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Unsolved Issue verified by google-Must strip spaces from Google Shopping queries for them to appear.

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hello, got a tough issue.  (Note:  this issue is for listings that were never sold on eBay and only ever listed in a Google Shopping Campaign for a single site.)  Appreciate any help you can provide or even if you've ever heard or seen this issue before.  Just a note upfront, remedies we've already attempted are numbered (below bottom).



The issue is with google shopping campaign listings not responding to search terms unless a very specific edit is made, all the spaces are removed from the search term.  A large number of the listings from our google merchant account will only appear in google shopping search results if all the spaces are stripped from the search term.  (Just another note, that we are in the board game industry.  Hence the examples (below) are board game listings.)

Examples (note: these are a handful of examples (below), but we have many, many more examples):

Remedies we've already attempted:

  1. Maximized bids to insure our listings appear,
    1. Note: Impacted Listings won't appear even in the google shopping search returns only 2-3 results - unless spaces are removed from search term.
  2. Set all campaigns to Manual CPC to avoid google automatic bid strategies from holding back on our listings,
  3. Set all campaigns to Delivery Method Accelerated to avoid google timing/fund preservation strategies from holding back our listings,
  4. Completed multiple checks that there are no meta characters (instead of spaces) in our source data,
    1. Checks and tests include using special viewers for meta-characters on source data files, creating test listings by hand, and trying file formats that don't support meta characters.
    2. Source database tables were put through a process to purge any meta characters that might have been entered.  This was completed, but only 3 carriage return/line feeds were found.  All other data was clean of meta-characters or character combinations that can represent a space character.
    3. Compared listings that have this issue with those that do not in the same feed and can find no difference.
  5. Completed multiple reviews of our google merchant feeds with Google Merchant special team SMEs.  They say there nothing else can be improved.  That our feed data and setup are perfect,
    1. Our feeds include google sheets, batch files (we've tested ANSI 1252 and UTF-8 with no improvement), and an API feed fed from separate data sources, though all ultimately all came from the same database.
  6. Completed multiple, 12+, re-submissions of our listings with changes to title, description, and other columns (with the understanding this might cause the listings to get re-processed and corrected of this issue).  These included completely new feeds (some with identifiers that could link them back to issue listings, such as bar-code numbers, some purposefully without bar-code numbers to avoid linking to problem listings).
  7. Analyzed data over the last 12 months to see when the issue began.  It did not occur all at once.  Over a period of 4 months, products began disappearing from Search Terms (Dimensions) receiving impressions.
  8. Spoken with google ad words support who have documented the issue themselves and sent it to google development.  So far each time it comes back from google dev asking us to repeat step #3 above.  It is getting re-submitted again, however, it has taken two months just to get to this point.

Appreciate any similar experiences or help you can provide or even if you've ever heard or seen this issue before.



1 Expert replyverified_user

Unsolved Issue verified by google-Must strip spaces from Google Shopping queries for them to appear.

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

outcomes in the auctions are determined
mainly by the bid and quality factors.

almost all attributes submitted are involved in quality -- including price.

if bids are not the issue, one possibility would be to post the
entire set of attributes, and all related account-settings, for

one of the offending items, here in the public forum, so that
other forum-members may offer more specific suggestions.

also consider the structure and settings of campaigns -- such as priorities.

importantly perhaps, live-searches will begin to lower
click-through-rates, therefore quality, and therefore
performance in the auctions, especially over time --

rather, use the search-term reports and impression-statistics in
the ad-account, to help determine performance and exactly what

search-terms may be triggering specific items -- what is seen
by some people is not necessarily being seen by everyone.

note that the unfair-advantage policies are not confined to exact duplicates;
any similar inventory items, owned by the same merchant, and submitted by
multiple websites -- such as a marketplace and a private website -- are also

subject to lowering quality and being removed from the listings, disapproval,

or a suspension from the program, at any time.

without-spaces-searches can sometimes force some items that were removed
from the auctions to, temporarily, re-enter the auctions based on google's
did-you-mean or similar what-you-wanted automated algorithms -- these

are not something that can be directly controlled by merchants.

if without-spaces is the only conclusion as to the issue,
then these are google's algorithms and cannot be directly
changed by anyone outside of google.


that said, forum-members can mainly offer suggestions

based on the information posted here in the public forum --

there are account, data, historical, and many other details

that forum-members cannot access.

the best likely course would be, to be certain that the same,

or any similar, physical inventory items are not being submitted

by multiple sites and available to the shopping-ad auctions and

to consider all potential quality factors -- or simply continue to

work directly with google.


Re: Unsolved Issue verified by google-Must strip spaces from Google Shopping queries for them to app

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks again Celebird - appreciate your expertise and interest!


On "use the search-term reports and impression-statistics", just a note that we ran out all the search terms used in the shopping campaigns over the last 12 months by exporting Google Adwords Dimensions (Search Terms) broken up by month. We then loaded that data into a sql database to run a longitudinal study to see when our items started disappearing.  (We hoped to find a waterfall (or cliff) event (date) on which the items fell off.)  This wasn't the case, rather items started disappearing a few each month.  For example, Fall of Magic a search term in google adwords' dimensions disappeared in June of 2017.  


Also, we're with you on diluting our CTRs by entering in our own search query terms into google shopping, but honestly this issue is so much more devastating that sacrificing some of a few product ratings would be well worth the price of admission.  Noting: this issue applies not only to our product titles, product descriptions, but (our company name and other) adwords labels in the google shopping campaign.


You mentioned posting post the entire set of attributes (here's an example below of Fall of Magic.)  Not sure what it means to post "all related account-settings."  Are you referring to the Adwords Campaign Settings or something in Google Merchant Account Settings?  Please let us know and we'll post.



On "not confined to exact duplicates similar inventory items, owned by the same merchant, and submitted by multiple websites...." (Noting that this posted question isn't for that situation as we are talking about in this question for "non eBay" listed items.)  The products we are talking about here are ones we only ever posted for sale on our own website via our own google merchant account.  Since you made us aware of this other issue with eBay, however, we immediately pulled our few eBay listings and are aware that those products will continue to be a separate issue.  We also

  • Spoke with Shopify on this issue.   As shopify has both a built in (shopify) eBay app (built by eBay) for posting shopify items to eBay and a (shopify) Google Merchant app for posting those identical products to google adwords shopping via a google merchant account.  This would appear to be a perfect storm for the situation you've noted.  They are going to consult their eBay dev app team.  We await their reply on the question.
  • Spoke to eBay on this issue.  We asked eBay if there's a setting to turn off sending a seller's eBay items automatically to eBay's Google Adwords Shopping Campaign.  The answer so far is that no one knows.  If anyone knows where to find that setting in eBay, that would be a welcome aside on the primary issue in this question on stripped out spaces for items only ever posted on a single website via a single google merchant/adwords account.


Thanks again and please let us know on any follow ups.  We welcome the assistance to us and to others as we've seen other merchants products appear this same way - only with spaces stripped out.





Re: Unsolved Issue verified by google-Must strip spaces from Google Shopping queries for them to app

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

first, you're welcome and thank you for the screen-capture and added details.

(1) falling-off is usually due to changes -- in the submitted data, within the
merchant-center-account, or within the ad-account, by the competition, or
google measuring quality signals and lowering quality slowly over time.

(2) google may measure quality signals or apply quality signals with
respect to an entire website, or business, not only individual items.

(3) all related account-settings: refers to any settings that may effect
how the items are listed or quality -- such as shipping, tax, optional
automatic-item-updates settings, feed-rules or supplemental-feeds,

feed-settings, number of registered feeds for the target-country, etc.

thank you for the screen-capture, however the resolution is rather poor.

(4) being non-ebay is rather irrelevant with respect to quality-signals;
if any similar items were listed from multiple sites, over time, then
that can harm quality over time for all merchant-owned items -- such
poor outcomes are related to the unfair-advantage policies and any

related search-terms, where, for example, a merchant has items

submitted from multiple sites and profiting from those listings in

the auctions, for any similar items, or any similarly relevant items,

or any similar category of items.

of course, the advantage tends to be short-lived, until google
begins to detect the issue and overall quality begins to drop.

(5) such spaces-search-term issues tend to be related to falling quality --
as quality falls, the chance of any relevant terms triggering related
items may decrease over time, while more outlier search-terms, with
little or no competition, tends to be the only winners in the auctions,

regardless of the bid.

as to the example item posted --


(a) no less than 12 items seem to have been listed/submitted with the

same landing-page of products/fall-of-magic -- if so, that is a rather

severe policy violation and is grounds for much lower quality, removal

from the ad-auctions, disapproval, or a (permanent) suspension from

the program, at any time.

the root-cause should be carefully investigated since the
side-effects may be affecting many other quality-signals.

for example, be certain that the id for a physical inventory item
is permanently assigned to that item, is unique across all other
physical inventory items, never changes, and is never, ever,
reused for any other physical inventory item, once assigned.

be certain that only physical inventory items are being submitted and
items submitted as in stock are currently in on-hand physical inventory.

(b) any photos with text or logos is a policy violation and grounds for
lower quality, removal from the auctions, disapproval, or suspension
from the program, at any time.

(c) photos that are not of the exact item being sold and shipped are grounds
for lower quality, removal from the auctions, disapproval, or suspension from
the program, at any time.


related images may be submitted as additional_image_link

photos, but must follow all additional_image_link policies

and all other product image related rules and policies --

for example, no logos, no text, no watermarks, etc.


(d) listing category information within descriptions is not recommend

and grounds for lower quality over time; description should describe

the physical item or the item's physical characteristics.

(e) pop-ups are generally not allowed on landing-pages and are grounds
for lower quality, removal from the auctions, disapproval, or suspension.

see also,mr:1,seller:114058706,mr:1,seller:115342012,mr:1,seller:114058706,mr:1,seller:114058706

Unsolved Issue verified by google-Must strip spaces from Google Shopping queries for them to appear.

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Just fyi - we spoke with google ad-words today.  We mentioned the specifics you had mentioned, Celebird.  They consulted a specialist.  They said in no uncertain terms that Google Adwords does not consider an item listed both on a private website (such as shopify) and on eBay with both sites listing the item on google shopping as a violation of policy and is not grounds for disapproval or suspension.


Celebird, do you have a link you could share that cites that situation as a violation of policy?





Unsolved Issue verified by google-Must strip spaces from Google Shopping queries for them to appear.

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

the duplicate-listing violation example, falls under the

unfair-advantage policies and more generally abuse

of the ad-network -- google no longer lists all the

possible specific examples of what may constitute

a violation or what may lower quality.


empirical evidence tends to support the duplicate-listing

example and related unfair-advantage policies, lowering

quality over time and triggering later suspensions.


in this specific case, potential image violations,

along with duplicate listings, and other quality

related issues, seem to be contributing factors.


that said, google is the final arbiter of all policies.


see also