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Listing categories instead of individual products

in order to limit costs

7:38 pm on Dec 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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joined:Feb 15, 2005
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I posted this originally in the Supporter's forum. It's not gotten much interest so I thought I would post it here as well:

We implemented a datafeed for 10,000 of our products back in the Google Merchant Center days. It never really did much for us, mostly because we're primarily a B2B (we'll sell to anyone but the smallest quantity you can buy will last the average consumer for a year or two). Our Director of Internet Marketing has recently started working with an "SEO" company to handle our Adwords. One of that companies suggestions was that enable our feed for Google Shopping. We don't track some of the new required fields such as individual product "Brand" so I was asking some questions to the SEO company guy and I realized they are planning to manually submit a feed that has only 50 or so of our best selling "products". I say "products" because they aren't planning to use products in the feed, they are actually aggregating to our Class/Type level and acting like that's a "product". For example, if we sold Blue Widgets, and in Blue Widgets were some Types like Organic Blue Widgets and Blue Widgets with Handles. And one product was 5" Organic Blue Widget. Instead of using 5" Organic Blue Widget in the data feed, they might link to our "Blue Widgets" Category page and you a group picture as the picture.

This is all per the SEO dude.

I tried to explain to the owner of the company that there's no provision for using Google Shopping this way and that you are supposed to upload real products and the links are supposed to have those products shown on that page, not one link away like they are planning. I was told to "relax" and that they'll "deal with Google's anal policies".

Now, it's worth mentioning that back when our Director of Internet Marketing suggested putting up some one page content websites with keyword rich domains that's sole purpose was to deeplink to our main site's pages, I spewed all the Matt Cutts whitehat garbage I knew. Told them it wouldn't work. Told them it was the definition of a "Link Scheme". Warned them not to do it.

And it's been very successful. Still to this day some of those sites rank higher than our own main site for keywords. In other words, my blindness to doing things the "Google way" made me look like an idiot and gave them reason to discount my suggestions.

Having said all that, can someone tell me if there's some secret "we all only do category links in Google Shopping" ploy and I'm just not in the know. Or, am I right to suggest they follow Google's guidelines on this?