Google has done its yearly update for its Merchant Center product data specification. Some of the changes listed below went into effect yesterday, some go into effect July 18, 2023 and some don’t go into effect until September 1, 2023.
The last time Google updated the Merchant Center product data specification was in April 2022 and then before that in April 2021, so it seems like this update happening in July is a bit behind schedule.
Here is a copy and paste of the changes listed here:
Changes beginning immediately (June 15, 2023)
Expanding the list of countries where shipping cost is required: Shipping cost is the cost charged by a shipping carrier or other costs directly related to shipping. It’s provided using the shipping
[shipping] attribute or through account shipping settings. Shipping cost is one of the most common reasons for customers to abandon their shopping choices, so offering accurate information can help the performance of your ads and free listings. Shipping cost is recommended in all countries, but only required for certain countries.
We’re expanding the list of countries where shipping cost is required and enforced to additional countries in the EEA (European Economic Area). Offers without shipping cost will now be disapproved in these countries:
We’re also expanding the list to include the following countries:
You’ll start receiving warnings if you’re missing a required shipping cost in these 3 countries. Learn more about the shipping
New certification attribute: The certification
[certification] attribute is used to describe certifications like energy efficiency ratings, and will allow for compliance with updated EU energy efficiency labeling regulation for products covered by rescaled EU energy labels.
For products registered in the EU EPREL database, you may be required to show the EU energy efficiency class in graphic form on your Shopping ads and free listings. Provide the certification
[certification] attribute in your product data for these products. Google will look up your product in the EPREL database and render the appropriate energy efficiency class in graphic form on your Shopping ads and free listings.
[certification] attribute supports 3 required sub-attributes:
[certification_authority]: This represents the authority or certification body responsible for issuing the certification. We currently only support the values “EC” or “European_Commission”.
[certification_name]: Currently, we only support the value “EPREL”, which represents energy efficiency certifications in the EU European Registry for Energy Labeling (EPREL) database.
[certification_code]: This is the code for the certification. For example, the code for the EPREL certificate with the link “https://eprel.ec.europa.eu/screen/product/dishwashers2019/123456” is “123456”.
Learn more about the certification certification
To render the energy efficiency attribute in textual form (for non-rescaled products) keep providing the existing energy efficiency class
Availability required instead of the quantity for local inventory ads and free local listings: Previously, the quantity
[quantity] attribute was required and the availability
[availability] attribute was optional for local inventory feeds. To simplify setup, we’re making the availability
[availability] attribute required and quantity
[quantity] optional. Google will begin warning merchants who don’t use the availability
[availability] attribute in their local inventory feeds.
Updated guidance regarding multiple prices on your product pages: If your landing page has multiple prices, such as price for other variants, original currency, or promotional prices, we require the additional prices to be clearly differentiable from the advertised base price. For example, if you show the base price and a members-only price on your landing page, then it should be clear to the user which price is the advertised base price and which price is for members-only.
Changes beginning July 18, 2023
Extend the expiration of offers based on website crawls: Google routinely crawls your mobile and desktop product pages to check for quality issues. We’ll begin to automatically extend the expiration date of products that are about to expire if we detect them as still valid on your landing pages based on website crawls.
If you do not want us to automatically extend the expiration date of your product then you need to supply the expiration date
[expiration date] attribute to provide the date you want your product to expire.
Changes beginning September 1, 2023
Products that misuse
out_of_stock availability will be disapproved: The availability
[availability] attribute tells users whether or not a product you’ve listed is in stock, and should accurately represent the state of your product. Previously, the availability
[availability] attribute could be used to pause and unpause ads from showing on Google. Instead, you should now use the pause
[pause] attribute, which was introduced last year, to temporarily stop products from showing.
Google will disapprove products on ads that use the value out_of_stock for products that are in stock on your landing page. Learn more about the pause
Forum discussion at Twitter.