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Google Product Categories, How to Get it Right in 2020

Written by Ben Culpin, Posted on August 14, 2018
(Last Updated: March 09, 2020)

[Updated March 2020]
If you want to bring more relevant traffic to your website, the secret lies in nailing Google's Product Categories Taxonomy. 

Often the categories that your various sales channels and marketplaces are using do not correspond to the categories on the shops’ product sites or the categories that a shop system is able to include in a product feed.

A successful ecommerce feed management strategy needs to master categorization to get the best results from online sales efforts. Let's take an example from one of the most popular ecommerce channels out there:

Product Categorization for Google Shopping

Google Product Categories form a fundamental element of all Google Shopping Campaigns, having just as much impact on your campaign performance as:

Product Titles

Images

Product Descriptions

There are over 6000 categories, so being really specific helps Google to understand what type of products you are selling and match them with the right search query, as well as to make them compete in the same auction as other similar products in the same category.

Your Product Category Requirements

In order to make sure that your product listings are approved by Google and show up for the right searches: 

  • Assign your product to the Google Category it most closely matches. If it could be applied to several, select the most relevant example. 

  • Don't cut corners by adding products to a generic category. Being as specific as possible means your Google ads are shown for the most relevant searches. This not only improves the customer journey, but is more likely to lead to a sale. 

  • In the rare case that your product doesn't fit into one of Google categories, use a Product Type [product_type] attribute instead.

Your Product Category Recommendations

  • Countries have their own rules and requirements when it comes to Google Categories. Make sure you are aware of these to avoid rejected listings. 
  • Make sure you are using the most recent categories.
    If you don't do this manually and are using an outdated category, it will get automatically matched to a relevant category which might not be the one you want for your product.

 

Google Categorization Client Case and Example

We helped Danish retailer GrejFreak to increase impressions by 88% and conversions by 153% - with a specific focus on improving their Google Shopping categorization.

Check out the full Case Story below 👇

grejfreak case wakeupdata

Let's take an example: Your client sells bikes and accessories 

The specific category ID for bicycle baskets looks like this:

3341 - Sporting Goods > Outdoor Recreation > Cycling > Bicycle Accessories > Bicycle Baskets



As you can see, “bicycle baskets” aren’t a standalone category but the fifth in a string of categories, each of which provide context and add to Google’s understanding.

Pro tip - If you use the ID of the category, (in the example: 3341), it goes across languages, meaning you don't have to make any adjustments.

 

Setting up Categorization 

With WakeupData we have made it fast and easy to set up any categorization you like – whether it’s for Google Shopping, Coolshop, Pricerunner or any channel of your choice.


In order to set up your desired categorization go to the ‘edit mappings’ tap in your export overview. Then select the field for which you want to edit and choose ‘use rules engine’ and ‘go to rules setup’

 Categorization 1-977287-edited

In the rules engine you are able to define simple (or complex) if-statement based rules. For example:

Firstly you click “Add new mapping”. Then you choose what data you want to look at. In the example we are saying; If the data stored in the field “Category level 1 ” is equal to “Computer” then we want to pass a static value with the Google defined category for computers – which in this case in 278.

It is important that you click on the “Save mapping” button on the bottom of the page after each mapping.

 categorization 2

Now, every time a product has the category “Computers”, in the export feed for Google it will have the value “278” which allows Google to understand what you are selling in order to know for which searches your products are most relevant.

Subsequently, by optimizing your categorization, your CTR and conversion rates should also increase.

categorization 3

Now, every time a product has the category “Computers”, in the export feed for Google it will have the value “278” which allows Google to understand what you are selling in order to know for which searches your products are most relevant. Subsequently, by optimizing your categorization, your CTR and conversion rate should increase.

A great way to achieve optimal categorization, and one that we at WakeupData often use ourselves, is to download your import feed as an Excel file, then isolate all unique categories by excluding duplicates and use that list to set up a mapping for each of them.

categorization exports

Copy the column you want to base your categorization on and click on the “Remove duplicates” button under the “Data” tab.

categorization excel

Time estimate

There is always one hour of free setup included in both Connects and Expands and we will set up as many categories as this time allows us.

How to use the product categorization to increase your CTRs

 

However, sometimes clients have several hundred different categories that need matching and in these instances we have a set price of 1 hour per 80 extra categories (45 seconds per category).

 

Find out more about optimizing your Google merchant feed, or get a free demo of the tools we offer ecommerce merchants here:

Request a demo