Google Merchant Center, that inseparable and great partner of Google Shopping. In this Google Merchant Center guide I’m going to explain everything you need to know to get the most out of this platform.
Within this post, the one about the Google Shopping guide, I commented a little above how is the Google Merchant Center and what should be done to start working with Google Shopping.
What I realized is that in the end it’s a bit of a mess and some steps are a bit complicated and may require some help. That’s why in this guide to start in Google Merchant Center I will try to create your account, upload your products, link your Google Ads account with Merchant’s, start your campaigns. In addition, I will present a series of extra tips that you can apply to your account to get even more out of it.
To show your products to people searching for them, you must have the Google Merchant Center set up beforehand so that your products can be displayed.
Google Shopping campaigns (previously having configured Google Shopping), are a must for ecommerces.
What is Google Merchant Center?
Google Merchant Center isone of many Google tools. This tool is the one that helps and supports Google Ads, specifically in Google Shopping campaigns.
It gives you support because in Google Merchant Center you upload your product feed, that is, your product catalog with all the details (product description, price, whether it’s on sale or not, colors, sizes, etc.). And this serves Google Ads to be able to advertise with these products.
To give you a clear example; Google Shopping would be your store. I mean, everything those people who come in to see your store see.
And Google Merchant Center would be the backroom. The backroom because it is the one that handles the products at the logistics level. In this case it is digital and not like in a normal store. But they share a similarity in managing how potential customers will see the products.
And… How does Google Merchant Center work?
Google Merchant Center works thanks to its “spine”. This is it, the product feed.
The product feed, which we will discuss in more detail later, is that digital element with data that serves the Google Merchant Center to develop a product catalog based on what has been indicated.
So, for the Google Merchant Center to work smoothly, you need to set up a product feed with as much detail as possible.
In my country they say: “quan més sucre, més dolç”. This means that the more sugar, the sweeter. Well, the more you set up your feed, the more data you’re giving to Google, and we already know that Google loves data.
How do I create my Google Merchant Center account?
If you want to advertise on Google Shopping it is absolutely necessary that you have the Merchant Center active and in good condition.
Create Google Merchant Center account
This is the first step in the Google Merchant Center guide. First of all you must have a Google Ads account ready and your Google Analytics account in order to verify the account.
In addition, if your emails are not from Google’s domain you must have Google Suite in your account in order to work with the interface.
To begin with you must go to this link. Then you’ll have to go and register. From there you will get a form to register in Google Merchant Center. After filling out the form, the next step is to verify that request.
How do I check my Google Merchant Center account?
There are several ways to verify your Google Merchant Center account and have it approve your application:
- With Google Search Console
- With an HTML tag
- With Google Analytics
- With Google Tag Manager
This step is not important, it is very important. If you do not verify your account you will not be able to start working on Google Shopping. That’s why you should also check your website.
To verify your website; you must go to the wrench symbol, in the drop-down menu click on “Company Information”. It will redirect you to a page, at the top the second option says: “Website”. That’s where you should go to claim your website.
When you check the site on Google Merchant Center…
Once we have done our homework (check the website), the next step in this Google Merchant Center guide is to claim the site. So there are two steps: checking and claiming.
The verification is to tell Google that you own the page while the claim is to link the web page URL to your Merchant Center.
How do I link Google Ads to Google Merchant Center?
Another step in the Google Merchant Center guide is to link your account to Google Ads. If we do not link these two accounts we will not be able to run Google Ads campaigns.
To do this we must click on the wrench again. One of the options that appears is “Linked Accounts”.
You must click on this and then on “Account Linking”. Our account will appear, so we’ll have to hit “Link”. This will cause a request to be sent to your Google Ads account, so leave the Google Merchant Center and go to the ad platform. In the tools section we will have to go to “linked accounts” and from there to Google Merchant Center. Then we’ll see if it’s well done or not.
The Merchant Center Product Feed
We’re almost at the end, but you don’t want to rush it. The Product Feed is the key element in the Google Merchant Center account.
Now you may ask: What is the Product Feed? The Product Feed is what gives information about your products to Google Merchant Center, this is the information that Google Shopping uses for your ads.
The creation of this must be a very careful process, the most generic way to have a product feed is with an Excel or Spreadsheet. The latter may be better since you can link it to Google Merchant Center so that it is in the cloud. Thanks to this, any changes you make to prices or product names will be automatically reflected.
The next step is like uploading a product feed. This feed can be uploaded in several different ways:
- Manually: you can upload product by product with their descriptions. In the end it’s like doing a spreadsheet but step by step. For small companies, a reduced catalogue is the best option.
- Spreadsheet: the most common of all. You can create a spreadsheet with either Google or Excel, download it and then upload it to your Google Merchant Center. The most recommended is with Google, so every time you make a change in your feed it is automatically reflected in Merchant. Sure, as long as the product feed is in the cloud.
- By API: you can integrate it with the Merchant Center and make the whole product feed in two steps.
- Upload it from your computer through SFTP or FTP files And you can also do it with Google Cloud Storage
If you are one of those who likes to work on things and decide to do the product feed on your own The data you need for this to be valid for Merchant are the following:
- ID: the product identifier.
- Title: the name you will give to the product (try here to think of the SEO or your keyword that best performs in relation to the product).
- Description: the description of your product. SEO also plays an important role here and you should include that keyword that works best so that it positions your ad better over others.
- Link: where you are going to direct the client who clicks. Come on, let’s go to the product sheet.
- Image: the image of the product. You must put one that reflects the product in its entirety, as this is the first impression the customer will receive. It’s like your storefront.
- Availability: if there is stock or not.
- Price: the selling price of the product.
- Category: you have to categorize it within the Google product categories. If you’re interested, stop by here.
- Brand: the brand of the product. I recommend you to include it and combine it with your title, in order to have branded and unbranded campaigns in Google Shopping.
- GTIN: Global Product Trade Code.
These are the fundamental elements that your product feed should contain. If you want to know more about which ones you could add, Google explains it here.
Please note that once you upload the feed, Google must review the products and approve them for use in your Google Ads campaigns. That is, it has to go through a series of filters in order for the products to comply with Google Ads policies.
This process can take up to 72 hours. After 30 days the feed needs to be resubmitted for re-approval. You can fix this by creating a rule in which every day at H-hour the feed is sent.
In the main product panel you can see whether your products are approved or not. Those that are approved will appear in green, those that will expire in yellow, those that are pending approval in blue and those that are rejected in red.
Taking advantage that we are moving through the panel on the left: in “Growth” you can go to the price comparison with the competition that generates a very visual graph to analyze the price of your products against your competitors.
Here are a few tips or extras you can do with your Product Feed to improve it, and in addition to your Google Merchant Center account.
Complementary and original feeds
You can have, besides the main one, several complementary feeds. You must have the main one if or within the account, since it is the one that “feeds” Merchant. But you can use the add-on to make variations on the main one and generate a new one for a specific campaign.
It is recommended to use it in case you want to correct Merchant Center errors, change the language of the feed to sell in another country, add or add product tags (we will talk about this now), replace titles and so on.
Create your Feed in an easy
If you want to do it fast, and without complications, many of the ecommerce platforms can be integrated with Google Merchant Center. Here are the extensions for Shopify, Prestashop, Magento and WooCommerce. Among others. This is very useful in the case of having a very extensive product catalogue.
Use the labels
You can create labels to classify your products. An example could be; if I sell running shoes I will create three different labels: one for mountain shoes, others for asphalt shoes and others for track shoes. This way, when you create an ad you can create it only from the tags you want.
Optimize to the maximum
You should optimize your product feed as much as possible. For example in the title and description you should put those keywords that most reflect the product. Segment as much as possible with the product category. The more specific you are, the better, since Google will take it into account.
Set up reviews
This can earn you points against your competitors. It has never happened to you that when you have gone to buy something on the internet you have noticed the ratings that this product had. If he’s had more ratings you’ve chosen him in front of the others. Well, that’s what the reviews are about, and I’ll let you in on a secret: not everyone has the reviews. So if you implement them it will make you stand out from the crowd. You can improve your CTR’s with this post.
Your delivery system
You can put your own shipping rules here, like on your website, so that this is already reflected from the beginning and that they do not arrive at your website and take a “different version” than the one on the Shopping ad.
Google My Business
To finish this Google Shopping guide, I’m going to mention the Google My Business. This is for you to make a business listing. That is, you talk about your business, you upload photos about it and the products they sell and also customers can give you reviews and you answer to them (a style to Tripadvisor)
This, in the end, is additional information that Google likes to position better, so you know: you are going to improve your SEO and also your Google Shopping campaigns are going to be reinforced with this. To configure it you must go here.
I hope you found this Google Merchant Center guide very useful and that you were able to upload your product feed without any problems and make the corresponding changes in Merchant to have everything perfect to launch your first Google Shopping campaign.
If you don’t feel confident enough to do so, don’t hesitate to ask us for help. Our team will be happy to help you.