Google's mission is to organize the world's information. Part of this mission includes making it easy for shoppers to find product information. In the last year, Google has introduced several new experiences to help brands and retailers list their products on Google Search and the Shopping tab.
To help users find products more easily, Google recommends that websites use clear and accurate product data. This data helps Google identify products that are available for shoppers.
We recommend providing clear product identification to help Google match offers to products, and to match products to relevant search queries. You can improve Google's understanding of products by using unique product identifiers like Global Trade Item Number (GTIN™), Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), and brand names. When using product identifiers, we recommend that the identifiers follow these best practices:
- Uniqueness: Each product should have a unique identifier that can be consistently and accurately shared across the ecosystem to identify a product in both the physical and digital worlds of commerce.
- Verifiability: Identity of a product (for example, who is the manufacturer) and other product data should be verifiable through a trusted source. This allows marketplaces to verify that product data is accurate and complete through global registries, the organizations that issued and manage the identifiers.
- Global Reach: With ecommerce making the world more connected, relying on an identification system with global coverage will help keep product identification seamless for stakeholders in all countries.
Google adopted the use of GTINs as the standard in 2015 in order to allow retailers to reach more customers online.
The GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) System is an internationally recognized system for providing standard identifiers for unique products, both in physical stores and on e-commerce platforms. Registration with the GTIN system makes it possible for consumers to identify the source of a product.
Brands and manufacturers can submit product data through Google Manufacturer Center, and as part of this process, share product information with Google to uniquely identify products. To learn how to assign GTINs to products, visit the GS1 website in your local region.
It's important to obtain product identifiers from authorized sources, and to never reuse GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) across multiple products. Doing so can cause marketplace catalog data to become inaccurate and inconsistent.
In some cases, brands may adopt a proprietary approach to product identity by using unique SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit numbers) or MPNs (Manufacturer Part Numbers). However, it's key for manufacturers to ensure that these identifiers are unique, verifiable, and globally accessible in order to realize the benefits of having product identifiers.
As a retailer, it is important to ensure accurate product identification on your website. In addition to general guidelines around GTIN, Google recommends the following:
- Submit high quality product data: Submit structured data to Google in a product feed or add structured data markup to your website.
- Provide a GTIN, when GTINs exist: Retailers must provide GTINs when they’re selling products that have GTINs. The GTIN can be included in both the product feed as well as the page's structured data. If a product does not have a GTIN, retailers and 3rd-party sellers should rely on brand and manufacturer parts numbers to identify the product.
- Use valid and unique GTINs: Don't reuse existing GTINs for a new product. Retailers should not invent GTINs and should not register their own GTINs with GS1, unless they are also the manufacturer of the product.
When publishers create content, it is important that the products mentioned in those reviews are accurately identified. This allows users to find those reviews when searching for products on Google. Google recommends using the exact product name, adding structured data, and using valid and unique GTINs.
Product identity is critical in commerce because it ensures that businesses and consumers accurately understand the origin and unique identity of a product. This also applies to the web and Google Search, where an accurate understanding of a product helps to show the right product to the right user at the right time.
Google Shopping offers a variety of ways to keep up with product data and questions. The Search Central help forums are a great way to get started. There, you can find detailed information on a variety of topics, including product data, Google Shopping, and other related topics. You can also contact us through our other channels, such as our Google Shopping Help Center.