Google Merchant updates: All you need to know!
Working within a B2B SEO Agency, can encompass many things. One of these, include learning and working around Google's updates and changes, to both their algorithms on the search engine itself, and the merchant centre. If you are not already aware, Google Merchant Centre is a unique platform specifically utilised for storing your store's data, alongside product information.
On an annual basis, Google makes amendments to its Merchant Centre - Product data specification. This year, holds no different! Google have now announced that it's 2020 update, holds a strong focus around improving data quality.
The pure intention behind these yearly updates, are to simply enhance and improve a user's experience online, specifically when they're searching for products. Although this update is not scheduled to roll out until September, 2020, we have seen this start to come into play within the Shoptimized platform. Some changes have even taken place with immediate effect, whilst we have seen others will in fact take place from September 2020.
Changes that have taken place with Immediate effect
Changes that have been noted include the following...
Sales Price Annotations: For Shopping Ads, Google has moderated the requirement to display “sales price annotations”. Moving forward, to display this annotation, the base or higher price must have been charged for a minimum of 30 days, in the previous 180 days.
Attributes for Installment & Subscription Costs: For wireless products and services, the values for the installment and subscription costs will only be accepted in countries approved for Shopping Ads. Disapprovals may occur if values for these attributes are submitted for other product categories
Product Highlight Attribute: An optional “product highlight attribute” has been introduced which gives retailers the opportunity to showcase their products most important benefits and features.
Product Detail Attribute: The product data attribute has been introduced to improve the data quality of products. The attribute is optional and lets you provide clear and readable structured data which enhances googles ability to display individual products based on user search queries.
Changes commencing from September 2020
Whilst the above changes have taken place with immediate effect, the below changes have been outlined to take effect commencing from September 2020...
Material, pattern, and image link attributes: Attributes will receive warnings if products that have more than one value are submitted for the “image link” or “pattern” attributes. You will able to specify more than one pattern or material value using hyphens and slashes if your product contains multiple materials or patterns, however you will not be able to separate values with commas. You can use the “additional image link “attribute to submit additional images.
Category-specific requirements for Google product categories: Products within certain Google product categories will a combination of “unique product identifiers”. Product performance may be limited if they require attributes such as colour, size, gender, age.
Description attribute: The description attribute will be required for all products. Products without a product description will still be eligible to display however performance will be limited.
Additionally, you will be able to use an optional "Google product category" attribute if the category assigned to your products is inaccurate which will override automatic categorisation form Google.
If you are an online retailer currently using the Google Merchant centre, these updates will surely impact you. Keep aware as to how you can best adapt to these new changes, whilst ensuring there is no harmful impact!
Polaris is an award-winning SEO agency in London specialising B2B, e-commerce and the healthcare industry.