It was June 6 of last year that Google stated that they would take down products on accounts that failed to provide shipping information, which was then extended to September 1, and is now being revisited once again with a warning within the Google merchant center login:
Furthermore Google warns that it will begin to take down products that don’t have proper Google Product Category values as well.
In a recent blog post:
Items that don’t include Tax and Shipping information or contain incorrect Google Product Category attribute values may soon fail to process for inclusion in Google Product Search. Please click on X of X items inserted under the Data feeds tab to see whether your products are affected.
As we’ve preached previously, it’s always a good idea to regularly log into your Google Merchant Center account to make sure everything is going smoothly since Google may not be the best at warning merchants of these types of errors–and it’s anyone’s guess when “may soon” may occur.
If a merchant can’t provide accurate tax and shipping information, Google recommends and accepts estimated values:
For example, you can provide tax as well as shipping cost for each product and region/zipcode individually by using the tax and shipping attributes. Please estimate tax and shipping costs such that the total cost in Product Search results is either correct or overestimated for the majority of users.
In terms of categorization, while it’s a good idea for feed optimization purposes to include detailed Google Product Categories for each product, it’s not a requirement unless you fall into one of these categories:
Apparel & Accessories > Clothing
Apparel & Accessories > Shoes
Apparel & Accessories
Media > Books
Media > DVDs & Videos
Media > Music
Software > Video Game Software
So if your products don’t belong to one of those, and you don’t have the time/resources to include provide detailed information you have three choices:
- contact these guys 🙂
- not include the column at all, or
- include as granular a level as you can for your categories, such as “Furniture > Bedroom Furniture” (or even just “Furniture”) in place of “Furniture > Bedroom Furniture > Storage Chests > Toy Chests”
So will Google finally begin to enforce a policy they’ve discussed that they would be enforcing for close to a year now?
Only time can tell…and if you happen to run into time, ask him/her and let us know as well 🙂