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SEARCHENGINES

Google Merchant Center Product Data Specification Updates For 2023

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Google has done its yearly update for its Merchant Center product data specification. Some of the changes listed below went into effect yesterday, some go into effect July 18, 2023 and some don’t go into effect until September 1, 2023.

The last time Google updated the Merchant Center product data specification was in April 2022 and then before that in April 2021, so it seems like this update happening in July is a bit behind schedule.

Here is a copy and paste of the changes listed here:

Changes beginning immediately (June 15, 2023)

Expanding the list of countries where shipping cost is required: Shipping cost is the cost charged by a shipping carrier or other costs directly related to shipping. It’s provided using the shipping [shipping] attribute or through account shipping settings. Shipping cost is one of the most common reasons for customers to abandon their shopping choices, so offering accurate information can help the performance of your ads and free listings. Shipping cost is recommended in all countries, but only required for certain countries.

We’re expanding the list of countries where shipping cost is required and enforced to additional countries in the EEA (European Economic Area). Offers without shipping cost will now be disapproved in these countries:

  • Denmark
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Slovakia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Romania

We’re also expanding the list to include the following countries:

You’ll start receiving warnings if you’re missing a required shipping cost in these 3 countries. Learn more about the shipping [shipping] attribute.

New certification attribute: The certification [certification] attribute is used to describe certifications like energy efficiency ratings, and will allow for compliance with updated EU energy efficiency labeling regulation for products covered by rescaled EU energy labels.

For products registered in the EU EPREL database, you may be required to show the EU energy efficiency class in graphic form on your Shopping ads and free listings. Provide the certification [certification] attribute in your product data for these products. Google will look up your product in the EPREL database and render the appropriate energy efficiency class in graphic form on your Shopping ads and free listings.

The certification [certification] attribute supports 3 required sub-attributes:

  • Authority [certification_authority]: This represents the authority or certification body responsible for issuing the certification. We currently only support the values “EC” or “European_Commission”.
  • Name [certification_name]: Currently, we only support the value “EPREL”, which represents energy efficiency certifications in the EU European Registry for Energy Labeling (EPREL) database.
  • Code [certification_code]: This is the code for the certification. For example, the code for the EPREL certificate with the link “https://eprel.ec.europa.eu/screen/product/dishwashers2019/123456” is “123456”.

Learn more about the certification certification [certification].

To render the energy efficiency attribute in textual form (for non-rescaled products) keep providing the existing energy efficiency class [energy_efficiency_class] attributes.

Availability required instead of the quantity for local inventory ads and free local listings: Previously, the quantity [quantity] attribute was required and the availability [availability] attribute was optional for local inventory feeds. To simplify setup, we’re making the availability [availability] attribute required and quantity [quantity] optional. Google will begin warning merchants who don’t use the availability [availability] attribute in their local inventory feeds.

Updated guidance regarding multiple prices on your product pages: If your landing page has multiple prices, such as price for other variants, original currency, or promotional prices, we require the additional prices to be clearly differentiable from the advertised base price. For example, if you show the base price and a members-only price on your landing page, then it should be clear to the user which price is the advertised base price and which price is for members-only.

Changes beginning July 18, 2023

Extend the expiration of offers based on website crawls: Google routinely crawls your mobile and desktop product pages to check for quality issues. We’ll begin to automatically extend the expiration date of products that are about to expire if we detect them as still valid on your landing pages based on website crawls.

If you do not want us to automatically extend the expiration date of your product then you need to supply the expiration date [expiration date] attribute to provide the date you want your product to expire.

Changes beginning September 1, 2023

Products that misuse out_of_stock availability will be disapproved: The availability [availability] attribute tells users whether or not a product you’ve listed is in stock, and should accurately represent the state of your product. Previously, the availability [availability] attribute could be used to pause and unpause ads from showing on Google. Instead, you should now use the pause [pause] attribute, which was introduced last year, to temporarily stop products from showing.

Google will disapprove products on ads that use the value out_of_stock for products that are in stock on your landing page. Learn more about the pause [pause] attribute

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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SEARCHENGINES

Daily Search Forum Recap: July 11, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google said the feedback around the last core update was really helpful. Google Ads is testing double-row shopping ad carousels. Google Ads also tests a “people also browsed” carousel. Google Business Profiles has new Consumer Alerts. Google is testing thin video search snippets. Google expanded translated results to more languages.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google: SEO Feedback On The Last Core Update Was Really Helpful


    Google’s John Mueller said in a video he posted yesterday that the feedback submitted and Google collected around the March 2024 core update has “been really helpful in evaluations and discussions.” He added the Google teams have “been reviewing with the search quality and ranking teams.”

  • Google Ads: Double Row Carousel Shopping Search Ads


    Google seems to be testing a new ad format with two rows of shopping ads in the search results in a carousel format, so you can scroll through more shopping ads at the same time. I don’t believe I’ve seen this format before – have you?

  • Google Ads Tests People Also Browsed Carousel


    Google is also testing this new ad format labeled “People also browsed.” I guess this shows you what other products on Google searchers looked at for a similar query and is now showing you ads that match those browser sessions for those queries.

  • Google Expands Translated Search Results To More Languages


    Google is now showing the translated search results feature in more languages, adding Arabic, Gujarati, Korean, Persian, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese to the list of of now 21 languages.

  • Google Search Tests Thin Video Snippets


    Google is testing a new video format for its search results in the mobile search results. This test shows thinner video search result snippets with smaller video thumbnails.

  • Google Business Profiles Consumer Alerts Document


    Google Business Profiles can include consumer alerts on them, which will notify those viewing your local listing on Google about a possible violation or suspension of spam. These alerts can show a banner, they can result in review posting restrictions and reviews being removed.

  • Google Math Competition


    Google held a math competition for nearly 200 students at the D.C. office recently. Here is one of many photos from that event that I found on Instagram.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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SEARCHENGINES

Daily Search Forum Recap: July 10, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


The Google volatility tracking tools showed some big movement from Google but the SEO community doesn’t seem to sync up on that. Google Ads is enabling broad match by default for new search campaigns. Bing Search now hides coupons in the explore menu. Google is testing shifting the logo right. Google is testing from sources across the web with a web overlay.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Tools Show July 9th Google Search Ranking Volatility But Chatter Limited


    Many of the Google Search ranking volatility tracking tools are showing a spike in volatility over the past day or so. But I need to say that the chatter is pretty limited, relatively limited, compared to what the tools are showing. I am wondering if maybe the tools picked up on some of those indexing issues from the other night or maybe there is something deeper going on?

  • Google Ads Enabling Broad Match By Default For New Search Campaigns


    Google now enables broad match by default when you create new search campaigns within Google Ads. Previously, this was not on by default, but now it is, according to Thomas Eccel, a Google Ads consultant.

  • Google Tests From Sources Across The Web Overlay


    Google seems to be testing a new user experience for the “from sources across the web” search feature. Instead of showing a carousel or content on the search results page, Google is testing popping up an overlay that you can scroll through with more details.

  • Bing Search Now Shows Coupons In The Explore Menu


    Bing Search is now showing coupons deeper in the search results interface, where you now need to click (or hover over) the explore menu icon to see them. Previously, Bing would show these as buttons or labels under the search result snippets, which make them more visible for the searcher.

  • Google Tests Shifting Google Logo Right In Search Results


    Google is testing shifting the Google logo on the search results page to the right. Instead of it showing on the left with nothing below it, Google shifted it to the right, aligned left with the search result listings.

  • Google Car Parking Permit


    Here is a photo of a Google parking permit for the Central Way Plaza location, which I think is in Kirkland, Seattle. This was shared on X. I don’t think I’ve shared a Google parking permit before, so here you go.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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SEARCHENGINES

Daily Search Forum Recap: July 9, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Last night, Google had another indexing outage where it was not indexing new content for about an hour. Google is testing country labels in the search result snippets. Google has a new IPTC digital source type that it understands named compositeWithTrainedAlgorithmicMedia. Bing is testing nutrion labels in the image results. Google changed its mind on ads for opioid painkillers. Google Merchant Center and Google Ads is switching to the new feed label.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Search Bug: Not Indexing or Serving New Content Again


    Google Search is currently having yet another indexing bug, similar to what Google Search experienced just about two weeks ago on June 20th. Google is not indexing new content that was recently published in the past hour or so.

  • Google Tests Country Label In Search Result Snippets


    Google may be testing showing which country the site operates in with a country label attached to the search result snippet. In the example below, Google is showing a “South African” label with the country flag and the country written out at the top of the snippet next to the site name.

  • Google Ads Changes Its Mind – Will Not Allow Opioid Painkillers Ads


    Last month we reported that Google Ads began to allow some ads for opioid painkillers, like to discuss awareness and abuse. Well, Google decided to “indefinitely pausing this policy update” and not allow search ads for opioid painkillers.

  • Google Search Extracts Composite Images With Trained Algorithmic Media Types


    Google Search now supports a new IPTC digital source type for images which seems to be about reading if an image was made in help with AI. Google added compositeWithTrainedAlgorithmicMedia to the IPTC photo metadata documentation this morning.

  • Google Ads & Google Merchant Center Country of Sale Migrating To New Feed Label


    A couple of years ago, I reported that Google has changed how your feeds work in Merchant Center for countries by removing the need to list a primary country and additional countries and replacing them with target countries. Now Google is emailing advertisers letting them know that if you are currently using Country of Sale it will migrate to the feed label functionality.

  • Bing Search Tests Labeling Images With Nutrition Details


    Bing is testing adding nutritional details to images in its search results. It includes labeling food products with “high calcium,” “lean protein,” “anti-inflammatory,” and other labels.

  • Doogler With Google Laptop & NY Coffee


    Here is a photo the Life at Google channel shared of a cute dog where a Google bandana, at a laptop, drinking from a New York mug at the Google office. Dogs at Google are Dooglers, by the way.



Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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