Practical Ecommerce

Ask an Expert: Optimizing Google Product Search

“Ask an Expert” is an occasional feature where we ask ecommerce experts questions from online merchants. For this installment, we address a question about Google Product Search from Kara English, co-founder of, a Colorado-based retailer of life-event gifts and accessories.

For the answer, we turn to Lin Grosman, marketing director for GoDataFeed, a web-based, datafeed management software solution.

Kara English

Kara English

Kara English: “What are some tips or advice to optimize for Google Product Search?”


Lin Grosman

Lin Grosman

Lin Grosman: “There are several ways to optimize your Google Product Search feed to gain valuable, free traffic to your site. The key to optimizing your feed is to provide descriptive and concise information about your products according to Google’s specific requirements, while maximizing all of its available product attributes. Below are GoDataFeed’s top ten Google Product Search optimization tips.

  1. Optimize your titles and descriptions by providing concise, relevant titles to maximize searchability. Using search engine optimization [SEO] principles, describe your products using keywords that your customers would actually use to search for your products, such as manufacturer part numbers, for instance. Avoid any references to shipping costs or marketing initiatives in your titles or descriptions.
  2. Increase your traffic during the holidays by sprinkling your titles and descriptions with holiday-relevant terms, such as ‘Mother’s Day Gift,’ ‘Christmas Gift,’ and so on.
  3. Include high quality images to make a good impression and ensure shoppers are seeing a clear picture of your products.
  4. Use Google’s Product Type, since assigning categories based on the unique category taxonomy of Google Product Search’s values will both classify your products in the correct departments and enhance your product rankings.
  5. Submit your feeds often. Google Product Search likes receiving fresh, updated feeds, and it will remove your feed altogether if you don’t update it.
  6. Include shipping and tax information. One of main reasons shoppers abandon shopping carts is due to high shipping charges, so making your shipping and tax information transparent can increase conversions. Merchants can either submit the tax and shipping information through their feeds, or directly by setting default values in their Google Merchant Center account.
  7. If you have free shipping promotions, or your items are new, and/or you support Google Checkout, you should definitely promote them in your feed. Shoppers on Google Products Search have the ability to show items with only those certain attributes, giving you a real competitive advantage. (However, do not include promotional information, such as “Free Shipping,” in your titles and description, as Google will reject these items.)
  8. Make sure to complete all required fields. For instance, Google recently made ‘Condition’ a required field that must be populated with ‘New,’ ‘Used’ or ‘Refurbished.’
  9. Submit all relevant attributes, like types of payment accepted, color, UPC, MPN, ISBN, and brand name; and some new options like ‘Online Only,’ for online-only products; or ‘Compatible With,’ for items where compatibility is really important, like electronics, or printer cartridges, for instance.
  10. Leverage Google’s new Product Extension Ads by connecting your Google Merchant Center account to your AdWords account. By doing so, AdWords will use your product data feed to highlight products directly in your AdWords ads, as product extensions. So when your product listing matches a shopper’s query, your product extension can display the product’s image, title and price, and can appear in both sponsored and organic search results on Google’s main search page.”
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  1. kevinmc3 April 27, 2010 Reply

    BUT, good luck in getting the Google product Feed to work. I have tried several times and get irrelevant errors such as "must use delimited…" when I AM using delimited fields per the Feed instructions. But, still cannot get it to work.

  2. gpolk April 28, 2010 Reply

    Google Feed works well using XML. Text files with tab, comma or other characters used in delimited formats tend to get jumbled and as a result, are rejected because of errors.

  3. JustJessi April 29, 2010 Reply

    It is well worth all the hassle! It’s free. It’s in your best interest to figure out your uploading errors, Kevinmc3.

  4. Lorna April 30, 2010 Reply

    I state free next day delivery in my product description for all my products and Google hasn’t rejected any of my products, they are all live now. Is Google rejection the only reason you suggest not putting free shipping info in the product description or is there another reason too?

  5. Alex Mulin May 4, 2010 Reply

    > Submit your feeds often. Google Product Search likes receiving fresh, updated feeds, and it will remove your feed altogether if you don’t update it.

    Google Products can pull out data from feed files periodically, so you don’t have to go to their web-site to update data. Just keep your feeds updated in time and accessible to Google Products bot for downloading.

  6. attacat_han May 6, 2010 Reply

    Also what’s useful to know is that from 18 May 2010 it will be a requirement to claim and verify your website through Google Webmaster Tools. [](

  7. Benjamin K Pipkin February 21, 2012 Reply

    Sorry to revive an old article but I am sure some people will come on this when searching for optimize google product feed. If you are having issues with getting your feed to work (phantom Excel errors), use the new feature that allows you to upload the feed to Google Docs and then submit from there, your issues should pretty much disappear.