CSS programme requirements

The Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) programme allows you to:

  • Participate in dedicated ecosystem experiences
  • Prominently show CSS product pages in results on Google
  • Show products on behalf of merchants organically and in ads on Google
  • Place Comparison Listing ads
Comparison Shopping Services (CSSs) can place Shopping ads and free product listings on Google on behalf of merchants in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Google offers CSS Centre to help you manage your participation in the CSS programme, and access and manage associated merchants.

To start your participation in the CSS programme, follow the steps outlined in How to get started as a CSS on Google.

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CSS programme minimum requirements

These are the minimum requirements that you need to satisfy to participate in the CSS programme:

  • Your business must have a registration in at least one country where the CSS programme is available and show a business address corresponding to your registration on your website.
  • You must operate a Comparison Shopping Service website meeting the following requirements:
    • The site allows users to search and compare different products. It should also allow users to compare the price and selling conditions for the same product offered by different merchants.
    • The site shows products offered by at least 50 distinct merchant domains for every country where you wish to participate. These must be merchants that deliver products to the respective country, meaning that consumers in the country can buy from them.
    • The site shows products and leads users to a page where they can buy them.
    • The site offers a search box for queries and provides search functionality based primarily on a dynamic and automated process that isn't substantially based on search technology licensed by or syndicated from Google.
    • The site offers options to sort or filter product results by price and at least one other dimension relevant for consumers, for example, brand, merchant or delivery time.
    • The site is accessible to everyone without sign-up.
If your business is primarily a marketplace allowing transactions on your own domain, you can't participate as a CSS, but you may participate as a marketplace through one or several CSSs of your choice.

If you follow these requirements, you'll be eligible to participate in the CSS programme. You can follow the steps outlined in How to get started as a CSS on Google to sign up and explore the following opportunities.

Dedicated ecosystem experiences

Dedicated ecosystem experiences allow potential customers to concentrate on the CSS offering while searching for products on Google.

If your business and website are compliant with the CSS programme minimum requirements and you have an active CSS Centre account (you'll get access to CSS Centre after you've finished the steps outlined in How to get started as a CSS on Google), your website is eligible to show in the dedicated ecosystem experiences.

Prominently show CSS product pages in results on Google

Note: CSS product pages opportunity is currently launched in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

These are the requirements that you must meet in order for your CSS product pages to appear prominently in the results for shopping-related customer queries on Google in countries where the CSS programme is available:

  • Your business and website are compliant with the CSS programme minimum requirements and you have an active CSS Centre account.
  • CSS product pages submitted to Google must comply with Google's free listings policies and/or Shopping ads policies with the following exceptions and/or modifications:
    • Prohibited practices: Abuse of the free listings network policy and the Shopping ads abuse of the network policy
      • Low-value content: Non-transactable CSS product pages must display merchant offers that allow all customers to complete the purchase of a product.
    • Site requirements/editorial and technical: Editorial and technical requirements for free listings and editorial and technical requirements for Shopping ads
      • Insufficient contact information: CSS sites are required to have contact information and verified business information in CSS Centre and on the CSS website. 
        • Examples: The website shouldn't be missing contact information (i.e. none of the following is present: social media link, contact email address or phone number); the CSS Centre account shouldn't be missing contact information, such as a physical business address or a verified phone number.

      • Missing return and refund policy: Non-transactable CSS product pages do not need to clearly and conspicuously disclose return and refund information. This information should be on the relevant merchant pages and on transactable CSS pages.
      • Usefulness: Non-transactable CSS product pages must display merchant offers and links to merchant websites where all customers are able to complete the purchase of a product.  
        • Examples: Business information fields in merchants' checkout processes shouldn't be required. Customers from certain Internet locations (IP addresses) shouldn't be prevented from completing the checkout process.

      • Style requirements: CSS product pages should use the features of the listing for their intended purposes.
        • Examples: Listings that use the title field as an additional description field, or listings that display irrelevant or obtrusive information in images, are not allowed. For specific guidelines on how to comply with this policy, refer to the title [title] and description [description] attributes in the product data specification.

      • Domain safety: CSS product pages or associated site domains that Google deems unsafe are not allowed. 
        • Examples: A domain page deemed unsafe as a result of hacking or other activity causing the site to become compromised are not allowed. If Google detects suspicious signals, it may block customers from visiting your site from some browsers and from Google Search.

    • Irresponsible data collection and use in free listings and irresponsible data collection and use in Shopping ads:

      • Our policy: Google wants customers to trust that information about them will be respected and handled with appropriate care. As such, CSSs and their merchants should not misuse this information, nor collect it for unclear purposes or without appropriate security measures.

  • Links submitted for CSS product pages must lead to the domain associated with your CSS Centre. You may not automatically redirect users to other domains.
  • All CSS product pages that you submit to Google, where users can compare prices and selling conditions from multiple merchants for the same product, must be shown on your site.
  • Each CSS product page submitted to Google must comply with CSS product data specification and CSS landing page requirements and prominently show:
    • A product description, title and image
    • The price and selling conditions for the product offered by at least two different merchant domains that have the product available for immediate purchase online. These must correspond to the information that you submitted to Google in your product data.
  • As a CSS, you must ensure that links from your CSS product page lead to merchant pages where consumers can directly buy the product being displayed.
  • As a CSS, you must protect users from pages intended to harm them or gain unauthorised access to a computer, device or network, use 'phishing' techniques and/or collect unsafely and misuse users' personal information.
Note: To start participating in this opportunity, make sure that you have signed up as a CSS on Google and followed the steps outlined in How to start showing your product pages across Google.
If you don't follow these requirements, your CSS product pages won't be eligible to show on Google, and Google may suspend your participation in this opportunity. You'll be notified in CSS Centre.

Show products on behalf of merchants organically and in ads on Google

These are the minimum requirements and best practices for placing ads and showing products on behalf of merchants organically on Google in the countries where the CSS programme is available:

  • Your business and website are compliant with CSS programme minimum requirements and you have an active CSS Centre account.
  • Your CSS website allows users to find all merchant products that you submit to and show on Google on behalf of those merchants.
  • Products shown organically and in ads must comply with product data specifications and any relevant Shopping policies.
  • Promoted links need to lead users directly to a page that allows them to buy the product, unless expressly specified differently for a particular format. Learn more about landing page requirements.
  • Submit product data for each merchant that you represent in a separate Merchant Center. For example, if a newly created Merchant Center isn't associated with your CSS yet, initiate a switch.
  • If you'd like to represent a marketplace, request a separate Marketplace Multi-Client account for products of that marketplace. Submit product data for each individual seller on the marketplace in a separate sub-account of that Marketplace Multi-Client account. If you allow transactions on your own domain, request a separate Marketplace Multi-Client account for those products and submit product data for each merchant in a separate sub-account of that Marketplace Multi-Client account.
  • You warrant that you have the necessary rights to permit Google to access, index, cache or crawl the landing page URLs of the seller's site and the content available through such URLs, as well as to display the information associated with the product data that you submit. Your service to third parties must clearly and conspicuously disclose to such third parties that this content of theirs will be provided to Google and may be made available to the general public.
Note: To start participating in this opportunity, make sure that you have signed up as a CSS on Google and followed the steps outlined in How to start showing products on behalf of your merchants.
If you don't follow these requirements, Google will disapprove your merchants' products or suspend the Merchant Center accounts. You will be notified in Merchant Center.

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