Categorize your products

Products are categorized in our search results based on a number of factors. While we can't guarantee that a product will show in a particular category, you can increase the chances that your products will be included in relevant categories by sending us highly structured information for your items. To categorize the products in your feeds, you can use two attributes:

  • The ‘Google product category’ attribute: For this attribute, use one of the categories defined in the Google product taxonomy
  • The ‘product type’ attribute: For this attribute, you can use either one of the categories defined in the Google product taxonomy, or your own category names

The Google Product Category attribute


The ‘google product category’ attribute indicates the category of the product being submitted, according to the Google product taxonomy. This attribute accepts only one value, taken from the taxonomy tree. If your items fall into multiple categories, include only one category.

When to include

For all target countries except Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Turkey, ‘google product category’ is required for all items that fall within the 'Apparel & Accessories', 'Media', and 'Software' categories. If your products do not fall into one of those categories - or if your feed targets Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, or Turkey, - this attribute is recommended but not required.

For items that fall into the categories listed below, the value you submit for ‘google product category’ must use the categories as they appear below or the more specific categories provided in the full Google product taxonomy. It is not sufficient to provide the highest-level categories, such as 'Apparel & Accessories' or ‘Media’, for these items.

  • 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing'
  • 'Apparel & Accessories > Shoes'
  • 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing Accessories > Sunglasses'
  • 'Apparel & Accessories > Handbags, Wallets & Cases > Handbags'
  • 'Apparel & Accessories > Jewelry > Watches'
  • 'Media > Books'
  • 'Media > DVDs & Movies'
  • 'Media > Music'
  • Software > Video Game Software' (Note: this category includes all computer games)

Category for bundles: Provide the most appropriate categorization for bundled products of differing product types. If the bundle contains a main product, the category of the main product is most appropriate. For example, if you are submitting a digital SLR camera bundled with a bag, ‘Cameras & Optics > Cameras > Digital Cameras’ is an appropriate category to submit for the bundled item.

Examples of ‘google product category’ submissions:

Leggings fall under the 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing' category specified above. When submitting leggings:

  • Acceptable categories:
    • 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing'
    • 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing' > Pants'
    • 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing' > Pants > Leggings'
  • Invalid categories
    • 'Apparel & Accessories'
    • Failing to provide any 'google product category'

Rings do not fall under the specific categories listed above. When submitting rings:

  • Acceptable categories:
    • 'Apparel & Accessories'
    • 'Apparel & Accessories > Jewelry
    • 'Apparel & Accessories'> Jewelry > Rings'
  • Invalid categories:
    • Failing to provide any 'google product category'

However, we recommend you include this attribute for all products, and for all target-countries. Including this attribute will result in better categorization for your products, and will allow us to apply the correct set of checks and rules for your products.

Downloadable taxonomy

The Google product taxonomy lists all possible values for the 'Google product category' attribute. In order for an item to display on Google Shopping, it must also comply with our Google Shopping policies.

If the values for your 'google product category' attribute are not formatted according to the following instructions, your items will fail to process. Go to the Data Feeds tab of your account and click "x out of x items inserted" to check if you receive warnings or errors about incorrect values for this attribute. If you do, review the instructions below and update your values accordingly.

Instructions

The Google product taxonomy is a tree of categories that describe product families. At the highest level, it is arranged into verticals, which refer to broad categories of products. For example, Electronics is a vertical. The subcategories of these verticals are more specific. Each layer breaks the vertical into a smaller product family. So the string for a category like MP3 Players would look like this: Electronics > Audio > Audio Players & Recorders > MP3 Players

Here are a few guiding principles for choosing the appropriate category:

  • Use the category that best describes your item. To do this, first determine the primary function of the products you are submitting. For specific items like MP3 Players, select the MP3 Players category. While some MP3 players can also serve different functions, like those that contain a clock, they are primarily MP3 Players.
  • Use only one category. For some products, more than one category might be relevant. For example, an adapter to allow an MP3 player to be used in a car could be in both categories Motor Vehicles > Audio & Video and Electronics > Audio > Audio Accessories > MP3 Player Accessories. In such cases, choose the category that seems the most appropriate to you, but don't include more than one.
  • Use the most specific category possible. Being specific will help improve your data quality and in turn ensures that offers are presented in the right category. When viewing the taxonomy, try to navigate to the most specific category that still covers all the products being submitted. For instance, if you are submitting MP3 player chargers use the category MP3 Player Chargers. Conversely, if you are submitting multiple types of chargers use the category Chargers.

Note: The taxonomy is updated every 3 months. However, you can submit taxonomy values in the 'google product category' attribute from previously published taxonomy versions, back to August 2011. If you use taxonomy values from a version older than August 2011, you need to update them. You can find above the newest version of the taxonomy.

Formatting (Text)

You can submit the category directly. For example:

Food, Beverages & Tobacco > Food Items > Grains, Rice & Cereals

or put it in double quotes:

"Food, Beverages & Tobacco > Food Items > Grains, Rice & Cereals"

Formatting (XML)

The category names contain the > and & characters. Since these have special meaning in XML, they must be escaped as > and &. You may also use CDATA to escape the entire string. For example:

<g:google_product_category>Arts &amp; Entertainment &gt; Musical Instruments &gt; Keyboards</g:google_product_category>

Note: The values (category names) can be either in the same language as your attributes, or in English (US). If you submit several feeds in different languages, you can use the same values in English (US) across all your feeds.

The Product Type attribute


The ‘product type’ attribute also indicates the category of the product being sold. However, unlike the ‘Google product category’ attribute, this refers to your own classification of the item. Moreover, you can include more than one ‘product type’ attribute in your feed, if products apply to more than one category. To determine the correct ‘product type’ Attribute, expand or browse the Google taxonomy (i.e. use one of the Google taxonomy values) or use your own categories.

When to include

We recommend you include the ‘product type’ attribute for all countries and product categories.

Instructions

  • Use the full “breadcrumb” information. Wherever possible, we recommend you include more granular categories as it provides us with more precise classification signals. For example, Books > Non-Fiction > Sports > Baseball is better than Baseball. You must use " > " as a separator, including a space before and after the symbol. If you submit multiple values separated by a comma, only the first value will be used as the ‘product type’ for your Shopping campaigns. Learn more about Shopping campaigns.
  • Use multiple categories, if applicable. The maximum number of values that can be included is ten.
  • It's OK to give us the same values for 'Google product category' and 'product type' attributes but the 'Google product category' values has to be from the taxonomy tree as mentioned above.