Optimizing Your Google Base Data Feeds
In my last post, I discussed Google Base very generally as a Google service on the rise. Please take a look at my last article if you are not familiar with Google Base. Now that we know a little bit about what Google Base is and how it works, we should focus on using the service successfully to increase sales and website conversions. It is one thing to simply add a product to Google Base, but how can we optimize these products to be as successful as possible?
Why should we spend time optimizing products for Google Base?
Let’s start by discussing why we should even bother with using Google Base. First and foremost, let’s look at the placement of Google Onebox Results when compared to organic search results. OneBox results are actually placed above the organic search results. As far as page real estate goes, this is extremely significant in terms of the number of impressions and clicks you will get on your product listing.
It is also important to note that Google Base uses the information from Base listings for more than just Google OneBox results. This data may also be displayed in Google Product Search (previously Froogle), organic search results, Google Maps, Google Image Search and more. That adds up to a variety of exposure your site could potentially receive from a single Google Base listing.
How to Optimize your Data Feeds
Now we will get into some specific guidelines that will help you increase the effectiveness of your product listings and thus increase your product conversion rates.
Do Your Keyword Research: Before filling out any information on your data feed, use Google’s Keyword Tool External to find out what people are searching for. You can then optimize your product title and description accordingly. This is very similar to SEO for title and Meta tags. Limit your title to about 65-70 characters and your description to about 160 or so. Also be sure to include your desired keywords, about two or three of them, in both your title and description.
Automate Your Data Feeds: Schedule to have your data feeds automatically sent to and updated in Google Base. Create an xml or txt data feed on your website and then simply supply Google Base with the location of this file. You can then specify how often (daily, weekly, or monthly) you would like Google to update you product listings based on the information from this file. To create the xml or txt data feed for your products, try using shopping cart add-ons such as this one for Drupal or this for osCommerce.
Product ID: Each product in your data feed will have a unique product id. Be sure to keep this id consistent when updating your data feeds.
Product Type: Google Base uses product taxonomy to categorize your products. Be sure you use the correct categories and are as specific as possible. You can view the taxonomy structure here.
Include Relevant Information: Be sure to provide as much relevant information as possible. Google Base has three categories of product attributes; mandatory, recommended, and optional. Include all of the mandatory and recommended attributes and as many of the optional attributes as possible.
Important Attributes: There are a few product attributes that are very important to include in your listings. The first is tax and shipping information; Google Base will often give better listing placements when these two attributes are clearly defined. The second is a quality picture for the same reason. Do not include a general picture or company logo. Finally, include the Manufacturer’s Part Number (MPN) or Universal Product Code (UPC) when possible. This will assist people who search for a very specific product.
Target Country: Make sure you select a target country for your listings. This will both increase the relevancy and quality of your traffic as well as lower your bounce rates.
Custom Attributes: This is extremely important for achieving good results on Google Base. You can define any custom product attribute you want that will help customers find your products. For example, if you are selling an LCD TV you could define the following attributes; model number, screen size, resolution, aspect ration, brightness, response time, etc. That way when someone searches ‘LCD TV 52” 1080p’ your product will have a better chance of coming up versus other listings that have not included this information.
Data Feed Format: Make sure your data feed is formatted correctly. Simply review Google Base Help for formatting guidelines to be sure you don’t have any errors in your data feed.
Track Your Listings: Make sure you track your items through Google Analytics. You can then find out what is successful and what is not. Be sure to adjust your listings based on feedback from Google Analytics. You can find information on tracking your products with Google Analytics here.
Build Up Your Seller Rating: Simply put, Google Base will give priority and higher rankings to products sold by a seller or store with a lot of positive ratings. One suggestion would be to encourage your customers to leave feedback for your store on Google. Offer them a small discount or free shipping on their next purchase if they leave a review.
By providing Google Base with a lot of specific and quality information, your products will tend to rank for longer tail keywords, such as ‘Samsung LCD TV 52” 1080p.’ When searchers are typing in these longer tail and highly specific keywords, they are more likely to be in a position to buy the product rather than just browsing. This is what will separate product listings that do ok from the ones that absolutely kill it with very high conversion rates. Now that you have a basic guideline, you are ready to optimize your Google Base data feeds.
If you need more help we offer shopping feed optimization and managment services. Let us do the work!