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How to optimise your Google shopping feed

Otherwise known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs) – Google Shopping ads play an essential part in driving your visitors to the point of conversion. Over the years, they have become a crucial part of PPC marketing for many online retailers.

It’s a way of reaching out to consumers at the key parts in their path to purchase. We’re going to take you through the main steps when it comes to optimising your Google shopping feed.

What is Google Shopping?

Before we start, let’s establish what Google shopping really means. Well, it’s a way of making your products appear in the main search engine results page (SERP). They can also be listed underneath the shopping tab. 

Google shopping has made it easier for online users to search, find and compare different products without having to click into multiple sites. It saves time for consumers and is a great opportunity for advertisers to increase their sales.

Your shopping campaign is powered by two platforms: Google Ads and Google Merchant Center. Google Merchant Center is where you build your shopping feed. Google Ads is where you manage your actual shopping campaigns (budget, bids, insights etc).

What is your shopping feed?

 A Google shopping feed is what makes those products appear. It’s a spreadsheet on Google Merchant Center, which lists your products along with each of their unique attributes. It’s a way of making your product catalogue clear and understandable for Google in one file so that you can start advertising.

How does Google use your shopping feed?

Shopping feeds are different to search campaigns in the sense that you will have slightly less direct control over when your ads appear – but, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With search campaigns, an advertiser would bid on relevant keywords to determine which search queries trigger an ad.

With shopping campaigns, Google will crawl your site and your feed, to decide which ads should appear for a specific search query. You can think of Google shopping feed optimisation a bit like SEO. You’re providing a lot of information with the ultimate aim of appearing on SERP. 

Why is your feed so important?

The quality of your Google shopping feed is at the heart of your shopping campaign because it can determine whether your target audience is finding your products or not – which is what makes feed optimisation so important.

The more information you provide about your products, the more likely it is that Google will be able to match your ads to the right search queries. We tend to follow that rule when building a feed – the more detail, the better.  

So, how can you make sure your feed is really working to your advantage? We’re going to take you through the main elements along with our top tips to help you boost your shopping campaign.

Product title

Your product title is the blue hyperlinked text right at the top of your ad. This might sound obvious, but the title of your product should be a priority because it is probably the first thing your viewers will read. If your title lacks detail or comes across as dull, then people won’t be clicking on your ad.

Remember it’s not just about the search engine users, Google will be judging your title too, meaning it can determine whether your ad appears or not. This brings us on to your keywords. It’s best to make your title count by considering which terms you want to appear for. Our top tips are:

  • Include your keywords – i.e. the type of product you’re selling and your brand name. 
  • Include some description – which could be the size, colour, model or material of your product. These added details will really help to target those users with high intent to purchase. If they know what they’re looking for and you’re matching that in your title – then it’s likely that they will click and buy. 
  • In terms of structure, start with the most crucial detail – which is probably your brand name.  

Product description

Your product description will appear to the right of your product image and below the title. A description is a key area for optimisation because it’s a chance to include those secondary keywords that didn’t quite make it into the product title.

Just like your title, Google will crawl your description. If you want to increase your visibility on SERP, drive more traffic and also reduce your cost-per-click (CPC) – then you should be including some of those other keywords in your description.

Remember not to come across as ‘spammy’ (for example, don’t just list every single term you want to appear for!) Feel free to get in touch if you want some help with your description.

Product category 

This is a key step because it’s your chance to tell Google where you want your products to appear while also structuring your campaign. For your ad to appear on SERP, you will need to allocate a category for each product by using Google’s Product Taxonomy (GPT). This is a list created by Google for shopping feeds, which consists of over 6,000 different categories and subcategories. You can find the entire list here

Now, when it comes to categorising your products – remember to be detailed. The more specific you are, the more targeted your audience will be. Don’t be afraid to narrow your categories down, for example; let’s say you’re a fashion retailer and your product is a pair of men’s socks. You might want to do something like this:

‘Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Men’s Clothing > Socks.’

Product type 

Understandably, product type and product category are often confused by advertisers. In a nutshell, the difference is that your product type is your choice entirely, whereas your category is from Google’s list.

Although your category is important to Google, your ‘type’ can provide any information that you were unable to include. This is especially helpful if you’re selling a niche product. Your product type is essentially your chance to paint an even clearer picture of what you are advertising. 

In a nutshell…

The optimisation of your shopping feed will help to inform Google what you are selling and who would be interested in buying it. As a result, Google will match your product to the most suitable search queries, and hopefully, your sales will increase (you probably know all this by now!)

Think of it this way – as an online retailer, even if you have an amazing product, how will you sell it if nobody is finding it when they search? The longer you spend working on your feed and making sure it’s fully up to date; the more people will find your product. 

What next?

If you’re ready to start advertising a new product or if you want to increase your sales for an existing item – a PPC shopping campaign could put you ahead of the game. If you want any help with your feed optimisation or anything else around Google shopping ads, please get in touch.