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Google is out with its holiday updates for merchants. The company recently rolled out interface and navigation updates for Google Merchant Center. On Wednesday, Google announced a number of new and updated features aimed at simplifying the process of getting your product information on Google properties for the holidays.
Automated feeds. We’re finally here. Goodbye, product feeds — sort of. Starting in November, automated feeds will be available in all Shopping ads countries. Merchants can opt to let Merchant Center crawl their websites for schema structured product data and extract it into an initial feed.
If you have structured product data on your site, you’ll see the feed input option of “Website crawl” in Merchant Center when you create a new primary feed. Google says crawled feed data will be refreshed “regularly, depending on the traffic that your website receives from Google.”
You can also use supplemental feeds with automated feeds to provide additional information.
Automatic image improvements. To avoid image disapprovals, Google will attempt to automatically remove promotional text in product images when you turn on the automatic removal tool in Merchant Center.
Be sure to review the image updates to ensure you’re satisfied with the changes. Machines don’t always get it right, and promotional text may remain or other parts of an image might get removed. You’ll need to upload a new product image if you’re not happy with the system’s attempt to improve it.
To enable automatic image updates, select “Automatic Improvements” from the Tools dropdown in the upper right corner of Merchant Center. Then select the toggle under the “Image Improvements” tab and click “Save”.
Free product exposure with Surfaces across Google. Earlier this year, Google announced it would begin showing product information from Merchant Center in areas outside of Shopping Ads, free to merchants.
This capability, called Surfaces across Google, is currently available in the U.S. and India. Note, if you have structured data markup on your website, your products are already automatically eligible for rich product results.
With Surfaces across Google, any merchant can upload their product feed to Google Merchant Center and opt-in to enable their products to show up on Google platforms, including rich product results and Google Images.
In Merchant Center, you’ll find Surfaces across Google among the list of programs available from the Growth menu.
Multi-country feeds. When multi-country feeds launched in 2017, it was available for 37 countries. It’s now available in 50 additional markets, for a total of 95. Advertisers that market in multiple countries can use a multi-country feed to target countries that share the same language. For example, German product information can show automatically in other German-speaking countries such as Austria and Switzerland when you set up shipping and location targeting for those countries in your Shopping campaign.
Why we should care. These options are aimed at making it easier for merchants to get their products showing on Google, whether in ads or free listings. For Google, removing friction for merchants helps make the search engine a better resource for searchers looking for products (it’s competing with Amazon, after all).
Now is the time to ensure you’re taking advantage of all applicable features and have your product data in order before the holiday shopping season gets into full swing.