If you’re a Google Shopping user, this may sound all too familiar. You sign up for a merchant account on Google Shopping and upload your Google-friendly product feed so you can start bidding on your products to have them listed. Then…it’s a waiting game to get your products approved. Much to your dismay, a few days later, you may log into your Google merchant account and find that your products have been disapproved for advertising.
Here are the top 5 things to avoid in order for your products to go through the Google Shopping product approval process smoothly:
1. Disallowed products: This is the most common reason for product and store disapproval on Google Shopping. Products like alcohol, drugs, weapons (including knives), etc. cannot be listed on Google Shopping. A complete list is available here.
2. Promotional or boilerplate text in product descriptions: Make sure your product descriptions are simple and non-promotional. For example, any text describing shipping prices or deals should be removed from the “title” and “description,” “product type,” and any other fields in your feed. Other phrases such as “Free Shipping” or “Click here for…” or “Bulk discounts” are also not preferred by Google Shopping.
3. Heavy privacy on product or image pages: If you have blocked Google’s bot from accessing your pages or product images, your products will be disapproved. Check your robots.txt file and ensure that Google has access to your content. You should provide Google access to both your website and mobile site (if you have a separate one).
4. Feed and website inconsistency: Avoid any mismatched data between your submitted feed and what Google finds on your website. These can fall under three categories: condition mismatches (your feed says “new products” while you’re selling refurbished goods on your site), price mismatches and quantity mismatches (a product is out of stock on your site). It’s important to submit accurate data to Google Shopping and to update it regularly.
5. Incorrect languages and currencies: Google Shopping requires that if you want to advertise in Japan, your website should be Japanese and your currency should be Japanese Yen, for example. There are some platforms that allow easy internationalization but for most others, it’s a big effort.
You can read the entire Google Shopping policy here. Disapproval can result in a particular product not being advertised on Google Shopping and can even lead to store disapproval.
If your products are disapproved, what can you do?
1. Check your merchant account regularly even after your campaign is running. It’s possible that your products will get approved in the beginning due to a potential oversight—by Google? Hard to believe!—and then get disapproved a few days later.
2. When your products get disapproved, try to fix the specific problem immediately or contact Google for support or if you have questions.
3. Lastly and most importantly, update your feed regularly. Your product feed on Google Shopping should always reflect the product data on your website.
If you can maneuver through Google’s policies, running Google Shopping can be an extremely beneficial endeavor for your e-commerce website. If you’re not already using it, it’s highly recommend for e-commerce stores of all sizes, and many external products exist to help you get started easily and efficiently.
Amit Kumar is CEO of Lexity.