90% of Retailers’ Google Product Categories Are Wrong

Dan Barbata Google Shopping Leave a Comment

If Google rewards you for accurately categorizing your products, why wouldn’t you do everything to earn those rewards?

  • Shoppers are more likely to find your products on Google Shopping.
  • And the better the match between the Google Product Category and your Product Title, the greater the confidence Google will have in the accuracy of the this title and in matching it against shoppers’ searches.

Yet our experience shows that most retailers aren’t hitting the center of the bullseye of Google Product Category (GPC) classification. In fact, they miss by a wide margin.

  • There are several reasons for this, but primarily it’s because they aren’t mapping products SKU-by-SKU.
  • Very understandable when you’ve got tens of thousands of SKUs – it’s much easier to map to GPCs using your own product categories.
  • But we think if retailers knew how badly they are missing the target, they’d think twice about what turns out to be such a flawed approach.

When we mapped products SKU-by-SKU to Google’s Product Categories for retailers we have worked with and compared the results to their own classification:

  • Only 10% of products were perfectly classified as indicated by the center of the bullseye in the image shown.
  • 80% were wrongly classified by between 1 and 4 levels, with the bulk (50%) being dumped into an intermediate classification
  • And 10% didn’t just miss – they were in completely the wrong category.

 

Most retailers miss the bullseye with their Google Product Categories

What should you do to hit the bullseye of perfect categorization? Google taxonomy paths can be up to 7 levels deep. Your products should be categorized at the deepest, most granular level that makes sense. Let’s say you’re selling Volleyball Shoes.

Apparel & Accessories > Shoes > Athletic Shoes & Sneakers, is okay, but

Apparel & Accessories > Shoes > Athletic Shoes & Sneakers > Athletic Shoes > Indoor Court Shoes > Volleyball Shoes is much better.

When every product is categorized precisely at the SKU level, you’ll be sending Google a much clearer signal about the quality of your product feed.

 

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