Google Merchant Center Rendering & Product Data Specification Updates

Did you know that the Google Merchant side of things crawls a bit differently than the rest of Google. Google’s Martin Splitt said on that podcast this morning that the Google Merchant team will first try the HTML only and if it cannot find what it needs, then it may render the page.

He said this about midway through…

In other Google Merchant Center news, Google announced its annual changes to the specification. Here are those changes:

Changes beginning immediately

Installment and subscription cost attributes: Values for the installment and subscription_cost attributes will be accepted for wireless products and services in approved countries for Shopping ads only. Submitting values for these attributes for other product categories may lead to disapprovals.

Product detail attribute: To help improve product data quality, we’re introducing the product_detail attribute, which can be used to provide technical specifications that aren’t covered by other attributes. This optional attribute lets you provide readable, structured data and enhances our ability to surface individual products based on user queries.

Product highlight attribute: We’re introducing the optional product_highlight attribute to let you add short sentences to showcase your product’s most important features.

Sale price annotations: We’ve relaxed the requirements for displaying sale price annotations in Shopping ads. In order to show this annotation, the base price, or a higher price, must have been charged for a period of at least 30 days in the past 180 days. (Note: days do not need to be consecutive.)

Changes beginning September 1, 2020

Category-specific requirements for Google product categories: Products that fall within certain Google product categories, including some sub-categories of Media and Apparel & Accessories, require additional attributes and/or a combination of unique product identifiers. If these required attributes, such as gender, age_group, size, and color are not provided, your products will remain eligible to serve but their performance may be limited. Similar products that do include the required attributes will be prioritized above those that are missing these attributes. 

You can use the optional google_product_category attribute to override Google’s automatic categorization of your products if the category assigned is incorrect.

Description attribute: The description attribute is required for all products. Products that do not include a product description will still be eligible to serve, however their performance may be limited. Similar products that do include a description will be prioritized above those missing a value for the description attribute.

Material, pattern, and image link attributes: Products with more than one value submitted for the material, pattern, or image_link attributes will receive warnings. If your product contains multiple materials or patterns, you will still be able to specify more than one material or pattern value using slashes and hyphens, but you may not separate values with commas. The additional_image_link attribute can be used to submit additional images.

To ensure that your products continue serving and prevent possible disapprovals, please go to the Diagnostics page of your Merchant Center account to review the affected products and apply the necessary changes once these changes go into effect.

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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