The time when you start uploading products to your Google Merchant Center, Google starts showing you errors. Some Google Merchant Center errors are terrible and prevent your products from showing. Whereas, others do not stop showing, but Google suggests to solve to improve your feed.
A product feed that has no errors, warnings, and notifications is the key to a healthy Google Shopping campaign. If the errors are left unaddressed, it can be annoying and may cause account suspensions, which will be an even bigger headache and can affect your product marketing.
Let’s have a look at the three types of flags in Google Merchant:
Errors: The most severe merchant center flags are errors. They usually indicate account suspension or item disapproval. Products will be prevented to appear in Google Shopping searches due to mistakes.
Warnings: Due to warnings, there won’t be issues like item disapproval or account suspension. However, it could do in the future. On the other hand, warnings may hurt the performance of your product listing ads.
Notifications: Notification is the suggestion to optimize your product information to take your products to the next level. It won’t affect your products from showing but Google lets you know that, product data can be improved. Notifications are not required but recommended.
When you log in to your Google Merchant Center and notice the red line of disapproved products, then you realize how much effort it needs for getting started with Google Shopping.
You may feel like Google randomly disapproved products, but if you know where to look for the issues, then it’s not difficult to fix.
Merchant Center’s built-in tools are the best way to monitor disapproved products. The right place to start is the home page with its visual graph of approved and disapproved products. On the home page, you will get an idea of the products that get rejected.
For a complete breakdown of the number of ProductIDs and types of errors, make use of Diagnostic tab, as it will provide the most accurate information. Google breaks down issues into separate categories from the diagnostic tab, such as errors, warnings, and notifications.
To help you avoid common errors, a list of common Google Merchant Center errors and how you can fix them are listed below:
1. Incorrect price:
The prices that you submit in your feed should match with the amount given on your website. Google crawls your site to make sure it matches. If any variance found, those products will not be approved. This error occurs for several reasons. Not submitted a fresh feed for a period could be the reason.
How to fix:
The best thing is to submit a fresh feed daily. It will help Google to receive your most updated and accurate data. Double check your price and sale price fields.
WooCommerce Product Feed plugin supports automatic feed generation at a scheduled time. The plugin generates data feed or product feed to Sync your products with your merchant center including Google shopping.
If a specific product is no longer going on but still you are sending the sale price, then that may be the reason where the problem is occurring. To get rid of this error in the future, you can use the “sale price date” in the feed, as it indicates when the sale is going on.
If you use WooCommerce Product Feed plugin, you can create your own rules to make sure you are sending the sales price when the product is on sale and the original price when the product is not on sale.
2. Item requires a GTIN :
It’s essential to get your feed up to speed, with Google cracking down on GTIN values. Before it was just a warning, but after May 2016, it is supposed to be upgraded to an error.
How to fix:
Please make sure to provide an accurate GTIN for all products that require them. Are you confused about whether your products need a GTIN or not? You can check Google’s UPC guideline. Also, you can look at the barcode to find your products GTIN. Reaching out to the product’s manufacturer is another option.
3. Invalid shipping and tax:
Within Google Merchant Center, we often notice that merchants forget to set up their tax and shipping information. You can either setup this at the account level or with item level overrides. I suggest to set up within the account itself.
How to fix:
To set up tax, go to tax information in your merchant center, and go to shipping rule to set up shipping from your settings. If you need help to set up these rules, then you can check guidelines from Google’s help center.
4. Invalid images:
An image is a requirement of Google for all products in your data feed. If your pictures result in a 404 error, you may receive this error. Accepted formats are PNG, JPEG, non-animated GIF, BMP, etc. Don’t forget to note that apparel items require at least 250 x 250 pixels for an image.
How to fix:
Double check your image URLs before sending them in a feed to make sure they take you to the product’s image and check that if they follow Google’s requirements or not.
5. Policy violation:
Every merchant must pay attention to Google, as it has some content restrictions. For example, Google may consider any products as dangerous, such as ammunition, switchblades, firecrackers, etc. Many merchants fail to notice these restrictions because they are used to selling similar items on their website or to other channels.
How to fix:
All restricted products should be removed from your data feed. This tedious process can be much less of pain if you use a feed plugin like WooCommerce Product feed. You can create a rule to submit products where the name does not contain “firecrackers.”
Moreover, WooCommerce Product Feed is highly customizable, having access to more than 100 merchant sites and also very responsive to user commands.
I hope this article will help you to avoid all the mentioned errors. You may have to miss out more sales and impressions if you take more time fixing Google Merchant Center errors. So, it’s up to you how you can handle.