What is Google Merchant Center?
How does it work?
Is Google Merchant Center free to use?
Benefits of using Google Merchant Center
How to add products to Merchant Center
What is a Shopping feed?
How to create a Google Shopping feed
Google Shopping product feed specifications on Merchant Center
Connecting your Google Shopping feed to Shopify
Common issues when creating a Merchant Center product feed
What makes a high-performing product feed?


What is Google Merchant Center?

Google Merchant Center is a powerful must-have tool for all online retailers looking to sell on Google Shopping. Merchant Center allows retailers to upload product data to then be used to feed ads across Google services, such as Shopping. This is essential for retailers looking to advertise their products to a large audience of online shoppers.

Retailers can use the Merchant Center to provide information like pricing and availability, which is then reflected in the ads served by Google for products and for appropriate search queries.

How does it work?

Merchant Center works by utilising the product data feed uploaded by retailers. The product feed is used to populate product listings which are then served across Google products, like Google Shopping and Display ads. 

To do this, you’ll need a Merchant Center account and a product feed that includes product titles, descriptions, images, and prices.

Is Google Merchant Center free to use?

Google Merchant Center is free to use, but you'll have to pay for clicks on your Google Shopping ads.

Benefits of using Google Merchant Center

The main benefit of using Google Merchant Center is that you can keep your ads up-to-date in real-time and maintain accurate pricing and stock availability information. 

Merchant Center is also the gateway to selling on Google Shopping, which will get products in front of a huge audience of shoppers, increasing visibility and probability of conversion. This is aided by integration with other Google services such as Google Analytics and Google Ads.

Merchant Center users can also take advantage of targeting options for specific audiences, as well as tracking and reporting analytics to help you optimise your product feed.

How to add products to Merchant Center

Adding products to Merchant Center is simple:

  1. Sign in to Merchant Center.
  2. Select Products from the navigation bar, and then All products.
  3. Click on Add products and then Add product one by one.
  4. Fill in the data fields.

If you sell similar products that have variations such as colour or size, you can click on I have clothing or variant products and add all of your variations.

It’s also possible to bulk-add products to Merchant Center:

  1. Prepare an upload file which contains information on all of the products you wish to sell. Google has set requirements for this file - check out product data specifications here.
  2. After logging into Merchant Center, click on Products and then All products.
  3. From the Add products drop-down, click Upload a product file.
  4. Select your upload file and then select Add products from file.

What is a Shopping feed?

A feed refers to a file comprising a list of items that you intend to advertise through Merchant Center. Each product in the file will have assigned attributes, which will be used to group your products together, like ‘category’ for instance.

There are different types of feeds in Merchant Center, and which feeds you use will be dependent on your business needs.

Primary feeds are the main data sources for your inventory, and Google recommends that you upload all of your inventory to one primary feed. If all of your products meet Google’s data and eligibility requirements, a primary feed is all you’ll need.

Supplemental feeds are used to add any data that’s missing from your primary feed. They’re used to update product data that’s already present in one or more primary feeds. Google allows you to have multiple supplemental feeds, and each can supplement data in any primary feeds.

Below are some of the more advanced feed types you can use on Merchant Center:

Multi-source feeds let you build a feed based on product data from different sources, like your website or preexisting spreadsheets. These sources are combined to create a unified feed.

Google Content API for Shopping lets you manage the structured data items uploaded to Google for use in Google services, like Shopping and Search. This is used to query for items and then insert, update, or remove items in your Merchant Center Account. This feed type is designed for developers looking to integrate applications with Shopping ads.

Regional product inventory feeds are a kind of supplemental feed used to override existing data in a primary feed to show regional pricing or availability for products. These feeds can’t add or remove products, or be used on their own, but exist to override existing product data only.

Take a look at our guide on how to add a feed rule on Merchant Center

How to create a Google Shopping feed

To start uploading product data to Merchant Center, you need a feed to submit your data to.

1. Start by creating a primary feed - the central data source used by Merchant Center:

2. From the Feeds section under Products in Merchant Center, navigate to the plus button in the primary feed section and follow the prompts. You’ll be able to enter the following information:

Target countries - Specify in which countries the products in this feed are going to be sold. Any data in this feed needs to meet the requirements for the countries you’re submitting for.

Language  - The language your product data’s written in.

Feed label - These allow you to advertise all of your products with the same feed label in a Google Ads campaign.

Destination - Choose which Google features can utilise the items in your data feed.

Primary feed name - A descriptive name used to identify the feed. This doesn’t need to match the file name.

Google Sheets - You can upload data via an existing Google Sheet containing your product data.

Scheduled fetch - Google will fetch your feed directly from your own server.

Upload - Upload data files to Merchant Center by SFTP or Google Cloud Storage, or even manually.

Website crawl - If you’ve implemented structured data on your website, Google can crawl your website to collect your product data. Find out how adding structured data can help increase your visibility.

File name - This one’s dependent on which input method you’ve chosen. You may be asked to enter the name of the file you’re submitting, and this needs to match exactly with the name of the file you’ve created and have a valid extension.

We have a full guide on how to create a supplemental feed.

Google Shopping product feed specifications on Merchant Center

Google uses product feed specifications to evaluate whether or not your ads are eligible to appear on Shopping. For example, if Google deems your feed to lack information they may think that’ll be off-putting to shoppers, and then disapprove your ads.

You don’t need to include every single attribute in your product feed, but the more you add the more information will be available to Google.

We’ve rounded up the compulsory requirements here:

id - A unique identifier for each product. This won’t be shown to customers, but you can use this ID to look up your product. Google recommends the use of your product SKU for this attribute.

title - This is the most prominent part of your ad. This will be seen by shoppers, so it should clearly identify the product so Google can show the ad to the most relevant users.

More insights into product titles on Google Shopping and Merchant Center

description - This is your product description. You should make it as specific and relevant as possible to the product you’re selling. Including product features and technical specifications can help the right customers find your product.

link - a link to your product’s landing page on your verified domain.

Image_link - A link to the main image of your product. Google requires this image to be 100 x 100px and no larger than 16MB. Make sure your image is professional, clear, and simple, advertising only the one product you’re selling.

Availability - You can show shoppers whether the product is in stock, out of stock, or available for pre-order.

Price - The price of your product according to ISO 4217 and the currency.

You can also set up destination exclusions for more control over where your ads are displayed.

Availability is another attribute you can use to show the status of your stock - find out how.

Unique Product Identifiers can be used to define your product within the global marketplace.

There are many other attributes you can add to enhance your ads. As long as you have the above attributes, however, you can get your products sold via Merchant Center.

Connecting your Google Shopping feed to Shopify

If you’re the owner of a Shopify store, you can also advertise your products on Google Shopping. This can help you promote your products to a wider audience and increase traffic to your website. 

To connect your Shopify store to Google Shopping, follow these steps:

  1. From the Shopify admin page, click on Settings and then Apps and sales channels
  2. Select Customise your store and continue to the Shopify App Store (you may need to log in to the store)
  3. Click Connect Google account and choose your Google account
  4. Select your Merchant Center account
  5. Besides Target market, click Select and choose where you’d like to sell your products. Pick your target market and language.
  6. If you’re using paid marketing on Google, click on Select next to Shipping settings and select either automatic or manual configuration for shipping rates.

Following these steps will allow your Shopify store to sync with Google, and your products can appear on Google surfaces for free if eligible.

Find out even more about how Shopify and Google Shopping can work together

Common issues when creating a Merchant Center product feed

When creating a product feed, you may run into some issues. Common problems include incorrect formatting or missing product information. Whilst simple to fix, these issues can cause your products to not be displayed on Google Shopping. Merchant Center has a feed debugger feature you can use to identify and fix issues.

Some things to keep in mind when changing your product feed

What makes a high-performing product feed?

There are a few different factors that can help your product feed perform well, most of which involve providing Google with as much product information as possible. Let’s take a look at some ways you can boost the quality of your product feed:


Images should be high-quality and simple, preferably displaying the product on a white background. This shows shoppers exactly what you’re advertising and increases the likelihood of a curious user clicking on your ad.


Titles need to be relevant and contain only necessary information about the product. Don’t include terms that aren’t directly associated with the product you’re selling, and make sure it’s obvious what you’re selling.


As above, ensure that your product descriptions are relevant and appropriate for the product you’re selling. You can include information such as technical details and visual descriptions in this section to help shoppers understand what you’re selling.


Google has predefined categories for you to choose from. You should pick the category that defines your product best, be that Electronics or Home & Garden, for example. 

Product type

The [product_type] attribute enables you to use your own product categorisation system in your product data. Unlike the category attribute above, [product_type] lets you choose your own value instead of picking from Google’s predefined categories. Using this can help shoppers navigate to your product.

Custom labels

Using custom labels can help you organise Google Shopping campaigns by whichever attributes are most important to you. They’re only visible internally and are used for optimisation activities.

These can vary depending on your industry, but some common examples include ‘seasonal’, ‘selling rate’, and ‘margin’. These are typically used to help you monitor your campaigns.

Find out how to use custom labels in Google Shopping

Other product info

Depending on what you’re selling, you may want to include other attributes to help direct shoppers to what they’re looking for.

For example, apparel retailers should consider adding information such as age group, gender, colour, size, and price. This will provide Google with more information about your product(s) to be used in targeting.

Try including star ratings to your Google Ads to highlight your reputation

Explore our other Merchant Center resources and boost your Google Shopping performance

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