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Amanda Koehler

Digital Marketing Practice Director

For more than a decade, Amanda has helped Northwoods clients achieve their digital marketing goals through impactful, data-driven digital marketing strategies. Her approach is centered on careful listening, meticulous research, and a deep understanding of data analytics, and she holds certificates in both Google Analytics and Google Ads. An experienced lecturer and webinar presenter, Amanda is one of our top digital trail guides and has helped countless students, clients, and marketers better understand the complex world of SEO and analytics. Away from Northwoods, she enjoys spending time cooking, traveling, and painting.

Use Google Merchant Center and Google Manufacturer Center to Get Your Products Found

April 30, 2019 | Amanda Koehler, Digital Marketing Practice Director

4 Minute Read

Manufacturers who sell online or through distribution channels should focus on getting products found through Google Search.

Google provides two tools that can boost your products’ SEO: Google Merchant Center and Google Manufacturer Center. Which applies to your business? How can you use these tools to improve your product SEO? Read on.

What is Google Merchant Center?

Google’s Merchant Center tool allows you to upload your product listings for use with Google Shopping, Google Product Ads, and Google Commerce Search.

Google Merchant Center example

When a consumer searches for a product, Google Merchant Center feeds the shopping ads that appear in the first position.

Benefits of Google Merchant Center

Google Merchant Center is a great way to get to the top of the search engine results pages. With transactional-based keyword searches, Google favors shopping ads and lists them at the top of the page. Using Google Merchant Center takes advantage of that.

In February, Google announced that products in Google Merchant Center will now be eligible for organic product listings. This is exciting news for manufacturers who sell directly online, especially if they have resisted paying for Google Ads.

Thanks to Google Merchant Center, your product details are eligible to appear within Google Shopping results, without using Google Ads. It is still too early to determine the effectiveness of this of SEO strategy, but you should start setting up your Google Merchant Center product data to tap into this new SEO approach.

What Do You Need to Use Google Merchant Center?

  1. A Google Account. You can have multiple logins to Google Merchant Center, but start with your primary Google Account. The one you use for your Google Analytics and Google My Business accounts is ideal.
  2. A verified website and business with Google My Business. These require a physical address, contact number, support, and a secure checkout process. Your website must have ecommerce capabilities.
  3. Full Product Data. Your product data must include pricing, availability, and shipping information. Google Merchant Center accepts different forms of product data feeds, including TXT, CSV, XML files and Google Sheets. You can also connect your product data to Google Merchant Center directly from your ecommerce platform through the platform’s API.

These three requirements make Google Merchant Center best suited for manufacturers who sell products, including OEM parts for those products, directly from their websites. If you sell through dealers, reps or distributors, Google Manufacturer Center might be a better fit.

What is Google Manufacturer Center?

Google Manufacturer Center is a system for manufacturers to provide details about their products directly to Google. Google wants the most accurate product data, and data direct from the maker guarantees accuracy.

Google uses the data in Google Manufacturer Center to enhance information it delivers to searchers, in both Google organic listings and Google Shopping listings. This information will also appear in seller and reseller ads. If your dealers sell your products online, you can improve their ads by providing Google with accurate product data through Google Manufacturer Center.

What Are the Benefits of Google Manufacturer Center?

When you don’t sell your products directly, you are at the mercy of other companies to market them. Google Manufacturer Center gives manufacturers a direct line to Google and, thus, more control over product information.

Google wants you to optimize your website. Likewise, Google Manufacturer Center wants to help you improve your product listings. You can include keywords in your product titles and descriptions and utilize the Google Product Taxonomy to categorize your products.

Finally, Google Manufacturer Center provides you with additional data and analytics. Within Google Manufacturer Center, you will see impressions, clicks and other performance metrics against category benchmarks.

What’s Required to Use Google Manufacturer Center?

  1. A Google Account. As with Google Merchant Center, use your primary Google Account.
  2. Product Data. Unlike Google Merchant Center, Google Manufacturer Center requires just six attributes:
  • Product ID
  • Title
  • Product Description
  • Image Link
  • Brand
  • Global Trade Item Number

You have the option of providing many other fields in your data feed, including additional images, product lines, product types, video links, product page URL, suggested retail price, specifications and more.

You can upload this product information, or you can schedule fetches on your feeds so Google can automatically retrieve your updated data file. This will help keep your data accurate and timely.

Which Solution Should I Use?

The decisive question: Do you sell online?

Use Google Manufacturer Center if you…

  • Are a manufacturer who lists products on your website but does not sell online.

Use Google Merchant Center if you…

  • Are a dealer, distributor or merchant who sells manufactured products on your website

Use both systems if you…

  • Are a manufacturer who lists products on your website AND sells your products and/or parts on your website.

Whether or not you sell direct, use Google’s tools to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information about your products and to boost your product presence in Google searches.