merchant center

How do we deal with issues involving family safe content?

We sell lingerie and we come up against a lot of issues with ‘Family safe’ content, but there is no definitive answer as to what in particular is allowed and not allowed. Would be good to find an official response.

This might be a suprise, but Google uses humans to make a lot of these decisions, and the bad news is that they are subjective. This is a combination of human reviews by Google, but also shopper feedback. For your products, I would bet the only safe way to go is to push product photography where the items aren't on a model--but that looks like crap, right? You could also take a look at what your competitors are pushing, or seeing what is getting through, and what is getting kicked back at you. I doubt you'll get a firm answer, as I think Google is totally going with the "I know it when I see it" method of defining unsafe content.

Have questions?  Drop me a line via the Contact form--I love to talk shop.

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API or CSV when working with Google Merchant Center?

Do you use the API or do you provide a CSV file for your feeds to Google Merchant Center? Are there any advantages or disadvantages to either approach?

Great question, let's first start with a quick overview of the different methods for structuring your feed and then how you can manage your feed. Fortunately, most e-commerce platforms have some way of directly submitting your feed to Google Merchant Center or there are cost effective 3rd party solutions for getting a feed to Google, GoDataFeed being a popular choice I've worked with before.

Google supports two types of file formats for uploading a feed to Google Merchant center. They support both a delimited text file or an XML file. For detailed product feed specifications, check out the Product Feed Specification in Googles Merchant Center Help.

Once you've figured out how you are going to structure your feed, then you need to figure out how you are going to manage getting your initial feed to Google and how you'll maintain the feed. All products expire after 30 days so you need to regularly update the status of your products so they are not removed from Google Merchant Center and therefore not available for search within Google Shopping.

For most e-commerce companies you can either upload your feed to Google or you can have Google fetch a feed from a specific location. Another alternative is to use the Content API for Shopping, which let's you programmatically manage your product data and is typically intended for people integrating applications within Google Shopping.

Once upon a time, there was a very good reason to use the API--feeds took a long time to process. Then, if you pushed a feed every hour, you could very easily have feed uploads trip over each other, and your products would be a "pending" purgatory. From what I've seen, feeds are much faster now, so unless you have a particularly huge (hundreds of thousands of products) catalog, you can get along very well with the feed engine to this today. If you have the resources (and are using a language that Google published a library for) to do the API integration, then you'll be even more nimble, but that won't be worth the effort for most folks.

Have questions?  Drop me a line via the Contact form--I love to talk shop.

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