The most frequently product feeds are declined because they do not meet rigid Google formatting requirements or rules. What are these requirements? Let’s find out possible product data feed problems and learn how effectively correct them.
Google does not always clearly explain the reasons for which feed is blocked or rejected. Here are a few steps that will help you determine the cause of problems with feed and perform proper product feed management.
Does Google decline products?
If you sell via Google AdWords or perform marketing by means of Google, you should send the data through your account in Google Merchant Center. There is a range of specific requirements to feeds: in particular, to their format, content, compliance with the rules of Google. Exactly non-compliance of a feed to one of those numerous Google merchant data requirements is the most often cause of problems.
Does your product feed correspond to Google data feed specifications?
Wrong look and content of the data feed are the main reasons why your product can be rejected. Your feed must comply with the Google Products Feed Specification for formatting and content criteria. Remember that if you offer unique products (antiques, product set) or goods of a specified category (e.g. clothing), the specifications for product feed will be different.
Does your feed include forbidden products?
Google has a special list of product categories that are forbidden for promotion by means of Google Shopping. For example, this list includes medicines and products related to gambling. Google will not give you a pass in case your product feed includes products which may be related to one of these forbidden categories. For example, a toy gun may be related to prohibited category of “weapons”, because there is a word “gun” in a title or a product description.
Additives containing prohibited ingredients can also cause problems with a feed. Google does not always indicate exactly which foods are problematic in a feed and, in addition, some of the ingredients that can cause a failure are not even listed in the list of prohibited ones. If you sell antiques or collectibles you should familiarize yourself with the rules on the Used and Refurbished Items.
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Are there errors in the feeds of your Google Merchant account?
If the feed meets all Google merchant data feed requirements but it is still declined, you need to make sure there are no other errors. Take advantage of using Google merchant tools and regularly check your account for errors and feeds mistakes. You can see the overall data on feeds in AdWords, Google Merchant Center provides more detailed report on data quality issues and opportunities for optimization (you can get this data in the “Data Quality” tab). Errors may cause your products to be partially or fully rejected.
You’ll notice that Google does not provide a complete list of problem products or errors, instead it provides several examples for your reference – 3-5 for a page. It is very likely that apart from those listed by Google, there are other products having similar problems, so make sure to check the feed as one piece.
Critical errors and optimization tips
Do not forget that critical errors may be the cause for blocking your feeds in Google. This relates primarily to the products that do not meet some of the Google rules. Feed Optimization Tips (you can find them on the same tab as the information about data quality issues) relate to the changes that Google strongly recommends to implement.
Regain Google trust
Having corrected all the errors in your product feed and having made sure that the products do not violate Google guidelines, do not forget to inform Google about your efforts. Let them know you have eliminated the errors and uploaded a new feed. You have only one week to eliminate the errors in case you received a warning. If at the end of this term the errors are not corrected, your account is blocked and items removed from Google.
Be persistent but polite in case you discuss the problem with Google support team. In addition to checking your Google Merchant account it is advised to watch Google news in its blog devoted to e-commerce.