The Importance of Google Product Taxonomy and Categorization

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A lot of research, time, and work goes into creating a successful Google Shopping campaign. According to a study in Forbes, American retailers spend approximately 76% of their search ad budgets on Google Shopping ads. With so much at stake, it’s critical that you pay attention to campaign details like product categorization and taxonomy.

Google Shopping Taxonomy

The Google Shopping Taxonomy is the list of categories used by Google to define and organize products in a shopping feed. It’s their way of organizing every product ever made into a neat set of categories or departments.

Why Use Google Product Categories?

Google has over 6,000 categories to classify products in a Google Shopping Feed. In order to get a better understanding of what you are selling and display the best match for a search query, Google recommends that you assign categories to your products following their unique product taxonomy.

For categories, such as “Software” and “Apparel & Accessories”, it’s mandatory to use Google’s taxonomy structure when assigning product categories within your shopping feed. However, there are some categories that are not required to use Google’s product categories. Whether it’s a requirement or not, following Google’s product taxonomy is highly recommended.

Product categories enable Google to find products in a data feed that best match a shopper’s search query. This helps shoppers find their way to the right item.

Additionally, your campaign click-through-rate will improve when you have the most accurate descriptions, attributes, and product category listed for each item. The more accurate your product attributes are, the more likely your ad will surface in searches, which in turn will increase your CTR.

What are the ramifications if you don’t assign your products following  Google’s taxonomy?

  • Lost Sales: Customers who browse or use filters when shopping won’t be able to find your products if you’ve miscategorized them. Therefore you’ll want to ensure that you use the right product categories and sub-categories.
  • Increased bidding and ad spend: Your miscategorized products may appear in search queries that are not relevant and thus you may see an increase in clicks but a decrease in conversions. Moreover, you may also have to increase your bidding in Shopping campaigns just to get your products to appear in “relevant” queries.

Ensuring your products are assigned to the right category following Google’s taxonomy can be a daunting task especially if you have thousands of SKUs and its done manually. Luckily Feedonomics can help you categorize millions of products into Google Shopping categories so you don’t have to. Feedonomics lets you easily see your data and write powerful transformation rules to create the absolute best Google Shopping categories for bidding and performance.

About the Author

Brian Roizen is the co-founder and chief architect of Feedonomics, a full-service feed optimization platform that optimizes product data for hundreds of channels. He has been featured on numerous podcasts and webinars, and regularly contributes to Search Engine Land and other industry-leading blogs. Brian graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

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