There's a Good Chance Google Is Rejecting Some of Your Products Right Now
Earlier this year Google updated its Google Shopping Feed Specifications. Although the inventory submission format requirement change was posted in June, Google noted it wouldn't start enforcing new Google data specifications until September 30.
Yup, Google's enforcing its new inventory submission formatting for Google Shopping right now. Data requirements that affect your products’ presence on Google search, potentially impacting whether your products appear on search at all.
2014 Update to Google Shopping Products Feed Specification
Google's Shopping Feed Specification update affects your product data, including:
Product titles and descriptions
You may be behind on Google's inventory formatting new format specifications, but the good news is the Google Shopping feed data changes are relatively easy to implement.
Google Shopping Feed Update: Availability
Google's update for Google Shopping feed specifications obliges advertisers to stop using the "available to order" feed attribute, replaced by "in stock," "out of stock," or "preorder" descriptors.
You may have "available to order" availability in your product inventory information if you sell items which require more than four days to ship (and you haven't made the Google Shopping Feed Specification changes).
To update Google Shopping availability (and make sure none of your products are being rejected by Google), audit your inventory feed to replace any outdated availability attribute:
Here is an extremely simplified example of how what updating your data feed for availability would look like if you were changing it manually:
If you have a company or individual responsible for updating and sending your product information, they will have faster automation's to make these updates. If you are updating your feed manually, check out some Excel shortcuts and formulas to save time.
Google Shopping Feed Update: Title
Google Shopping inventory format update puts a hard stop on title characters for products in your data feed. Advertisers now have a 150-character limit for product titles.
If you have titles that are longer than 150 characters, you run the risk of Google rejecting those items. You may have products not showing on search right now because their titles are too long.
Here is an extremely simplified example of how what updating your data feed for title length would look like if you were changing it manually:
1. Identify any products with titles more than 150 characters (You can use an Excel formula like =IF(LEN(A1)>150
2. Changes any affected titles
Important Note: For many of the changes you need to make for your product inventory, you can use automated tools or Excel shortcuts.
If you shorten any product titles, remember to keep in mind the impact of SEO, UX, and your store's focus and branding. Even if your titles aren't too long, consider auditing them anyway. Online retailers should audit and optimize product titles regularly, regardless of Google Shopping feed specifications.
Google Shopping Feed Update: Description
Google's Shopping feed update cuts its allotted description Characters in half- from 10,000 characters to 5,000.
Five thousand characters seems like quite a few for product descriptions, but those descriptors can have a significant impact on your SEO, and which searches your products appear on.
For any product descriptions which contain more than 5,000 characters, rework your description to accommodate the new Google feed character limit for descriptions.
Google Shopping Feed Update: Product ID and MPN
Google to date has not limited unique product identifiers in its inventory submission format. This month's Shopping Feed Specification, however, cuts Google Product IDs down to 50 characters.
Important Note: Since product relevancy is dependent on ID, relevancy will be reset for any affected products. For any existing product IDs with more than 50 characters (which you will need to change), the relevancy will be reset for those items - as if they were brand new product in your store.
Similar to Google Product ID, Product Manufacturer Part Numbers or MPNs on Google traditionally have not been limited for character length. The Google Shopping Specification update modifies this to a 70-character cap for product MPNs in the data feed.
If your data feed contains MPNs longer than 70 characters, you'll need to shorten them to be accepted with Google's Shopping Feed Specifications.