How to Use Google Product Category To Optimize Sales and Conversions in 2024?

November 29, 2023

You’ve listed your products on Google Shopping. You’re spending dollars on Google ads. But there are still no bites. Why? Chances are your Google product listing isn’t optimized.


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How to Use Google Product Category To Optimize Sales and Conversions in 2024?

The description is missing, the images are low quality, and most importantly Google product category is vague. Customer searches for plumbing and Google shows your pumps (shoes). Not what the customer had in mind.

With over 50000 businesses on Google Shopping and 85% of all product searches starting on Amazon or Google, the need to optimize your Google product category is immense.

How else is your product going to show up in relevant Google search queries? How else are these clicks going to translate into conversions and sales?
In this article, we’re going to discuss what is Google Product Category and how you can optimize it to boost sales. Let’s get into it.

What is a Google Product Category?

Google Product Category is used to classify your products into distinct categories on Google’s Shopping platform. You can either let Google decide your product’s category based on its vast taxonomy or you can manually assign the right category to your product.

For example, if you’re selling cooking pots on Google Shopping, your product should be classified as Home & Garden > Kitchen and dining > Cookware and show up to people looking for cooking pots.

If your cooking pots are wrongly classified and come up instead when people search for gardening pots, your sales will massively decrease and your ad dollars will have a low ROAS (return on ad spend).

How does Google Product Category work?

Google has its own constantly evolving product taxonomy. When you list a product on Google Shopping feed, Google will assign a category [google_product_category] to your product according to your product's data like titles, product descriptions, and GTINs.

This way Google can match your product to the customer’s query.
Since Google Shopping is connected to Google Merchant Centre, which is synced with Google Ads, your Google product category directly affects your Google ad campaigns, too.

Google also allows you to target long-tail keywords, which is essentially your product category. These long-tail keywords translate into higher conversions and lower bounce rates on your website because of higher buyer intent.
For example, a person specifically searching for a Men’s performance zip black leather pullover knows exactly what they want and intends on buying, as opposed to a person who’s searching for a black jacket.

So the better and more specific your product category,

  • the more organic clicks you’ll receive from relevant customer search queries,

  • the better your ad campaigns will perform.

What is the difference between Product Type and Google Product Category?

Confused between Google product type and product category? You’re not alone.
Put simply, product type is how you categorize your products and Google product category is how Google categorizes a product according to its taxonomy. If you feel Google hasn’t correctly or specifically categorized your product, you can fill in this gap by adding your own product category.

You can use Google’s Keyword Planner or Ahrefs to come up with the exact terms customers use when searching for your products.

Why are Google Product Categories important for your products?

On Google Shopping, it is not mandatory for you to categorize all your products. Apart from a few categories like Apparel and Software, you can list (and sell) your products without categorizing your products.

But should you do that? No. Google product categorization offers a plethora of benefits for businesses. Let’s discuss some of them.

More sales and conversions

Every business loves high-intent shoppers.

They know exactly what they want and they’re willing to buy it ASAP. The more specific your Google product category is, the more high-intent shoppers you’ll attract. This results in higher sales and conversions.

Better return on ad spend

The average CTR of Google Shopping Ads is .86%, which means spending dollars on Google shopping ads is great for traffic and conversions.

Sam Baldwin, Founder of KeyCommerce, explains, “The way that Shopping ads are designed, a customer clicking on it has a pretty good idea of what the product is, and exactly how much it costs, which means there’s a higher chance they’re going to buy it. This is why we see that the conversion rates for Google Shopping campaigns are generally higher than the conversion rates for search campaigns.”

To get maximum clicks on your ad, you need to optimize your Google product category. Imagine, every time someone searches for badminton rackets, your tennis racquet shows up and nobody clicks on your ad.

You can target each product category with a different ad campaign. Set different budgets, target audience, and time duration accordingly. This helps to further optimize your ad spend.

Correct tax is applied on products

Choosing the right Google categories for your products ensures that the correct tax is applied to your product.

Even within the same category, some products may have lower taxes than others and some products are even exempted from tax in some US states. Similarly, other countries have different tax laws depending on products.

How to set up Google Product Category?

There are three ways to set up your Google Product category.

  • Automatic Categorization

  • Manual Categorization

  • Smart Categorization

Automatic Google categorization

Since filling the Google category section is optional, you can simply let Google automatically assign your product the right category it assumes based on the product data you provide.

Sounds easy, right?

But, you can't always trust that Google will choose the correct category for your product or be as specific as you like.

For example, if you’re selling ‘vet-authorized cat food’, Google may assign your product to Animals & Pet Supplies > Pet Supplies > Cat Supplies > Cat Food.

But you can manually further specify it and add it to Animals & Pet Supplies > Pet Supplies > Cat Supplies > Cat Food > Prescription Cat Food.

Incorrect classification of your product can lead to,

  • miscalculation of taxes if you’re selling in the US.

  • Extra fields enforced (especially in Apparel & Accessories, Mobile Phones, or Software categories).

  • Less control over your Google ads campaign.

Manual categorization

You can override Google’s automatic product category placement by assigning the right category to your products manually.

The process is simple. Download Google’s Product taxonomy, add it to Excel, use the CTRL+f function to quickly find the correct category for your product, and add it to your google_product_category field in your data feed.

Manually categorizing 100s of products is a time-consuming process and can easily result in human errors.

Smart categorization

The #1 organic Google search result is 10x more likely to get a click and gets 27.6% of all clicks.

So the more optimized your Google product listing is, the more clicks and conversions you’ll get. This is where smart categorization comes in.

With a 98% accuracy rate, AI feed management tools like Channable automatically categorize hundreds of products with precision. Thanks to a powerful machine learning algorithm, tools like Channable match your products on your Google Shopping feed to the most likely product category.

This not only helps you maintain a consistently updated product feed, but also improves your search rankings and gets higher conversions and traffic.
And the learning curve?

Almost zero. It’s easy to use and categorizes hundreds of products within minutes.
When you create your export feed for a channel, a smart suggestion will directly pop up for each of your products in order to place them in the most logical category.

This is how it looks in Channable:

Smart product categorization on Channable

4 ways to optimize Google product categories to increase conversions

As a business owner, your number 1 goal is more sales and conversions.

Optimizing your Google product categories can get you more interest, more traffic, and ultimately more sales and conversions, too.

Let’s take a look at 4 simple ways you can optimize your Google product categories.

Go through all your product categories before hitting publish

Whether Google automatically assigns product categories, or you manually assign them to your products, make sure you review all the product categories once before hitting publish.

With hundreds and even thousands of products, there are high chances of human and Google errors.

For example, if you’re selling cooking pots on Google Shopping, your product should be classified as Home & Garden > Kitchen and Dining> Cookware and show up to people looking for cooking pots.

If your cooking pots are wrongly classified and come up instead when people search for gardening pots, your sales will massively decrease and your ad dollars will have a low ROAS (return on ad spend).

So give your product categories a thorough check before listing them on your Google feed.

Choose the best, most specific, and latest category for your products

This optimization tip is straight from Google.

Google recommends,
Choose the product category that best fits your product’s main function. For example, while a mobile phone has multiple functions (works as a device to use internet on, an alarm clock, and so on) it’s main function is as a mobile phone so choose the following taxonomy { Electronics / Communications / Telephony / Mobile Phones ID: 267}.

Choosing the most specific category. For example, if you’re selling an unlocked mobile phone or a prepaid mobile phone, add a further level in the product hierarchy and choose the following taxonomy { Electronics / Communications / Telephony / Mobile Phones / Unlocked Mobile Phones}.

Choose the latest category. Google translates out-of-date categories to the latest versions, especially when you’re using Google Ads. So when choosing the product category, make sure you’re using the latest category list to match your products to.

Test different product categories

Let’s suppose you’re selling dog food.
You can either assign it to {Dog Food} or {Dog Treats}. Both would work in this case.
But which one would get you higher conversions and more traffic?
Test and find out. Compare the results and use the product category that your audience responds to the most.

Match your product details to your landing page

Your target audience searches for a product on Google, and your product shows up. Intrigued, they look at all the product details provided and click on your website.
They’re all primed and ready to convert.

Your job is to provide them with a seamless shopping experience as soon as they land on your landing page.

How do you do that?

The first thing you need to do is make sure your landing page and Google Shopping product details are in sync - from product name, description and price to product category, everything should be the same at both places.

Next, match the product hierarchy on your website’s navigation menu to your Google Shopping Feed. If they’re searching for Dog Food, it should be classified in the menu similar to how it’s classified on Google. This improves their shopping experience, which is a must for increasing conversions.

Lastly, make sure your category pages are mobile friendly. Optimize them for speed, user experience, and responsiveness.

Want to optimize your Google product categories?

Save your time and energy, and start categorizing your Google product categories with Channable.

Channable helps you organize and optimize your Google product data to better identify top-performing products and categories. Simplify your product feed workflows with Channable so you can boost sales and conversions, get higher ROAS, and keep all your product data up-to-date.

Our solution is unique because we use a tiered process to ensure all categorizations are carried out efficiently and effectively.

It's accurate, takes a few minutes to categorize everything, and helps you manage your Google shopping feed with ease. If you’d like to start optimizing your Google product categories today, request a demo now!

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Maham S. ChappalFreelance content writer for SaaS and marketing brands in B2B

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