; Creating a Google Shopping Data Feed | Google Operating System News

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Creating a Google Shopping Data Feed

Creating a Google Shopping Data Feed

Editor's Note: This is our monthly installment of "Everything Google," a feature on products and services from Google that can help ecommerce merchants. The author is Bill Hartzer, the owner of BillHartzer.com, a SEO, pay-per-click and ecommerce consulting firm in Dallas.

Google Product Search is a price comparison service. Users can search for retail products and the search results then list vendors selling those items. The search results include photos, prices and links to the vendors' ecommerce sites. Google does not charge any fees for listings; it makes no commission on the sales of the products, and it doesn't accept payment for products to show up first. Google first launched its product comparison service in 2002 under the name of Froogle. It changed the name to Google Product Search in 2007. Many users refer to it simply as Google Shopping.
Video: Google Product Search, Data Feed Overview

If you sell merchandise online and have not taken advantage of Google Product Search, then you're likely missing out on additional sales. Merchants submit their inventory to Google Product Search via a feed, which is a list of the products' titles, descriptions, and prices, along with a host of other additional information.
Two Methods to Submit Products

There are generally two ways to create a product feed. One is to generate a file from your shopping cart and send the data to Google. The other way, which is more of a "manual" method, is to create the feed using Excel or another spreadsheet program. In this article, I will explain how to manually create a data feed file, without exporting the data from your shopping cart.

Note, however, that if you are currently using a shopping cart or other type of CMS (content management system), there frequently is no reason to manually type the information (or copy and paste it) again. Most shopping carts can export the inventory data that Google will ultimately accept. In this case, I recommend that you refer to your shopping cart's support and product documentation, call the company's customer support line, or even search Google for the information.

If you cannot, for whatever reason, export the data into the Google Shopping feed file, then you would need to manually enter the data into a spreadsheet. To illustrate how this is done, let's take Gun Barrel Ranch, a retailer who makes and sells Western decor and furniture online. The company (a client of my firm) does not use a shopping cart, as its website displays one-of-a-kind handcrafted merchandise. But, it's important for the company to get its products into Google Shopping because it will bring more potential customers to the site. Here is how I manually created the Google Shopping feed for Gun Barrel Ranch.
1. Sign-up in Merchant Center

First, you will need a Google account and you'll need to go to the Google Product Search page. If you already are signed up as a seller, then that's good. You'll still need to sign into the Google Merchant Center. Otherwise, click on the "Start a Data Feed" option.


  1. Each listing is a product that was submitted by a merchant. Listing your own products is free, so why not try it out? Here’s how to set up your very own Google Product Feed. Go to www.google.com/base, click on "Data Feed" and login with your Google Account login. Click on "create another account to manage" enter the name of your site, display URL and optional description. - Published at Portent, an internet marketing company.

  2. Next we’ll create the feed. Create a new Excel spreadsheet with these headings: Title Description Price Image link Link - Published at Portent, an internet marketing company.

  3. These are the required attributes. After you get comfortable with product feeds you’ll be able to choose from many optional attributes too as well as additional information such as brand names, condition, ISBN or UPC codes. If you USE Google Analytics, add a UTM code on the back end of all of the destination URLs. Otherwise, GA will attribute all sales and visits to Google organic search results. I suggest using &utm_source=google+products. You can create your own tag if you prefer. This tag will also pick up the keywords that the user used while searching Google Shopping. The easiest wat to add this code is to create a simple Excel formula. Go to a cell in your URL + Code column. (I’m using F17) Type = and the cell of the destination URL (=E17) Add &"&utm_source=google+products" Your finished formula will be =E17&"&utm_source=google+products - Published at Portent, an internet marketing company.

  4. Return to your new Google Base account. Click New Data Feed. Create a name for your file. Select the appropriate category for your products. Click Register data feed and continue to formatting instructions. Now that you have registered your feed you are ready to upload your list of products! Click on Manual: upload file. Select your .txt file on your computer. Click "upload". - Published at Portent, an internet marketing company.