The fact is that Google Shopping campaigns don’t function in the same way as a standard Google search ad. Whereas traditional search campaigns provide promoters with a significant degree of control with when and where their ads show through keyword bidding strategies, Shopping campaigns take much of that ability to manage out of the hands of advertisers and give it over to Google.
Instead of leveraging the typical bidding systems, Google crawls a merchant’s product feed for the information needed to determine if an item is relevant to a user’s search query.
This means that implementingproduct feed best practices is critical for the success of Shopping campaigns as the feed directly impacts where Shopping ads show and how well they perform.
For those who want to up their Google Shopping adroitness, product feed optimization is where their focus should reside.
To help those sellers and advertisers achieve their aim, today, we will be covering 10 Google Shopping product feed optimization strategies for improving campaign performance.
With that, let’s get started.
1. Start with the Title
One of the biggest mistakes that brands make when attempting to optimize product titles is to engage in keyword stuffing.
This will only backfire in the end.
The fact is that if a product title is over 75 characters, it works against sellers. Therefore, if they stuff a title full of keywords, thereby making 150 characters long, it hurts the performance of the advert.
It is vital to note that Google Shopping is all broad match. This means that there is no phrase or exact match types. Google analyzes the user query and matches that with the title information in the product feed.
Therefore, when it comes toproduct title optimization efforts, utilizing keywords is important. However, the goal here is to be as precise as possible, utilizing information relevant to shoppers. Product titles should mirror the language patterns that consumers use to search for certain items.
For instance, if a merchant sells shoes, they will want to include the main keywords in the title, such as “Converse, Chuck Taylor All Star, Black, Size 7.” This product title includes most of the relevant information that a shoe shopper would be looking for, including the:
By including as many pertinent details as possible in a product title, retailers are more likely to create a successful campaign.
However, it isn’t just the words within a title that matter. Merchants must also consider the title’s structure.
2. Structure Product Titles Appropriately
The structure of the title is just as important to product feed optimization as the words utilized.
To effectively establish which attributes should be included in a product’s title, it is first necessary to understand how Google’s algorithm selects the items to showcase to users.
When picking products to surface, Google weights the words at the beginning of the title most heavily. Therefore, the order of the words matters greatly.
There are a variety of common product title structures that sellers can employ, including:
Brand – Product Type – Color – Material
Brand – Size – Product Type – Color
Gender – Brand – Material – Product Type – Size – Color
However, it is important to note that the product title structure is highly dependent on the type of product being promoted (e.g., apparel, jewelry, electronics, etc.).
Therefore, it is advisable for retailers to take the time to research the structure utilized by their top competitors to establish common themes or standards utilized to optimize product title arrangements.
3. Describe Products Thoroughly
An item’s description is essential to product feed optimization. After all, this is likely what will engender a click or send shoppers elsewhere. Therefore, retailers should give this section considerable attention and aim towrite product descriptions that sell.
To do this, retailers will want to compellingly describe an item and the benefits that it bestows on buyers, in addition to essential details like sizes, patterns, materials, special features, technical specifications and the like.
Additionally, while Google does provide merchants with a 10,000-character limit for this section, it is wise to keep the description between 500 and 1,500 characters. While the description could provide much more information, shoppers don’t want to read what equates to a novella about a pair of headphones.
Finally, always be sure to proofread descriptions to ensure that correct grammar and punctuation have been utilized. If there is an abundance of copy errors, consumers are less likely to trust a seller, thereby reducing conversions.
4. Integrate the Right Keywords
When it comes to product feed optimization, keywords are an important aspect of both the product title and the description.
Therefore,conducting keyword research is an essential step to fully optimizing a feed. A great way to do this is first to establish which keywords the product in question is already ranking. Afterward, sellers canrun a Search Terms report in Google ads to find their top-performing queries.
After collecting the keywords, terms and phrases that the product ranks for and the retailer finds profitable, run those through Google to determine if:
The keywords surface Shopping ads
If the retailer’s Shopping ads display for the keyword in question
The amount spent on those keywords via Google Shopping campaigns
If the keyword is present in the product title or description
If Shopping ads show for certain keywords, but a merchant’s products are not included in those listings, it is wise to integrate these terms in both the title and description.
5. Drill Down in Product Categories
Far too often, retailers end up ignoring the product category section altogether. If it isn’t neglected outright, advertisers frequently put minimal efforts into this area.
For instance, there is a single category for posters, paintings and visual art, despite the wide array of products that this could encompass. Meanwhile, there is a category dedicated to the wide, wonderful world of keyhole escutcheons.
Why practically anything that hangs on a wall is jammed into a single category, but keyhole escutcheons are apparently popular enough to call out by name is a bit befuddling, to say the least.
It is this type of absurdity that causes sellers to simply pick a broad category and move on to the next product feed optimization task. However, despite the frustration this can cause, drilling down into the options and selecting the most relevant category is essential.
Part of the reason for this is that Google, through itsBERT algorithm update and many other of its changes, has shown a strong desire to move away from keyword matching. Therefore, the more information that sellers can provide to the engine on the product, the greater the chance that their Shopping ads will surface at the right time.
6. Select Stunning Images
Product images are the crown jewel of Google Shopping ads. This is what will attract consumers seeking the item that sellers have to offer.
Plainly put, if merchants post product images that are low-quality, or even just lacking in number, shoppers could opt to check out another retailer’s ad.
Ensure the main product photo is against a white background
Feature photos that provide product info (relative size, uses, etc.)
Verify that color variants match the picture shown
7. Create Competitive Pricing
When it comes toproduct feed optimization best practices, an item’s price is not to be overlooked. The fact is that lower prices entice consumers through providing a better offer and draw Google’s attention as folks are more likely to click on the ad.
However, retailers should be careful not to engage in a race to the bottom.
Therefore, merchants should pay close attention to the pricing strategies of their rivals. To keep tabs on the competition, sellers should consider employing a dynamic repricing tool such asPrisync. This software is compatible with Google Shopping and enables sellers to run frequent price checks, thereby allowing them to stack up their listing against that of rival retailers.
Moreover, this kind of tool can be used to export a file of the software to be integrated with a merchant’s feed, thereby enhancing product feed optimization efforts significantly.
8. Call Colors What They Are
In the past, Google Shopping ads would implore sellers to flatten their color schemes. For example, if retailers were selling a shirt in the color of “Grape,” Google would advise merchants to simply call it “Purple” as shoppers would be more likely to search this color.
However, things have changed a bit. Given that Google crawls a site’s microdata and compares the information found with that presented through a seller’s product feed, any discrepancies could result in damages to a merchant’s campaign.
Given this dynamic, it is advisable for retailers to approach their coloring schemes in one of two ways:
Change the site information to a more standard label
List colors in product feeds the same way they are shown on-site
Either way, the idea here is to create congruence between the site and the seller’s product feed.
9. Fix Spelling and Grammatical Errors
When engaging in product feed optimization, retailers often have a lot of ground to cover as there are a variety of fields to maximize the potential for and many different products to go through.
As a result, these documents are often littered with errors such as:
“[An] analysis of more than 5,000 site visits over a two-week period showed that the bounce rate…on landing pages with sloppy spelling and grammar was 85 percent more than those that were correctly written and spell-checked.”
While this study does explore the ramifications on landing pages and not adverts, the same principle holds true: Consumers are less likely to trust a merchant who can’t be bothered to use spell check.
Therefore, it is essential that retailers take the time to comb through their product feed to ensure that it is clear of any such aberrations.
10. Update Product Feeds Regularly
To improve campaign performance and product feed optimization, retailers should get in the habit of updating this document any time that an item’s price, availability or inventory levels change.
For instance, if merchants sold 700 units of an item in the previous month, leaving them with only 300 more, they should update their feed to reflect this alteration. Otherwise, merchants could be paying to market 400 units that they no longer have available to sell, reducing the quality of a retailer’s feed.
Product feed optimization can be a time-consuming task. However, those who manage to work through this entire list for each of their promoted products are likely to land themselves among some of the top Google Shopping advertisers.
That said, for retailers to remain a top dog, it is vital that they continually test and tweak their product optimization efforts, particularly as it relates to different images, keywords and tactics employed by the competition.
However, given that product feed optimization can be such a resource-intensive task, it is understandable that some merchants don’t have the time or know-how to manage this task on their own.
If you want to ensure that your Shopping campaigns reach peak performance and produce top-notch outcomes, reach out toVisiture’s Google Shopping management experts. We can optimize your brand’s product feed to generate maximum visibility, clicks and conversions.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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