New Google Product Search Requirements

Google recently sent an email to all merchants using Google Product Search that contained the following:

Starting in late August 2010, we are making some changes to how your products in the Electronics, Books, and Media categories may appear on Google Product Search. In order to provide as much information as possible to our users, we need your help in matching your products to our “product pages” where users are able to view useful data such as product specifications or reviews. If you are submitting products in the above categories for the US version of Google Product Search, please start including unique product identifiers, such as MPN, Brand, UPC or ISBN. We will make similar changes to Product Search in the UK and Germany at a later date.

These attributes will not be required for your feed to process correctly, however, to avoid seeing a drop in traffic from Product Search, we urge you to start including these unique identifiers as soon as possible. You can find unique product identifier information on Product Search product pages, under the “technical specifications” section for Electronics items, the “Tracks” or “Details” section for Media, and the “Overview” section for books.

For more details, including what specific identifiers you should include for each category of item, please see our Help Center at http://www.google.com/support/merchants/bin/answer.py?answer=160161

What does this mean?

If you sell products that are books, electronics, or media, Google is now *strongly* encouraging merchants to include that product’s unique identifier (ISBN for books, MPN for media, UPC/Brand for electronics, etc…).

Although your feed will not fail, your products will likely be ranked below products in these categories that include these unique tags.

How to include these items in ShopSite?

If you are using ShopSite as your e-commerce software, here are a few things you can do to include these identifiers for products that fall under this new requirement:

1. Setting the extra field name to match the Google attribute (i.e. upc, mpn, or isbn)

Preferences -> Extra Fields
for example:
Extra Product field 3: upc
Extra product field 4: isbn

Extra Product Field Config (click image to enlarge)

2. Putting the appropriate codes for each product in the matching extra product field

Products -> Edit Product Info

Enter Unique Codes (click image to enlarge)

3. Sending these extra fields to google:

Merchandising -> Google Search -> Configure

Enable sending unique codes (click image to enlarge)

Note: The “brand” is actually set for each product under “Edit Product Info” so you do not need an extra product field for brand.

Brand is a default field

That’s all that is needed to include these new unique identifiers for products that are books, electronics, or media.

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8 Comments

  1. Ok, so google now requires us to include shipping and with shopsite, we cannot individualize shipping on a per item basis – If we submit a feed, and don’t include ALL the products in our store, can the items NOT submitted still have individualized shipping, or will google somehow penalize us for that too?

    (I understand, if we want to take the time, we can submit the feeds from our own excell spreadsheets in which case, we can set per item shipping individually?)

    • Brian,

      Correct. With ShopSite, you cannot include per item shipping costs. However, you could submit items outside of ShopSite, and include this.

      From the Google Shipping/Tax help page:

      You can include item-level override values if, for instance, you sell oversized items, calculate a specific rate for each item, or have separate rates for specific regions. Please use the revised ‘shipping’ attribute for this option.

      Google allows individual products to override the global shipping rates you’ve defined.

  2. To the 1st part of the question tho…and it may seem a stupid one, but, If I have 100 items in my store, and I use shopsite to feed 30 of them to google product search with standardized shippng set in google merchant center, will google have any say as to what I charge for shipping on the other 70 items in my store, not fed to the product search?

  3. Nate says:

    We import so much of our product from various places overseas, we’re based in the USA. Most of our product don’t ship with a UPC, Brand, or ISBN. In order to meet Google’s requirements, can we either leave these extra fields blank or make up our own UPC when submitting the XML file to Google Merchants?

    • Good question… In the latest v12 version of ShopSite, there is a checkbox option under ‘Edit Product Info’ for:

      * Custom Product without Unique Identifiers *

      This option is for custom products that don’t have 2 of the 3 unique identifiers (Brand, GTIN, MPN). Checking it will add the identifier_exists element to the XML generated for the product, containing a value of FALSE. See the
      google product feed spec for their definition:

      https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/188494

      “In categories where unique product identifiers are required, merchants must submit the ‘identifier exists’ attribute with a value of FALSE when the item does not have unique product identifiers appropriate to its category, such as GTIN, MPN, and brand.”

      This checkbox will set the value to FALSE in the XML file that is sent to Google.

      Hope this helps!

      • Nate says:

        Thanks, Robert. We’re using version 10. Would we just select all applicable product in our store with the power edit feature and within the extra fields, UPC and or ISBN enter the word: False? Or do we need to create a new product field named indentifier_exists and give each product that qualifies the entry, false?

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