Optimizing Your Google Base Data Feeds

Google Base logoIn my last post, I discussed Google Base very generally as a Google service on the rise. Please take a look at my last article if you are not familiar with Google Base. Now that we know a little bit about what Google Base is and how it works, we should focus on using the service successfully to increase sales and website conversions. It is one thing to simply add a product to Google Base, but how can we optimize these products to be as successful as possible?

Why should we spend time optimizing products for Google Base?

Google OneBox vs organic search resultsLet’s start by discussing why we should even bother with using Google Base. First and foremost, let’s look at the placement of Google Onebox Results when compared to organic search results. OneBox results are actually placed above the organic search results. As far as page real estate goes, this is extremely significant in terms of the number of impressions and clicks you will get on your product listing.

It is also important to note that Google Base uses the information from Base listings for more than just Google OneBox results. This data may also be displayed in Google Product Search (previously Froogle), organic search results, Google Maps, Google Image Search and more. That adds up to a variety of exposure your site could potentially receive from a single Google Base listing.

How to Optimize your Data Feeds

Now we will get into some specific guidelines that will help you increase the effectiveness of your product listings and thus increase your product conversion rates.

Do Your Keyword Research: Before filling out any information on your data feed, use Google’s Keyword Tool External to find out what people are searching for. You can then optimize your product title and description accordingly. This is very similar to SEO for title and Meta tags. Limit your title to about 65-70 characters and your description to about 160 or so. Also be sure to include your desired keywords, about two or three of them, in both your title and description.

Automate Your Data Feeds: Schedule to have your data feeds automatically sent to and updated in Google Base. Create an xml or txt data feed on your website and then simply supply Google Base with the location of this file. You can then specify how often (daily, weekly, or monthly) you would like Google to update you product listings based on the information from this file. To create the xml or txt data feed for your products, try using shopping cart add-ons such as this one for Drupal or this for osCommerce.

Product ID: Each product in your data feed will have a unique product id. Be sure to keep this id consistent when updating your data feeds.

Google Base product categories and taxonomyProduct Type: Google Base uses product taxonomy to categorize your products. Be sure you use the correct categories and are as specific as possible. You can view the taxonomy structure here.

Include Relevant Information: Be sure to provide as much relevant information as possible. Google Base has three categories of product attributes; mandatory, recommended, and optional. Include all of the mandatory and recommended attributes and as many of the optional attributes as possible.

Important Attributes: There are a few product attributes that are very important to include in your listings. The first is tax and shipping information; Google Base will often give better listing placements when these two attributes are clearly defined. The second is a quality picture for the same reason. Do not include a general picture or company logo. Finally, include the Manufacturer’s Part Number (MPN) or Universal Product Code (UPC) when possible. This will assist people who search for a very specific product.

Target Country: Make sure you select a target country for your listings. This will both increase the relevancy and quality of your traffic as well as lower your bounce rates.

Google Base custom attributesCustom Attributes: This is extremely important for achieving good results on Google Base. You can define any custom product attribute you want that will help customers find your products. For example, if you are selling an LCD TV you could define the following attributes; model number, screen size, resolution, aspect ration, brightness, response time, etc. That way when someone searches ‘LCD TV 52” 1080p’ your product will have a better chance of coming up versus other listings that have not included this information.

Data Feed Format: Make sure your data feed is formatted correctly. Simply review Google Base Help for formatting guidelines to be sure you don’t have any errors in your data feed.

Track Your Listings: Make sure you track your items through Google Analytics. You can then find out what is successful and what is not. Be sure to adjust your listings based on feedback from Google Analytics. You can find information on tracking your products with Google Analytics here.

Build Up Your Seller Rating: Simply put, Google Base will give priority and higher rankings to products sold by a seller or store with a lot of positive ratings. One suggestion would be to encourage your customers to leave feedback for your store on Google. Offer them a small discount or free shipping on their next purchase if they leave a review.

Final Thoughts:

By providing Google Base with a lot of specific and quality information, your products will tend to rank for longer tail keywords, such as ‘Samsung LCD TV 52” 1080p.’ When searchers are typing in these longer tail and highly specific keywords, they are more likely to be in a position to buy the product rather than just browsing. This is what will separate product listings that do ok from the ones that absolutely kill it with very high conversion rates. Now that you have a basic guideline, you are ready to optimize your Google Base data feeds.

If you need more help we offer shopping feed optimization and managment services. Let us do the work!

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24 Comments

  1. Ryan Frank
    Ryan Frank

    Hi John. We have used Google Base for our clients who sell through their own stores, but it can be used for any of these scenarios, whether you are selling from your own store, through an affiliate, or drop shipping. If you are selling through an affiliate you will want to manually create your data feed file – this can be a txt or xml file. You can then manually place in your affiliate links with the proper tracking code to be sure you get credit for any sales. Once your data feed file is completed you can simply upload this file to Google Base through your account.

  2. John Cow

    Your content comes across focused as if you have to sell and ship your own products… and i have never used Google Base (which is about to change) but are you actually selling through affiliate links, drop shipping, something else.. or a combination?

  3. site update service

    in getting this long keywords it seems that by having this one unique output of searches out of the keyword will give you the higher chance of getting the exact costumer or market. the data feeds is sure useful if it is organized correctly.

  4. Robin

    Do you know of a tool to help you monitor the position of your products in google base?

  5. Ryan Frank
    Ryan Frank

    Hi Robin,

    I do not currently know of a product that can monitor your listing positions in the search engines, but hopefully we may see a product or service that can do this very soon. With Google currently displaying the top three Google Base listings in your regular search engine results, it is very important to get ranked in these top three positions. At this point, I like to do a spot check and manually type in some of the main keyword phrases I am targeting for each product to see where my listings are positioned. This is not the most efficient option, but is currently seems to be the only option.

    There are other options available to track your success on Google Base. When logged into your Google Base account you are able to track impressions and clicks for your product listings, but to really gauge how effective your campaign is it all comes down to conversions. I prefer to build custom product URLs for my listings using the Google Analytics URL Builder and then setup Google Analytics conversion tracking specifically for my product listings.

  6. Patrick

    Hi, I noticed that Google wants merchants to upload products through its newer merchant center instead of google base. Also I noticed the link for the product category taxonomy no longer exist, do you know where I can find that info for base or for merchant center Thanks Patrick

  7. Ryan Frank
    Ryan Frank

     Hi Patrick,

    Google has recently made some improvements to their product listing feature and seem to be rebranding Google Base as Google Merchant Center. They have already redesigned the back end account center which is now much more user friendly in my opinion.

    For the product taxonomy, they seem to have moved this information without redirecting the URL to the new page. Here is the updated URL. I have also updated this in my post as well.

    Best,
    Ryan

  8. gerald | link company

    Google service has continued to rise. Several tools and gadgets for effective research were introduce to lessen the hassle of searching. And this new one is another great information. Thanks for the nice post.

  9. Audio Bible

    I already have a Google base feed and have it setup to upload daily. Who is someone good that can optimize my feed to get improve my items to list more often in the 1 box? let me know……….thanks.

  10. Anand Mistry

    Hello All, I have submitted products on window covering section. If I will not find out appropriate category for my products so, Can i submit products with near by category. Will it helpful to improve my performance?

  11. Peter

    Hi Ryan, When defining my "product type", is there a disadvantage to creating your own taxonomy? For instance, I am selling medical supplies. However, Google’s taxonomy for this product category ends on a broad term. If I continue the taxonomy for each product, am I hurting my chances to rank in OneBox or is this another case of specificity=long tail=high conversions? Thanks, Peter

  12. Ryan Frank
    Ryan Frank

     Hi Peter,

    That’s a great question. The taxonomy provided by Google is really just their standard taxonomy structure which you are not required to follow. I always recommend following the standard taxonomy as much as possible, but it is important to be as specific as possible (more often than not, this requires coming up with your own taxonomy). So your thought to "continue the taxonomy" to be as specific as possible, is right on. This way, you are following Google’s standard taxonomy, but also taking it a level further; something that will really help your chances of showing up in Onebox- especially for longer tail/high conversion terms.

    Best,
    Ryan

  13. Ran Ding

    If we search from the Google Products Base with any specific keywords, does it always check from the products title first then goes to the product description? I just found that some of my products with very good rank in the search result, but other products which are supposed to be hot got none of the traffic from it. Any tip of this? Thanks a lot.

  14. Ryan Frank
    Ryan Frank

    Hi Ran,

    While having your keywords display in the title and description are a good step towards ranking for a specific product, there are a variety of other factors involved. The competition for different product keywords will vary and thus the more competition for a keyword on Google Base, the more difficult it will be to rank. Other factors such as customer reviews and your seller rating can play a significant role in whether or not your products will rank in Google Base. I would recommend looking into some of the other ranking factors I have listed above once you have already optimized your product title and description.

    Best,
    Ryan Frank

  15. jdm

    This is good stuff, thanks for the article. Tons of tips here, i will now have to take this into consideration when makeing a feed.

  16. Hazel

    Can anybody tell me how to define payment_accepted values. I tried everything, followed google base help instructions and other help topics. But still, when I am submitting google feed in base.google.com it shows Below error:

    Invalid payment option in attribute: payment accepted (20 warnings)

    This attribute contains an unsupported payment option value.
    Learn more.
    Examples: Examples:
    Item Nr. Line Nr. Value
    2 3 wiretransfer"
    3 4 wiretransfer"
    8 9 wiretransfer"
    10 11 wiretransfer"
    14 15 wiretransfer"

    Please give me your expert suggestions

  17. Ryan Frank
    Ryan Frank

    Hi Hazel,

    It’s tough to give an answer here without being able to look at your feed, but it sounds like it could be a potential formatting issue. Feel free to contact us using this contact form or by calling the number in the top right hand corner of this page if you are in need of assistance.

    Best,
    Ryan

  18. kate shan

    Hi Ryan,

    Thank you for the great article. I have read through the various comments and I’m still unsure what would be better for optimizing my products. My site sell yoga clothing and accessories, I am adding my product type but trying to decide if I should use Googles taxonomy vs creating my own. For example, what is better

    Google
    “Clothing & Accessories > Clothing > Pants”

    or
    Create my own
    “Clothing & Accessories > Clothing > Yoga Pants”
    or
    “Clothing & Accessories > Clothing > Pants > Yoga

    Thank you for your feedback!

  19. Ryan Frank
    Ryan Frank

    Hi Kate,

    Great question. I would first go with the very custom specific Google Taxonomy such as:

    "Clothing & Accessories > Clothing > Pants > Yoga"

    Test this out for a month and see how it does. Then after you gather enough data to compare, switch over to Google’s predefined taxonomy ("Clothing & Accessories > Clothing > Pants") and see which performs better. Normally, the custom/specific taxonomy will tend to do better, but testing out both is the only way to be sure.

    Hope this helps!

    Best,
    Ryan

  20. Regan

    Hi Ryan,

    I wanted to know if registering on Google Base would be worthwhile for a B2B service provider- for example, Axiom Label Group (http://www.axiomlabel.com) is a label manufacturer which provides labeling solutions and custom label to other companies.

    What do you think? Is this something that could benefit from Google Base?

    Thank you!
    Regan

  21. Ryan Frank
    Ryan Frank

    Hi Regan,

    While Google Base seems to prove most effective with B2C product based businesses, you can list just about anything you can imagine on there. Your service, in particular, is something that businesses of all sizes will be searching for on the web, especially small business owners, and so I would imagine that you could benefit from Google Base. I would recommend running a test to see what kind of impressions and clicks you can get and that should give you a pretty clear answer as to whether or not Google Base is worth your time. Hope this helps!

    Best,
    Ryan

  22. Arthur Jach

    Hi there

    I think it’ really useful to know what actually works with Google Product Search algorithm. There are also some new attributes that will be a standard very soon – some of them featured here http://blog.pod1.com/online-marketing/seo-online-marketing/optimise-shop… – top 10 tips on how to optimise your Google Products feed.

    Arthur

  23. Geeb & Directory Submissions

    Thanks for your information Ryan. I read your previous article as well to know more about Google Base and really I liked that. One thing I want to know, few days ago I was searching keyword for ‘LCD TV’ with Google tool, I found that more people are searching for LCD TV, LCD and TV LCD. All three keywords are popular but which one should I prefer for Google Base? There is any terminology to choose one?

  24. Arsenal

    I have heard that google page rank does not effect your product rank, what are your views?

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