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Notable Feed Specification and Policy Changes to Google Product Search

Changes are coming to Google Product Search. According to the announcement on the Google Merchant Blog, new feed specifications and policies will go into effect starting Sept. 22, 2011. Merchants who fail to comply will find their products missing from Google Product Search.

The changes line up with Google’s goal “for shoppers to quickly and easily find the information they need on Google Product Search – and in turn to send more shoppers to our merchants.” Google has put together a document outlining the changes for each specific country affected by the changes. Merchants in the U.S. should be aware of the following requirements:

  • Availability: Whether an item is in stock or not, Google would like users to be able to find your product. Google will now require the [availability] status be listed for all of your items.
  • Google Product Category: Google has added a new required high-level attribute called [google product category] that contains the category of the item in Google’s taxonomy. This is in addition to the current [product type] attribute.
  • Images: Google is making [image link] a requirement and encourages you to submit up to 10 additional product images through [additional image link], thus improving the visual representation of your products.
  • Apparel: In order to create a better experience for product variants such as dresses or shoes that are available in multiple colors or sizes, Google is asking you to include information like [size] and [color] in your product feed. In addition, they require you to provide [gender] and [age group].
  • Data Freshness: Google will continue to regularly check feeds for accuracy of pricing, availability, and general product information. They will take action against accounts that violate their standards.

To see the complete list of changes for the United States and prepare for the upcoming changes, refer to the following resources: