A great way for e-commerce business owners and marketers to enhance product visibility online and boost sales is by listing products in the Google shopping tab. There’s a simple yet effective way to do this using a feature in Google Search Console (GSC), resulting in a significant increase in the online presence of products.
Let’s walk through the process of listing products on the Shopping Tab using Google Search Console, bearing in mind factors that impact positioning. We will look at how best to minimize product listing errors, whilst making the most of shopping engine search reporting at the same time.
- With the Shopping tab capable of displaying both paid and free product listings, learn how both Google Merchant Center and Google Search Console play a role in delivering these listings.
- Connect Google Merchant Center with Google Search Console to improve visibility and get even more insight and data surrounding your product listings.
- Get performance insights and shopping engine search reporting that can then feed into strategic decision-making, help troubleshoot errors and improve optimization.
- Access two new reports in Google Search Console: the issues report and the opportunities and visibility reports.
- Follow key steps, proactively manage product data and keep products consistently listed in the Google Shopping Tab without errors.
Recap of key features and platforms
This section provides a brief overview of the main features and platforms we discuss in this article. For our seasoned Google Shopping veterans, feel free to skip this and head to the next section.
Google Shopping Tab
The Shopping tab is an integral part of Google Search, providing users with the ability to browse and purchase products directly within the search engine interface. In turn, for businesses, this provides a powerful avenue for showcasing their product range to a wider audience, which can lead to an increase in sales as well as heightened brand exposure.
The example below shows products in the Google Shopping tab for the search ‘ace and tate glasses’:
Paid Google Shopping ads are featured in the first row, under the Sponsored section, and below that the products featured are free listings that show as a result of using the GSC feature.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is an essential tool for webmasters and website owners to optimize their websites for better visibility, user experience, and performance in Google's search results.
Using Google Search Console, it’s possible to discover insights and data that can be used to enhance a website's overall search presence and address any issues that might impact its performance.
Shopping tab listings are just one of the many features that can be found within Google Search Console, something that was added to GSC in 2022.
Google Merchant Center
Google Merchant Center (GMC) is another free platform provided by Google that allows online retailers and e-commerce businesses to list their products online with product ads. Google Merchant Center acts as a dashboard whereby it’s possible to upload, manage and optimize product feed data and develop Shopping campaigns, although it must be used alongside Google Ads.
Although both Google Merchant Center and Google Search Console are related, they serve different purposes and are used for different reasons. GSC provides deep insights into a website's performance within Google's search results, whereas Google Merchant Center is all about the management and optimization of product data specifically for shopping ads.
However, they are closely related and can be connected, and it’s important to use both to your advantage.
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Why Connect Google Merchant Center to Google Search Console?
It’s necessary to connect Google Merchant Center with Google Search Console to get even more insight and data surrounding your product listings. Once connected, data from Google Merchant Center will start to appear in GSC, enriching what’s already available.
One of the main reasons why it’s beneficial for advertisers to connect Google Merchant Center with Google Search Console is because this is how to get products under the shopping tab in Google. Once the connection has been made, approved products from Google Merchant Center will be eligible to show.
Product and feed management will continue to be handled directly in Merchant Center, or via your third-party feed tool, however, Search Console will then be able to provide Merchant Center growth opportunities and list items in the Google Shopping tab.
Another reason why it’s beneficial to connect the two platforms is that Google Search Console has released two additional reports within the Shopping tab listings section, both of which complement existing Google Shopping reporting.
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5 Ways Google Search Console Insight Can Boost Product Performance
Here are 5 ways the data and insight that’s available in Google Search Console can be used to optimize product visibility in Google Merchant Center and most importantly, boost online performance.
1. Product performance insights
Get comprehensive performance insights into how your products perform in Google's search landscape. A holistic view of your product listings can help identify strong performers, poor performers and therefore areas for improvement.
2. Shopping engine search reporting
One of the primary benefits of connecting GMC with GSC is getting access to shopping engine analytics and search reporting. Get detailed analysis into how users interact with your products in search results and use this for optimizing your product listings to align with consumer preferences and behavior.
3. Enhanced optimization opportunities
Identify specific keywords and phrases that trigger your product listings in search results. Knowing what these are will then enable you to tailor your product titles, descriptions, and other metadata for your consumers, ensuring your products appear in relevant searches whilst increasing the quality of traffic.
4. Strategic decision-making
Data empowers advertisers to make strategic decisions and using multiple sources or levels of data, like pulling GMC data into GSC, enriches that. It paves the way for adjusting advertising strategies, refining product offerings and improving your website's performance, beyond just using analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to optimize.
5. Quickly resolve issues
Having access to the issues report in Google Search Console could lead to faster identification of any errors affecting product listings, such as missing or inaccurate information. Addressing these issues promptly minimizes the number of disapproved items in a feed and the risk of account suspensions.
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How to Connect GMC to GSC
Now we know the importance of connecting Google Merchant Center to Google Search Console, here are the steps involved in connecting them.
First, log in to your Google Search Console account and select the property you want to connect to GMC. Navigate to the "Settings" section, which can be found on the left-hand panel:
Next, choose the Associations section and find all of the items that can be associated with a Search Console property:
Choose ‘Google Merchant Center’ from the available options and follow the instructions to complete the association. Please note that this can only be done by a Search Console property owner who has admin rights to the Merchant Center account in question.
Here’s a full list of the items that it’s possible to connect to a Google Search Console account:
- Google Analytics property
- Chrome Web Store account
- Android Play Store app
- Play Console Developer account
- Google Ads account
- Google Assistant Actions Console project
- Google Merchant Center account
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Access New Reports on Google Search Product Listings
One of the main benefits of connecting Google Merchant Center and Google Search Console, besides showing products in Google’s Shopping tab, is being able to access insightful reports.
The two reports in question are new additions to GSC thanks to the deeper integration with Google Merchant Centre.
Report 1: Issues report
This is a new Shopping tab listings report that will alert merchants to any product and feed issues that are impacting visibility. This is similar to what’s already available in the diagnostics section of Google Merchant Center.
Here’s what the report looks like in Google Search Console and it highlights any immediate issues that are impacting product performance and visibility:
Report 2: Opportunity and visibility reports
Another report that has recently been added to Google Search Console shows changes to product visibility in Google Search results, whether that’s an increase in visibility with more impressions and clicks, or a drop.
It provides you with opportunities to enhance and improve visibility within Google Search, specifically around increasing clicks and boosting your product rankings on Google.
Here’s what the opportunity and visibility report looks like in Google Search Console:
These reports are essential for advertisers who can go away and optimize product listings and improve their performance in search results.
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How to Make Sure Your Products Are Listed Without Errors
Ensuring that your products are accurately listed in Google's Shopping Tab is essential for making the most of this feature and maximizing impressions, clicks and importantly, sales. Some of the main strategies for ensuring products are error-free include:
- Regular monitoring of Shopping Engine Search Reporting within Google Search Console, which provides valuable insights into how users interact with your products in search results. Google product search reporting is the best way to find opportunities and fix issues that are impacting visibility, such as missing gtins, incorrect pricing, or missing descriptions, etc.
- Address issues as quickly as possible, as soon as they have been identified in Google Search Console or Google Merchant Center. For example, if a product is listed with the wrong price, update it promptly to avoid potential customer dissatisfaction or the product being disapproved.
- Optimize product information regularly, prioritizing the most important elements such as titles, descriptions, and images. Make sure they are clear, relevant, and aligned with the products that are being offered. Elevate your optimization efforts by a/b testing feed attributes such as product titles, as part of an ongoing strategy to enhance performance.
- Ensure compliance with Google's policies by familiarizing yourself with Google's Merchant Center policies and guidelines. Adhering to these guidelines reduces the risk of disapprovals or suspensions and keeps your product listings error-free. Regularly check for updates to policies and make necessary adjustments to your product data.
- Monitor performance metrics in Google Search Console and Google Merchant Center to track the performance of your product listings. Analyzing metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), impressions, and conversions helps you understand the products that are performing well and where improvements are needed.
By following these steps and proactively managing your product data, you can ensure your products are consistently listed in the Google Shopping Tab without errors. This not only enhances the visibility of your products but also helps in building trust and credibility with potential customers.
Use a Third Party Tool for Feed Management
Using a third-party feed management tool, such as DataFeedWatch, is an effective solution for maintaining feed health and ensuring your feed is error-free. DataFeedWatch has built-in capabilities that can identify and flag errors and help resolve them quickly within the platform.
For example, a common product feed error that advertisers and e-commerce businesses are faced with is ‘Invalid value [availability]& Missing required attribute: [availability]’. This means a value outside of the accepted range has been submitted or the availability attribute has been skipped entirely in the data feed. If this happens, there are two easy solutions that will quickly resolve this error in DataFeedWatch.
Ensure one of the 3 availability options is assigned in your shopping feed: in stock, out of stock, or preorder. You may continue using the availability field from your store, only with a small modification.
Then in your data feed in DataFeedWatch, select ‘Edit Values’ for the availability attribute and overwrite the value with the most appropriate option. Here’s how an example rule might look:
Another way to resolve this error in DataFeedWatch would be to use the ‘quantity’ input field and build conditional statements to specify availability. For example, set the value to ‘in stock’ with a rule whereby product quality is greater than 0.
Rules within DataFeedWatch are an effective way to stay on top of feed management and optimization, whilst ensuring errors stay at a minimum. Rules that are in place can prevent errors from happening in the first place, however, if an error should occur, it can easily be resolved.
Here’s a full rundown of the 35 most common feed errors and how to efficiently resolve these Google Merchant Center issues.
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Connecting your Google Merchant Center account to Google Search Console is a strategic move for any business looking to maximize its online product visibility. It’s a powerful integration and being able to show products in Google’s Shopping tab is one of the main benefits, however, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
By leveraging Google Shopping reporting capabilities within GSC, you can optimize your product listings, identify and address any issues, and ultimately improve your online performance.
Once you are satisfied with your GSC efforts, from listing products in the Shopping tab to analyzing results using shopping engine search reporting, another way to optimize products to further increase visibility is by improving your Google product rank.
Here are 7 proven strategies to boost Google Shopping rankings, increasing competitiveness at the same time.