Errors in Merchant Center

Merchant Center errors are the main headaches for Google Adwords specialists. In our quest to optimize campaigns to the maximum and increase sales, we encounter these problems as an impediment to advertise some Ecommerce products.

From Geotelecom, we believe that good management of data feeds will be increasingly well as the debugging of Errors in Merchant Center. The trend towards automation of bids will require a greater effort in the strategic section.

Precisely for this reason, we want to bring you a compilation of the main errors in Merchant Center, and most importantly, ways to fix them, as well as all the related information from Google's help for create data feeds correctly. 


Types of Problems in Google Merchant Center

Firstly, we would encounter the dreaded "the dreaded errorsThese are the most serious problems and lead to product rejections and sometimes account suspensions. These are the most serious problems and lead to product rejections and sometimes account suspensions. When a product is rejected, it will no longer be advertised on Google Shopping, losing profitable sales opportunities for the customer.

Similarly, depending on the type of error or the accumulation of several errors in Merchant Center, the account could be suspended, without the possibility of running campaigns on the Google Shopping network.

On the other hand, we have the warnings (marked with a yellow sign) These may not necessarily lead to product rejections or account suspensions in the short term, but may negatively affect the quality level of the account and most likely lead to rejections or suspensions in the future. 

They must be taken into account and work to solve it. Finally, we are faced with the notifications (blue callsign)These are informative in nature with a view to optimizing the feed's product data in order to improve the overall quality of the account.

We will not discuss the different examples of notifications in this post, but we recommend that you keep track of them to ensure the highest quality of your Merchant Center account.


Errors in Merchant Center at Account level

These issues are some of the most dangerous for advertisers. Whether they are errors or warnings, they could result in a full suspension of the Google Merchant Center account. Generally, for the most urgent errors, a maximum resolution date is usually given before the account is suspended. This date is displayed in a "snack" to the right of the error. Some of the most common errors and warnings are:

  • "Account warned for violating policies"Google is taking more and more seriously what and how to sell on Google Shopping, which is why it is obligatory to comply with all its policies, prohibiting the sale of a wide variety of products that do not comply with them. For example, it is forbidden to sell dangerous objects such as weapons, ammunition, fireworks, etc. But there are not only prohibitions, but also restricted content, which can be advertised but with certain limitations, such as the followingsuch as adult content, alcohol, medicines...

In the following link you will find the Shopping Policiesthat will help you in case of doubts.

  • "Product rejection has been enabled as a preventative measure for violating policy or for a data breach."Google Shopping Ads: these types of warnings refer to editorial aspects, often related to the images in the data feed. Google is very concerned that Google Shopping ads meet quality standards to provide the best possible user experience.

Check the Google editorial and professional requirements can be of great help to avoid these problems.

  • "Account warned for violating feed specification.": it is necessary to comply with the standardized guidelines in the creation of the Data Feed in each country. A very clear example could be language or respect for appropriate language.
  • "Account suspended for violating program policy."user safety (e.g., missing contact information, missing terms of service).It is necessary to have a landing page specifying the company's contact details, VAT number, privacy information, terms of service, shipping and return conditions.
  • "Insufficient matching of microdata price information", "No automatic product updates for availability" and "No automatic product updates for prices".automatic updates must be enabled in Merchant Center and the information must agree with the microdata

It is important to know that if we have several accounts "hanging" When configuring automatic product updates on each client by default, they will be set based on what is configured in the main account. (MCA).

  • "Verify and claim the Web site."We usually encounter this problem especially during the creation of a new account or by passing it over to management when it was previously managed by another agency or individual. To solve this problem we would simply have to enter the URL of the web site in the "Information about your company" in the Merchant Center configuration. In order to verify and claim the site we would have several methods that are equally effective:

We could upload HTML files to the server and Google will check it. You need to keep the uploaded file even if the URL has been verified and claimed.

2. Adding an HTML tag (metatag) on the main page of the website. It is necessary to keep the file uploaded even if the URL has been verified and claimed.

3. Through Google Analytics, as long as we are administrators of the Google Analytics account.

4. With Google Tag Manager, being necessary to have account level permissions to view, edit and manage.

  • "Account suspended for violating program policy: payment process not secure": it is mandatory to install the SSL certificate in all sections of the Web where user information is collected. That is to say, if our page is HTTP it would be necessary to change it to HTTPS at least in the pages where information is collected.
  • "Account warned for violating availability policies":this warning results in account suspension or massive product rejection if it is not corrected before the expiration date. The most common causes are that certain products in the data feed appear as "In Stock" but when arriving at the landing page it is not possible to close the sale or that the terms "Out of Stock", "No units available", etc. are detected at some point in the landing page.

On the other hand, we would like to share with you a very specific case that we have encountered and that is important to bear in mind: Google robots not only read the text as such on the Web, but also any other text that may appear on the Web. ALT tag of the images.

In the specific case we are talking about, the client had all the products in stock, but within each of the product cards they had banners that referred to "special shipping". This banner was labeled with an ALT tag that said something like this: "Special shipping for products out of stock in less than 5 days".

Google bots read this tag and launched this warning in Merchant causing us to find the problem and successfully passed the deadline. The Google Chrome tool for inspecting Web elements (F12 or Alt+F12) is very useful for detecting this type of problem with images:

alt tag



Problems in Merchant Center at Feeds level

  • "XML format error"The Google robot has detected some kind of error when processing the XML data feed, generally it usually fails in certain lines of the file, which are indicated when you are inside the feed tab itself, in the processing errors.


Errors in Merchant Center at the Element level

  • "Wait three days until image crawl is complete."Google systems can take up to 3 days to process an image if it has been changed recently.
  • "Generic images."Some products in the data feed have images that do not perfectly illustrate the product. It is necessary to modify them in order to adapt them to Google's policies.
  • "Images too small": it is necessary to meet very specific size requirements, both in terms of dimensions and weight. In thislink These requirements can be consulted.
  • "The images are not valid.": the error comes from an incorrect image link that does not direct to a valid image. It may redirect to a website instead of an image, or you may get a 404 error in the link.
  • "Unexpected error while processing an image"If the error persists for more than a week, it is advisable to contact Support.
  • "Value too long in attribute: description and title".The two errors are independent of each other and refer to the fact that product descriptions cannot exceed 5,000 characters and the title attribute cannot exceed 150 characters.
  • "Coding problems in attribute: description and title.": the accepted encodings in Google Merchant Center are UTF-8, UTF-16, Latin-1. If the feed is sent in an XML file, this information must be specified in the first line of the feed.
  • "There are product pages that cannot be accessed from a mobile device."Google's robot has not been able to access any page through the "link" attribute. These products will be rejected until the problem is solved. In this case link you may find some clues to solve the problem.
  • "Automatic rejection of products due to policy violations."This is a rather generic error that does not tell us which specific policy has been violated. In the following link you can consult all Google policies.
  • "Temporary product disapprovals due to pricing errors.": This problem is caused by the inconsistency between the price that is reflected in the data feed and the price that is actually on the destination website. The best way to avoid these problems is to have well configured the Merchant module of our ecommerce, so that it is updated at least once a day through a Cron task, for subsequent recovery in Merchant.

In addition, we always recommend that if price changes are made on the Web at a certain time, that the feed is subsequently updated and retrieved in Merchant Center.

  • "Incorrect product identifiers"This problem arises when within a group of similar products most of them do not have correct identifiers, so they will all be marked as invalid. If we reduce the number with incorrect identifiers, others in the same group will be automatically reapproved.

MerchAt this point it is important to remember that it is important to have the main unique identifiers (MPN, GTIN and brand).

  • "GTIN value is invalid"GTIN code: a product has a GTIN code that is not the one that really corresponds to it. It is necessary to modify it correctly if we want the product in question to be approved.
  • "Product requires a GTIN code"GTIN code: as you know the GTIN code is mandatory for many products, in fact it is the main method used by the search engine to compare us with other competitors, hence if we do not have this attribute the products are automatically rejected.
  • "Images cannot be crawled due to robots.txt restriction" and "Pages cannot be crawled due to robots.txt restriction":Google asks you to add the following lines to the robots.txt file, which you can access by putting in the navigation bar:

User-agent: Googlebot Disallow: User-agent: Googlebot-image Disallow:

The first User-agent is to tell Google to crawl the web and the second to crawl the images, both fundamental.You can see the official information from Google in the Official Merchant Center Help.


Our recommendations for Merchant Center

In addition to the different errors in Merchant Center mentioned above, we would like to give you some of them tips useful when working with Merchant to avoid possible problems that the panel will not warn you about:


Download the element-level error diagnostic report

When we download this report we will obtain a CSV that if we open it, it may scare us at first.

To make the reading of this report easy, simply follow these steps: Open a blank Excel Document > Data > From text > Import the downloaded CSV > Select the "Delimited" option > Select the following separators With this methodology we will be able to read any CSV file with this structure without problems. Now we can use filters with Excel and sort the different IDs affected by Merchant Center errors.

Avoid having several feeds with the same IDs for the same country coexisting.

pBecause if we work "custom labels" on any of them, when any of the other feeds are retrieved, we would step on the information of the one we are interested in, causing all the attributes we edited to be reset to the original values.

Therefore, the ideal is that when we create a new feed in Merchant Center, on which we have the idea of working and optimizing later in Google Shopping, keep it coexisting for a maximum of 24 hours until the IDs are processed, and then delete the previous feeds.


Merchant Center Rules

To close this post we want to give you a very important indication to keep in mind to avoid surprises. When we create rules based on the combination of text with any of the attributes of the client's data feed, we must be very careful that the nomenclature of the attributes of that feed does not change to another language, since if so, the Merchant rules are not able to detect it.

Here is a real example of what could happen: We have generated a rule in Merchant Center that sets a ✓ in front of the "Title". If for some reason the "Title" field were to change to "Title", a fully accepted name, the rule would no longer be valid and we would encounter this: We would have only the ✓ as a title, making it lose total relevance to the customer and worsen its relationship with the search terms that would usually trigger the Shopping ad.

We hope that this compilation of errors and recommendations can help you to optimize your data feeds in Merchant Center, since Google is giving it more and more importance, and in view of the growing competition it will be essential not only to work on the bids but also on the raw material, which in this case are the feeds.

For our part, we will try to maintain this post updated with new errors that we detectWe encourage all of you to leave any problems you have encountered here and comment!


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