This Is Why Your Google PLAs Don’t Appear in SERPs

August 22, 2018 in Google Shopping, Google Shopping PLA, PLA Optimization

Google Shopping represents a major opportunity for your company.

So, it makes perfect sense that you’ve taken every conceivable step to ensure your products are listed and your campaigns are optimized.

This way, your inventory will see more exposure than ever before.

That’s why it’s so frustrating to then do a simple search and find that no one can see one or more of your products. Your efforts have failed to pay off and, until they do, you’ll be in the hole, waiting to see your ROI.

Worse yet, the longer this problem persists, the longer your competitors enjoy Google Shopping without you.

Here Are 13 Reasons Your Products Aren’t Appearing in Google Shopping Searches

It should go without saying that you must address this problem right away.

Fortunately, this is much easier to do when you can work from the following list of 13 reasons your products aren’t appearing in Google Shopping.

We’ve even broken them down into three different categories:

  • Product-Feed-Level Issues
  • AdWords-Account-Level Issues
  • Campaign-Level Issues

Product-Feed-Level Issues

One of the fundamental steps to getting listed on Google Shopping is to create your product feed.

Unfortunately, it can also be very easy to make mistakes when creating your Google Shopping feed, especially if you’re doing so manually and have a large inventory.

Here are the seven mistakes that could be causing your current problem:

1. You’re Not Adhering to Google’s Rules and Policies

Before you look into any other potential problems, make sure that you’re following Google’s rules and policies first. You could make all kinds of changes and still not see your products if you’re unknowingly violating them.

Keep in mind that Google Shopping’s policies apply to:

  • Titles
  • Images
  • Descriptions
  • Availability

And just about anything else that will be linked to your campaign. Basically, any information Google requests – or allows you to provide – must adhere to specific rules. Even getting it wrong for one factor out of dozens will keep shoppers from seeing your product.

The good news is that Google will usually alert you if this kind of problem exists. You just need to check your email, account, and dashboard – all three places this message could be sent.

2. Products Are Listed for a Country Other Than Your Own

Your physical location when you search for a product will affect whether or not it appears in Google. This means that your feed may be optimized perfectly, you’re just in a location where it’s not available.

First, check Google’s availability by country to ensure you’re not currently in one where your listings wouldn’t show.

Second, if you’ve designed your listing so it targets a certain country – say, France – but you’re in a different one – the U.S. – you simply won’t see it. That doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your feed.

At the same time, if you’re in the U.S. and you aren’t seeing items you targeted at the U.S., the problem might be that you made a mistake and are erroneously targeting foreign markets. You’ll want to change that right away before someone from overseas places an order that you’ll need to fulfill.

3. Your Account or Inventory Needs to Be Reviewed

It can take between 24 and 72 hours before Google is able to review your product feed. So, while it’s still worth reviewing the other items on this list, it might be that you just need to wait another day or two.

One way you can check to see if Google has reviewed your feed is to check your log-files to see if they’ve been crawled yet.

If you’ve waited more than a few days for approval, there could be a problem, so you should contact Google right away.

4. Data Feed Errors or Product Policy Violations Exist

Another place Google will let you know if errors are affecting your feed is in your Google Merchant’s diagnostics tab. Just go to Products > Diagnostics to check.

Similarly, there could be crawling problems causing the issue. You can check for that by going to Products > Feeds.

Aside from the fact that your products won’t be listed until you fix these errors, your account could be suspended if they’re not addressed in a timely manner. So, act immediately!

5. Some of the Fields for Your Variants Are Missing

Many of the opportunities you have to provide information through your feed involve the option of using variants. For example, if you’re selling a clothing item, you may want variants of the title based on colors or sizes.

If you elect to utilize this option, but then leave any of the relevant fields blank, Google won’t show your product until you complete them.

6. Other Listings Are Causing Problems

While you can list your products across multiple platforms, you cannot submit your product to Google Shopping through one of them (e.g. Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc.)

The workaround for this problem is to create a multiclient account, so you’re able to sell on different platforms and still run campaigns.

7. You Need to Improve Your Image Quality

You should never advertise your products on Google Shopping until you have amazing images to go with them.

In fact, Google won’t even list your product if the accompanying image isn’t at least 250 pixels in both height and width – 800 is a much safer choice.

Google Ads-Account-Level Issues

AdWords should make it much easier for you to find customers with your Google Shopping campaigns.

For many people, though, it’s the main reason their products aren’t showing up in searches.

8. Google Merchant and AdWords Are Not Connected

You might find that the problem is nothing more complicated than the fact that your Google Merchant account isn’t linked to your AdWords account.

If you use the same email address for both accounts, just go to “Account linking” to fix this problem. If they’re not the same, find the blue “+” in your Merchant account. Click on it, enter your AdWords account number, and you’ll be linked.

9. Your Bid Is Just Before Competition Spikes

Another problem could be the amount you’re bidding for a specific query. Google provides you with a Benchmark Max CPC to give you a rough idea of what other companies are paying per click for the same amount of traffic.

It’s not uncommon for companies to bid far below the Benchmark, knowing that they won’t have the same opportunity for impressions, but they’ll also save money.

The problem is that there could be a huge uptick in bid price that you’re not seeing before the Benchmark Max CPC.

For example, say that number is $2.50, but you decide to bid only $1.00. What you don’t see is that other companies are trying the same strategy around $1.05 or $1.10. So, you’re effectively being shut out because your bids are all right before the competition starts to heat up. Try increasing it incrementally to see if that solves the problem.

Campaign-Level Issues

Finally, there are four campaign-related reasons your products aren’t showing up in Google’s searches. All of these have extremely simply solutions, though.

10. You Still Need to Create a Campaign

Check your AdWords account and confirm a campaign exists with the product in question as its label. If you don’t see one, this is a very easy fix. Just create a campaign for your product.

11. Your Bids Aren’t High Enough

This is similar to the second AdWords problem above. While it’s wise to begin small with your bids, if your campaigns aren’t seeing any impressions at all – and none of the earlier issues apply – it’s almost certainly because your bids are far too low.

12. Your Titles and Descriptions Don’t Match Your Searches

Are you searching for terms that don’t show up in your product’s title and/or description?

Google will only display ads for searches that either match or are at least relevant to titles provided in the feed.

13. You Need to Boost Your Quality Score

Google keeps an internal Quality Score for each product submitted to their Shopping platform. This ensures that the only display items that are relevant to their users’ searches – which includes a certain degree of quality (i.e. no one wants to purchase a low-quality product).

If your Quality Score for a product is low, it could be that you changed its ID recently. In that case, you need to wait until Google recognizes the listing’s quality again. This is why you should keep IDs consistent as much as possible. Google uses them to track your items’ Quality Scores over time.

If the landing page for your product is low-quality (e.g. it doesn’t load quickly, its bounce rate is high, etc.), your exposure will suffer.

Finally, check to see if you can add more information to your product description. The more information you provide, the more helpful you’ll be to Google’s users, which will definitely improve your Quality Score.

Avoid Costly Mistakes from the Very Beginning

No matter how modest your budget may be, if you’ve submitted a product feed and every single item isn’t showing up in Google Shopping, your ROI is suffering.

That’s why it’s essential that you don’t just act on this problem right away, but you also use the above as a checklist any time you submit a feed. Better to avoid these issues to begin with than waste time on fixing them later.

Bryan Falla
Director of Marketing
Bryan is a digital marketer with roots in journalism and creative writing. Over the past decade, he's helped hundreds of online retailers develop and implement ecommerce marketing strategies. When he isn't educating retailers on ecommerce, he's out exploring South Florida and stalking local breweries.