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Google posted a Friday blog post named “providing better product information for shoppers.” The blog post mentioned GTINs over 20 times, how is that for keyword density? GTINs, if you are not aware, is one of the more popular product identification numbers, it stands for Global Trade Item Number.
Google wrote “To best help users find your content and products in Search, we recommend that websites clearly identify products mentioned.” Google wants to know that the product you list on your website is the same product that is listed on dozens of other websites and the easiest way for Google to do that is if you communicate to Google that the product has a unique identifier that the other e-commerce sites are using.
You can do this by using unique product identifiers like Global Trade Item Number (GTIN™), Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), and brand names, Google said. When you do this, Google said follow these best practices:
- Uniqueness: Each product should have a unique identifier that can consistently and accurately be shared across the ecosystem and identify a product in both the physical and digital worlds of commerce.
- Verifiability: Identity of a product (for example, who is the manufacturer) and other product data should be verifiable through a trusted source. This allows marketplaces to verify that product data is accurate and complete through global registries, the organizations that issued and manage the identifiers.
- Global Reach: With ecommerce making the world more connected, relying on an identification system that can be used across the ecosystem globally will help keep product identification seamless for stakeholders in all countries.
When you submit your product data through Google Manufacturer Center, Google recommends you follow these tips:
- Ensure your products have GTINs: Your products must have unique Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) to use Manufacturer Center. To learn how to assign GTINs to your products, visit the GS1 website in your local region.
- Don’t reuse product identifiers: GTINs should never be shared across multiple products; a single product should map clearly to a single GTIN. Reuse of GTINs can cause marketplace catalog data to become out of date and inconsistent, creating confusion. By obtaining product identifiers from unauthorized sources (for example, identifiers sold through bankruptcy proceedings), you run the risk of establishing identity on the foundation of a previously registered product or company.
- Follow best practices for product identifiers for custom products: In certain situations (for example, artisan products, customizable products, or one-off products), a brand can adopt a proprietary approach to solve product identity by managing its products with unique Stock Keeping Unit numbers (SKUs) or Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs). The key here is for manufacturers to incorporate the principles around uniqueness, verifiability and global reach to ensure the benefits of having product identifiers materialize.
If you are a retailer and/or 3rd-party sellers, here are tips:
- Submit high quality product data: Submit structured data to Google in a product feed or add structured data markup to your website.
- Provide a GTIN, when GTINs exist: Retailers must provide GTINs when they’re selling products that have GTINs. The GTIN can be included in both the product feed as well as the page’s structured data. If a product does not have a GTIN, retailers and 3rd-party sellers should rely on brand and manufacturer parts numbers to identify the product.
- Use valid and unique GTINs: Don’t reuse existing GTINs for a new product. Retailers should not invent GTINs and should not register their own GTINs with GS1, unless they are also the manufacturer of the product.
And for publishers writing content, reviews, etc about these products, here are tips from Google:
- Use exact product names: Publishers should mention the exact name of the products that are mentioned on the page. This makes it easier for users, and search engines, to understand exactly which product is referenced.
- Use structured data: We recommend adding structured data, including the GTIN, when reviewing products. This makes it easier for search engines to better understand when to show your pages in search.
- Use valid and unique GTINs: GTINs should never be invented or “borrowed” from other products just to provide a GTIN identifier on the content.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.