One of the most frustrating parts of dealing with shopping feeds is Google Shopping Disapprovals. They can happen for multitude of reasons, but presented here are the most important and frequently occurring disapprovals and how to fix them.
Incorrect Availability Status
Here is an example of an email you might get from Google about incorrect availability status:
Dear Google Shopping Merchant,
It has come to our attention that your Google Merchant Center account ID XXXXX (XXXXXXXX) does not comply with our Google Shopping feed specification (available at https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/188494).
Your account is currently at risk of suspension because Google Shopping doesn’t allow product listings with inaccurate availability status (due to inconsistent availability status between the feed and the landing page):
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.
The availability attribute has three accepted values:
‘in stock’: You’re currently accepting orders for this product and can fulfill the purchase request. You are certain that the item will ship (or be in-transit to the customer) in a timely manner because it is available for sale, such as it’s in stock or available for order.
‘out of stock’: You’re currently not accepting orders for this product, or the product is not available for purchase.
‘preorder’: You’re currently taking orders for this product, but it’s not yet been released. You can use the attribute ‘availability date’ to indicate the day that the product becomes available for delivery.
Please update your product data and landing pages such that each item complies with all of our policies and feed specifications on product availability. For more information, we recommend you visit https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/2796528 and https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/188494#availability.
To help you address the problem and to reduce the likelihood of further inconsistencies, we recommend that you use one of the following two update methods: use the Automatic Item Updates feature (https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/3246284) or submit Online Product Inventory Update feeds (https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6191341). They enable more frequent updates in price and availability and are specially recommended if you change this information frequently.
To learn more on how you can provide fresh and accurate data, please visit: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/188489.
Examples of products with inaccurate availability status (due to inconsistent availability status between the feed and the landing page)
Please provide accurate information in your data feed and re-upload it to ensure that your product listings can continue to appear on Google Shopping.
In case of any questions or concerns please reach out to your Account Manager at Google.
Should we find more data quality issues in the future, we will reach out to you again with a similar warning.
The Google Shopping Team
The best fix for Availability errors is to have an up to date feed. Feedonomics can pick up the feed as often as you like to ensure the availability is always current.
Another common reason for Google Shopping Disapprovals is incorrect pricing. This essentially means that the price field in the feed does not match with the price on the website. Incorrect pricing can happen for 2 reasons:
- The price in the feed is out of date. eCommerce stores can change their prices several times a day for the same SKU, and if the feed price doesn’t reflect the actual price, Google Shopping will give you a disapproval.
- If you have product variations, the price in the feed is for the parent product rather than the variation.
Google discovers these through automated crawling and thus gives you the disapproval violation. Feedonomics can solve these kind of problems with our own price crawlers, that can identify incorrect prices between the feed and website automatically!
Product listings displaying a price not in the currency of the target country
Another common problem is when the price currency on the website is not the same as the currency of the target country for Google Shopping. Using Feedonomics, you can easily create a separate feed for each country, with separate pricing and currency units.
Product listings with an auction-based pricing.
Auction based products are disallowed in Google Shopping, so you can’t get these kind of items approved.
Using Disallowed keywords for Google Shopping (Restricted Products)
Certain categories of products have keywords that Google Shopping explicitly bans. Some of these categories include firearms and cars, but others are governed by a list of banned keywords, like prescription drugs. This includes a list of over 4,000+ words that are banned. Removing thousands of words is a herculean manual task, but luckily we’ve built a function that can remove all of these words in titles, descriptions, and any other field, and fix automatic item disapprovals due to policy violation errors.
Website URL not Verified or Claimed
If you’ve ever seen a message like this, your website URL is not verified:
Please verify and claim your website’s URL. Until you do so your online products will not appear in the search results.
This can be fixed without Feedonomics, just go to merchant center. Log into your account, and verify and claim your account under Settings on the left hand side.
You can typically see these errors in your Google Merchant Center dashboard, but some errors are sent via email as Google detects them. You are typically given 7 days to fix the Policy Disapproval, or you risk being suspended. If you’d like additional help fixing your feed to avoid policy disapprovals and suspensions, please let us know!
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 eCommerce 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.