Guide

Manual for Setting Up Google Merchant

24 September, 2020

All online stores need good traffic. If you have just started an active SEO, you need fast traffic that allows earning at once. Google Shopping allows reaching this goal and attracting customers from social media and marketplaces if you have a proper strategy. Your products are demonstrated with the photo, description, and price in Google’s top search results.

To put it in short, Google Shopping is one of the contemporary advertising methods where the ad appears on the top search results. The advantage of this advertising method is that it contains images and prices. This attracts users as they see the main conditions, can compare the prices and choose the online store with the most suitable conditions.

That is why this SEO tool is very popular as you get fast traffic and boost of sales volume. Even a new online store can start boosting sales quickly and efficiently. It is very important to set up the promo campaign so that it would be as efficient as possible. We offer a detailed manual for setting up Google Merchant. It will help you to get all the nuances of this promotion method.

Ample manual Google Merchant Center

GMC is a service that allows telling millions of users about your product. If you sign up there, the information about your goods will be also shown in product ads on various Google platforms.

This type of advertising allows showing banners informing prospects about your products. Google Ads takes all necessary information from the data feed and shows your products by keywords based on this feed.

This is how sales ads are shown in the Google search results:

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Main advantages of Google Shopping campaigns:

  • in the ad the user sees the item name, price, and appearance;
  • data on the price and availability are updated all the time. This allows saving money on advertising.

For whom this Google Merchant advertising type is the most suitable one:

  • stores that regularly update their product range;
  • stores with a wide product range where it is difficult to create a description for every product;
  • stores often change prices for goods or organize regular promo campaigns and bargain-sales.

For setting up advertising in Google Shopping you need the following:

  • prepare the website for campaign ads
  • Merchant Center account
  • Google account
  • Google Ads advertising account
  • data feed with all information about the products and services.

Website preparation for campaign ads:

1. Only available products should be advertised;

2. Only products that do not belong to prohibited content can be advertised;

3. The website should contain the return and refund rules:

3.1. state how the user can get a refund or return. If the products are non-refundable, state this explicitly.

3.2 return information should include:

3.2.1 the required buyer actions

3.2.2. the term of receiving the return requests

3.2.3. refund method

4. Payment and shipment conditions should be stated not only on the separate service page but also in the order shopping cart;

5. Feature of making an order via digital payment services;

6. For publishing the products from the website on Google Merchant the resource should send data via a secure connection (not with HTTP-protocol, but with https where s means “secure”);

7. Do not redirect users to e-mail, images, audios, videos, and other files that can be opened or run with apps only. Official documentation.

Sign in your Google account and follow the link for signing up in Merchant Center

  • for starting work you need a Google account. If you do not have a profile, you can sign up quickly;
  • follow the link;

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Sign in the required Google account and enter the password.

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Sign up on Google Merchant

On the Merchant account sign-up page enter the name of your company, country, and timezone.

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In the “Company name” field state the well-known store name that you wish to advertise, not the legal name. These data will be used in the ad.

Accept the terms of use.

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Choose the tools you wish to use. This article deals with sales ads so select “Sales ads” for the Shopping campaign.

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On the following steps check whether you have entered the proper data and create the account.

Confirm the URL and declare your rights for it

After fulfilling these steps the user will see his/her account where s/he should declare the rights for the website advertised in Google Merchant.

After confirming the website you will notify Google and after declaring the rights for it the website will be tied to your Merchant Center account.

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You can confirm the URL by different methods:

  1. confirm your rights using Google Tag Manager;
  2. paste the service HTML tag into the website code;
  3. verify the website via Google Analytics;
  4. confirm the rights for the website in Search Console.

Official documentation.

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If you have confirmed your website in Google Search Console before, there is no need to confirm it for Merchant Center again. You can declare the rights for it so that you will be able to tie your website with the Merchant Center account.

See the official documentation for information on managing owners, users and permissions in Search Console.

For confirming the rights for the website in Google Search Console, you can use several methods available in the profile settings:

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You may use Google Tag Manager for confirming the rights and website verification. For this you need to provide admin access in the Tag Manager account.

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Set the admin role.

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Verify the website in the Merchant Center account.

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Google Merchant service review

General information about your account

It is the service homepage. It contains the service news and notifications so as the information on the pending tasks, products, feeds and ad clicks;

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Products

The section contains information on product feeds and allows selecting the method of adding products on the initial setup stages:

  • add the products one-by-one manually;
  • upload the prepared product feed;

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After loading the product feed the section shows the feed amount by three points:

  • Diagnostics: errors of products, the feed, and the account;
  • All products: list of products with details on every item + click stats for the last 30 days;
  • Feeds: sign up, load, tools for working with the feeds.

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Settings

Here you can find:

  • API link
  • account settings (timezone and account status that can be deleted, if needed)
  • access to the account (here you can set up the access for third parties via e-mail)
  • related accounts including the tie with Google Ads and e-commerce platforms
  • automatic improvements (automatic update of the information about the website content)
  • SFTP, FTP, and Google Cloud Storage: methods to send the data to the servers.

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In the Tools section you can manage the SEO and account management tool, i.e.:

  • product shipment and return – here you can edit the shipment price;
  • taxing – here you can edit the rate of tax;
  • company information – here you can edit all the information stated when creating the Merchant Center account;

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In the company information settings, you can set any other name, enter the address and state the contact information.

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Also, you can load the company logo that would be shown in the sales ads.

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Further connection of Merchant Center with Google Ads should be set up

  • if the same e-mail is used for Google Ads and Merchant, the accounts will be tied automatically otherwise you will need to enter Google Ads interface and set up the integration manually;
  • in the Merchant Center interface, the access should be requested and confirm it in the Google Ads account.

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Select the Google Ads account that should be tied.

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Then sign in to the existing Google Ads account and confirm the integration request.

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Preparation and creation of the product data feed

A feed is a file with the information with the offered product. That is where the platform takes information about the products for publishing the ad;

This file includes information on your products in special attributes. E.g., the product name is stated in the title attribute, the product description — in the description, the price in the price. Official documentation.

The feed for Shopping campaign can have several formats:

TXT — text format;

XML — text document with .xml extension

GZ — Gnu zip, compressed text or XML format

ZIP — Zip, compressed text or XML format

BZ2 — Bzip2, compressed text or XML format

See the official manual for the supported file formats.

Feeds can be created in different ways: using Google Sheets, API, from a file, or the CMS of the website.

The most common product feed formats are XML and TXT.

Text file format

When using this format the first string (header) should contain the attribute names separated by tabulation. Then the attribute values are entered into the corresponding columns starting from the second string. Such a document can be created and saved with the tabulation separator in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. For creating a feed in Google Sheets download the file and then load it in TXT format. More details.

XML file format

For creating an XML feed, study RSS 2.0 or Atom 1.0 specification. More details.

The list of recommended and obligatory attributes in the product feed depends on the product type and country for which the ads are set up but special attention should be paid to obligatory attributes:

1. Title is the ad header so state the name of the product you wish to show the user.

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2. Description includes a short product description that the user will see after clicking the ad.

Google searches for the keywords that match the title and description content so the more information you give in these fields, the more clicks and impressions you will have.

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3. Product id [identifier]id attribute should be added for distinguishing the product from others. It is not displayed in ads but is required for finding a certain product, evaluating the ad efficiency, and setting the CPC.

4. Link (to the product page) – when a user clicks the ad, s/he will be redirected to the website page with the product information. The URL of this page is stated with the link attribute.

5. Image link (to the product photo) – the image_link attribute is used for stating the URL of the product main image. The users will see this photo in the ad.

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6. Availability this attribute is used for stating whether the product is available.

7. Priceit is used for stating the product cost. This information is displayed in the ad.

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See the official manual for other obligatory and optional product feed parameters.

Upload of the product data feed into the account

For uploading the data feed enter “Products” section in the Merchant Center and select “Create feed” feature.

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State the selling country, feed language, and services where you wish to promote your products.

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Select the file from which the data would be uploaded to the Merchant Center and state the file name.

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The following upload methods are available:

  • Google Sheets
  • Automatic upload (scheduled). Please make sure that the URL leads to the file. A proper URL begins from http://, https://, ftp:// or sftp://;
  • Manual file upload: using SFTP, FTP, Google Cloud Storage or in Merchant Center;
  • Import from an e-commerce platform (Content API).

See the official documentation for the methods of uploading the product feed.

Data moderation usually takes 1-3 days. After this you can track the item upload dynamics in the “Products” tab; if any errors occur when processing the feed, they will be displayed in the “Diagnostics” tab.

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After this, you can work with sales ads following the manual.

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If required, you can state the tax rates, shipment terms and add the information about the products.

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You can accept the Google Merchant terms and agreements.

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If there is no need to upload a feed with a lot of products, you can manually add the product range required for advertising.

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In this case, you need to fill in all the information about the product or service yourself: selling country, language, name, description, price, and brand.

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Setting up a selling campaign in Google Ads

1. Open the Google Ads account and press a plus for creating a new campaign. Add a selling campaign with the “Sales” goal.

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2. Select the Google Merchant Center account and selling country. The system detects what ads to show and for which territory.

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3. You can select a smart or ordinary campaign.

A smart one allows automating the targeting and setting the CPC in Google search engine and Display Network so as on YouTube and Gmail. Such a campaign will take advantage of ordinary selling campaigns.

For an ordinary campaign, everything should be set up manually and the ads are shown in the search engine only.

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4. Standard settings are the next step:

  • enabling/disabling search partners
  • advertising geography
  • budget and rates
  • display method
  • schedule

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5. Google Shopping additional settings include:

  • campaign priority – this function is applied if the account contains several selling campaigns with the same products. A higher campaign priority allows selecting it for advertising products instead of other selling campaigns in your account;
  • product filter allows blocking certain products in the ads. We recommend using it together with the priority.

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6. After this create an ad group, state the name and CPC.

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7. After this create the ad group.

In this case, you have two options: create one group for all items with one set CPC or create a few ad groups by product types.

For dividing the feed by product types it should have the corresponding data in “Brand” or “custom_label_0” column:

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Divide the product groups by certain parameters.

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The following filters are available for creating product subgroups.

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A CPC can be set for each subgroup.

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8. There is no need to create product ads in selling campaigns, they are created automatically based on the Google Merchant Center feed.

9. Do not forget to create negative keywords:

  • universal negative keywords;
  • negative keyword from search campaigns;
  • all inefficient keywords detected when analyzing the existing selling campaigns.

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Conclusion

For making your advertising efficient and attract as many customers as possible you need to create the data feed and set up the company shopping properly. Besides that, you need to check how your website does comply with the Google Merchant Center requirements.

If you follow all Google recommendations and our ample manual, you will be able to boost your sales volume.