There are several methods you can use to upload your products to Merchant Center:
- Import XML or txt. a feed file or a Google Spreadsheet containing your entire product catalog
- Manual upload (by adding products one by one)
- Via Content API or using FTP / SFTP
We will focus on the top 2 methods that are most popular among online retailers.
Steps to Upload Your Products to Merchant Center Via a Feed File
1) In your Merchant Center account, go to 'Products', then 'Feeds'.
2) Click the blue plus (+) button to import your Data Feed.
3) Name your feed and choose the import method.
Using 'Scheduled Fetch' allows you to add a link to a data feed file that will be automatically checked for updates daily by Google. This way, you can ensure that your data is always up to date and relevant. You can use a feed management solution like DataFeedWatch to create a feed file under a live URL and easily optimize it.
4) Provide a link to your Data Feed and choose the best time for daily updates. Or upload a static file from your computer if you chose the 'Upload' method.
It is recommended to schedule your daily updates shortly after your Data Feed is refreshed. For DataFeedWatch users, it will come right after your scheduled daily store update.
5) Destination country, destinations etc. Provide other necessary information such as Save it.
Once saved, your product data will be processed and you will soon see a product data report in the 'Diagnostics' section.
Steps to Manually Add Your Products to Merchant Center One by One
1) In your Merchant Center account, go to 'Products', then 'All Products'.
2) Click the blue plus (+) button to add a product.
3) Provide and record all required product information.
One disadvantage of the manual method is that it takes a lot of time if you have multiple products in your store. In addition, it requires constant manual updates. If you forget to refresh your data regularly, this can result in data errors and Google disapproval of your products and even suspension of your Merchant Center account.
How to Create a Data Feed for Google Merchant Center
To advertise your products with Google Shopping or through Google platforms (free product listings), you need a product Feed.
There are several options for online merchants to create a product Feed for Google Merchant Center.
1) Automate Data Flow Creation and Optimization
You can easily create a custom product Feed in minutes using a Feed management software. This method usually offers the most flexibility and space to scale your campaigns.
2) Direct API Connection
Some e-commerce platforms (Shopify is one of them) have a direct API connection with Google Merchant Center. With this method, your product data will be automatically sent to GMC and updated regularly.
It's fast and easy.
The downside is that the full product data configurations from your store are imported into Google. In other words, the product data you submit to GMC may not be specifically tailored to recommended practices and algorithms.
3) Data Transfer from Your Store
Most shopping carts offer the option to export your product information to a feed file to export the data on a single data export basis or under a constantly updated live URL.
As before, the product data in the Feed reflects a 1-for-1 store setup, which may not be the most advantageous configuration for your Shopping Ads.
Google Merchant Center Diagnostics
Once your Data Feed is uploaded, you have a good chance of discovering many errors, such as missing product numbers, missing categories, or incorrect data formats.
There is a special section called 'Diagnostics' in the Google Merchant Center to address these issues. It will tell you exactly what and where all the problems are.
You will see two types of problems: errors and warnings.
Errors are things you must fix before they appear in Shopping results. Alerts mean that ads for these products may still show, but will have limited visibility.
So while bugs are even necessary to show up, alerts are where you can make a difference and maximize the potential of the products in your Feed.
Let's take a look at the 3 different problem levels you'll find in Diagnostics.
1. Account Issues
Account issues affect your entire Google Merchant Center account.
These are the most basic issues in your account, such as the link between Google Ads and GMC, URL validation issues, or policy violations.
2. Feed Issues
If there are any issues with uploading, fetching or validating your Product Feeds, you will see errors and warnings in the Feed level section.
The most common issues are missing credentials, file format issues, or an expired feed.
3. Item Issues
These are often missing or incorrect features or policy violations (such as a different product price in your Feed compared to your store) or incorrect stock/out of stock processing.
Numerous errors pop up if you forget a certain attribute for all products in your feed. Normally you have to fix them one by one. You can fix these issues in bulk with Feed Rules.
Clue: Check the Products > Listing section in Google Merchant Center and click one of the products you see there. Then expand the 'Raw Feed Properties' section to see the actual information included in your product Feed.
One of the least known features of Google Merchant Center is Feed Rules.
These rules allow you to add or change certain information in the data stream from your e-commerce platform:
E-commerce platform > Google Merchant Center > Feed Rules > Google Ads
Making minor changes to your data is ideal.
It is useful to use Feed rules in the following situations:
- If you have few products,
- If you don't need to make too many changes,
- If you only use your feed to advertise on Google Shopping.
With Google Merchant Center Feed Rules, you can:
- Fix bugs in your Shopping Feed.
- Make bulk changes to your feed.
- Private labels etc. Optimize your Feed with
Merchant Promotions allow you to show special deals or offers directly in your Google Shopping ads. It is a type of ad extension for Shopping Ads.
You must provide the details, but their future is not guaranteed. If the promotion happens, your post looks like this:
Note that Seller Promotion is different from 'Free Shipping' or 'Price Drop' notifications.
Finally, Merchant Promotions are currently only supported for advertisers in Australia, Germany, France, UK, India, and the US.