawl.
How to optimize the feed content
Why is the title of the product relevant
The title of the products in the feed is relevant for the following two reasons:
- It is used by Google to match searches in Search (so the better it is optimized, the more visible you will be in various searches in direct connection with the product).
- It is displayed in the ad so it impacts click and conversion rates.
Avoid vague product titles, include relevant attributes such as brand, color, material, size, and make sure the most important elements are displayed in the first 70 characters or less (as far as the ad shows).
Why is product_type relevant
The type of products in the feed is relevant for the following two reasons:
- It is used by Google to better understand what you’re selling and to help you display the product to users.
- It is useful in structuring campaigns.
However, pay attention to the strict editing rules and do not use spamming techniques!
Here’s how you can optimize your product title for each retail vertical:
Activate the Market Insights module to see data on top best sellers and how competitive you are in terms of pricing.
Do you need a Merchant Center account audit or help with managing Shopping Ads campaigns? Contact us and we can help you.
At Optimized we are specialized in e-commerce PPC campaigns (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Ads, YouTube Ads). Our portfolio includes online stores and our approach is based on clear performance objectives (CPA, ROAS, ROI). Our team consists of PPC specialists and certified Google trainers, as well as people with hands-on experience in e-commerce.
Our strategies are not generic, but strictly applied to e-commerce. We work with stores that want to profitably scale PPC campaigns, with clear objectives, aware that marketing is an investment.