Google released a new feature in Search Console one week before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Eligible e-commerce stores will see a new section in Google Search Console called Shopping tab listings. From here, you can connect your products to Google’s Shopping tab listings using structured data all without a product feed.
Not seeing the shopping section in Search Console? Make sure that you have valid Merchant listing structured data on your website. Use the Rich Results Testing Tool on any product page to verify your Merchant Listings data is valid.
If you still don’t see it in your Search Console, you may need to be patient. Google is slowly rolling this out over the next few weeks.
Shopify stores may also be prompted by Search Console to complete your 3rd-party integration with Merchant Center.
The structured data on your site has never been more important.
Originally, Google really only used structured data to qualify sites for Rich Results. Over time, they began using structured data as a way to validate your product feed with Merchant Center. Now, you easily submit your products to Google Shopping without a product feed as long as you keep the product structured data up to date.
JSON-LD for SEO has been compatible with Merchant Center since it began accepting structured data in the JSON-LD format. That means we provide all the necessary fields required for Merchant Center in the structured data (e.g. unique product identifiers MPN and GTIN as long as you have it entered in Shopify).
There are still a lot of questions to be answered.
- It’s unclear how this works for stores using multiple currencies and wanting to advertise in multiple currencies. I’ve asked Google but I think they are still trying to figure that part out. So if you are advertising in more than one currency, this may not be for you just yet.
- I’m also not clear exactly where you’ll be managing your products once the integration between Shopify and Merchant Center is finalized. You may continue to manage products in Merchant Center. Or with any luck, they’ll be making improvements to the Google Sales Channel that gives you more flexibility in managing your products.
- Google Search doesn’t care if you have multiple sets of product data, they’ll just use the most complete set for its analysis. Merchant Center isn’t so flexible and having multiple sets of data can cause issues. For many who use Merchant Center, I often recommend removing your theme structured data and rely on JSON-LD for SEO for all of their structured data.
- There are some fields that are not available in Shopify. Fields such as size, color, pattern, and materials are often needed for apparel sites. In Shopify, these are considered “options” and do not have a designated field in Liquid as we do with, for example, product titles. You also won’t find fields for age group, gender, or shipping options. So there are still improvements needed on Shopify’s end.
I’ve spoken with Google about the required fields needing to be available in Shopify so they know the limitations for Shopify stores. Here’s hoping they help move things along. But you can help too!
Please submit a ticket to Shopify and your shipping apps to request this information in Liquid. This helps not just structure data apps but also yourself if you wanted to build it out directly.
I’ll keep you updated as I learn more. If you use the Google Search Console connection to the Shopping tab listings, I’d love to hear from you and your experience. Contact me and let me know what you experience.