Google Shopping campaigns are perfect for all ecommerce businesses and businesses with an online shop that sells products.
Put simply, a shopping feed is cost effective and tends to lead towards higher conversions when compared to traditional pay per click models, and as it becomes more and more popular, the system behind it continues to improve, with the latest release of the Google Merchant Centre proving this PPC platform really has evolved along with demand.
However, they are not the easiest things in the world to set up and get approved, as they have to meet a large list of requirements before your products even hit the dizzy heights of the Google front page, which is where many retailers are put off and simply forget about this option for their online marketing. There are many, many reasons why your feed might get rejected, which once again, can be a barrier to a business moving forward, but if you do get your feed approved and appearing in the engines, then success is only a click away.
So, here are the 6 most common reasons I have found when it comes to shopping feeds being disapproved, and although there are many more, these are the main ones that are most likely to not only prevent your feed going live, but also result in your feed being suspended as well as disapproved.
Lack Of Product Information
This is by far the most common reason for the feed not being approved, as if you do not have the right amount of product information, or you are missing vital product identification details, then your products will not make it through automatic validation, let alone manual. You can see the full specification that you need to make sure your feed conforms to here, but generally, you need to make sure you tick as many boxes as you can. You need at least two out of the three identifiers when it comes to SKU, GTIN or MPN, and you also need to make sure your products are correctly labelled with things like condition and price and are placed in the correct categories, so it is worth trying to make the feed as near to perfect as you can before submitting to your merchant account.
SSL On Checkout
For your shopping campaign to be accepted, you must have a secure checkout, which means an SSL on your shop is pretty much required and vital. Your whole site does not have to be SSL if you do not want to go down this road, but your shopping checkout pages and account pages must be, and as there are minor ranking benefits and of course consumer confidence when it comes to implementing SSL, it is probably something you should be considering on your website anyway.
Missing Terms And Conditions
You need to make sure your site has full terms and conditions, including a full and clear refund and returns policy, as this is now a fundamental requirement of Google Shopping, as if you do not have this on your site or you do not make it easy to find, then it results in an immediate rejection. You really should have this as a retailer anyway, but having valid terms and conditions and refund and returns policies clearly displayed and easily findable is crucial to making sure you can use Google Shopping for your PPC.
Missing Payment Options
Google require that you display the payment options clearly on your shop, so that consumers know how they can pay and if you have a payment option that suits them. Whilst this might sound strange, people have a right to know the payment methods you accept before they spend an age choosing products and then heading to the checkout, so make sure you display your payment options as clearly as you can at all times to make sure this issue does not affect your campaign.
Not as common as some of the other things I mention here, but your feed can be rejected if your website has problems. This can range from the site basically being down and the feed not being accessible, through to problems with your Robots.txt blocking vital areas that Google needs to access. Although they will tell you the rejection reason, this can take quite a bit of digging around to find the true technical problem, so this is the time when you might need to contact a specialist shopping Google Partner or speak to their support team directly.
Lack Of Contact Information
You need to be displaying full contact information, including your main address and other contact details, as this is now a requirement and an increasingly common reason for the account being rejected when you first submit your feed. Make sure you have a contact page with all the details any customer would expect to find and also make sure this page is easy to find and not tucked away somewhere, otherwise not only will your customers struggle to find it, but so will the manual reviewer of your submitted shopping feed.