Google Merchant Center Guide: Sell Products with Google Shopping

Planning to run Shopping Ads on Google? If so, it is important for you to know about Google Merchant Center and how does it work?

As soon as you hear the terms like “AdWords” and “Pay Per Click (PPC)”, then the images of Google text ads pop up in the mind.

Google Paid Ads

Such text advertisements by Google offer you a chance to be on the first number in the search result when your target audience look for your products.

However, if you own an eCommerce site, you’ll be more interested in the ads that appear towards the right hand side of the search bar instead of those that appear under the search bar.

Google Search Results

Google Shopping Ads can be seen above the text ads and are suitable only for the physical goods. They account for over half of the amount spent on Google ad in the USA.

Google Search Results

But have you ever thought how Google conclude which products to feature at the top?

Google Shopping ads work somewhat like text ad advertising. Seller set the bid for their products and will have to pay some fee every time their ads get clicked.

The other half of the algorithm used in Google Shopping Ads is similar to Search Engine Optimization. If Google knows about your product and thinks that it meets somebody’s interest, there are possibilities that your ad will be on No. #1 position.

Another question, how Google knows so much about your products? Well, this is where the Google Merchant steps in.

Google Merchant Center: What Is Its Role?

Google Merchant Center is not for managing ad bidding strategy, creating ad campaigns and keeping track of the performance of ads. These tasks are taken care of by Google Ads and Analytics. The Merchant Center carry out only these three tasks:

  • Tells Google about the product you have to sell
  • Gives Google the necessary information to create an ad for you
  • Allows you to share additional information so that Google knows which customers will likely purchase your product

Creating A Data Feed

Once you have created an account on Merchant Center, you’ll be asked to create a “data feed”. This is basically known as product inventory.

Google Merchant Center

Google Merchant Center will ask you some basic questions for every single feed you create. You will be asked to answer: what you are trying to sell, who is your target audience and more like this. This will help him determine “where your ads should be seen” along with the language to be used and the units for your prices.

Required Product Information

Once the data feed is ready, you will be required to fill in the product information. The most easiest way to do this is to use ready-made Google sheet form, which has been provided by the Google Merchant Center.

Google Merchant Center Products Sheet

Each row in the spreadsheet represents a different category of the product and each column represents a sub category of that product. Do not change the column headers, but the examples can be deleted to fill in your own respective information.

To create an ad, few columns of information need to filled for Google. Filling in the information might seem to be a frustrating task but Google may reject your Shopping Ads if in case the information is not rightly formatted.

  • Identification Number (ID) – This is a unique identifying code for your product. It is a code that is made by combining numbers and letters that helps you (here Google) to identify your product, which is like a digital barcode.

If earlier, you’ve sold anything in large number, you might be using an ID system to keep track of the inventory. So go ahead, input the codes that have already been assigned to your products – if you are planning to sell the same products online on Google.

  • Title – This is both an important and critical field. Whatever information you will fill here will be the headline that your customer will come across just below the product picture. Right title is important to help Google’s algorithm display your ad and help customers to click on it.
  • Description – The character limit of description is only 150, but the description field allows you up to 5000 so that in brief you can tell about the features of your product. Remember, Google also takes this information into account to decide whether or not to show your ad. That is why it is beneficial to have what people want by writing probable search items in the description.
  • Availability – This is a very straight forward point – Is your product currently available for purchase or not? Google accepts only three possible terms in this column: “In Stock,” “Out of Stock” and “Pre-order.” Don’t put anything else or it will cause an error.
  • Price – This is another important field to fill in. You can either fill in your products’ prices if you want or you can simply put a numeric value and let Google decide the units based on your target audience. But it is very much important to keep your units consistent.
  • Link – This is the URL of your product’s landing page. If the user clicks on your Google shopping ad, this is where he will be redirected to. But make sure the information and picture on the landing page are similar to what has been shown in the ad, else it will leave the customers confused and betrayed.
  • Image Link – This is the URL of the main page you want to attach to your product ad. Just like the title, a well-chosen picture can make a big difference in whether your ad will get clicked or not.

Google Merchant Center Product Description

  • Other Required Information – The above mentioned categories must be filled for all products in the Merchant Center, but on the basis of the product, you might be required to fill in some additional information. Google’s Product Specification Sheet:  

Google's Product Specification Sheet

 Additional Information

Merchant Center will accept your products only when you fill the requisite information. But if you want to get the best return on your ad investment, add extra information for the benefit of your customers.

  • Shipping dimensions
  • Minimum handling time
  • Sales prices and dates
  • Additional product images
  • Energy efficiency class
  • Loyalty points
  • Cost of production
  • General product categories

Displaying data like this can help you target your customers in a better way. It will not only improve your analytics through special promotions but will also generate extra interest.


It requires good research and regular practice to understand the rules and formats of Google Merchant Center, but it can help your eCommerce site to reach to new heights. A skillfully set up Merchant Center can help you streamline your online selling experience. It also builds the foundation for the rest of your marketing efforts.

If you need help to set up Google Merchant account for your eCommerce store, our Google Ads expert can help you! Being a leading Internet marketing services company, Source Soft has helped several online stores to manage their Google Shopping campaign, Google Adwords and Google Merchant Center. Let us know in the comments how we can help your online store to reach the next level!

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