Become an Expert on Google Shopping, Chapter 3: Optimize Your Google Shopping Data Feed in 6 Easy Steps

November 21, 2016 Joe Hall

In Chapter Three of our seven-part series, we'll cover how to optimize your product data feed. These important tactics will help you keep your Product Listing Ads (PLAs) visible for Google Shopping and most likely to convert prospects into customers. Be sure to check Chapter One and Chapter Two for more Google Shopping best practices.

Become an Expert on Product Listing Ads - Optimize Your Data Feed in 6 Easy Steps

Welcome to the third chapter in our in-depth discussion of PLAs. Now that we know how to create a data feed, and how to keep it clean, we’ll turn our attention to optimizing your feed so that your PLAs get surfaced more often on Google Shopping and provide the best results.

What does shopping feed optimization mean?
Optimizing your feed comes down to making sure your listings are set up for success. The most important factors are:

  1. Optimized product titles - This is the most important aspect of feed optimization. Period. You need an eye-catching, search-optimized title that clearly articulates exactly what your product is - it’s the best way to get Google to understand you have a good match to relevant search queries and get your ads surfaced.
  2. Optimized product description - Though they do appear on Google Shopping pages, product descriptions do not appear on Google search engine result pages (SERP). This means that they are perhaps not as critical as having a good title. Still, having a strong, comprehensive product description can help your product get surfaced, particularly if you judiciously include relevant keywords (that you couldn’t quite fit into the title itself.)

So why is feed optimization important?
There are quite a few reasons why feed optimization is important.

  • Remember - you can’t choose keywords for Google Shopping! - This is why it’s important to help gently but firmly nudge search results as much as possible towards surfacing your products by including SEO-tested top queries in your titles and additional relevant keywords in your descriptions. 
  • Better SERP placement without spending more - Having an optimized data feed also means you’ll get better placement on SERP - essentially giving you more impressions without having to change your maximum bid - this is an absolutely huge cost benefit! I’ve personally been able to more than double impressions for some merchants simply by optimizing feeds.
  • Better UX - Again, having a logical, sensible product taxonomy with consistent and clearly-labeled products makes for a better user experience. Rather than forcing potential shoppers to click through a tangled mess of inconsistently-named products (and potentially driving them away to another merchant), make sure your feed is organized and optimized for a good shopping experience.

Become an Expert on Product Listing Ads - Fill Out Your Attributes and Stay Up-to-Date
Complete your listings by filling out all attributes and keep your feed up to date.

The six best practices for product data feed optimization
And now, we get to the good part - the part you probably skipped to. (I’m starting to sense a pattern here.)

  1. Optimize product titles from left to right with high-volume, SEO-proven keywords out front - It’s of course important to search-optimize your title with the most relevant and popular keywords pertaining to your products. It’s also important to follow that leading keyword with the most important product attributes. We recommend you consider the following order:

         Gender -> Product -> Color -> Size -> Brand

         Example: Women’s Gloves Gray S GloveCo

    Regarding brand, we know there are different schools of thought here, but we recommend not prioritizing product brand in your title unless you’ve observed a clear lift in click-through rate (CTR) from it. Yes, for certain types of products, brand recognition is crucial for shoppers, but for others, it isn’t.
  2. Grab attention with the first 28 characters of your title - Once you have strong keywords around which to build your product titles, you should then focus on eye-catching copy for the first 28-30 characters to make sure you can quickly draw in shoppers’ attention.
  3. Complete your feed - Again, having a comprehensive data feed will make sure your PLAs are more likely to be found on Google Shopping, and are easier to use for shoppers. Be sure to fill out every necessary attribute in your feed - please check our previous blog on keeping your data feed clean for our recommended list.
  4. Optimize your description with relevant keywords - As we discussed above, product descriptions arguably aren’t as make-or-break a factor for your data feed as good product titles. However, they can still help you be found, particularly if you intelligently include other relevant keywords and semantically similar phrasing that couldn’t quite fit in the title. Again, we’re not doing black-hat SEO here! We strongly recommend against keyword stuffing (cramming in piles of keywords to the extent that your copy becomes unreadable nonsense).
  5. Test different images and creative - This practically goes without saying. Does your listing for Halloween decorations do better with the jack-o-lantern image or the black cat image? Some types of creative will do better than others - test early and often, and measure your results. 

    Become an Expert on Product Listing Ads - Consider Experimenting with Alternate Price Formats
    Is listing products at individual or bulk prices better for you? We recommend testing to find out.

     
  6. Test different pricing formats, particularly for bulk items - For items that you’re selling in lots or in bulk, it can be a good idea to experiment with different pricing format. In the holiday card listings above, is the lower price tag of $2.50 per individual card more eye-catching, or will the bulk price of $25.00 for 10 pieces bring in more clicks? For different types of products, lower per-item pricing might perform better - for other items, and other types of customers, higher bulk price listings might perform better.

That’s it for Chapter Three of our seven-part series to help you become an expert on PLAs for Google Shopping Stay tuned for more in the future, and be sure to check our other chapters for more intel on Google Shopping:

About the Author

Joe Hall

Joe Hall is a product marketing manager at QuanticMind. He uses his subject matter expertise to help companies take their advertising to the next level. Joe previously worked at the prestigious agency 3Q Digital as an Account Lead and earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Commerce, Marketing from Santa Clara University.

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