Google Shopping – Products appear in unpaid search results on Google

Products are now eligible to app

Products are now eligible to appear in unpaid results on surfaces across Google for Shoppers

By Vishali Anand . 

Best Practices to submit your products for surfaces across Google to appear in the unpaid results on Google

Google announced in May 5th 2020, that the option to submit products for surfaces across Google will be available in all Countries. If you have submitted a product feed to Google Merchant Center, then all your products from your store may automatically appear in the unpaid results on Google.

To ensure your products are eligible to be shown across Google Surfaces, follow the Best Practices highlighted here. 

Table of Content

Connecting Potential Shoppers with accurate product information

Data and eligibility requirements to show Merchant products

 

How to be eligible for enhanced listings:

Best practices for Data feed requirements for Merchants when submitting your products to Google for the first time

Best practices for showing products by Merchants on surfaces across Google

Best practices for showing apparel and accessories

Best practices for all product categories

 

Connecting Potential Customers with accurate product information

 

People come to Google to discover new brands and products throughout their shopping journey. On Google Search and Google Images, shoppers are provided with rich snippets like product description, ratings, and price to help guide purchase decisions.

Connecting potential customers with up-to-date and accurate product information is key to successful shopping journeys on Google, new ways for merchants to provide this information to improve results for shoppers.

1.           Search Console

Many retailers and brands add structured data markup to their websites to ensure Google understands the products they sell. A new report for ‘Products’ is now available in Search Console for sites that use schema.org structured data markup to annotate product information. The report allows you to see any pending issues for markup on your site. Once an issue is fixed, you can use the report to validate if your issues were resolved by re-crawling your affected pages. 

2.           Merchant Center

While structured data markup helps Google properly display your product information when Google crawl’s your site, Google are expanding capabilities for all retailers to directly provide up-to-date product information to Google in real-time. Product data feeds uploaded to Google Merchant Center will now be eligible for display in results on surfaces like Google Search and Google Images. This product information will be ranked based only on relevance to users’ queries, and no payment is required or accepted for eligibility.

3.           Manufacturer Center

New features to improve brand visibility and help customers find your products on Google by providing authoritative and up-to-date product information through Google Manufacturer Center. This information includes product description, variants, and rich content, such as high-quality images and videos that can show on the product’s knowledge panel.

These solutions give you multiple options to better reach and inform potential customers about your products as they shop across Google.

Data and eligibility requirements to show your products on surfaces across Google

 

The merchant can enable their products to appear in unpaid product results on surfaces across Google.

How it works

This program allows people to see product results from your store on various Google surfaces, including Google Images, the Google Shopping tab, Google Lens, and Google Search (availability of listing types for each Google surface varies by country.) Just as Google does not charge sites to be part of the Google Search index, participating merchants are eligible to appear on surfaces across Google results for free.

To become eligible, you must follow the required policies to show products on surfaces across Google, and meet one of two criteria:

  • If you have structured data markup on your website, you will automatically have your products shown on surfaces across Google without directly participating in the program. You can opt out at any time.
  • If you submit a feed through Google Merchant Center, you can participate in surfaces across Google by selecting the corresponding program in Merchant Center.

     

How to be eligible for enhanced listings

Additional eligibility requirements for enhanced listings on the Google Shopping tab

To be eligible for enhanced listings, which show your products in content-rich listings on the Google Shopping tab, you must follow the policies for surfaces across Google as well as those for Shopping ads. Eligibility is also based on your account status and the quality of the data you provide.

You can influence your eligibility by providing Google with high-quality information that ensures shoppers will have a positive customer experience. There’s a range of ways you can do this. For example, you can link your account with a third-party platform, or if your platform is not yet supported, you can opt in to the Google Customer Reviews program. 

For merchants submitting feeds through Google Merchant Center

If you submit a feed through Google Merchant Center and do not choose to participate in the surfaces across Google program, Google may still use and display certain product feed data you submit (for example, titles and images) as described in the Merchant Center terms of service, including to improve Google’s services.

Also, if you’ve previously submitted a product feed to Google, you may already have products appearing in unpaid product results on surfaces across Google. If you don’t want your products appearing across these free surfaces, follow instructions on Google to manage your destinations.
 

 

Data feed requirements when submitting your products to Google for the first time

If you submit a product feed to Google for the first time you can enable your products to appear on surfaces across Google.

Standard listings

The minimum required attributes to show your inventory on surfaces across Google are:​

  • id
  • title
  • link
  • image_link
  • price

Enhanced listings

Products that are eligible for enhanced listings will appear in content-rich formats on the Google Shopping tab, which may boost traffic and drive sales.

In addition to the attributes required for surfaces across Google, the following attributes are required to participate in enhanced listings:

  • description (required for all products)
  • availability (required for all products)
  • condition (required for each used or refurbished product)
  • brand (required for each product with a clearly associated brand or manufacturer)
  • gtin (required for all products with a GTIN assigned by the manufacturer)
  • mpn (required for all products without a manufacturer-assigned GTIN)
  • multipack (required if your product is a multipack)
  • is_bundle (required if your product is a bundle)
  • color (required for Apparel & Accessories)
  • size (required for Apparel & Accessories)
  • age_group (required for Apparel & Accessories)
  • gender (required for Apparel & Accessories)
  • item_group_id (required for product variants)
  • shipping (required when you need to override your shipping settings in Merchant Center)
  • tax (required in the US when you need to override your account tax settings in Merchant Center)

 

Google encourages the Merchants to submit as many applicable attributes as possible to ensure accurate and comprehensive data. 

Best practices

Follow these best practices when showing your products on surfaces across Google.

Add the availability attribute

It’s highly recommended that you add the availability attribute. If you don’t, your products may not appear in all search results on eligible surfaces across Google.

Add a canonical_link attribute

You can use the canonical_link attribute to tell Google that you would prefer to use the canonical link for your product in the web search index instead of the value submitted for the link attribute.

Set up shipping configuration and shipping policy links

You may want to add a link to your shipping policy to your surfaces across Google program settings.

Unavailable attributes

The following Shopping ads attributes are not available for surfaces across Google:

ads_redirect

custom_label_0-4 

Best practices for showing your products on surfaces across Google

Surfaces across Google is a Merchant Center program that allows your products to be seen by customers, at no cost to you, in unpaid product listings in places like Google Images and Google Search (availability of listing types for each Google surface varies by country.)

Google launched a new, visually rich way for customers in the US to explore apparel and accessory products surfaced on mobile on Google Search through this program and from product data crawled from across the web. The goal is to help more merchants connect with shoppers looking for these items.

Merchants that meet Google’s policy guidelines and sell products in these categories are eligible to surface their products in these visually rich results on Google Search and other surfaces across Google. We’ll continue to work to expand these types of rich experiences across different product categories. 

Follow these best practices to optimize how your products appear across different parts of Google.

Best practices for showing apparel and accessories

For best results, we recommend uploading your products in a Merchant Center product feed as a first step. Merchant Center is a free tool that allows retailers to upload their product data directly to Google. 

If you have existing feeds already uploaded to the Merchant Center, your feeds are likely already opted into surfaces across Google. You can confirm by checking the destination setting of the feed in the Merchant Center.

1.   Sign into your Merchant Center account.

2.   Select Products in the main left navigation menu.

3.   Select Feeds to see settings for your different feeds.

4.   In the “Destination” column, you should see “Surfaces Across Google.”

In addition to the minimum set of attributes required to submit products to surfaces across Google in the Merchant Center, merchants that want their apparel and accessories products to surface in free results should also consider the following best practices.

Use Merchant Center product data attributes to specify common differences in different product options

  • item_group_id: Use this attribute to group product variants together in your data. Follow the best practices for the item_group_id attribute to ensure your variants are submitted correctly.
  • color: Submit the primary color of your product. If your product has variants that vary by color, use the item_group_id attribute to submit each of your variants by color.
  • size: Use these attributes to specify the standardized size of your product. If your product has variants that vary by size, use the item_group_id attribute to submit each of your variants by size.
  • pattern: Use this to describe the pattern or graphic print on your product. If your product has variants that vary by pattern, use the item_group_id attribute to submit each of your variants by pattern.

 

Submit high-quality images

  • image_link: Submit URLs to high-resolution product images to improve your chances of capturing shopper attention. We recommend removing any UTM sizing parameters and submitting images that are at least 650×850 pixels.
  • additional_image_link: Provide up to 10 additional images per product to help shoppers see different views of your product.

 

Define demographic attributes

  • gender: Use this attribute to specify which gender your product is designed for, or submit “unisex” if no gender is specified. We use gender in combination with your size and age_group attributes to standardize sizing and departments that are shown to users (a t-shirt with “male” and “kids” indicated for the gender and age_group could show for “boys t-shirt”).
  • age_group: Use this attribute to indicate which demographic your product is designed for. This attribute is used in combination with gender to help ensure users see the correct size information (“womens” for “adult,” “female” and “girls” for “kids,” “female”).

 

Submit optional attributes

  • size_type,size_system: Use these attributes to help further specify the standardized size of your product.
  • material: Indicate the primary materials used in the main part of your product, as shoppers often search for products by material (“leather jackets”).
  • condition: Use this attribute to help shoppers understand whether your product is used or new.
  • multipack: Use this attribute to indicate if your product is multiple, identical items grouped as one product (“10 pairs white cotton socks”).

 

Best practices for all product categories

Comply with Google policies

  •     Make sure to adhere to Google’s policies for submitting content to surfaces across Google. This will ensure your products are eligible for the program.
  •     Make sure your site meets these requirements:

·         Accurate contact information. Your website must display sufficient and accurate contact information, including a telephone number and/or email.

·         Secure checkout process. Payment and transaction processing, as well as collection of any sensitive and financial personal information from the user, must be conducted over a secure processing server (SSL-protected, with a valid SSL certificate).

·         Return policy. Your site must provide a clear and conspicuous return policy to users.

·         Billing terms and conditions. Your site must provide clear and conspicuous billing terms and conditions.

·         Complete checkout process. Ensure users are able to successfully add items to the cart and fully complete the checkout process.

 

How to Help Google understand the products that you sell

  • Clearly list all of your products on your website and make sure shoppers know how to buy them, either online or in your store.
  • If a product has an assigned identifier from the manufacturer, make sure to use the GTIN fields in structured data and submit the GTIN attribute in your Merchant Center product feed. Doing this helps Google classify your products and surface them in as many free results as possible.

Submit product feeds to Google in Merchant Center

  • Since web crawlers may not crawl your pages as quickly as your product data changes, upload your product data to Google Merchant Center to keep your data fresh and up-to-date for all results across Google.
  • Submit your entire product inventory in your product data feed to maximize your potential for exposure in these product results.
  • Make sure to opt your products into surfaces across Google, which will specifically enable your products to be shown in free result types.
  • Submit product images with the highest quality and resolution in the image_link and additional_image_link attributes.
  • Product data in the Merchant Center can also be used to participate in advertising or other paid programs, but participation in any paid programs does not affect how your products perform in unpaid results. You don’t have to advertise your products in order to participate in unpaid results.

Follow these best practices to optimize your products for surfaces across Google without creating any product feeds in the Merchant Center.

  • Product pages with structured product markup are more likely to surface in free result types across Google surfaces.
  • Clearly define the exact price for every variant of each product you sell. If you can’t do this effectively with structured data markup on your product pages, consider creating a product feed in the Merchant Center instead.