The simple answer is yes, if you have an ecommerce website. Just because you don’t plan on investing in Google Ads, having a free Google Merchant Centre account can still be beneficial for your business. 

What is Google Merchant Centre 

Google Merchant Centre links to a ecommerce website and pulls through all your products. If you are doing Google Shopping Ads, then you will need to set up a Google Merchant Centre and link it to your Google Ads Account. 
 
One of the features of Google Merchant Centre is that it may show your products for free in the Shopping Tab and also further down the main search content. The first row of products at the top of the page are sponsored adverts, but this doesn’t mean that potential customers won’t scroll down the page or open the Shopping Tab for more options. 
 
You can also see the results of how frequently your products have been seen and any purchases that have resulted from the free listings in your Merchant Centre account. Even if you are doing Google Shopping Ads, you can still appear in the free listings. 
Merchant Centre Set Up

Setting up your Google Merchant Centre 

Depending on your website platform, will depend on how you link your website to Google Merchant Centre. The process is different if you have a Shopify website or a WordPress website, or another website platform. So the best place to find how to link your website to Google Merchant Centre is to visit Google’s help section. 
The link below walks you through how to set your account up and link to your website. 
If you have a Shopify website, once you have set up the Merchant account, the link below will help you link to your Shopify website products. 
If you have a WordPress website, there are a number of Plugins that can help you with our feed. Some have free versions, which may be sufficient, but there are also paid versions with additional functionality. Here is a link to shopping feed WordPress Plugins. 

Syncing your products to your merchant feed 

Ecommerce product sync
It might seem quite daunting setting the merchant centre up, but it is worth it. Depending on how you have linked your website to your account, will depend on how quickly your products appear. If you have just entered your website URL and asked Google to find your products, this can take a few days for them all to appear. If you have created a direct feed from your website, or manually uploaded your products, them they will be visible after the first sync or upload. 
There are two versions of the merchant centre, the original Google Merchant Centre or the new version Google Merchant Centre Next. Google is planning on moving all accounts to the new Google Merchant Centre Next this year, and all new accounts will be in Google Merchant Centre Next, so for this reason we will only be discussing the new Next version. 
 
Once your products are synced you will need to check for any issues. If you go to the Products tab, you will see all your products listed. You will also see a tab at the top which says Needs Attention. Here you will find any products that haven’t been approved. Unfortunately, if you have a very large range of products this can take some time to correct, as you will need to review each product individually. 

Product Errors in Merchant Centre 

If you have a lot of errors that are all the same, then it will be worth correcting what you can within your website as that way, the next update will correct your feed in one go. 
 
The biggest issue we see is missing Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) values, so if you are selling products from another company, ensure that you include the GTIN within your website products. When a GTIN is available, it will appear next to the barcode on your product's packaging or book cover. 
 
Not all products have GTINs, if you are selling your own products, that do not have a registered GTIN, ensure that you include your Brand Name and the Manufacturing Part Number (MPN). 

Having issues with your feed? 

You may have tried everything that you can and are still experiencing issues with your products or your feed. There is a lot of helpful information that you can find and how to’s. Although sometimes there can be too much information and you just need a helping hand. 

If you’re struggling to set up your Google Merchant Centre for free listings or would like some help with Google Ads, then please get in touch.  

 
We can have a coffee and a chat. 
Call us on 01604 698 948 or email hello@tj-marketing.co.uk  
 
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