CSEforgeeks is on its way to dissecting the shopping feed world. A Top Ten list is a great way to get things going. Here are the Top Ten product feed tips found to keep your data feed optimized and fresh for all shopping engines.
10) Promotional Message
A promotional message is just that: a promotion! One thing all ecommerce websites share in common is that they have to ship products ordered online. Online shoppers may not be familiar with your brand when they search for a product that you sell. And if they don't know your brand then there is a high chance they don't know you offer free shipping. Research each shopping engine's requirements to include a promotional message; usually a column must be included in the product feed, and a promo message must be activated within some engines. Don't offer free shipping? A percentage off all orders over a certain amount is also a great way to put your product over your competitor's. Be aware of a character limit for promotional messages (Become's limit is 32 characters for promo messages) and also add in additional costs included in the CPC rate for this feature.
9) Optimized Titles
Titles may seem simple when you think about it. Yeah, yeah, you sell 100% cotton polo shirts from Tommy Hilfiger. But what will an online shopper search for when comparing prices? Of course, "100% cotton shirt" is great to include ALONG with a brand, a color, and a size. A shopper looking for a "Tommy Hilfiger 100% Cotton Purple Polo Shirt - Large" is much more likely to purchase your product (if that's what you sell) if you have that in your title. A search for "100% cotton shirts" may place your products high on the first page, but if you have a brand the shopper recognizes in the size they need you are a SHOE-in for that conversion.
8) Optimized Descriptions
Like titles, product feed descriptions should be help as equally important. Using the example above, you would want to strategically place important keywords throughout your description to fully capture a comparison shopper's heart.
"The large, 100% cotton purple polo shirt by Tommy Hilfiger is comfortable enough to wear for many different occasions. This 100% cotton polo shirt is gentle to the body and allows for great flexibility when on the go. Tommy Hilfiger has created a polo shirt that will last. Large purple polo shirts are very appealing to the eye, especially when out in public."
You may want to expand on this description for increased information. Google Shopping has always loved content so the more the better. However, some shopping engines have a character limit so your description will be cut off after the limit is reached.
7) Test Bids
Anyone familiar with bidding on keywords for AdWords campaigns knows how important testing is for your strategy. Bidding on a comparison shopping engine is no exception. When making bid changes always record the time, product and/or category, the bid itself and the amount you increase or decrease that bid. That way if you see a sudden, unwanted, surge of clicks and costs or a bad decrease in traffic you can go back and tweak your bid strategy.
6) Utilize Account Managers
Your account managers are your account managers for a reason. They are proven experts in managing AT LEAST one comparison shopping engine. Countless inquiries made by myself have frequently hit the inboxes of these account managers and have been responded promptly most of the time. These managers can relay important information such as FTP login info, bidding recommendations, and feed changes.
5) Implement engine-specific features
Each engine has similar and/or different features that can help you improve your visibility. Just like promotional messages mentioned above, a feature can guarantee you a better chance than a competitor that does not utilize engine features. For example, Become (one of my favorites), as well as Shopzilla and Shopping.com, have a strike-through feature that make it easy for your product's listing to be recognized as one that's on sale. To do this you must include a 'Sale Price' or 'MSRP' column to reflect the price change. The engine will do the rest. Also utilize any ROI trackers, store surveys, or merchant badges available for your website. These can make your ecommerce store more credible for shoppers searching for trustworthy merchants.
4) Use a CSE management system
A CSE management system is one that can help you manage all the comparison shopping engines with one file. Personally, SingleFeed has been the best when it comes to this. WIth one file I can optimize all titles, descriptions, and utilize attribute columns that would otherwise have to be changed and uploaded engine by engine. The pricing is fair and discounts are available for those with multiple clients.
3) Research industry trends
Updating your knowledge of your profession is important, especially when you deal with the ecommerce world. Constant changes happen daily and you don't want to miss out on product feed changes, Google updates, and new tips and strategies for CSEs. The best resource for new information regarding CSEs is CPCStrategy. I have also enjoyed Practical Ecommerce.
2) Keep daily reports
Knowing exactly what your CSE campaigns are costing and how much money they are bringing is in the most important aspect of your strategy. Your strategy depends on this information, as it will tell you whether or not you need to increase bids, suppress products, or test new titles and descriptions. Keep detailed notes of what changes you make so that you understand why or why not a goal has or hasn't been met.
1) Update feeds frequently!
Update your feed ALL the time! Clients with huge product feed files constantly have products going out of stock or being discontinued. Keeping your shopping feed updated is essential to avoiding unqualified traffic. This may be the most important tip wen dealing with CSEs, as your products are dependent on the availability from your store. You don't want to spend $$$ on products you no longer have, do you?
And there is CSEforgeeks' Top Ten list for shopping feed tips.
Coming soon: A "Top CSE Tips" page on CSEforgeeks.com.