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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2661 - October 27, 2011 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 4

Online Merchants Should Check Google Product Data Feeds

By Ina Steiner
October 27, 2011

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Google said online merchants who send product feeds for exposure in Google Product Search should check to make sure their feeds are "in good shape" and comply with new requirements that went into effect on September 22, 2011. As previously announced, Google may suspend accounts that don't meet the new requirements.

While Google no longer accepts product feeds directly from marketplace sellers, they should also ensure their listings contain all the information Google requires so their listings are eligible to be included in the feeds that marketplaces send to Google on their behalf.

Google said it has been gradually enforcing the new requirements since mid-September and "is well on its way" toward implementing all compliance checks, including those for Google Product Category, Tax & Shipping, and Variant attributes.

Google suggested specific ways to check product data feeds, including reviewing information on the "Data Quality" tab in Google Merchant Center to see data quality errors and checking the "Data Feeds" tab (this contains error reports for feed-level issues).

Google also suggested merchants use the "New Test Data Feed" functionality on the Data Feed tab to submit a new test feed. This test mechanism also allows merchants to download a full feed processing report and get detailed insights into potential issues with their test feeds.

CPC Strategy wrote about some of the notable updates to Google Product Feed specifications and said some of them could create issues for Apparel merchants, and might require them to do a major data overhaul of their feeds, such the following requirement:

"For apparel items, it is required that you provide a unique image of the specific variant if the item differs by "color", "pattern" or "material". For variants that differ only by "size", you may submit identical images."

Google's blog post is found on this page, and Google published a video in September to help merchants understand the changes.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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