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Fixing Disapprovals In Your Google Shopping Feed Within Google Merchant Center (Part 1 fo 2)

Developing and Optimizing your Google Product Feed can be an extremely difficult task in and of itself. Never mind having to worry about finding your Google Product Feed running over with nuisance Disapprovals laying everywhere. I’ve recently come across an instance where a client had a number of Disapprovals surfacing one after the other. Once we had one of the Disapprovals taken care of, another would appear, and I would have to decipher that one and then fix it accordingly. This can become a painstaking process alone, as I previously mentioned. It’s because of this that I have decided to put together an article that will explain a number of the most commonly found Disapprovals that my clients have come across over the years. I hope you find this helpful in assisting you with any issues that you may encounter along the way as well. Now, let us get started with our first reason for Disapproval.

  1. Improper Availability Recorded: Google will send you a notice via email stating that “Your account is currently at risk of suspension because Google Shopping doesn’t allow product listings with inaccurate availability status…”. “…We found that many items in your product data do not accurately reflect the availability of the products on their landing pages. Please update your product data to ensure that each item reflects accurate availability both in the product information you submit to Google Shopping and the corresponding product pages on your website”. You have 3 different attributes that you can choose from, those being:
    1. “in stock”
    2. “out of stock”
    3. “preorder”

The obvious answer or solution here is to simply update the current feed with the inventory levels that are currently reflected on your website. However, a note of caution, please make sure that you don’t save your feed as a new feed. Make sure to overwrite your current feed, otherwise Google will have to reverify every product and any progress that was previously made. This will cost your Google Shopping campaigns more time so that Google can reevaluate the products and place them in Google Shopping. Yes, the products are the same as before, but in the eyes of Google they are new and need to be reevaluated.

  1. Your Product Pricing Is Not Correct: This is basically pointing out to you that the price that’s located in your price field of the Google Product Feed doesn’t coincide with the price that is currently located on your website. There are a couple reasons you will find that this Disapproval could happen to your Google Product Feed:
    1. You may find that some eCommerce stores will have prices that fluctuate during multiple times of the day for any individual SKU. If Google finds that the price you have documented in the product feed does not match the price that is reflected on the website currently, then you can find yourself having to fix a number of these Disapprovals.
    2. The other reason is a little more advanced as you may find that if you have Product Variations, you can sometimes have different prices for different variations of a product. In this case you can easily find, at times, that you may have a parent product’s price listed as the price for the product variation. If Google finds that the variation price differs on your website, then you will find yourself fixing a number of these Disapprovals.

Google finds these types of violations by using automated crawling, and then issues the Disapproval for your product feed. Once the Disapproval has been given, the associated products will no longer show on Google Shopping until the reasoning for the disapproval has been rectified properly.

  1. Your Product Listing May Be Showing A Price That Isn’t The Currency For Your Target Location or Country: There are times when simple things just always seem to get in the way. We end up overlooking these simple things, and then spend an eternity trying to track down a solution to a problem that doesn’t even exist. For example, we think to ourselves that it could not be something as simple as having the wrong currency for the country that you are showing your products in.

There are some sites that only show their products in a single country. In this case, obviously you only need to worry about using that single currency. However, if you find yourself showing your products across Google Shopping for multiple countries, then your best bet would be to have multiple feeds that each target an individual country. The only thing that you need to remember with this solution though is to make sure that you have the correct currency associated with the proper feed for that specific country.

  1. Having Keywords That Are Disallowed Or Simply Are Restricted Products: Google Policy puts a ban on the use or advertisement of certain product categories that contain keywords that Google does not allow the use of. Some of these categories are straight forward, such as guns or firearms. Others, such as cars, may not make sense. Although I feel that Google will more than likely put together a “Google Auto Trader” type service in the future that allows for something like this. Lastly, there are still other categories like prescription drugs that will cause a disapproval as well. Here is a list of Prohibited Content for your Google Shopping Feed:
    1. Counterfeit Products/Goods: Google will not allow the promotion or sale of any type of counterfeit products. Counterfeit Products can best be described as items that have either a logo or a trademark that cannot be distinguished from the actual manufacturer or is physically identical to the manufacturers logo or trademark, but is not actually made by the original manufacturer.
    2. Dangerous Products or Items: Google’s initiative to help keep people safe and protected both offline and online is what leads them to not allow the sale or promotion of products that have the ability to cause physical injury, harm, or even damage to another human being. Some examples of products that Google may consider “dangerous” are as follows:
      1. Psychoactive substances
      2. Equipment that may be used to help produce or speed up the production of drugs and/or drug use.
  • Recreational drugs, both herbal and/or chemical
  1. Ammunition
  2. Weapons
  3. Explosive products including fireworks
  • Instructions that help to make explosives and/or fireworks
  • Tobacco
  1. Products or Services That Promote Dishonest Behavior: Including the following:
    1. Software for hacking, including instructions as well.
    2. Fake identification documents, or the like.
  • Products promoting cheating at the academic level.
  1. Content Understood To Be Inappropriate and/or Offensive: Including the following:
    1. Racial discrimination of all kinds.
    2. Bullying and/or Intimidation of others or any specific individual.
  • Hate speech or group paraphernalia
  1. The promotion of graphic images that relate to both crime scenes and accidents.
  2. Animal cruelty
  3. Murder
  • Blackmail and/or extortion
  • Either the trade or sale of any, and all, endangered species.

To fix these issues, you will need good old man/woman power. There is no way around this disapproval topic other than to identify which of the above that you may be in violation of and then start cleaning it up. Sometimes these issues can be widespread, and other times only affecting a few items. Either way, the  road to approval is to dive in and get dirty!

That’s all for today, but find me here again soon with a follow-up “Part 2” as I continue to run through the most common Disapproval reasons that you may run into with Google Product Feeds and how you can fix them.


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With fifteen and a half years of Digital Marketing experience, Ed Cehi joined That Company as a PPC Account Manager in 2010 after previously working at another high-profile Florida Web Design and Marketing Agency located in Ocala, Florida for the seven years previous. He started his career in Internet Marketing as a Web Designer after graduating from The International Academy of Design and Technology in Orlando Florida with his degree in Web Design. He soon moved on to Search Engine Optimization and then graduated into Paid Advertising following that. Ed is now the Director of SEM at Th@t Company located in Leesburg Florida, just outside of Orlando. You can find him online in multiple social mediums such as Twitter (@edsaxman) and LinkedIn.

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