Optimizing Titles and Descriptions on Google Shopping Feed

The title and description of products are two of the most important elements when it comes to your Google Shopping performance, and these are two extremely easy areas of optimization in your Google Shopping Feed. A lot of people don’t realize that generic titles can lead to lackluster traffic. When you add better titles and descriptions, your search traffic from Google Shopping will improve. 

After working with many eCommerce clients for The Media Captain and then running our own in-house eCommerce company in DermWarehouse, I’ve had a lot of experience with the Google Shopping Feed. I’ve done a lot of experiments with different feeds and optimizing different aspects of the feed and have found that enhancing titles and descriptions within the feed is easy to do and can pay high dividends. 

Need help optimizing your Google shopping feed? Contact The Media Captain!

What is a Google shopping feed

According to Google, “a feed is a file that contains a list of products you want to advertise through Merchant Center. When you add your products, you’ll assign attributes to each one. Your product feeds will use these attributes to group your products together. Once you’ve created a feed, it can be used multiple times across as many Merchant Center features as you need.”

Your Google Shopping Feed, which you’ll upload into Merchant Center, is a list of all of your products that contains titles, descriptions, price, images, and all other product information. Google uses the feed to pull in your products to Google Shopping. 

Learn More: What You Need to Know About Google Merchant Center

Why do I need to optimize my Google shopping feed?

Optimizing your Google Feed is extremely important, as the more optimization you have, the better your feed will perform. You want to make sure that the titles and descriptions within your feed reflect what people will be searching for on Google and are as relevant as possible, without having too much fluff.

On your website, you want to make sure your content is optimized for your customers. You want your titles and descriptions to contain a plethora of helpful information and flow in a way that makes them readable and intuitive. You always want your customer and the customer journey to be top of mind when creating website content.

Within your shopping feed, you can get rid of some of the fluff and make sure what you’re including makes the most sense for Google. You can be more direct, to the point, and a little bit more keyword heavy within your feed, so that when Google crawls this, there won’t be any questions about who your ads should be shown to.

Since the information on your site is meant for your customers and the information in the feed is meant for Google, they won’t necessarily match up. Many people don’t realize that you don’t have to have the same title or description in both places!

Learn More: How to Optimize Your eCommerce Product Pages for SEO

Examples of how to optimize your title in your Google shopping feed

Skin Care Products from DermWarehouse

For DermWarehouse, we’re pretty lucky in that many people are aware of the brands we sell and they’re searching for a specific product and brand to purchase when they take their search to Google. 

For example, one of our popular products is the SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair. This is the product name on our site and would make for a good title within our Google shopping feed because as well. The reason these could be the same is because we convert really well when people are searching for the exact product name on Google.

Is there a way we can make this title even better? Yes! If I were optimizing our feed for this product, I would make the title “SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair | Eye Cream for Crow’s Feet & Dark Circles.” Adding in what the product is and what concerns it treats gives Google more precise information so they know who to target when showing this ad. 

When I look at my search terms for this product within Google Ads, I would expect to see a lot of search terms for the exact product name and then also people searching for eye creams and products for crow’s feet and dark circles. 

T-Shirts from Homage

Homage is a Columbus-based t-shirt company and they do a really good job of optimizing the titles on their Google shopping feed. As you can see in the example below, they have an Ohio State t-shirt on their website which is called “Olde English.” 

The t-shirt’s name on the Homage website doesn’t give us any information about what the shirt looks like. I doubt anyone would search for Olde English on Google if they were looking for a gray Ohio State t-shirt. 

 

Homage took this into account when they set up their Google shopping feed. They optimized their titles to give a lot more information about what this product actually is, as you can see in the image below. They optimized their title to say “Olde English From Homage | Grey | Ohio State Buckeyes Vintage T-Shirt from Homage.” This gives us a ton more information about what this product actually is and makes it far more likely we’d be able to find this if we were searching on Google.

Sunglasses from Warby Parker

Here’s another similar example from Warby Parker. On their website, they have a pair of sunglasses called “Aubrey.” While that name sounds cool, it means nothing to someone searching on Google for a pair of sunglasses.

Warby Parker knew that no one would be able to find this cute pair of sunglasses if they left their title as “Aubrey” in their Google shopping feed. So, they optimized their title in their feed to “Tortise Square Sunglasses for Women – Warby Parker – FSA/HSA Eligible.” Notice that they didn’t even include the name Aubrey anywhere in their feed title. 

Examples of how to optimize your description in your Google shopping feed

It may not seem as obvious as to why the description in your Google shopping feed needs optimization, in addition to the title. The reason is that for Google, you want a very clear and concise description to ensure you get the most relevant searches related to your products. 

DermWarehouse – What We Do

For DermWarehouse, our product descriptions are very long and give as much information about the product as possible. This makes sense on our website because we want our customers to be able to answer as many questions as possible about the product just by looking at our site. We go through key ingredients, product benefits, frequently asked questions and more. This is again, great for the site, but there’s a lot of additional information wouldn’t necessarily make sense to include in our feed. For example, we try to eliminate any ingredients from our feed description, as we don’t want people searching for information about a random ingredient in it seeing an ad for one of our products. This type of search never converts well for us and we end up getting a lot of garbage search terms.

Here’s our product description on our site for the SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair:

Because this description is very long and detailed, we would shorten this up for our product feed to say something along the lines of the following:

  • “SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair is rich eye cream that hydrates and helps to improve the appearance of aging on the eye area.”

This description includes the product name, what the product is, what it does, and what concerns it helps with. It’s short and to the point, without any fluff.

Homage – What Not To Do

As you can see in the description on the Homage site, they give a history lesson rather than a real description of what they’re selling. A history buff may love this description, but someone shopping on their site will likely want to know more information about the actual product they may be purchasing.

You can see below on Google shopping that Homage hasn’t optimized their description for this product either. The description they use doesn’t say anything about the product itself and should instead give information about the color, the fabric, the fit, etc. They are just pulling the description right off their website, and unfortunately, that description doesn’t mention anything about the product.

If I were optimizing this description, I would use something like this: “Ohio State Vintage Women’s T-shirt| Fitted Ohio State T-shirt in gray| OSU Vintage Apparel From Homage | OSU Olde English gray t-shirt, perfect for game.” To be fair, I pulled this description from another Homage product on Google shopping, so maybe they just forgot to change the description for their Olde English gray t-shirt.

Warby Parker – A Better Example

Warby Parker does a better job optimizing their description for their Google shopping feed. On their site, they have multiple areas for descriptions, meaning it would be unclear where Google should pull the most relevant product information from.

They optimize the description for Google by taking the most important information and putting it all into one concise paragraph. They talk about the shape of the frames, the lenses, the price, and they even mention shipping, returns, and other keywords. I’m copying the description below so you can see it clearly.

“With its keyhole bridge and vintage-inspired shape, Kimball is a reliable charmer, through and through. These eyeglasses use anti-reflective prescription lenses with a protective anti-scratch coating. Starting at $95. Prescription eyeglasses. From Warby Parker. Free Shipping Both Ways. Fashion. Prescription. Eyeglasses. Glasses. Designer. Vintage. Classic. Blue Light Blocking Lenses Available. Progressive Lenses Available Tortoise. Women. Marzipan Tortoise.”

While I still think that this can be shortened a little bit, they do a better job of including relevant information so Google knows who to target.

The benefits of good optimization

When your feed is doing what it’s supposed to, you will see very relevant search terms within your Google ads account. As you can see in the image below in our SkinMedica campaign, all of the search terms are related to SkinMedica and most of them mention the product names specifically. This is exactly what we want to see. There are a couple of keywords in there that aren’t relevant and I can set those as negative keywords. 

Learn More: When to use Google Smart Shopping Campaigns

Here’s what you don’t want to see. These search terms are all over the place. Irrelevant keywords like this are a good sign that you need some further optimization in your feed.

Don’t Over Optimize

While you want to make sure your titles and descriptions are optimized for your Google shopping feed, there is such a thing as over optimization. “Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose).” [source]

Keyword stuffing is never a good thing. You want to make sure any content you write, whether it’s for your website or specifically for your feed, makes sense for anyone who would be reading your site or your title/description. Keyword stuffing is a big no-no in the eyes of Google, so you want to make sure you’re not doing it. If ever in doubt, keep your customer in mind. You always want to optimize the experience for them by making your website and any content as readable and as intuitive as possible. You can’t go wrong if you’re following that rule of thumb.

In Closing

  • There are many opportunities to optimize your Google shopping feed. Two of the most important are the title and description.
  • Optimizing your title and description in the shopping feed will allow you to get the most relevant searches for your products.
  • When optimizing both titles and descriptions, make sure to include descriptive information about what you’re selling. You want to include anything that’s pertinent while leaving out the fluff.
  • When you optimize your shopping feed properly, the search terms coming in through Google shopping will be very relevant. If your search terms are not relevant, it may be a good sign that your feed needs some work.
  • Make sure you don’t over optimize your feed by keyword stuffing. Google really frowns on this so it’s always best to make sure to keep your customers and user experience in mind. 

Stefanie Parks

Stefanie is the Co-Founder of The Media Captain. She's currently the CEO of DermWarehouse, The Media Captain's in-house eCommerce brand. Stefanie is an expert on all things eCommerce. She's grown DermWarehouse to beyond $5 million in annual revenue and has a customer base beyond 250,000. Stefanie provides helps with eCommerce strategy development for The Media Captain. She's a frequent contributor onto the TMC blog.

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