Google Product Search Update - New Requirements In Effect as of 9/22/11

Update: Google's new requirements are in effect as of September 22, 2011

Google has announced a new set of requirements for Google Product Search. If you have a Google Merchant Center account, you should have received an email from Google outlining these changes. You can read Google’s blog post here.

Many of you are concerned on whether these changes will affect you and if action is needed. The short answer is yes. We expect these changes to affect all merchants in one form or another. We strongly encourage everyone to review Google's documentation and check it against your feed.  A great way to find out what Google thinks about the quality of your feed is to login to your Google Merchant Center and check two places:

1) Data feeds, under Status, click on the “View Errors” link.
2) Data Quality

If you have any quality feedback on these pages, you will want to do your best to address those issues.

Read on for a summary of Google’s new requirements, what SingleFeed does for you and what you may need to do yourself.

Summary of Feed Spec Changes

Availability: Will be a required field. SingleFeed already supports this field in our feed specs. SingleFeed accepts availability information in the Stock Status field. If no value is provided, we default to Yes (In Stock) and send that information to Google. You will want to make sure that all of your items that are not presently In Stock have a No value in that field. We expect Google to monitor the accuracy of your product availability so providing incorrect information may lead to feed disapproval. If you do nothing, leave this field blank, or omit this field from your feed, SingleFeed will submit a Yes / In Stock value in your feed which may conflict with your actual availability. You can read more about our supported fields through the link below. 

Google Product Category: This is a new field for Google Product Search. This is the category of your products in Google’s category taxonomy. SingleFeed will take care of this for you and no action is needed from your part. There is no responsibility on your part to support this field, as SingleFeed handles the category mapping of your items. You can read more about our categorization process through the link below.

Google Product Type: This is an existing field for Google Product Search which is being changed to accept different product data. SingleFeed will pass your store's category values for each product to Google. You do not need to make any changes to your feed, as SingleFeed will update our feed mapping automatically.

Images: This is an existing field for Google Product Search which has been optional for Google. Image URL will be a required field on Google and you will have the option of submitting up to 10 additional product images. SingleFeed already requires Image URLs so the basic requirement is met. If you do nothing to your existing feed you will be fine. You have the option of supplying additional image urls, which SingleFeed will soon be adding support for in our feed specs.

Apparel: If you are a merchant with products in the Apparel category (clothing, shoes and accessories), there are several additional requirements. Please follow the link below to more information specific to the Apparel category.

SingleFeed Supported Fields
SingleFeed Categorization Process
Apparel Category - Additional Information

Summary of Other Policy/Program Changes

Note that these changes are in addition to earlier changes that were introduced in May. We encourage you to review the May changes as well and ensure that you are following those requirements:

Google’s May Changes

Google is also changing the way it accepts child level products, i.e. different sizes, colors etc. of the same product. Google calls these Product Variants and has detailed instructions for submitting them through the link below.

Submitting Product Variants

Google had previously requested that all merchants submit tax and shipping for their account by June 6th. That deadline was extended to September 22nd. SingleFeed supports the fields for tax and shipping within our current feed specs. For more information on Submitting Tax and Shipping for Google Product Search please see the link below:

Submitting Tax and Shipping for Google Product Search

Finally, we want to direct your attention to Google’s updated Product Search Policies. With the upcoming requirements and the ones implemented earlier, Google is making a strong push towards improved data feed quality. This means that feeds that do not meet Google’s requirements run a real risk of being disapproved. SingleFeed will ensure that your data is sent to Google daily, and that the feed meets or exceeds the formatting requirements, but we do not control the content/product information of your feed.

Google’s Product Search Policies
Tips on Providing High-Quality Data


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