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RSS 2.0 specification

This document provides guidelines for the creation of an XML product data feed in the RSS 2.0 format. We've linked standard attributes to their respective sections in the official RSS 2.0 specification to assist you in finding additional information about the components from our examples. Although we provide examples of RSS 2.0 files, we provide minimal details about RSS 2.0 itself. If you are interested in learning more about this standard, we suggest looking over this specification at http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss.

To download a RSS 2.0 example file, click here.

 

Section 1: RSS 2.0

Based on the RSS 2.0 specification, there are three pre-defined elements at the item level - title, link, and description. Although these elements are optional in the RSS 2.0 standard, product data feeds require them.

Product data feeds also require additional elements such as price, id, and condition. To include these elements and more detailed information about an item, we've extended RSS 2.0 by adding the Google Merchant Center feed namespace. Defining the Google Merchant Center namespace allows you to use additional elements, called "attributes", and increases the amount of information you can provide about each item in a feed.

Below is an example of a basic RSS 2.0 document containing a single item:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rss version="2.0" 
xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0">
<channel>
<title>The name of your data feed</title> <link>http://www.example.com</link> <description>A description of your content</description> <item> <title>Red wool sweater</title> <link> http://www.example.com/item1-info-page.html</link> <description>Comfortable and soft, this sweater will keep you warm on those cold winter nights.</description>
<g:image_link>http://www.example.com/image1.jpg</g:image_link> <g:price>25</g:price> <g:condition>new</g:condition> <g:id>1a</g:id>
</item> </channel> </rss>

The two major additions in this example are the addition of the namespace declaration (xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0") and the inclusion of four attributes (image_link, price, condition, andid).

Google Merchant Center namespace declaration

The following namespace declaration is required in order to use attributes defined only in the Google Merchant Center namespace.

xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0"

In addition to declaring the Google Merchant Center namespace, you must also include a prefix within every attribute tag. We add this prefix to attributes to distinguish attributes defined in our namespace from elements defined in RSS 2.0. The prefix selected for this namespace declaration is "g":

<g:image_link>http://www.google.com/images/google_sm.gif</g:image_link>

Attributes in the Google Merchant Center namespace must include this prefix or the attributes, and any values they contain, will be ignored.

Attributes

You can use as many relevant attributes as are specific to your items. Supplying additional information about your items by using these attributes will greatly increase your items' chances of showing up in Shopping ads results. In addition, many attributes defined in the Google Merchant Center namespace can be used more than once within a single item. This enables you to add more available information about an item in your feed.

 

Section 2: Important Checklist

Before you submit your feed, we highly recommend running through the following list to help ensure your file is properly formatted:

  1. Your filename must end with the .xml extension.
  2. The feed filename you register in your Google Merchant Center account must match the name you assign to your file.
  3. Remember to include namespace declarations. These values should match exactly as shown.
    1. Google Merchant Center namespace:  xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0".
    2. Custom attributes namespace: xmlns:[prefix]="http://base.google.com/cns/1.0", where [prefix] is replaced by the prefix you've included in your file. 
  4. Verify the prefix included in the Google Merchant Center and Custom Google Merchant Center attribute tags matches the prefix defined in the namespace declaration.
  5. Remove attributes that do not contain any values.
 

Section 3: Final Note

The sample entry included in this document was simplified to allow for clearer focus on the basics of constructing an XML product data feed. While we accept feeds containing other elements defined in the RSS 2.0 standard or in your own namespace, any information these elements contain will be ignored during processing and will not appear in your listings. At this time we will only process data contained in the default RSS 2.0 elements and in attributes within the Google Merchant Center and Custom Google Merchant Center namespaces.

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