How to correctly interpret Google Shopping errors

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Selling on Google Shopping is not easy. First you need to master the interactions between your ecommerce back-office, the Merchant Center and Adwords. Then you will surely face, at least initially, a few errors during the process. Following our article on common Google Shopping errors, here is a concise overview of the different types of error messages that can occur and how to interpret them.

Google Shopping errors

Account setting errors

These are the most common occurring errors, especially at the beginning when you are starting out with Google Shopping. If your feed receives a “rejected” status, the products you sent to Google Shopping will not appear in the search engine results.

To avoid or fix this situation, the best thing to do is make sure everything you send adheres to Google Shopping’s regulations. If your account is suspended you will receive an email (at the address you gave in the Google Merchant Center), detailing the errors that have occurred and giving instructions on how to correct them. After following these instructions, try to upload your updated feed again.

The most common account errors are:

  • A title or a desciption containing forbidden terms
  • The URL specified in your data feed does not work properly
  • The sub-account that you are trying to access has been removed from your multi-accounts

Feed errors

The feed debugger enables you to understand the error and chose the procedure to correct it. You can use the feed debugger to find out how to correct formatting errors in your data feed.

Note: The debugger is only available for educational purposes and the changes you make are not saved in your feed.

The debugger is available for all feeds or individual feeds, but only works for feeds that meet the following conditions:

  • Submitted in a delimited text or XML format
  • Set to the Shopping destination
  • Smaller than 200 KB

Note: When using the debugger make sure you select target country and destinations from the dropdown menu.

Data errors

Data errors due to images can happen for several reasons:

  • The products have been added recently
  • The images are not yet live
  • The image format is not supported by Google (Make sure it is: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, BMP or TIF)
  • The image URLs are not working properly or you have included spaces in them
  • A robots.txt file is on your server which prevents google from crawling the images on your site
  • The image URLs redirect through ASP, PHP or cold fusion scripts
  • Images have HTTP headers
  • Image size is too large (800 x 800 pixels is recommended)

Google has listed common product crawl issues for pages and images. This identifies potential issues which can occur on both desktop and mobile devices.

API Errors

The API Dashboard allows you to find, view, and download all the failed data entries in the content API requests that you upload on the Google Merchant Center account. The API debugger allows you to:

  • Find all the entry-related errors in the API requests for a set time period
  • Define the complete number of failed data entries per error category
  • View a sample request that is responsible for the entry-related error
  • Download both the full request and full response for further analysis
  • Change and test the same request snippet in dry-run mode before solving comparable errors in all the intitial requests

The API debugger has a “time line” feature which lets you find failed data entries in the API requests uploaded within a set time period. The results displayed contain the total number of failed instances through the error categories.

If you have problems importing to Google Shopping via API, consult the pages dedicated to error handling and troubleshooting.

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Kathryn Bird