SEO

The Dos & Dont's of Google Base: Avoid the Headaches & Keep Making Money

Over the past few months I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Google Base. Some days it has brought in DOUBLE the amount of sales vs organic search and some days it has gone down without any notice. Below are some Dos & Don’ts to help understand what is beneficial, what will get your feed booted, and how this data appears in webmaster tools.

Dos:

1. Update the feed once a week. Even if nothing has changed, uploading a new feed will keep your feed from expiring. We have also noticed a slight drop after hasn’t been updated for 20 days. If it goes 30 days, the feed expires and all your products will be gone from shopping results.

2. Communicate any problems through googlebase-support@google.com. After an initial dislike for finding a feed booted, they have been extremely responsive for a general email address.

3. Check to make sure your products are Active and that the feed hasn’t been disapproved at least once a day. You will most likely NOT receive an email letting you know your products have been disapproved and just checking GA for traffic, sometimes delayed, is not enough. Finding your feed is down on Thursday night vs Friday morning means you can probably catch the support email team when they check Friday morning (responses have typically come back through email between 6-9am EST) and not have to wait over the weekend for a response (haven’t received response emails over weekends ever.)

4. Know what keywords drive traffic and use these in descriptive titles & descriptions. Solid keyword research is essential for any successful SEO campaign and it’s not different applying that to your Googlebase feed. If you were to target Apache Skis by K2 (no volume) instead of K2 Apache Skis (over 50,000 searches/year), you may not show up for the later phrase. If your company was in the top 3 shopping results showing up in universal search AND you get .5% of all search traffic AND convert 10% of that traffic, that’s $7500 extra annually for JUST ONE PRODUCT. Do solid keyword research and be rewarded.

Don’ts:

1. List rebate pricing or quantity discount pricing. Your feed will be booted without notice once discovered. At the same time, report companies using rebate/quantity discount pricing. With a simple email to GBase, we had the feed from the largest site in a specific health field booted and it was reloaded again with actual prices 1/3 higher than previously stated. Keep single item pricing in the price field and report on the other jokers doing anything differently.

2. Place open links in your feed unless you want to have a crazy spike in organic traffic/conversions. Make sure you place that tracking snippet on the end of the product page link. Also, know that if your product is listed in the three shopping results and the shopping results are ranking in position 3, webmaster tools will not report the fact that it is your shopping results ranking vs the actual product page. This may throw you for a quick loop when all of a sudden webmaster tools reports incredibly high rankings for keywords you know shouldn’t be there yet.

3. Give up if your feed is getting denied over and over again. This is a filter that need manual approval. Email support and attach your feed to have them manually approve it.

4. Include shipping & handling in your description. This is considered promotional jargon and it will boot your feed. This includes having the word “handling” anywhere in your description. This triggered a match in one of our product descriptions, “ease of handling”, and the whole feed was booted.

While the above lists are a short guideline, these are just a few large items that can help make your experience with Google Base involve more love than hate.

Have any Dos & Don’ts to add? Post’em and we can all learn.