Google simplifies product listings by using website crawling

Google is simplifying the process of listing products on its platform by introducing automated “website crawl” feeds in Merchant Center. This new feature uses structured data markup on merchant websites to extract up-to-date product information such as titles, pricing, availability, and images. The goal is to reduce the manual labor required to keep product listings current, especially when it comes to changes in assortment and pricing.

The automated feeds in Google’s Merchant Center can potentially save merchants a lot of time and effort when it comes to updating their product listings. Instead of manually uploading feed files, merchants can now rely on the website crawl feature to automatically pull in the necessary information. However, there may be a learning curve involved in ensuring that all products have the correct schema markup, which might not be the responsibility of advertisers on the marketing team.

To use the automated feeds, merchants must implement the required markup for product details such as title, price, availability, and image. They can also provide additional attributes like GTIN, brand, size, and condition through markup or supplemental feeds to enhance their listings.

One of the new features introduced is the alternative “Website” feed experience, which allows merchants to easily toggle automated product ingestion on or off in the Merchant Center. This means that products will be automatically added or removed from the Merchant Center based on the website crawl, eliminating the need for duplication or manual updates.

However, there are challenges that merchants need to consider when using this feature. Proper implementation of structured data is crucial, as well as managing crawl directives via sitemaps and robots.txt to avoid any indexing issues.

Google’s automated feed documentation highlights the use of supplemental feeds to provide additional information. These feeds can be refreshed more frequently, giving merchants greater control over their product listings.

This update aligns with Google’s focus on entities and structured data as core elements of its “AI-first” approach across various products. By reducing the manual labor involved in feed updates, automated product ingestion can make it easier for merchants to participate in Google’s growing array of surfaces, including Search, Shopping, and Images.

Overall, this new feature from Google has the potential to streamline the process of listing products for merchants. While there may be some challenges in implementing the necessary schema markup, the automated website crawl feeds can save time and effort for merchants, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their business. As Google continues to prioritize structured data and entities, these automated feeds are likely to become even more important in the future.

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