The 3 Basics of How to Rank on Google Shopping

How to rank on Google Shopping really high? Is there a magic bullet to get high rankings with shopping ads? In this article, we will discuss the three main basics that constitute the solid foundation of successful performance on Google Shopping. These include the following:

  • keeping shopping data accurate, comprehensive, and transparent, meaning your Google Shopping ads always stay customer-friendly and compliant with all the necessary Google policies
  • use of the right tools for managing product feeds—this implies that your product feeds not only are comprehensive but are updated regularly.
  • getting the best out of automation solutions—this means your efforts on Google Shopping are regularly getting an extra boost with smart automation, e.g. with solutions for feed attributes management, automatic title rewriting, smart bidding, etc. 

1. Keep Your Product Data Accurate and Transparent 

Let's start with the basics—Google Shopping product feed. Why is it one of the key pillars to success on Google Shopping? 

A Google Shopping feed is a list (spreadsheet) in a TXT or CSV file format containing up-to-date data about the products you want to showcase on Google. A product feed must follow all the Google Shopping feed requirements and must comply with Google policies. 

The data about products—like product name, id, description, size, colour, etc—is added to the product feed file via product data specification represented by entities—attributes, e.g. [id], [title], [description], etc. We will cover Google Shopping feed attributes in this article a bit later. 

After you add the attributes, you'd need to upload a ready feed file to your Google Merchant Center account. This way Google will grab your product data and create shopping ads for potential customers. The more accurate data you provide, the better the audience reach and conversion rate could be.

Basically, being good at Google Shopping feed optimisation implies that you update your Google Shopping product feeds with the correct data regularly. There are two main reasons for that.

  • Your end customers expect good service and transparency from you. Data discrepancies and missing information—e.g. non-matching prices in your Google Shopping ads and on your product landing pages, poor/false product images, broken links, etc—will repel potential customers. These can affect your financial and marketing stats: shopping ads clickability, conversion rate, ROAS, etc.
  • You can get snowed under with unnecessary routines if your feed is unattended. If you miss crucial information or provide incorrect data—e.g. shipping and returns policy, pricing policy—you'll have to deal with things like sorting out warnings and notices from Google. You may also experience your accounts on Google Merchant Center and Google Ads getting penalised. 

So the approach is simple—provide all the relevant data, even if you can get your product approved for Google Shopping by filling out a few fields. Again, the more accurate information (attributes) you give to Google, the easier your ads find the right audience. 

You can use different shopping feed options for Google shopping ad campaigns—if you want to learn more about those, read this article

2. Use the Right Tools For Google Shopping Feed Management

What is the best way to create a Google Shopping product feed file with the right attributes? There are a couple of options that you can choose from.

Manual Creation of a Product Feed File

You can create and upload a shopping feed manually. You can do this in various ways:

  • fill up the information directly on the Google Merchant Center feed management page
  • create a spreadsheet, fill out the attribute fields based on the information on your e-commerce website, export the file in the appropriate format, and upload it.

Even though this option offers you fine-tuned controls, the major problem with a manual upload and feed creation is that it's time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of products. Manual creation of a shopping feed file is a good choice for small and medium businesses with a more or less established line of products and little to no need to update those. 

Creation of a Product Feed File with Feed Management Tools

If your product line is massive and diverse, you can use feed management tools for creating shopping feeds. You can add the existing product data from your e-commerce website into a feed management tool to help Google Merchant Center fetch the relevant product information. 

E-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, etc, offer extensions and applications (both free and paid) that act as intermediaries and transfer your product data from their listing to the Google Merchant Center. 

Shopping feed management tools are an ideal choice for uploading data on a massive number of products at once. You can also set up scheduled updates that will allow the Google Merchant Center to fetch data from your original listings to keep your shopping feed instantly fresh—something that both the end customer and Google will appreciate. 

Creation of a Product Feed File using a Content API

The third option for creating and uploading a product feed would be to use content API. This option may suit advanced users who have the relevant programming knowledge to set up and use these APIs or are willing to learn. With a content API, you can link up several different applications and accounts—like your e-commerce account, Google Analytics, your CMS, etc—to the Google Merchant Center and gain control over your whole product data flow. Modifying feeds is also easier with a content API, allowing for task automation.

And follow the tips below, no matter what solution you use for managing your product feeds.

  • Submit/resubmit a full feed monthly. This way you ensure that the data is updated and relevant.
  • If you have multiple feeds (say, one manual and one automated), don’t move items around from one feed to another.
  • For large feeds, stick to a product limit. You may lose some of your winning products and waste your ad budget on irrelevant products if you go straightforwardly order by order of products (alphabetical, numerical, etc). 

3. Automate Your Google Shopping Routine as Much as Possible

Using automated solutions for Google Shopping is good—it can help improve ROAS, get more clicks and conversions, etc—but use those wisely. 

  • Don't introduce automation into your dataflow just for the sake of it—some processes may not need automation at all; you won't know that until you run a comprehensive analysis.
  • Introduce automation into those parts of the dataflow where there is an obvious need for it—define the issue first, then assess if an automated solution can help sort things out and/or streamline your data flow.

There are lots of automated solutions for Google Shopping out there. For example, Google Performance Max is one of the most notorious examples of an automation solution for shopping and other types of ads. Read this article to find out if PMax will be a good fit for you.

Bidbrain is another example of Google Shopping software that offers automation and AI-based algorithm calculations for improving business performance on Google.

While the main functionality of PMax boils down to running automatically generated ads based on the assets you provided (basically, PMax is not strictly a tool, it is a campaign type), Bidbrain offers you a range of solutions that help save time and improve business efficiency on Google Shopping and Google Ads. 

With Bidbrain, you can do the following.

💡 Get more conversions. Benefit from the automatic rewriting of product titles based on keywords that convert for your products. See how one of Bidbrain's clients got a +55% ROAS improvement and a 36% decrease in costs with automated title rewriting.

💡 Consolidate your shopping data. Easily fill in the gaps where your feed is missing essential data. Manage your unlimited number of feeds and keep them trimmed with the Bidbrain feed manager. Create rules and map attributes to improve the overall quality of your categories, product titles, or custom labels.

💡 Quickly spot issues in your shopping feed. You can run Bidbrain feed checker to quickly find errors you may have missed before the products are uploaded to the Google Merchant Center.

💡Get insights unavailable in Performance Max and Smart Shopping, such as the transparency of the search terms contributing to conversions, the detailed performance of individual products and keywords, etc.

💡Benefit from AI bidding. Bidbrain's automated bidding uses machine learning to predict the most effective bid to help maximize return on ad spend for each product. Bidbrain's AI is constantly getting better with the more data it receives. 

💡Activate products without historical data. On average, automatic bidding solutions usually bring impressions and clicks for only 1/5 of your product catalog. Bidbrain's activation algorithm finds the hidden high performers among the products that usually get left out. 

Hope you enjoyed the read and found these basics on how to rank higher on Google Shopping useful for setting up or tweaking your strategy!

how to rank on google shopping