Google Tries To Improve Product Search With New Merchant Rules

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We know Google is investing heavily in product search, most recently adding local availability, discovery tools and more to the comparison shopping portal. Today, Google is updating its requirements for merchants in a number of countries.

In the U.S., Google is adjusting its Google Product Search Feed to help make the search portal more useful for online shoppers. For background, online retailers create a data feed for their content they would like to be indexed by Google Product search.

For example, online merchants will now be required to give availability status for all products. Google is also making a product image required for merchants, and is encouraging retailers to submit up to 10 additional images of the product for search. Retailers also now need to include information like size, category and color availability for all products in their feed. And, Google is asking retailers to provide gender and age group specifications.

The search giant says that starting on September 22, 2011, Google will be ‘taking action’ against accounts with feeds targeting the United States, France, United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany that do not comply with these requirements.

So why is Google cracking down on merchants? The company is trying to make product search better, so requiring data like images, sizing, and availability will help Product Search become more useful and powerful for consumers.