to the latest Online
Consumer Report, organic
search engine results are responsible for 18% of the traffic to online
retailers, with Google accounting for 80% of these searches.
If you are an
e-commerce merchant it is crucial you learn how to work with Google and comply
with their rules and regulations.
From September 22 Google
started to enforce its new data feed compliance rules (you can download a guide to these here), and merchants will need to ensure
product information is accurate. We’ve put together the following tips to help
online merchants get the best results from Google Shopping.
Get to know the Google Dashboard
One of the best things to do is
spend some time in the Merchant Center itself, learning where to find the
issues and building a bank of knowledge.
The graphs on the dashboard are
sometimes not a clear indicator of your performance as they are only a seven day
snap shot. Always refer to the performance report for an extended time line.
aware that the clicks graph on the dashboard is two days in arrears whereas the
product search is up-to-date. With a better understanding of the dashboard you
will be able to spot new features quickly.
Follow Google’s advice
This may sound obvious but it pays
to do exactly what Google advises as soon as possible, if only to get the jump
on your competitors. Google delivers feedback on data quality so you should aim
to achieve a 100% positive response.
Remember with a continuous poor data quality
score, your items can be removed from product search entirely. Google gives plenty of warning over changes and it pays to start adapting early as data for some
new fields could be hard to come by, such as EANs and MPNs.
If you are worried
about the data quality in your data feed you can test
it in the Merchant Center.
Prioritise between data feed errors and data quality errors
There are two types of errors that
occur in the Merchant Centre, data quality errors and the less damaging data
The feed errors are warnings on the file you have uploaded and
often hint to forthcoming required fields that will become data quality issues,
such as shipping weight. The quality errors need to be addressed as soon as
they are spotted and prioritised over feed errors.
If you are experiencing more
errors than normal it may be due to changes in Google’s specifications. It is
our belief that the data quality score affects the rankings on Product Search
more than any other variable you can control.
It is possible to optimise the feed
you upload. The first step is to address the data feed errors mentioned earlier
but there are several other small changes you can make to enhance your feed.
evaluate your titles and descriptions and see if you can include extra product attributes
available in your feed. Be careful however, as you only have a set number of
characters to play with.
Google specifically requests that you provide as many
attributes as you can in the feed specification, so make sure you do so. Ensure
that you have a named contact and correct email address in the general settings
so Google can contact you in case of any problems or changes.
One of the most frequent error
messages received by new customers in the Merchant Center is “Product Crawl
Issues”. These are sometimes caused by the robots.txt file on your website stopping
Google bots from checking your products. Ensure that you robots.txt file is not
blocking anything including “User-agent: googlebot > >> Disallow”.
According to RichRelevance, the
company behind the report, the merchants that succeed will be “those who effectively wrap the e-commerce experience
around each shopper”. By following these top tips your data feed will appeal
not just to Google but to customers themselves.
Good luck in implementing them