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50% decline in Merchant center Clicks March 15th



3:43 pm on Mar 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

We experienced about a 50%+ decline in clicks from the Merchant center on March 15th through the 16th and seemed to have rebounded this morning, the 17th.

I checked a few of our well performing keywords that were in spot 1 or 2 and it seemed that our products for those keywords had been moved down the shopping results page about 20-40 spots!

We were replaced with Amazon for the most part, who would usually take the spot right before or right after us in the top 3 spots.

We manually upload our feed files and did nothing differently than the usual every day to every 2nd day upload. There were nos errors or issues that showed so we are confused as to why this would happen and are unsure how to protect our placements or prevent it from happening again.

Anyone else experience something similar either on March 15th or anytime in the past?



4:29 pm on Mar 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi MelissaLB,

Nothing with any of my clients. One thing to note is that your competitors, like Amazon, could be adjusting their keywords at any time, causing them to be more relevant than some of your listings.

Coupled with the fact that Amazon is Amazon, one of the most trusted shopping portals on the net, Google consistently ranks them higher than most online retailers.

Google does try to be fair in it's algorithm though, so it may have re-adjusted based on the sway in traffic that you and possibly other competitors in your space experienced.

There are so many variables that can impact traffic from this program.


5:15 am on Mar 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

WE are also experiencing a 50% drop in traffic from Google Base. We have not changed our feeds, and we have no errors. There was a Google Base announcement on March 14, around about the same time the traffic drops were noted for many merchants. However, the announcement is about new requirements coming into effect in May and June, nothing to suggest there was a big change right now. Our traffic has not come back. Anyone else down and still down sine March 14/15? Anyone else recover? c


8:38 am on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

In the UK Google seems to be inventing it's own titles in the results! We have changed some of ours yet Google still lists what it wants & is nothing like out title from the feed. Another Google product ruined i wonder?


3:21 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Never heard of that before. Are you including UPCs or GTINs? Google may be adding your product to price comparison pages where title and description data are aggregated for multiple merchants.


3:32 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

All products have UPC's. It's the actual product title that is NOT what we are stipulating in the feed. It seems Google have taken some of the title, some of the description & then lumped in the brand name for good measure! All other products appear as just the title as stated in the feed. One product that was VERY popular has completely gone off the shopping search, despite searching for the exact title.


3:57 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Since you are including the UPC Google is matching up your listing with your competition's. Your competitor probably listed the product first or included a more search relevant title according to Google and used it instead of yours.

This happens to all product listings where multiple sellers list the same UPC. They are all grouped into one comparison page where one title, description, and other product details are displayed for shoppers so they can compare prices and sellers easier.


4:13 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Only we have been using our own UPC which i doubt would be the same as the competition, indeed, for the example i sent you that peoduct is specific to us & our sister company.


4:33 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Someone is matching with your UPC. Whether that be your sister company or a competitor that stripped the product data from your listing, Google is taking one feed's title and description and listing it to all shoppers for the same product.


5:09 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

That's the trouble, both companies are using the same description and it is nothing like what Google has up currently! Only two stores are showing for this particular item(both ours) yet Google has invented its own title for it!


8:15 pm on Apr 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google does not manipulate titles for no reason. For some reason that data has been sourced to a comparison page. Could have been from a previous title or a previous merchant(s) selling the product. You can try contacting Google through your Merchant Center.


6:24 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some (SOME!) of the title is the old description, if they aren't going to update titles then they are doing exactly as they wish. A bit like page titles they invent in the SERPS.


8:19 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

This morning shows lots of products disapproved, more info states the URL is not available(it is) our servers have had no issues either. Google really is in a mess. How on earth do you contact them via the merchant centre? I can see no way of doing this.


2:49 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

You can contact Google here:


Note that throwing a fit and demanding change from Google is a sure-fire way to get ignored.


2:51 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

On a topic that's related to this thread, my previous response at the top that noted no major change with any of my clients has been rebuffed by my colleagues. We did see a decline in clicks. Should have more info soon...


2:05 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

we saw another decline last week. now down 75%. no errors.

our decline dates to march 15 also, then april and then last week. a perfect correlation with panda, panda 2.0 and panda 2.2.

my conclusion - somehow the panda test has been mixed into the product search algo as a sitewide trust factor.

ironically, we have seen no reduction in regular organic google referrals - so, our site hasn't been impacted by any of the panda updates, but it has through products only - go figure


12:39 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Have you complied with Google's recent UPI requirements?

Retailers that list products outside of the apparel and custom category items need two of the following three identifiers:


Media needs UPC, EAN, or JAN

Books need ISBN (Either ISBN-10 or ISBN-13. Exceptions apply for books published before 1970.)

Requests for exemption can be made here:



2:48 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks Andrew, Yes we have UPC's , brand and MPN. Feeds are getting accepted with less than 1% errors - we have 175k items in feed, so there are a few errors - we allow images in robots etc. - think it is some kind of penalty - too much coincidence with panda dates - other people have unexplained traffic drops too:



7:37 pm on Jul 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

we've seen a gradual decline of about 60% in our traffic and we do have the new UPI requirements in place. some of our parts have UPC numbers and some do not. We have a few "warnings" but no "errors"


11:16 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I received a lot of sales from Google Merchant Center, and ranked very well there for years. Over the past few months I've noticed a substantial drop in clicks as well as a drop in rankings.

I've gone through every item and fixed any errors, and have added all of the new required tags, such as shipping weight, Google Product Category, etc.

Panda was bad enough when it killed my organic search traffic. If it's now screwing up the Merchant Center results, then I may as well kiss all Google traffic goodbye.


10:45 am on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

After six months we are still off 75%. I think there is a quality score that is panda derived and it throttles the google products traffic. You can polish the feeds all you want, but the throttle will stay in place.


10:57 am on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

We are still missing our very good feedback score. Google couldn't be more unhelpful, their latest reply was "wait two weeks for the feedback to return". It disappeared 62 days ago. Cliks were really good last month but this week well down. Organic has taken a hit this week again too.


3:04 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Make sure you're including a Google Product Category along with your product_type category.

And make sure you're adhering to these new guidelines:


Google is supposedly going to start warning then banning accounts who aren't following them.

Also something to keep in mind is that since Google Product Search is free, the ability for competition to push you out of a portion of your market there is higher than on other channels.

If you guys want to post any errors in your merchant centers I'll be happy to work through them with you. ohno I sent you a sticky.


3:15 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Have replied Andrew ;) Thanks


4:04 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Is anyone who was affected on or about March 15 noticing a recent improvement?


6:12 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Well, I just hit rock bottom with Google Merchant Center, as in 0 clicks. I made all of the changes required to the data feeds--adding google_product_category, availability, shipping_weight, etc--but my clicks fell to zero starting on October 11.

The performance chart is showing that most of my items were disapproved starting on the 11th, although the list of products in my account doesn't show that. I do know that I haven't received any sales from Google Products/Merchant/whatever since last week.

I used the contact form to ask Google for help, but I have no idea if they'll reply.

Between Panda, the loss of Google Product traffic, and some changes by manufacturers whose products I sell, I'm hurting bad. No amount of paid advertising on Adwords or on other websites is making a difference.


6:26 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Our feeds are also showing data quality issues yet when you click on them the page that opens says something like addressing the issues bellow will help.......yet there is nothing below! There is a bug in their system.


4:42 pm on Oct 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ohno - I'm getting the same re: data quality issues. Another google mystery.

Clicks are down on this time last year - I suppose as more shops go online this trend will continue as the pie gets shared further.

However, I haven't noticed any increase/decrease in clicks since the data rules were supposed to have been enforced. Either everyone is doing it right or google hasn't enforced them yet in our field.

Any experiences of a complete drop in products / clicks recently?


5:29 pm on Oct 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Nope. I think Google's original tough stance is gone. I see violations left right & centre. Still got data quality issues(with no details) & no reply from Google! Also have lost our Google Checkout badges from one site, again no answer from Google. All I get is we have forwarded to email to a team that can deal with it..........


5:39 pm on Oct 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google's requirements are quite the puzzle to work through. And definitely some requirements aren't really requirements. Google has not found a way to completely enforce it's shipping requirements, so lots of merchants are listing no shipping or free shipping to take advantage of their lack of enforcement.

Your competitors could be doing it and taking traffic and sales away from your site. Something to be aware of!

I'm happy to help out where I can fo' free. Just shoot me a sticky. This is my day job.
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