The Christmas season is such a busy time of year for ecommerce, the last thing you want is your Google Shopping product feed to be disapproved. Here’s a list of the top five reasons for product downtime and how you can prevent it:

1.Data Mismatch Between Site & Feed

A mismatch can occur if there is a delay in the transfer of information from the website to the feed following a site update. Google crawls the site and notes the mismatches between the site and the feed, temporarily disapproving the products or suspending the account.

There are three steps to minimise the risk of a mismatch occurring. Firstly, make sure you choose a feed type that suits the site e.g. API, XML, TXT. Secondly use the Automatic Upload function to ensure the feed updates in line with the website. And finally, choose Automatic Item Updates (to use Automatic Item Updates you need to select the option from your Merchant Centre settings & alter your HTML code slightly).

2.User Safety Policy

Google policy reviews can occur at any time! The best way to avoid your feed being disapproved for policy reasons is to simply make sure you comply with all policies in the first place. Common policy issues include using a Secure HTTPS page for cart & checkout process, and refunds & returns policy. You can find all of the Google Shopping Policies here.


If you have a robots.txt file on your server, this can prevent Google from crawling the images on your site. Shopping ads can’t show until Google has crawled your images. You’ll need to ensure your robots.txt file allows Google to crawl your site, this can be done by adding the following to your robots.txt file:

User-agent: Googlebot

User-agent: AdsBot-Google

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

4.Adult & Non-Family Safe Items

If you don’t mark your adult items as non-family safe, they will not be allowed to show. For businesses where adult content is site wide, you must check the Adult box box within the Merchant Centre Account. This will place serving limitations on all products submitted across all feeds in the account. If the business is generally non-adult but does have some adult products, limitations can be placed only on the adult products. To do this, the ‘Adult’ attribute on the data feed need to be set to ‘TRUE’. The serving limitations for non-family safe content are that ads will not show:

  • To users who have activated the SafeSearch filter
  • To users who’s queries are not considered to be adult in nature
  • To users in countries who do not allow online sale of adult items
  • To users on sites where the partners have not agreed to serve adult content on their sites

5.Shipping Setup

Leaving out shipping information can result in feed disapproval. Google suggest 3 options for shipping strategies. The first is a Single Rate such as free shipping on all products or a standard % of the item’s price. A RateTable can be used if the shipping price depends on 1 or 2 variables such as price, weight, shipping label or destination. Finally, a business could use Rules; creating custom shipping configurations based on product attributes and destination. You can use a different method of shipping for each country that your ads are targeting.

Make sure you’re reviewing the diagnostics tab on a regular basis to stay on top of any issues, if you need any help or advice with your shopping campaigns please get in touch.