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Product Description Formatting - Question About Bullets

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I see that Google says that no bulleted text in the product description is allowed. However I read on a forum that individuals were able to submit products that did have bullets in their description. It appears that they may have not been flagged because they had a significant amount of product description and then had bulleted text below that product description.

Does anyone have any insight on this? Is it ok to have bulleted text as long as it may be past a certain character threshold? I will most likely be submitting the feed manually; should I submit the bullets in the feed or leave them out but have them remain on the product page? Thank you.

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Product Description Formatting - Question About Bullets

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor


remove any and all formatting such as (bullet)
symbols from submitted data if at all possible.

currently, such symbols can be submitted but will usually be ignored --
merchants cannot directly change any format or display of any submitted
data and any symbols other than plain (ascii) text, may cause data (feed)
processing to halt or be confused and silently not process the remaining
data or silently not process the remaining data properly.

google likes plain (ascii) text without any formatting for all submitted data --

except for standard punctuation such as periods and semi-colons.

 

the site landing-page may be formatted -- but google will crawl the site
for adherence to other policies; generally, a best-practice is to use plain
text and then rely on style information such as css for any formatting on
the website and landing-pages.

Re: Product Description Formatting - Question About Bullets

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Interestingly I just found a product on Google Shopping and when going to the product page that is linked there's quite a few bullet points after a one sentence description.When comparing the product page with the Google Shopping page it appears that the description was reformatted when submitted. On Google Shopping, the product description continues through the bulleted text but it's format lacks the bulleted text. So it's likely the merchant just reformatted the text (all of it) as plain text and just submitted the whole thing. Yet the item remains in Google Shopping. Thoughts?

Re: Product Description Formatting - Question About Bullets

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor


currently, google decides the format
and display of all product-listing-ads --

so submitting plain text is usually best.

 

the format and display may change
based on the context of the ad and
other factors.

such symbols can also silently interfere with processing --
regardless of any ad display or formatting after processing.

google is constantly checking and rechecking data for
policy issues -- a disapproval may happen at any time.

 

if the submitted data seems to violate a current policy,

the item and details may be reported directly to google.

Re: Product Description Formatting - Question About Bullets

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
What about hyphens as a replacement for bullets? Like this:

- First point
- Second Point
- Third Point

Re: Product Description Formatting - Question About Bullets

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

there is little advantage in trying to force any such formatting --
generally, google will attempt to subsume and collapse any and all such
formatting details into a single contiguous paragraph for most contexts.

also, such formatting can cause feed details to be processed improperly
and cause difficult to determine errors, dropped items, or false-negative
disapproval issues; especially for a .txt tab-delimited feed.

description should simply describe a physical item or how a physical
item might be used that adheres to all google's editorial guidelines --
on one, single, continuous, paragraph (one line), using standard (english)
sentences, with standard capitalization, punctuation, spacing, grammar,
and spelling rules, without any other formatting whatsoever.

simple sentences with periods and semicolons are usually best --
with the most salient information in the first 150 characters or so.

 

for example:

Cogent description; first point; second point; third point.

Cogent description. First point. Second point. Third point.

google may change the format and display
of product-listing-ads at any time and
may be reformatted based on the device.

see also
https://support.google.com/merchants#topic=3404779
http://adwords.blogspot.com/2015/11/google-helps-you-shop-between-holiday.html

Re: Product Description Formatting - Question About Bullets

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi. Thanks for your quick reply.

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I wasn't trying to force any particular formatting. Here's a more precise question.

Are hyphens ok in descriptions?

I don't expect Google Shopping to display anything like this:

- First point
- Second Point
- Third Point

However, if we have something like that as the description for a product on our website, and we send this in the Google Products file

- First point - Second Point - Third Point

Would that be considered unacceptable?

I would (vigorously) argue that bullets points in a product description on a website are a legitimate and very often more user-friendly means of displaying descriptive information about a product. However, I DO NOT necessarily expect Google to display bullet points on Google Shopping. Therefore, I'm trying to figure out the best way to handle this.
'
We can also just strip out the bullets/hyphens and send this:

First point Second Point Third Point

And if there was a period at the end of each bullet it would of course look like this.

First point. Second Point. Third Point.

Re: Product Description Formatting - Question About Bullets

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor

first, you're welcome.

to translate bullet-symbols into acceptable
data for a feed, a semicolon is usually best.

assuming plain (ascii) text dashes, and no split lines,
then, dashes are acceptable; the issue with dashes
is there are many types of dash-symbols that may
look like plain (ascii) dashes but rather, are proprietary
multi-byte characters or other similar symbols.

multiple lines should not be used.

so, either:
Cogent description; first point; second point; third point.
or:
Cogent description. First point - second point - third point.

or simply:

Cogent description. First point. Second point. Third point.

the last word or sentence should always contain a period.

 

generally, no punctuation between such

points is not standard (english) punctuation --

so, may be accepted but adversely affect the

item's quality.

what is displayed on the website link landing-page
has no such formatting or display rules -- the data
only needs to be crawlable by google, conform to
google's policies for the target-country, and reflect
the same information that is submitted.

 

as an aside, with respect to conversions, the link landing-page

should be formatted and display properly, regardless of the

user's browser or device.