Google to dump product feeds without GTINs

Bar CodeGoogle have published a blog post reminding sellers that they need to include product identifiers in the feeds that they provide to Google.

A Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) uniquely and completely identifies a product in the global marketplace and Google say “We’ve found that providing GTINs in your product data feed increases the likelihood that your offers are matched to the Google Shopping product catalogue. This helps us surface relevant, accurate results on Google Shopping; in fact, early experiments indicate that offers matched to the catalogue receive up to 40% more user clicks than those that do not”.

Starting on the 15th of September it becomes a requirement for Google Shopping feeds targeting Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or the United States to submit valid ‘GTIN’ and ‘Brand’ for all new branded products.

Google will disapprove offers that don’t specify product identifiers or are submitted with invalid GTINs.

For products from a designated brand where no valid GTIN exists (e.g. when you are the only merchant selling a product or for replacement parts), there will be a new feature in the Google Merchant Center to allow you to request a review of disapproved offers.

Of course this could have a small knock on effect on eBay variation listings. eBay were due to implement product identifiers on variation listings but have delayed the Product Identifier roll out on multi variation listings until next year. eBay have said “We believe the percentage of multi-SKU listings impacted is too small to have any measurable impact on SEO”.

It’s no wonder that eBay are so keen to have product identifiers on listings and build a catalogue based inventory system in the way that Amazon have. Not only will this impact SEO on search engines but it also directly affects findability on eBay and enables eBay to compare two listings and present the best offer to buyers knowing that they really are identical products.