Get the Facts on Google Shopping Updates

Google introduced new shopping updates for 2018. Its goal is to create a better shopping experience for the Google shopper, but it can cause a change in the way you post your products. Staying on top of these changes means no surprises. Here’s a look at what you need to know for this round of updates.

The Overview

Instead of adding a ton of new rules, Google relaxed some current policies. Most will require you to check your listings for discrepancies. A few changes mean better calculations of your return on investment (ROI), but overall the goal is to create ease of use for everyone. The updates will streamline the shopping process for the Google shopper, and as soon as you break old habits, you will be ready to roll with the new requirements. Mobile optimized sites are becoming a bigger priority. Google is moving toward improving the shopping feed on all mobile devices, allowing more customers to shop on the go. If your site is not up to par, you will feel the effects. As of June 25, all updates are in full effect.

Cost of Goods Sold

Cost of goods sold (COGS) refers to how much it took to make your item ready for sale. This cost of sales includes the materials needed to make the item and the cost of labor to put it together. When calculating the profit from your sale, it is important to know how much the product cost you to calculate your ROI. Google added this attribute to help shop owners maximize profits and focus advertising efforts.

Long Titles and Descriptions

Previously, if you entered a title or a description that exceeded the character limit, Google would give you a disapproval. Now it will cut the title or description at the character limit. The title should be no longer than 150 characters, and the description should not exceed 5,000 characters. If Google does truncate your words, you will receive a warning in your account, but not when creating the attribute. If you are not looking for it and are not aware of the change, your products will suffer. Be prepared to double-check how things look in the Google shopping feed to avoid a shortened description and customer confusion.

Conditions Attribute

The conditions attribute tells customers if the product is new or used. With this update, Google only requires a condition if the product is not new. Leaving the field blank indicates that the product is new and needs no explanation. If you forget to fill out the box and your landing page says the product is not new, your listing may face disapproval. While Google meant this to save time when you create your listing, it can cause delays if you skip things. Double-checking your listing before submission is the only way to ensure you have correctly filled out all the fields.

Size and Color Attributes

Previously, you could indicate more than one color or size on the Google shopping feed by separation with commas. Now, Google requests that you list only one piece of information in these fields. If your product is more than one size or multicolored, you should indicate this by putting slashes between each description or size. For example, previously a red, white, and blue item might have appeared like this: [color: red] [color: white] [color: blue]. Now you should enter it all as one piece of information like this: [color: red/white/blue]. Multiple sizes should use the same format.

Link Attribute

Google allows only one link to your product in the link field. Pick the most important link that will lead customers to a product landing page, and don’t send them anywhere else. A good rule of thumb is to remember that the least number of clicks will get you more traffic and increased sales. Be sure your page follows Google’s landing page requirements. If you do not follow these, your listing faces disapproval.

  • All key information about your product needs to be clear and concise.
  • Photos of the product should showcase the item.
  • The link should lead directly to a page showcasing the product featured. Do not link to a category page or a search page within your site.
  • Prices must be easy to read. You must include appropriate taxes in the final price.
  • Avoid pop-ups or other elements that cover the product on your page.
  • Products pages must appear in the same language as the linked page.
  • Information displayed about the product must be correct.
  • Your page must be in good working order to allow customers to shop.

This is a sampling of the requirements. None of them is very surprising, because they all ensure that your customers receive the best shopping experience possible. Keeping your page up-to-date with these requirements is simply good practice.

AdWords Redirect

Recently, Google released a speed update, bumping slow-loading web pages to the bottom of the pile. To give users the most streamlined experience, AdWords now forbids the link listed in your ad to redirect to a tracking URL. This slight change will lead to a big difference in user experience. Parallel tracking is currently optional, but as of October 30, 2018, it will become mandatory. This update will only impact those using AdWords, so it may not apply to everyone. If your ad campaigns need a boost, consulting a professional can lead to a stronger platform.

It is a good idea to read through your already existing listings and change them to reflect the latest updates. Fix listings that contain multiple color descriptions and sizes. Make sure you only have one link that points directly at the product you are advertising. Make sure your titles and descriptions fit within the character limit. These changes mean that you need to pay more attention when you create new listings. A slip-up will mean that you get a disapproval, leading to wasted time. Be sure to double-check everything before submitting and you should be ready to roll.