Google is the world’s dominant search engine. But almost half of Americans start looking for things to buy on Amazon, while only 22% start on Google, according to a survey last year from research firm CivicScience.
Being said that, there are 300 million Americans using the Internet to search for information in the USA. So you can imagine how big the audience pool is global if 22% of people start on Google. Also, we realize that many of the searches on Google had shopping intent. They can be such as looking for product comparisons, product reviews, youtube video introductions, etc. Particularly with Google’s lower cost for merchants, it facilitates merchants to do more discount offers. It has been a common realization that Google Shopping listings turn prospects into buyers faster than Amazon listings.
Google Shopping Product Feed
So we will have a collection regarding Google Shopping for eCommerce Business Success in this article. It’s because SEO performance is playing an important role in bettering the overall ROI. I’ll start by walking you through how to optimize your Google Shopping product feed to increase organic traffic and sales.
By the end of this Google Shopping product feed piece, you can master how to identify potential keywords. And then you can master how to formulate the product information writing. Also, you can learn policies you need to pay attention to on product listings.
- Keyword Research
- Meta Tags & Product URL
- Product Photos
- Product Type
- Category and Custom Field
- Item Selling Data (Structured Data, Scheme)
- Google Shopping Product Listing Service (With Adding SEO elements)
Some misunderstandings are existing from eCommerce SEO is that it might be not necessary to research potential keywords for product feeds. It’s because a brand and product name with materials, color, etc information have already exceeded the character limitation of product title, or even product description. However, it’s totally incorrect. It’s because keyword research can let you realize the product search trend, seasonality, and keyword variations used out of product titles and descriptions.
Based on this purpose, basically, you can use these 3 categories of keyword research tools to grab a list of SEO root and variation keywords.
1. Trend and Semantic – Google Shopping Insight, Google Trends, and Google.com
If you were selling Ring spotlight cameras, you can learn your SKU search trend from Google Shopping insight and Google trends. They can be such by location, device, different time range, etc. The implication of this trend is sometimes volume drop is not dealing with your SEO groundwork. But seasonality matters, which you have to be aware of and deploy your SKUs based on the insight.
Also, you can search Ring spotlight camera from Google.com, and find out some root keywords and few high-demand variations people are interested in. They can be such as ring spotlight camera battery life, ring floodlight camera, camera installation, etc.
And if you have a glance at the first few pages and top-ranking SERP, 80% of information is from the brand, youtube, and the marketplace. This implies the intention of people searching is for learning reviews and considering buying.
2. Volume Estimation & Competition – Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, and Google Merchant
After you identify the root keywords, you can use Google keyword planner to find other variations and filter. You can do it by competition, search volume, brand, etc, and download the full list from the keyword planner. It would be used on Google Shopping SEO in a moment.
After a while, you can learn the real-time and actual search terms from the Google search console. So you can further finetune your SEO keyword list for Google shopping performance.
3. Competitor Monitoring and Analytic – MOZ, SEMRush
If you aim to learn more insight from your competitors and hope to deploy a differentiated SEO strategy, you can leverage some 3rd party platforms. They can be such as MOZ, and SEMRush. I don’t go into details. But basically, it can monitor your competitor’s SEO ranking, and performance by typing in your target keywords.
1. Add a Primary Keyword
Each product must have a primary keyword and tell Google the difference among the SKUs. In particular, the product varies by model, collection, and seasonal with the same or similar product name.
Basically, I would suggest you use the product name plus a unique identity. It can be such as model, color, seasonality, etc. You can use them o differentiate from other products in the same collection.
You can add this keyword by using SEO manager, or Yoast SEO if you’re not familiar with HTML coding.
2. Product Title Tag
Google Shopping requires product title characters to be equal to or less than 70. But I’ll suggest keeping it under 60 characters which ensures all devices can show full title wordings.
For product title writing, the basic formula is product name, plus color, materials, and pack information. If you are a reseller of the product, I’ll suggest you adding | plus brand name at the end of the title.
Just keep in mind that the product title (H1) on a page is different from the product meta title. And Google Shopping shows the product meta title in SERP. So in the meta title. Please show the key messages and keep them as accurate as possible. On the other hand, you can elaborate more in detail on the product page title.
If the core keyword is for example “Ring spotlight camera”, please ensure the meta title includes this keyword rather than any other variation.
3. Product Description Tag
Google Shopping requires product meta description to be equal to or less than 160. But I suggest maintaining it with less than 120 characters. It’s in order to show full messages wherever devices show the SERP.
Basically, the formula to write a meta description for eCommerce success is the core keyword plus general product unique selling points with ending up a call to action, such as learn more, shop now.
We don’t need to highlight the SKU price, and inventory, because Google Shopping SERP independently shows this information. But again, please add the core keyword
4. Image Alt Tag
Many product photo images are missing alt tags, which is one of the primary reasons when two sophisticated SEO players are fighting, but one wins. It won’t take you much time, but just it might be so repeatable and boring to complete. The way is just to select the keyword variation from the full list of SEO keywords and add it to related photos. Duplicate is not good, but it’s better than being empty.
5. Product URL
Compared with generic google SERP, Google Shopping has less weight to affect the performance, that might be because eCommerce website product information related to SKU ID, variation, etc, but from my experience, if a product URL is too massive, it would affect the index and organic traffic at the end.
Just keep it as short as possible and include the core keyword in the URL, meanwhile avoiding URL duplicates between two products.
Product images are extremely important to your Google Shopping feed. They have to look professional. Nobody clicks SERP information with an awful image. As you may intuit, product images are less about communicating relevance to Google and more about attracting consumers’ eyes. Think of it as making a first impression.
Just keep in mind that there are a few Google Shopping rules regarding product photos, such as no watermarks, no additional text, no brand name, no discount info, and no logos. For more details, please search and go to Google merchant center policy.
Plain and simple, your product type is an opportunity to give Google another backend attribute that helps determine relevance. Unlike product categories, it’s a key data feed to syndicate your website Google merchant center with Google ads. So this product type represents the group of products you’re going to run ads for, and you can select the product type in an ads group and create the ads set to run Google Shopping ads.
It’s a kind of product categorization. In Shopify, if you want to automatically update the products that display in a collection page, you can select the group of created product types as well.
Product Category and Custom Field
Your product category doesn’t show up on the prospect-facing side—it’s strictly a backend attribute that Google takes into consideration when populating the Shopping search results.
This is a required part of your Google Shopping feed. In order to make a product eligible for advertisement, you must select a category from Google’s Product Taxonomy or GPT. Available for download, the GPT is complete with over 6,000 categories and subcategories. When it comes to relevance, the product category is extremely important. The more targeted you are with your subcategories, the more relevant your product will be. For example, in Shopify, you can install Google channel App and you can add the category on the Google field for each SKU like this:
Besides this, Google also suggests you add on the product itself information, such as for which age, color, material, size, condition (new, used, or refurbished), etc. This information would help your SEO performance by improving the product ranking.
Some of the products might not have a unique GTIN code, because it might be a bundle deal, such as a ring camera plus a solar panel. As Google is restricting GTIN and barcode policy more than before, so you need to not only claim this is a custom product like this, but also you need to add one of the product manufacturer part numbers. Otherwise, your custom product might be easily disapproved by the google merchant center.
Lastly, it’s the custom label. For SEO, it’s optional, but for Google Shopping ads and retargeting ads, it’s a must. So I would go into more detail in the coming Chapter about Google Shopping Ads.
Item Selling Data (Structured Data, or Schema)
Setting up structured data is much easier than ever, and it is feasible you don’t have any coding knowledge, such as XML, because most CMS platforms such as Shopify and CMS plugins like woocommerce have already built up a framework, what you need to do is to update the product information on a simple and clean interface. Below is some information required by Google Merchant Center, and I’ll take Shopify as an example to elaborate on how to add it.
Each SKU must have a price, and you can add a promotional price that compares to the original one, and Google Shopping SERP can show as well.
2. Product Barcode and SKU
Barcode is a line of machine-readable digits, such as EAN, UPC, etc, which is used to identify your product information by a scanner on different occasions. It is must-have information on each product listing. Also, authentic barcode information is very important for your product listing to get approved by the google merchant center. So you have to purchase barcodes for your products from GS1, or eBay, or get all authentic barcode information from your supplier, otherwise, your product listing would be disapproved.
SKU is a unique ID for each product and variation which is required by the google merchant center. SKU ID is helpful on your Google Shopping performance report and you can break it down to understand which SKU performs better and worse in advertising as well.
3. Inventory in Stock
Basically, all eCommerce platforms allow you to either continue selling or discontinue selling when out of stock. From a Google Shopping policy perspective, it just requires this feed data rather than the product listings would be forced to pull off when the inventory is out of stock that increases the late shipment rate or returns dissatisfaction rate. So in a way, it’s different from other marketplace policies like Amazon, eBay, etc. From my perspective, I’ll suggest you continue selling when out of stock because it can sustain the website traffic in a way.
4. Tax and Shipping rate
Tax and shipping rate is another product feed data required by Google merchant center, in particular, if you are running Google shopping action, which all checkout process is finished on Google Shopping side and you get a payout from Google by PayPal. If this information is missing, your product listing would be disapproved as well.
5. Product Rating
Product rating data feed is not a must, however, it’s one of the most important data to affect your product’s organic ranking position, because Google merchant center gives higher weight to this element and would boost those products in a higher position with more positive product rating and comments.
Apart from creating XML data feed by your team developer, you can install a plugin like judge.me product reviews, where you can manage your product review by SKUs, and the plugin can automatically create and update XML product rating data, aggregate rating JSON-LD, aggregate rating microdata that is fed to Google merchant center.
If you want to ask customers to leave a product review, you can create a follow-up email for customers by setting timing, format, conditions, templates, etc. Also, as I talked about previously in the article – Lunch for Free – 0% Commission Fee for Selling on Google Shopping, you can copy the Google customer review code that is generated in your Google merchant center account, and paste it onto your website checkout confirmation page. So Google always pops up a window after the order confirmation and asks if the customer can help leave a review on the product.
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