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Google Base & Data Feed Optimization

The vertical search results on the main shopping engines should not be ignored. We’re all very familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but you can also get to the top of Google through Google Base. I estimate that over 30,000 merchants are taking advantage of Google Base, but only a very small percentage have actually done anything to improve their results on Google Base.

Over at SingleFeed, I discuss the concept of Data Feed Optimization (DFO) to help submitters get listed higher on Google Base and therefore have the opportunity to show up as a Google OneBox result, above Google’s organic listings.

Here’s a summary of the post entitled Google Base & Data Feed Optimization – How to Succeed on Google Base:
-Google Base is for almost anything. You can submit products (which I focus on), job listings, housing listings, recipes, blog posts, personal ads, and more. The information I present here is aimed at product submissions, but applicable to many types of data submission.

-Most product submissions happen through an automated program that only submits the bare minimum requirements. This usually results in mediocre traffic to those listings. Google Base Store Connector and automated XML feed submissions through major ecommerce platforms remind me of the Submit It service of the early Web 1.0 days. Submit It would submit a URL to hundreds of directories/engines for a small fee, but in my opinion, it didn’t matter if your URL was submitted if the page wasn’t search engine friendly. The same thing goes with data feed submission. Submitting a data feed is just one step. Google Base Store Connector and automated XML solutions do their job in getting data submitted, but merchants must optimize the data feed to get significant results.

-Introduction to Google Base Custom Attributes. Google Base has over 80 pre-defined optional product attributes, but will never be the expert in any particular product category, so Google Base allow users to submit Custom Attributes. With this extra information, searchers will have a better idea of what the merchant sells and therefore the merchant has a better chance of attracting targeted visitors and converting those visitors into buyers. For example, a ski retailer might add a custom attribute for ‘ski length’ because it’s a critical attribute for a consumer making a ski buying decision. A energy bar retailer might add a custom attribute for ‘ingredients’ because it’s a critical attribute for people with allergies.

-When does Google Base matter? No one currently goes directly to, although millions do go to Froogle which is made up of Google Base product listings. Hundreds of millions more go directly to Google and are sometimes exposed to OneBox product results, which are populated through Froogle (via Google Base). I think OneBox results will get a lot more prominent throughout Google this year. However, Google isn’t going to display just any Google Base listings in that prized OneBox area. The OneBox listings will be reserved for information that is more relevant than anything else on the search engine result page (SERP). Relevance means a lot of things to a lot of people/engines, but Google has already made it clear that the more information you provide to Base, the better your results will be. If a merchant spends time optimizing a feed and adds Custom Attributes, then the data could be more relevant than anything else Google has in its index.