What is Google Merchant Center?

Definition: Google Merchant Center is a tool online stores use to optimize how their products appear across Google Shopping, ads, and other services. Through Merchant Center, online stores assign structured data to products, ensuring Google can accurately understand values like names, descriptions, pictures, prices, availability, and more. Signing up for Merchant Center is the simplest way to make sure your online store and products are quickly compatible with and represented consistently across Google merchant services.

Why doesn’t Google pull product information for me?

Not all data on your eCommerce website is a structured in a way that Google can automatically read and categorize it. (Think pricing or availability information.) Through Google Merchant Center, you can help Google contextualize important information so your products show up with clear context for potential buyers.

How do I get started with Google Merchant Center?

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to get set up on Google Merchant Center.

  1. If you don’t have one already, sign up for a Google Account.
  2. Verify your business through Google My Business.
  3. Go to www.google.com/merchants.
  4. Enter information (like name, URL, and primary contact info) about your online store.
  5. Accept the terms and conditions.
  6. Verify and claim your online store’s website.
  7. Set up a data feed.
  8. Add your product information for each of your products to the Google Spreadsheet for your data feed.

You’re all set!

Where do my listings show up?

The first (and most important) benefit of setting up your account is a categorical listing in Google Search results. Google Shopping is a subset of search that adds context like pictures, availability, and pricing in a clearly marked “shopping” area of the results. The added context increases the likelihood that potential customers will click through to your online store.

If paid advertising is core to your marketing plan, Merchant Center also makes sure your products are compatible with AdWords, a critical component of any online advertising strategy. Setting up your products in Merchant Center makes your products pop in search ads and ensure shoppers follow a direct path to the right product page on your site.

One last great benefit of having your products configured for Merchant Center is quick integration with Google Analytics and specialized metrics for search and ad performance. You can quickly set up a specialized view to parse this performance data out from your website performance data (assuming you’re using Google Analytics to measure your website performance, of course).

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