The 6 Things You Must Get Right For Amazing Google Shopping Listings

Written on 15 October, 2015 by Jonathan Lowther
Categories PPC

If you’re an e-commerce business owner, you already know that setting up a Google Shopping campaign can be hard work. If you’ve successfully managed to fulfil the million and one processes Google asks you to complete, we salute you!

To all those that are unaware of what Google Shopping is, step out of your cave and read on. To the smart people that already have one setup, you may learn something new!

There are numerous issues that can arise with Google Shopping listings that you must be aware of before you can begin. Lucky for you, we’ve made an easy checklist for you below. But first, here’s an overview:

  • Your e-commerce system needs to generate the shopping feed and there are numerous pieces of data that are required by Google.
  • Product images are required and must be clean, with only the product portrayed.
  • Shipping pricing needs to be easily described, such as flat rate or weight-based.
  • Your website needs refund and shipping policies.
  • Your products can’t be from disallowed categories.

Manual Uploads
Don’t waste time and money by setting up an automated data feed with fancy plugins and unnecessarily confusing instructions. If you have a handful of products and they never get updated, you can create manual product feeds using the Google Sheets option “straight outta Google Merchant Centre” (Straight out of the Google Merchant Centre).

Automated Uploads
Now for those of you with more than a handful of products that are regularly updated (pricing etc.), automated uploads are the best way to go. These data feeds are generated automatically by your website and can be set up to update regularly to prevent Google from disapproving ads, or potentially suspending your Google merchant account. Your e-commerce site might already offer a data feed function, or there are paid plugins available.

Data Feed
The following information is the minimum that must be included in shopping feeds:

  • Product ID
  • Product title
  • Product description
  • Product URL
  • Image URL
  • Price
  • Sale price (if applicable)
  • Condition (new/used)
  • Availability
  • Brand*
  • Manufacturer Product Number (MPN)*
  • GTIN (or SKU)*
  • Google Product Category (Downloadable Google Taxonomy)
  • Product type (your e-commerce product category)
  • Weight (only required if your shipping charges change due to weight).

*Only two out of the three are necessary. But if you experience issues, set the GTIN as the product SKU code and remove MPN from the feed. Instead, you can include ‘product identifier’ and set all products to ‘false’.

Product Images

Each product needs to have an image on its page, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be the image used on the product page. However, text, icons and watermarks will result in the product being disapproved. We recommend sticking with a plain background, if possible.

Shipping Charges
At the moment, if the shipping price for your products is generated by Australia Post’s system, it is unlikely that you can get a shopping feed approved. For Australia, you are limited to simple rules for determining shipping prices. Flat rate or weight-based pricing are best.

Website Content
You’ll be surprised at how many sites we’ve seen that have rung Google’s alarm and resulted in a merchant account being suspended. Check the following points to ensure you’re setting yourself up for victory.

First things first, check to see if your products are on Google’s ‘disapproved’ list! They provide a comprehensive list of product types that are not allowed to be advertised on Google:

Even if your product is allowed, if it is similar to disallowed products your account might be regularly suspended by Google’s automated processes. For example, selling nutritional tablets are OK by Google, but the word “tablet” and numerous other trigger words can cause a suspension.

Secondly, your refund & returns policy, delivery information & costs and contact information need to be made clear and accessible to all visitors. If Google deem that insufficient information is provided, they’ll suspend your account and will only review changes once you’ve made a request.

Quite a lot of steps, right? Well, nothing worth having comes easy. We can’t stress enough that if you’re an e-commerce business, Google Shopping is a necessity and a perfect accompaniment to any search campaign.


Looking for some help with domains, hosting, web design or digital marketing?

Send me marketing tips, special offers and updates