How to Fix Common Google Merchant Center Errors – Google Shopping Tips

Who wouldn’t want to appear at the top of Google Shopping platforms, particularly on their flagship search engine result pages (SERP)?

And Google is the number one place when you are an eCommerce store or promoting products online.

When you list and promote your products on Google, the search engine displays your products across its display networks and partnered sites. This means you are reaching out to an enormous audience.

The greatest news is that Google even lets you display your products across its multiple platforms for absolutely free. All you need to do is upload your product data feed, and Google will take care of the rest.

But how do you list your products on Google?

One platform that handles the entire product management process is Google Merchant Center.

In this article, we will discuss the most common Google Merchant Center errors and mistakes and how to fix them.

Let’s get started.

What are Google Merchant Center errors?

Google Merchant Center errors are issues with your product data that can prevent your products from being shown in Google Shopping or other Google network sites. Various factors, such as incorrect product information, missing attributes, or policy violations, can cause these errors.

Types of Google Merchant Center errors

When you upload products to your Google Merchant Center account, you might encounter different types of feed issues.

They come in three varieties:

Errors

These are critical issues that can lead to disapproval of products. They’re severe and could even get your account suspended. Fix these as a top priority.

Warnings

Less severe than errors, warnings affect feed quality and can impact the performance of your items in campaigns. Ignoring warnings for too long might lead to disapprovals or account suspension.

Notifications

Consider these helpful tips from Google. They suggest improvements for better ad performance. While not mandatory, it’s wise to consider these recommendations for better results.

Understanding these issues can help you tackle some of the most common problems in your Google Merchant Center more efficiently.

How Google Merchant Center errors can impact your WooCommerce product listings

Google Merchant Center errors can significantly impact your WooCommerce product listings in several ways.

Let’s start with the statistics.

  • In 2022, approximately 7% of Google Shopping feeds experienced rejection because of major errors in their data feeds.
  • Around 5.53% of products were also rejected due to incorrect GTIN values.
  • Shipping-related issues were responsible for roughly 23.49% of all feed rejections during that time.

Reduced product visibility

Google Feed errors can prevent your products from showing in Google Shopping ads, which is a major source of traffic for many WooCommerce stores. This can lead to a decrease in website visitors and potential sales.

Lower click-through rates

Even if your products are displayed, errors can make your listings less appealing to potential customers. Missing or inaccurate product information can lead to lower click-through rates, meaning fewer people will click on your listings to visit your store.

Increased Ad Costs

If your product listings are displaying, but they have errors, your ad costs may be higher. This is because Google looks at various factors, including product data quality, to determine ad ranking and cost.

Account suspension

In severe cases, repeated or unaddressed errors can lead to suspending your Google Merchant Center account. This means your products will no longer be able to show in Google Shopping ads altogether.

Diminished brand reputation

Errors can erode trust in your brand. Customers may perceive your store as unprofessional or unreliable if your product listings are consistently inaccurate or incomplete.

To avoid these negative consequences, it’s crucial to identify and fix Google Merchant Center errors promptly. Regularly reviewing your product data, using a data feed management tool, and staying informed about Google’s Shopping policies can help you maintain accurate product listings and optimize your WooCommerce store’s performance on Google Shopping.

The best solution for a WooCommerce store owner like you is to use a WooCommerce product feed plugin such as CTX Feed. This plugin can automate almost the entire feed generation process and save you from all possible Google Merchant Center errors.

CTX Feed – Product feed management tool to prevent Google Merchant Center errors

Best WooCommerce Google Shopping Plugin

CTX Feed is a fantastic tool for generating product feed files for over 130 channels, including Google platforms. The 100+ built-in templates for all the channels that come with the plugin make it incredibly easy to create a feed.

You will never need to learn the guidelines, policies, and attributes of channels like Google. The template has everything integrated, and when you select it, it will automatically apply all the necessary settings and attributes.

Most of the Google Merchant Center errors occur because of mistakes when inputting product information into the feed. Creating feed files manually often leads to errors in data entry.

CTX Feed does the product data inserting in the feed file automatically so that you never have to worry about copy-pasting your data. As a result, this saves time, minimizes errors, and simplifies the process.

Most importantly, CTX Feed automatically updates all your feed files at your set interval and allows you to upload products to GMC through the feed URL. This combination allows you to display accurate information on Google and avoid all Google Merchant Center errors.

In addition, the pro version of this plugin has advanced features like category mapping, extensive filtering, complete custom attribute adding, etc. These features help you generate feeds without any Google Shopping Feed errors.

✅️ You can find a step-by-step complete WooCommerce Google integration using CTX Feed in this article.

Let’s dig a little deeper into how CTX Feed can save you from Google Merchant Center errors.

  • You are filtering out unoptimized products from your feed. This will prevent Google from rejecting your products because they miss important information, such as titles, descriptions, or images.
  • They are using dynamic attributes to conditionally enhance product information. This will ensure that your products meet all of Google’s requirements, even if your product data is imperfect.
  • Using smart filters to exclude products that are missing descriptions, images, or prices. This will help you avoid errors related to missing product information.
  • Automatically fix common errors. CTX Feed can automatically fix many common errors, such as missing product titles, descriptions, availability, and images. This can save you a lot of time and effort.
  • Keep your product data up-to-date. CTX Feed can help you keep your product data up-to-date by automatically syncing it with your Google Merchant Center account. This can help to prevent errors caused by outdated product information.

Overall, CTX Feed can be a valuable tool for WooCommerce store owners who want to avoid Google Merchant Center errors and improve their product listings on Google platforms.

Common Google Merchant Center errors and solutions

Here’s a list of common Google Merchant Center errors and how you can solve or prevent them from occurring.

Invalid price, description, images of the product

Google focuses a lot on the product title, description, and images to display items in search results. Google Merchant Center errors often come from having titles or descriptions that are too long or too short, using incorrect image URLs, or including special characters in image names.

There’s no point in promoting a product with the wrong or no price, image, or description.

How to fix it

Start by logging into your Google Merchant Center account. Click ‘Products’ and then ‘Diagnostics’ to check for any Google Merchant Center errors with your items. You can download a report of all issues or just for specific errors by clicking on the download button.

Google Merchant Center errors

Once you identify the problem, update the correct information in the report, making sure it meets Google’s formatting guidelines.

Google Merchant Center errors

To fix the error, you can download the error CSV and upload the corrected report in a feed or connect the feed through a URL feed connection.

You can also edit your product details and fix issues one by one from GMC.

edit and fix Google Merchant Center errors

After you’ve made the changes, check ‘Diagnostics’ again to confirm that the issue is resolved. This should give a clearer, easier-to-understand guide to address product issues on Google Merchant Center.

CTX Feed provides an advanced filtering option for excluding incomplete products, such as products that are missing prices, images, or descriptions.

Exclude incomplete products

You can simply exclude them from your feed file by selecting the appropriate boxes.

Incorrect price and availability

Let’s say you were running a sale/discount campaign that ended on your WooCommerce store. But you haven’t updated that information on your feed file.

Same for Google shopping product availability. Some products are out of stock in your Woo store, but you haven’t updated that information on the Google feed. This can create Google Merchant Center errors.

Ensure the prices you include in your feed match the ones on your website or landing page. Google checks this information across the web, and if it finds any discrepancies, it won’t accept those items. This issue often arises when your feed isn’t regularly updated with the latest prices.

In addition to Google Merchant Center errors, let’s say these products appear on relevant searches on Google sites. When your customers land your Woo product pages through these listings, they will find different details, such as unavailable or high prices.

As a result, they will lose trust in your brand, leave your site, and probably never return. Therefore, it’s significantly essential to always update your product feed with the latest information.

How to fix it

We have already discussed how to download the error CSV file and re-upload the feed, fixing the issues. If you use CTX Feed, you won’t need to worry about out-of-stock products.

You can simply exclude them by selecting the following filter when creating a feed. CTX Feed also fetches price and sale price information automatically.

exclude out of stock products to prevent Google Merchant Center errors

You can include a sale_price_effective_date attribute for the plugin to automatically collect your sale campaign start and end date and submit it to GMC.

sale price effective date attribute

Automatic update on GMC

Sometimes, the availability details of products shown in your free listings or Shopping ads might differ from what’s actually on your website. Luckily, Google Merchant Center can automatically update this info for you.

With automatic item updates, your product data stays accurate without effort. This means your listings, ads, and website data will always match perfectly. If there’s a change in availability detected, Google automatically makes the update and logs these changes for you to review.

Having mismatched information on your products is a critical Google Merchant Center error. Repeated occurrences could even lead to your account getting suspended.

That’s why it’s crucial to ensure your product information is accurate and up-to-date by taking proactive steps on your end. Don’t rely on Google Merchant Center to fix these issues after they’ve caused trouble.

How to fix it

To ensure accurate data, update your product feed regularly or set up scheduled uploads. As you know by now, CTX Feed automatically collects all your WooCommerce product changes on your set interval and updates the feed file.

You can connect to GMC through the feed URL when using CTX Feed. This ensures all your product information across Google is accurate and updated.

Unique Product Identifiers (GTIN/MPN/Brand) 

Unique Product Identifiers (UPIs) like GTIN, MPN, and brands are crucial in Google Merchant Center (GMC) for accurate product identification and enhanced shopping experiences. Errors related to UPIs can significantly impact your product listings and overall performance on Google Shopping.

What are Unique Product Identifiers (UPIs)?

Unique Product Identifiers (UPIs) are globally recognized codes that uniquely identify products.

The three primary UPIs used in GMC are:

  • Global Trade Item Number (GTIN): Google Shopping GTIN is a 12-14 digit code assigned to products by manufacturers or brand owners. It’s the most widely accepted UPI and is often required for displaying products in Google Shopping.
  • Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): Google Shopping MPN is a unique identifier assigned to their products by a manufacturer. It’s often used when a GTIN is not available.
  • Brand: The brand of a product is the name of the manufacturer or company associated with the product.

Why are UPIs Important in GMC?

UPI plays a vital role in GMC for several reasons:

  • Accurate Product Identification: UPIs allow Google to accurately identify products across different sellers and marketplaces, ensuring that customers find the right product they’re searching for.
  • Enhanced Shopping Experiences: UPIs facilitate rich product information displays, including product reviews, pricing comparisons, and related products.
  • Improved Ad Performance: Accurate UPIs can improve ad relevance and targeting, leading to better ad performance and increased visibility in Google Shopping.

Common UPI Google Merchant Center errors

Several UPI errors can occur in GMC, leading to issues with product listings and potential disapproval of ads:

  • Missing UPIs: If UPIs are not provided for products that require them, Google may disapprove the products or limit their visibility in Google Shopping.
  • Invalid UPIs: If UPIs are incorrect or don’t match the product they represent, Google will not be able to accurately identify the product, leading to potential errors.
  • Inconsistent UPIs: If UPIs are inconsistent across different product variations or marketplaces, it can create confusion and hinder accurate product identification.

How to fix them

If you haven’t noticed yet, WooCommerce product pages don’t have any fields to enter data for GTIN, MPN, etc. You must add these fields as custom fields in your product pages first and then enter a value for them.

Adding custom fields on WordPress and WooCommerce requires a bit of technical skills. Again, CTX Feed will come to your rescue.

The plugin knows all the custom fields Google or any other channel may request. It has integrated all the custom fields in its settings.

custom fields

You can simply toggle to enable them and go to your product pages to enter a value for those fields.

custom field value

When you enter values in your product pages, CTX Feed will automatically copy-paste those values into your feed file. Thus, you can always display accurate GTIN and MPN values on Google.

For Brands, go to Products>> Brands By CTX Feed and add your brands. The plugin will also fetch this information and include it in the feed automatically.

brand by CTX Feed

Incorrect category names or no categories Google Merchant Center errors

If you skip or use the wrong category names for your products in Google Merchant Center, it’s trouble waiting to happen.

Make sure to match your products to the available categories Google provides to avoid these errors. You can also grab the complete list of categories Google accepts to cross-check your product placements.

How to fix it

Understanding Google’s category structure and manually fixing these Google Merchant Center errors would be a real headache for anyone. CTX Feed provides an excellent solution to this problem.

CTX Feed Pro provides settings for mapping your categories with Google categories. Go to Category Mapping and start a new mapping.

Category mapping

Select your merchant and name your mapping attribute.

Google Merchant

CTX Feed will fetch all your existing WooCommerce categories and allow you to map them with appropriate Google categories.

Category mapping

Finally, you can assign the newly created attribute on the feed generation window.

Category mapping attribute

You can find a complete walkthrough of creating a Google product feed using the plugin in this article.

Invalid shipping or taxes Google Merchant Center errors

Invalid shipping or taxes Google Merchant Center errors can significantly hinder your product listings’ visibility and performance on Google Shopping. These errors arise when the shipping or tax information provided for your products doesn’t align with Google’s requirements or doesn’t accurately reflect the actual shipping and tax rates you charge.

How to fix it

You can set up shipping and tax from Google Merchant Center. You want to display your existing WooCommerce shipping and tax information, you can use CTX Feed.

The plugin will automatically collect your Woo tax and shipping details and include them in the feed file.

How to generate a Google Merchant Center product feed

You can create a completely error-free feed using CTX Feed. CTX Feed has a free version you can try out.

CTX Feed to avoid Google Merchant Center errors

To start creating a Google feed, click on Make Feed.

Create a feed

Select your channel from the templates dropdown. This is the built-in template for GMC that knows all the guidelines and attributes.

Select template

After you select the template, the plugin will automatically bring forth the attributes at the bottom.

Google Merchant Center feed

From the Filter options, you can apply the different settings we discussed previously.

filter to avoid Google Merchant Center errors

After you click generate, the plugin will create the feed file that includes all your product data and place it on the Manage Feeds page. This page contains the automatic feed update option and other feed settings such as copy feed URL, download, edit feed file, etc.

Feed settings

For example, if you set an update interval of 1 hour, the plugin will automatically search for updates in your product pages every hour and regenerate all your feed files.

Here’s how you can connect to GMC using a feed URL. Select the Scheduled Fetch option.

Google Merchant Center upload options

On the final screen, paste your feed link and set the update frequency. This is the automatic update frequency of GMC we talked about earlier.

feed setup in Google Merchant Center

If you set this frequency to 2 hours, then GMC will update your feed information every 2 hours. CTX Feed will send an updated feed as per your set update interval on the plugin settings, and GMC will fetch the changes and update its listings according to the fetch frequency you set above.

Overall, when you use CTX Feed to create and connect the feed to GMC, you can save yourself from all the Google Merchant Center errors and always display the correct information.

CTX Feed banner

Wrap up

We’ll continue adding various Google Merchant Center errors to this guide to support you in effectively promoting your products across Google Display Network and partner sites. Furthermore, you can utilize the CTX Feed product feed plugin to prevent potential errors and ensure a precise and acceptable product feed submission to GMC immediately.

4 thoughts
    1. If you use any other plugin to control your shipping weight, you will find the field name in the feed attributes dropdown. You just have to select it and generate the feed.

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