Google Shopping Optimisation is essential for retailers facing increased competition as more merchants take advantage of Google's new free product listings. It's now easier for customers to shop from the comforts of their own phones, as they become more comfortable trying new brands/products as Google revealed 50% of shoppers will buy from a new retailer at some point in the holiday season.
It's essential for retailers to invest in product listing ads (PLAs) if they're looking to increase e-commerce sales and acquire new customers during the golden quarter. Google Shopping Ads make up 82% of total PLA spend and attract 87.9% of clicks, but without an optimised and enriched product data feed you face limited product visibility and declining conversions. Ultimately, your Google Shopping Campaigns won’t be as effective as it could be as you're left with a low ROAS.
Get Your Product Data Feed Right
Your Google Shopping feed needs to be organised, accurate, validated and up to date as a minimum. Without enriching product data, retailers are feeding inaccurate information to Google which results in the product being disapproved and severely affecting their campaign performance. First, you need to get the basics right:
- Make sure you have all necessary attributes in your product data feed
- Check your product types are static and descriptive of the product
- Update inventory and pricing regularly
Fixing the feed is good for business, but with Google Shopping optimisation you can boost results. Go that bit further and research what can enrich your product data to get a competitive edge. Leave the typical Google’s specification “tick-box” exercise behind and drill deeper into your product data to see:
- What sets you apart from your competitors
- What makes you appealing to your customers
Your Feed is Key To Google Shopping Optimisation
With the product data feed in good shape, Google Shopping optimisation becomes easier. Diving into client data feeds on a day-to-day basis our Customer Solutions Director, Mark Batson, summarised his top tips:
1. Optimise Product Titles
One of the most crucial attributes when feeding Google’s relevancy algorithm. If the product title doesn’t accurately tell Google and the customers what the product is, chances are it’s unlikely to appear on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Neglecting product title quality detrimentally affects product performance. And yet, many retailers either utilise the product title exactly as it appears on their website or, use an assumed and untested title.
A. Study your data to understand how customers engage with your on-site search
B. Review your existing Search Query Reports
C. Compare with Google Trends
D. Conduct scientific experiments on product titles
2. The Product Level SEO: Product Types
Working alongside the Product Title, the Product Type forms the second most important element of the relevancy calculation – and it often shares the same criticism as Product Titles. At best, they follow the website breadcrumb structure. At worst, they contain almost complete junk.
ProTip: With Google Shopping supporting five Product Types, it’s your chance to tell Google what the product is after assigning it to a Google Product Category. For example, maxi dresses can be purchased for different reasons during different seasons. You can experiment with the product type like the below:
A. Women’s > Dresses > Maxi Dresses
B. Women’s > Dresses > Prom Dresses
3. Avoid a “Set and Forget” Optimisation mentality
Don’t forget - product optimisation in eCommerce is completely contextual. Technology constantly develops in Google Shopping and the devices it can be accessed from. Optimisation is a continual moving set of goalposts, and there’s no final state of an optimised product.
Pro Tip: Scalable experimentation has a big impact in campaigns. By doing regular testing, retailers can regularly keep their products optimised.
4. Provide ‘Fresh’ Data
Outdated data feeds are feeds full of errors. If you’re not already updating your feed at least once per day, you’re already falling behind.
Pro Tip: Replenishing your data ensures all new, current and older products keep their stock levels, price, etc accurate and fresh. If it’s not updated within 30 days, your product information has expired. It can be a daunting task for internal IT teams, but Intelligent Reach can assist you with product automation helping you save time, while increasing productivity.
5. Stick to the Exact Google Products Feed Specification
It's not even a tip - it’s a MUST. Failure to include such attributes as Brand, Shipping, EAN Product Description and Titles can result in disapproved products - which won’t display on Google Shopping.
6. Watch Your Campaign Performance
It’s always good insight to track the performance of your products in real-time. Monitoring and optimising your campaigns regularly, helps you take the required action to ensure even your sophisticated campaigns won’t fail.
Pro Tip: Once your Google Shopping Campaigns go live, regularly monitor your performance metrics i.e. traffic to key products and categories. This gives valuable insight into areas with low conversions and the parts of your product data feed that need experimenting. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to monitor individual product data feeds at scale and quickly, without an advanced solution provider.
7. Add tracking to your Google Feed
When using Google Shopping Ads to promote your products, most merchants usually use an analytics system, such as Google Analytics, to measure success. It auto-tags your existing Shopping activity to track conversions easily.
Pro Tip: Ensure your tracking parameters are set up correctly. Keep note of the difference between the Link URL and AdWords Redirect URLs, where:
A. The Link will be the URL used to crawl your site
B. The AdWords Redirect as the click-through URL – you’ll want to avoid adding tracking to the Link URL
Note: Redirects are not allowed. If the URL is incorrect, Google will disapprove your products which won’t appear on Google Shopping.
8. Provide Unique Product Identifiers - GTINs
Also known as EAN/UPC Numbers.
Pro Tip: If the product doesn’t have a unique product identifier, you won’t need to submit this. If it does and you’re unable to submit this, your product will have limited performance.
9. Be Competitive with Your Pricing
Aim to be as competitive as possible - customers love to compare to get the best deal!
Pro Tip: Google brings up a range of products most relevant to its customer's search queries. If your product has the best price, you’ll have the perk of competitive advantage.
10. Showcase Your Seller Rating Ad
Just like most channels, Google takes customer reviews into consideration in its rankings*.
Pro Tip: Encourage customers to leave reviews on both your website and external sites. You can integrate with platforms that pull in your product review data that can show your Seller Ratings - if you’ve met the criteria.
Some examples sites and platforms are:
Google have their own taxonomy, with more than 6,000 categories listed. It’s important to map your internal categories in the same format, to improve your Cost-Per-Clicks (CPCs) and Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
Pro Tip: Categorising your products help Google work out the most relevant search terms, to help customers find your products. If you’re incorporating a multichannel strategy, platforms such as Facebook Product Ads and Bing Shopping also use Google’s product categories.
12. Get Those Clothing Categories Right
It’s a requirement for Clothing & Accessories to use a Google product category. Using accurate descriptions and attributes, specifying every product variation (colour and size) and providing a grouping key can drive the Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
ProTip: Use the most up to date categories. If your categories are outdated, Google automatically matches the old category to what it believes is the most recent version of it - but that doesn’t mean that’s right.
Google must be able to crawl your site so it’s important to give access to Google Robots.
Pro Tip: Ensure you haven’t blocked Google Robots - they have a job to do!
14. Claim Your Site Ownership
Verifying and claiming your website URL gives you access to use certain programmes in Google Merchant Centre. Simply add the HTML files or tags to your server via your webmaster tools.
Are your products showing on Google?
Check out if you are missing out on opportunities to show your products on Google Shopping Ads and what you should look at.
*This blog has been updated on 09/11/20.