Google Announces New Requirements around Unique Identifier Data

July 11, 2010

Google announced Friday that unique identifier content (MPN, Brand, GTIN/UPC/EAN or ISBN) will become required for electronics, books, and media products in the US in “late August.” Many products of this type already have a product page created, so if your feed doesn’t contain a unique identifier that is allowing Google to match your offer to that page, you’re already missing out on exposure for that item.

As noted in the announcement, this content can generally be found on the product page itself. If you don’t have this information the Google product page is a good place to look, though this is not exactly a scalable approach if you send a lot of products in these categories. The manufacturer/supplier of the products may have the data so if you aren’t getting it be sure to ask.

One recommendation here is to not assume that your data is correct, nor to assume the same of Google’s data. The only thing that matters is that the data you are sending matches the data associated with Google’s product page, which may or may not be what you are expecting it to be. This especially becomes problematic for products where there are different versions or editions.

It would be nice if Google would roll out some sort of matching report that indicates which items are matching to a page as well as a link to the page itself and perhaps some other data about the item. This would make it easier for merchants to determine which data points aren’t correlating to Google’s product database so they can take action to correct the content in their feeds. Merchants should check for matching on top products anyway but such a report would accelerate the process.