Here’s a breakdown of the new changes Google announced this morning.
- Google Product Category column required in addition to Product Type column.
- Additional Image Link – up to 10 additional images are now allowed by including additional image columns in the feed.
- New rules for product variations: Google wants the parent SKU to be included with the child SKU.
- New Apparel Rules: Google now “requires” Gender, Age Group, Size & Color for apparel products. Seems like their best-case scenario is to get all child products included in the feed (they only want 1 value in the size/color columns) along with a parent SKU which would allow them to create a much more detailed product page for apparel products if they wanted to.
Google Product Category is now a required column in addition to the Product Type column. New definitions:
Google Product Category: This is where we put Google’s categories found here - http://www.google.com/support/merchants/bin/answer.py?answer=160081.
Product Type: The merchant’s category.
Until now we had been updating the product_type column with Google’s recommended categorization. Now we need to add a Google Product Category column and move those values over to that column.
Additional Image Link: If we have multiple image URLs for a product we should be including them in the Google feed.
Variants: According to Google it’s now required that product variants include some additional columns, most importantly an Item Group ID. Basically this is a parent SKU. If you have a merchant who has product variations Google is asking that all variations of a product be linked together by a Group ID.
This could lead to a decrease in the total number of listings for a merchant. For example, instead of having a listing for a red shirt, a white shirt and a blue shirt, Google might condense all 3 color variations into a single listing.
Apparel Requirements: The following columns are now listed as required for Apparel Merchants. FYI even if the merchant’s category is clear that a product is apparel, Google will NOT recognize it as apparel unless you include the appropriate Google Product Category in the feed. Google let apparel merchants slide on the UPC requirement, but since they’re unable to clean those listings up with product IDs it looks like they’re trying to go about it by getting more detailed data from apparel merchants.
- Age Group: The target age group of the item (either Adult or Kids)
- Size: They want actual measurements for things like dress shirts if possible. Their example is “17/36 Tall” for a men’s dress shirt
For more expert tips on Google Product Search click here to check out our recorded webinar with Hubspot by CPC Strategy CEO Rick Backus.